The Imperial Families of Ancient Rome

Author(s): Maxwell Craven 

ISBN: 9781781557389
$37.00 $52.00
All the emperors of Rome with all their known relatives, usurpers and pretenders included, together for the first time in one comprehensive record.
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  • Nepotism may be a dirty word today, but in ancient times not doing it was considered an insult to the family

  • Roman emperors depended on their families and connections to rule and maintain power

  • There have been plenty of books about Roman emperors but outside academia, none have chronicled all their known families

  • Some of the most famous men never to have been emperor turn out to have been related to an emperor: they are all here – paragons and popes 

The Roman empire was a spectacular polity of unprecedented scale, which stretched from Scotland to Sudan and from Portugal to Persia. It survived for over 500 years in the west and 1,480 years in the east.

Ruling it was a task of frightening complexity; few emperors made a good fist of it, yet thanks to dynastic connections, an efficient bureaucracy and a governing class eager to attain the kudos of holding the highest offices, it survived the mad, bad and incompetent emperors remarkably well.

Although not always apparent, it was the interplay of emperors’ kin and family connections, which also made a major contribution to controlling the empire.

The Imperial Families of Ancient Rome aims to put on record the known ancestry, relations and descendants of all emperors, including ephemeral ones, and show connections from one dynasty to another as completely as possible, accompanied by concise biographical notes about each ruler and known facts about family members, which include Romans both famous and obscure. It also attempts to distinguish between certainty and possibility, and to eliminate obvious fiction.

The introduction provides a narrative lead-in to the creation of the empire, attempts to clarify the complexities of Roman genealogy and assess the sources.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557389
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 656 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 05 December 2019
ILLUSTRATIONS 88 family trees



Maxwell Craven was born in London in 1945 and educated in the West Country. He first came to Derby in 1966, and after five years in London, returned in 1973. After seven years at Derby Museum, he was appointed Keeper of Antiquities in 1982, a post he still holds. For over twenty years, he has lectured on Derby and Derbyshire-related topics, and has produced more than fifteen books, including The Illustrated History of Derby (1988), A Derbyshire Armoury (1991), and ‒ with his friend and former colleague Michael Stanley ‒ The Derbyshire Country House (1981, 1984, 1991). Craven and his wife Carole live in central Derby, with their daughter Cornelia and rather a lot of books.