Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero

Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero


By (author) Mr James Romm

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 290 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 33mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 3 November 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0307596877
  • ISBN 13: 9780307596871
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 169,301

Product description

From acclaimed classical historian and author of "Ghost on the Throne" ("Gripping...the narrative verve of a born writer and the erudition of a scholar"-Daniel Mendelsohn) and "The Landmark Arrian" ("Thrilling"-"The New York Times Book Review")-a work of history on the grand scale: a high stakes drama full of murder, madness, tyranny, and perversion. At the center: the tumultuous life of Seneca, ancient Rome's preeminent writer and philosopher, and his student Nero, Emperor of Rome. And controlling them both, Nero's mother, Julia Agrippina the Younger: Roman empress, great-granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus, sister of the Emperor Caligula, niece, and fourth wife, of Emperor Claudius..."Dying Every Day" weaves together the life and written words, the moral struggles, political intrigue, and bloody vengeance that enmeshed Seneca the Younger in the twisted imperial family and the perverse, paranoid regime of Emperor Nero, the last and most detestable of the Caesarean family, whose descent into madness saw five family murders, the revolt of Boudicca in England, the Fire of Rome, and a savage purge that destroyed Rome's supreme minds during the Senate's golden age.

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Author information

James Romm is the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. His books on the ancient world include "Ghost on the Throne, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought," "Herodotus "and, as editor, "The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander."

Review quote

Praise for James Romm’s   DYING EVERY DAY     “Romm adeptly expounds the puzzle of Seneca’s life.”                                                               -The New Yorker   “James Romm stitches this tapestry of evil together with a practiced hand.”                                                               -Michael D. Langan, Buffalo News   “A splendid and incisive historical page-turner... This is how history should be written: vivid storytelling springing to life at a master’s touch... Romm’s narrative proves so compelling precisely because he concentrates on character, combining erudite scholarship with a novelist’s flair for telling detail. The result becomes an exception to the rule: When exercised with wisdom, dexterity and fervor, literary power shines as incorruptible.”                                                               -Arlice Davenport, Wichita Eagle   “Thoroughly engaging and fascinating...A high-stakes drama, laced with murders, madness, and despotism...The highlight of the spring season.”                                                               -Anne La Farge, Hudson Valley News   “Romm's compulsively readable account of imperial intrigues (incest, murder, suicide) brings contradictory visions of Seneca into three-dimensional focus.”                                                               -Chronogram   “Romm's approach combines the commonly known with the fascinating, but more obscure. He makes a sustained point of showing Seneca as neither black nor white, neither totally deserving of his fate, nor so noble that all charges should drip off his well-oiled back. He shows different sides to the emperors as well and puts the women of the Caesars into their well-deserved positions of prominence…The fact that Romm presents the Stoic philosopher in this novel complex light and that he shows sides of the more famous that aren't common knowledge leaves me feeling [like] I got an awful lot out of reading it.  Have I mentioned, I really, really liked this book?”                                                               -N. S. Gill, About.com   “Historians from Seneca’s contemporaries through the present day have puzzled over his true character. Ascetic Stoic moralist or conniving courtier?  Romm doesn't claim to settle the centuries-old mystery, but sheds light using ancient sources and occasional references to modern critics, joining his readers in marveling at a regime remembered by history for its shocking excesses.”                                                               -Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)   “Extensively researched.  A book that will be welcomed by both scholars and those with a more casual interest in history. In addition and most important to our time is the detailed study of power politics and the inevitable consequences of weakness and corruption allowing power to be concentrated into few hands… An engrossing account of a time when rational thought was set aside in favor of passion and when good men cowed in the face of tyranny and did nothing to stem it.”                                                               -Jeremy McGuire, New York Journal of Books   “A compelling, and terrifying, vision of a bloodthirsty, ruthlessly ambitious emperor and his court.”                                                               -Jenny Yabroff, Biographile