Hardback, first edition, Yale University Press, 2017
The dramatic story of the soldiers at the heart of the Roman Empire, lively and full of insight. De la Bédoyère traces the history of the praetorians and the emperors they served, murdered, and made, through three hundred years of intrigue and drama.
Founded by Augustus around 27 BC, the elite Praetorian Guard was tasked with the protection of the emperor and his family. As the centuries unfolded, however, praetorian soldiers served not only as protectors and enforcers but also as powerful political players. Fiercely loyal to some emperors, they vied with others and ruthlessly toppled those who displeased them, including Caligula, Nero, Pertinax, and many more. In this compelling narrative Guy de la Bédoyère provides the first full history of the praetorians, whose dangerous ambitions ceased only when Constantine permanently disbanded them following their support for his rival.
Introducing praetorians of all echelons, from prefects and messengers to artillery experts and executioners, de la Bédoyère explores the delicate position of emperors for whom prestige and guile were the only defence against bodyguards hungry for power. Folding fascinating details into a broad assessment of the praetorian era, this exciting account sheds new light on the wars, laws and politics of the ancient world’s most extraordinary empire.
Hardback with dust jacket, like new.