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Book Review: "Immortal Caesar"

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  • Mary Harrsch
    Patricia Hunter s Immortal Caesar is well researched and provides a human side to one of the most famous figures in world history. Caesar is portrayed as
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2003
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      Patricia Hunter's "Immortal Caesar" is well researched and provides a
      "human side" to one of the most famous figures in world history. Caesar
      is portrayed as an intellectually and physically mesmerizing man whose
      charisma attracted both men and women to his political causes and
      produced support for his personal ambitions. I also appreciated
      Hunter's view of Caesar as an ardent lover but one who refrained from
      salubrious expressions of affection to the women in his life.

      Of course I enjoyed Colleen McCullough's latest novel about Caesar's
      final years, "The October Horse", but found her dialogue between Caesar
      and Cleopatra repeatedly sprinkled with "darling" somewhat a bit out of
      place in the mental image of an astute and articulate Caesar I had
      formed over the years reading her entire "Masters of Rome" series of
      novels as well as a number of the ancient sources.

      My primary regret was that Hunter's novel was short. I would have
      appreciated much more detail about Alesia and Caesar's personal
      interaction with the Gauls (men and women - McCullough hinted at a
      relationship with a Gallic woman that resulted in a son), Caesar's
      thoughts and actions during the battle of Miletus, his first major
      military engagement, and his personal interaction with Octavian.

      McCullough portrayed the relationship between Caesar and Octavian so
      sympathetically that I actually developed a more positive viewpoint
      towards Caesar's heir, at least until he allowed Lucius Caesar to be
      proscribed. So I would have been interested in another perspective.

      Hunter also shares my speculation that Caesar's seizures were caused by
      a head wound sustained at Munda rather than lifelong epilepsy, although
      McCullough's suggestion of a condition resembling hypoglycemia was
      certainly plausible as well. The ancient sources do not mention this
      condition until later in his life.

      I also liked Hunter's casting of the relationship between Caesar and
      Calpurnia, much more so than the soap opera overtones of "I can't live
      with you as husband and wife" that marked the end of the romance in the
      recent "Julius Caesar" miniseries on TNT Network. The affair with
      Cleopatra was just one of many over his lifetime and Calpurnia was well
      aware of Caesar's notoriety with other women when she agreed to marry
      him. I think she would have accepted the situation as a matter of
      course, just as Hunter envisioned it.

      "Immortal Caesar" is interesting, factual, and fast paced -- a good
      effort for a first novel.

      - Libitina

      (aka Mary Harrsch)
      Network & Information Systems Manager
      College of Education
      University of Oregon
      Eugene, OR 97403
      (541) 346-3554

      Commentary Section Editor
      The Technology Source
      <http://ts.mivu.org> http://ts.mivu.org

      Roman Times

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