population of Rome had been reduced by half as a result of the civil war. Pliny (7.92) cites Caesar's fifty battles and provides the number of the dead mentioned by Meto in Chapter XXII.

While working on The Triumph of Caesar, my favorite books by modern historians were Arthur Weigall's The Life and Times of Marc Antony (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1931) and Jack Lindsay's Marc Antony: His World and His Contemporaries (Rout-ledge, 1936). These two authors never fail to stimulate and entertain.

For visual inspiration, we can turn to one of the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, The Triumphs of Caesar, a series of nine monumental paintings by Andrea Mantegna (ca. 1431–1506). Inspired both by literary accounts and by the collection of antiquities owned by his patrons, the Gonzaga family of Mantua, Mantegna created one of the first major attempts to visualize the ancient Roman world. The paintings are on permanent display at Hampton Court Palace in London.

Erich Gruen has speculated that the statue of Cleopatra in the Temple of Venus Genetrix was placed there not by Julius Caesar (as Appian explicitly states), but later, by Augustus, as a trophy after the queen's defeat and death. This is an eminently sensible idea; nevertheless, I prefer to take Appian at his word. Caesar's installation of the statue presents us with a puzzle, to be sure, but so do many actions taken by our own leaders. Because an act by, say, a president of the United States did not make sense to a reasonable person does not mean that the act did not take place. I would suggest that the type of man who thinks he can rule the world is not, by definition, a reasonable man, and the actions of such men inevitably leave us with vexed questions that defy sensible explanation by sensible historians. Gruen's essay 'Cleopatra in Rome: Facts and Fantasies' can be found in Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome: Studies in Honour of T. P. Wiseman, edited by David Braund and Christopher Gill (University of Exeter Press, 2003).

For reading and commenting on the first draft, my thanks to Penni Kimmel and Rick Solomon. For all his hard work, high spirits, and unfailing sangfroid, my thanks to Alan Nevins, my agent. And my heartfelt thanks to my longtime editor, Keith Kahla, to whom this book is dedicated. Since the days of Roman Blood, Keith, Gordianus, and the Finder's creator have gone through many trials and triumphs together.

Caesar and his legacy present a complexity that mirrors that of our own times. Like Gordianus, I find myself endlessly fascinated by the man, and endlessly perplexed. The life of Caesar provides generous inspiration to both the historian, who deals in facts, and the novelist, who deals in the ironies and ambiguities of human existence and the tenuous nature of all knowledge.

Вы читаете The Triumph Of Caesar
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату