If you are going to live in interesting times, you might as well be an interesting person. Petillius Cerialis, son-in-law of the future emperor Vespasian, qualifies on both counts. His career included two full-scale provincial rebellions, the destruction of entire legions, a civil war, mutinous soldiery, and two Roman campaigns of conquest. Anyone who had Nero as a boss was guaranteed moments of extreme interest in his career, and twice Cerialis had to run for his life; once from the imperial authorities and once from Boudicca (who had just wiped out half of the legion he was commanding.)
The only man to ever try to take Rome with a cavalry charge was also the man whose command post of a ship on the Rhine was stolen out from under him by a Batavian special boat squadron. While visiting a lady friend his camp was attacked by a huge barbarian army, and an under-dressed Cerialis had to first fight his way into the camp before organizing the defence.
These escapades mark the highlights and low points of Cerialis' career as a top Roman general of the first century AD. In this book we travel from Boudicca's Britain to Nero's Rome and out to the bogs and forests of the Rhine frontier. In part a biography of a remarkable general, this is also a description of what it took to command the legions of Rome in the name of the Caesars.