Absolute Power. The Real Lives of Europe's Most Infamous by C.S. DENTON

By C.S. DENTON

Here, seventy five succinct essays disguise eu royalty from the final king of Rome to Tsar Nicholas II. there's an everlasting public curiosity in royalty and dictatorial rulers: this ebook covers them all comprehensively. excess of simply sensational bills, the e-book makes a real try and comprehend what drove them to their excesses. a casual, readable kind produces a robust turn-page influence. In our time, while ecu monarchies appear little greater than vacationer curiosities and democracy is taken with no consideration, you possibly can overlook how a lot energy pre-democratic rulers may as soon as wield. The rulers and holders of political strength during this ebook fall into 4 different types: these villainized via propaganda; people with severe psychological issues; these concurrently respected and reviled; and those that actually have been the epitome of evil. 'Absolute energy' exhibits how they have been all over excited by way of their exalted prestige or perhaps beaten via it, whereas a number of have been pushed over the sting into insanity.

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Even though a man's public life and political career were, as today, inextricably linked, Tiberius never bothered to cultivate a public image to accentuate his political standing. He rarely went to the Circus Maximus or any large functions and although he did as a young man host a few gladiatorial shows in honor of his father and grandfather, these shows were paid for by Augustus and Livia. Now Livia was most likely not the warmest of mothers. Even so, she was not the cold-blooded villainess who paved her son's path to the throne through schemes and murders portrayed in Robert Graves' I, Claudius novels or the BBC television series based on them.

Finally, a year after Junia died, Tiberius the 'old goat' himself went to the grave. According to a barely credited legend, the current Praetorian prefect Macro, seeing that Tiberius was still alive, if just barely, fixed the reaper's botched job and smothered the Emperor with a pillow to put Caligula in his debt. This story came from the fact that Macro was already distrusted by Tiberius for his blatant shows of loyalty toward Caligula. These little displays of devotion went as far as Macro encouraging his own wife Ennia to sleep with the future Emperor.

Today we tend to look at such a monarch as a dictator of sorts, but occupying the top of the political hierarchy was only one aspect of the role. As strange as it may seem to us in this democratic age, the core duty of a monarch was to serve as a representative of the people, a sacred duty passed directly from the hand of God. For example, in the peasant villages of Russia, the Tsar was often called in Batiushka, literally 'the Father of the Russian people', up until the twentieth century. What unites all the figures in this book is that they had badly disappointed the high, semi-divine hopes placed on them and, because of that, they have been judged by history as a bizarre curiosity, a living catastrophe, or both.

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Absolute Power. The Real Lives of Europe's Most Infamous by C.S. DENTON
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