Why Write Another Novel About Caesar?

By Philip Katz the Author of Imperator
I set out to write Imperator because I felt I could bring a unique layman¶s point of view to the subject of Caesar and the fall of the Roman Republic, free from the traditional dogmatic approach taken by the academic community. In addition I believe the tale of the fall of the Roman Republic is a timely and relevant cautionary tale for us in 21st century America. It is far too simplistic to attribute Caesar¶s vast accomplishments to ambition and lust for absolute power alone. While Caesar was referred to commonly as tyrant and was allegedly assassinated for the same reason, Caesar never altered the Republican form of government which he is accused of destroying. Closer examination of the facts presented in the extant sources only make sense when seen in context of an extremely complex personality capable of great

compassion for individuals and what was seemingly cold disregard for the lives of millions. In the pages of Imperator a character comes into focus from the extant documents of the period taking into account just how subjective these accounts were. In fact most of the sources for the period, with the notable exception of Caesar¶s own writings and those of the orator Cicero, were written many years after the events that took place in the time of Caesar and were written by those opposed to the factions to whom Caesar belonged. The story of Caesar must be viewed within the context of the unique time in which he lived and the unique situation into which he was born. My interest in Roman Republican history began with the BBC¶s production of Graves¶ ³I Claudius´ and McCullough¶s ³Masters of Rome´ series of novels and continued over ten years of avid reading on the subject finally bringing me to Italy in 2005. It was after I visited Italy and the Forum Romanum in particular, that I was inspired to write Imperator. Any relevant work about Republican Rome must be derived from the city¶s long history and complex religious practices. For the story of Imperator the principle research is from extant histories from the subject period of the story, first century BC Rome, and is supported by the archaeological and literary records including the vast amount of modern scholarship on the subject. The principle literary sources from the period for the historical frame work, upon which the Imperator series was constructed, are the works of Appian of Alexandria writing in the Imperial period of the second century AD and Plutarch, a Greek writing in the second half of the first century AD again in the Imperial period. They clearly wrote from a point of view prevalent centuries after the events about which they write. It must be assumed by the reader that Plutarch and Appian relied upon sources, such as the writings of Sulla and Polio, which no longer exist to which they explicitly added their own interpretation of events. Caesar¶ ³Gallic Wars´ and ³Civil Wars´ and Cicero¶s ³Letters to Atticus´ and ³Selected Political Speeches´ are the principle extant contemporary accounts of the events of their lifetimes. For historical background for early Rome I rely heavily on the Romans Livy and Virgil writing in the time of Augustus in the first century BC. And again we have ³Plutarch¶s Lives´ and the work of another Greek, Polybius¶ ³The Rise of The Roman Empire´ written in the middle of the second century BC. No book about the Roman Empire could be written without building a strong geographical context around the story. For this I relied mainly upon on Michael Grant¶s ³A Guide to the Ancient World´ and the Encyclopedia Britannica¶s World Atlas. In addition I referred to Jacquetta Hawkes¶ ³Atlas of Ancient Archaeology´. Imperator was very much the product of the massive proliferation of information that is the internet and our digital age. While the vast majority of information included in Imperator came from the pages of real books, globes and atlases I was also able to gather vast amounts of

information from disparate sources with great speed and very little wasted time through the use of search engines and online libraries such as, Questia.com, a popular online subscription research site. By these means I had a powerful research tool wherever there was broad band internet available. I¶ve compiled a bibliography which is included in the hardcover edition of ³Imperator; The Life of Gaius Julius Caesar´ and is available free of charge at http://www.imperatorbook.com/ Happy Reading! -Philip Katz

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