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Sejanus (Hardback)

Regent of Rome

Ancient History Rome P&S History Biographies

By John S McHugh
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 312
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781526714978
Published: 5th March 2020



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The figure of Sejanus has fascinated from ancient to more modern times. Sejanus, the emperor Tiberius' infamous Praetorian Prefect, is synonymous with over-reaching ambition, murder, conspiracy and betrayal. According to the traditional storyline, this man craved the imperial throne for himself and sought it by isolating the naive emperor in his island pleasure palace on Capri whilst using his control over the Praetorian Guard, coupled with his immense power and influence in Rome, to purge the capital of potential opponents. His victims supposedly included the emperor's son, Drusus, poisoned by his own wife who had been seduced by Sejanus. The emperor, forewarned of Sejanus' ambition, struck first. The Prefect was arrested in the Senate, strangled and his corpse cast down the Gemonian Stairs.

Study of Sejanus has generally been overshadowed by focus on Tiberius. John McHugh makes a fresh appraisal of the sources to offer the first full-length study in English to focus on this highly influential figure and his development of the Praetorian Prefecture.

McHugh’s draws the reader in with his clear narrative of events and descriptions of the major players in this extended drama, and his placement of Sejanus’s rise and fall in the context of Roman politics is skilfully exposited. Sejanus’s dramatic rise and fall still serves as a morality tale through the centuries, and it is one that McHugh tells well.

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