|Publication Date||November 19, 2007|
From a Caesarian birth, via his conquest of Gaul and the decisive crossing of the Rubicon, to his love affair with Cleopatra and the fateful Ides of March ...Even the cliches of his life reveal the extent to which Julius Caesar has become an enduring part of the fabric of western culture. In this book Maria Wyke explores the ways in which Caesar's life has provided inexhaustible inspiration for two thousand years. In the Middle Ages he was held to be a 'pagan saint' whose conduct exemplified Christian virtues, and popes and emperors clamoured to establish a founding place for him in their family trees.Artists such as Shakespeare and Handel found in 'great Caesar's' life the stuff of dramatic plots which focus on supremacy and conspiracy, while Napoleon, Mussolini (to his enemies a 'sawdust Caesar') and Cesare Borgia looked to him for more practical lessons in how to seize and hold on to power. The love triangle of Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra provides the archetypal story of the interplay of sex, luxury and power, and the story of his assassination, too, has been a fertile source in later centuries for explorations of tyranny, liberty and betrayal. Maria Wyke's book is a timely and highly readable exploration of a life - and afterlife - of almost unparalleled potency in the western imagination.