The Mad Emperor: Heliogabalus and the Decadence of Rome

ISBN: 9780861546855
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Product Details

Publisher,Oneworld Publications
Publication Date,
Format, Paperback
Weight, 295 g
No. of Pages, 352

What happens when you put the Roman Empire in the hands of a teenage boy? The life and times of the worst Roman emperor of all.

'Buy the book; it's very entertaining.' David Aaronovitch, The Times

Financial TimesBBC History and Spectator Book of the Year

On 8 June 218 AD, a fourteen-year-old Syrian boy, egged on by his grandmother, led an army to battle in a Roman civil war. Against all expectations, he was victorious.


Varius Avitus Bassianus, known to the modern world as Heliogabalus, was proclaimed emperor. The next four years were to be the strangest in the history of the empire.

Heliogabalus humiliated the prestigious Senators and threw extravagant dinner parties for lower-class friends. He ousted Jupiter from his summit among the gods and replaced him with Elagabal. He married a Vestal Virgin – twice. Rumours abounded that he was a prostitute. In the first biography of Heliogabalus in over half a century, Harry Sidebottom unveils the high drama of sex, religion, power and culture in Ancient Rome as we’ve never seen it before.

About the Author

Dr Harry Sidebottom teaches Ancient History at Lincoln College, Oxford. Since publication of Fire in the East in 2008, he has written and published a novel each year, all of which have been Sunday Times top 5 bestsellers. His Warrior of Rome series has been published in 14 countries. Harry is also the editor of the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Ancient Battles.

  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches

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