Title: Augustus Ceasar’s World
Author: Genevieve Foster
Major Themes: Roman Empire, Augustus Caesar
Synopsis: The life of Augustus Caesar is told in detail, and events and religions from around the world at the same time are described.
We are currently studying the Roman Empire. The last time we went through this level of Sonlight, they had Augustus Ceasar’s World scheduled in. They have now deleted it, but since we already have the book and enjoyed it the last time through, I decided we would read it again. Genevieve Foster does a masterful job of making history into a fascinating story.
The story begins with young Octavius, a schoolboy who has been named as Julius Caesar’s heir. Julius Caesar has just been murdered, so Octavius goes to Rome to claim his inheritance. The story carries on through Octavius’s life, as he was given the name of Augustus (Caesar was the family name), and became emperor. Along with the story of Augustus’ life, we learn about the events in all parts of the Roman Empire at the time, including the drama of Antony and Cleopatra, the story of Herod in Judea, and the story of Jesus’ life. We also learn about various religions, how they began and what the people who follow them believe.
If you are studying the Roman Empire or the years from 44 BC to AD 14, I highly recommend Augustus Ceasar’s World. I wouldn’t just hand this book to your child and tell them to read it, though—see the warnings below. This is one that I believe should be read aloud, and discussed.
WARNING: Augustus Ceasar’s World is not written from a Christian perspective. The author seems to have the attitude that all religions are equal, in fact, page 264 quotes a Hindu holy book as saying as much. Several places say that the books of the Old Testament were not written until a thousand years after Moses, that the Law of Moses was simply oral tradition until about the time of the captivity of Israel. Pages 186-187 say that the Children of Israel learned to believe in one God while they were in the desert. Pages 187-191 tell the story of the Bible as if it is on the same level as all other religion’s beliefs. Pages 205-209 say that Akhenaton, an Egyptian Pharaoh was the first man in the world to believe in the idea of only one God.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15