THE EDUCATION OF JULIUS CAESAR: A Biography, A Reconstruction by Arthur D. Kahn

THE EDUCATION OF JULIUS CAESAR: A Biography, A Reconstruction

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is strange that most biographies of Caesar are subsumed within histories of his age. Kahn has attempted to right this wrong in this hefty biography of sorts. Classics scholar Kahn calls his biography ""a reconstruction."" That it is, for it adopts some of the tools of Erik Erikson's psychohistory to amplify ancient source data. Kahn asserts in his preface that he considered calling this a ""fictionalized biography,"" but settled for ""reconstruction"" based upon a precept offered once by Thucydides. With this, the reader is cautioned to accept much of the speculation as to conversations and incidents with a grain of salt. This is not to denigrate the value of Kahn's work, as it brings Caesar alive and clings to the spirit of his age with integrity. All of the details are here of Caesar's young life in a resurgent patrician family, his exile by Sulla, his marriages and philanderings, his Gallic conquests, crossing the Rubicon, and his magnanimity in pardoning his enemies, who returned the favor with 20 stab wounds in the senate on the Ides of March. But the presentation adds so much to the details that this becomes a far meatier book than say, Michael Grant's oft-cited Caesar (1975). Not the most important historical work offered on Caesar, but it's by far the best read.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
ISBN: 0595089216
Publisher: Schocken