Later Emperors by Evan Jones
Published 27th February 2020
Later Emperors is four poems, each of which approaches Roman history from a very different perspective. It is also four voices, each one concerned with the living and the dead: voices of historians and moralists, voices of great (and not so great) emperors. Jones has written a book which is all the more for our time because it looks so clearly at other times and identifies in them familiar patterns, difficulties, ambitions and desires. History becomes a crystal ball in which the past chides the future, the same mistakes predicted and made again, the same injustices repeated. The Byzantine historians Michael Psellos and Anna Komnene reveal themselves as the significant chroniclers they always were. The book concludes with a retelling of Plutarch's 'Consolatio Ad Uxorem', in which Jones considers what we might hold on to in a world of suffering.