Image and Substance
Levick, Barbara
Date published: 
August 2010

'Augustus Caesar was a fascinating and controversial man – arguably the most important figure in Roman history. A shrewd politician, he was able to achieve ultimate power in Rome. His political life (44 BC – AD 14) was dedicated to convert the failing Republic to a successful Principate which lasted for centuries, and his political legacy lives on today. This biographical study of Augustus seeks to expose the calculating methods used throughout his political life, arguing that they disguised the ruthlessness of his climb to the top and his subsequent hold on it, while enhancing his successes. Focusing on Augustus as the first “spin doctor”, Barbara Levick’s polemic interpretation emphasises the methods of his acquisition and maintenance of power and gives central importance to the deviousness and manipulation at the heart of his success.'