Simon Sebag Montefiore, one of our most popular historians, and also presenter of BBC television series on Istanbul, Rome and Jerusalem, selects the essential cast of dramatic characters who built, destroyed or changed the three great Holy Cities.
The creators of Istanbul: from the murderous visionary Constantine the Great to the ultimate power couple, Justinian and his burlesque-dancer-turned-empress Theodora, to Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana, all the way to Ataturk. In Jerusalem: from Herod the Great, who killed his beloved wife and three sons, to the great Crusader queen Melisende and the Arab conqueror Saladin. In Rome, from psychotic Caligula and the philosopher Marcus Aurelius to the megalomanical seductress Marozia, the Borgias and Mussolini.
These are stories and characters that everyone should know and no one should forget.
Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of prize-winning, bestselling books that have been published in forty-eight languages. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the BBA History Book of the Year Prize; Young Stalin won the Costa Biography Award, LA Times Book Prize for Biography and the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique; Jerusalem: The Biography won the JBC Book of the Year Prize and the Wenjin Book Prize; The Romanovs: 1613-1918 won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. He is the author of the Moscow Trilogy of novels: Sashenka, Red Sky at Noon and One Night In Winter, which won the Political Fiction Book of the Year Award, and (with Santa Montefiore) of the Royal Rabbits of London children's novels. Many of his books are being developed as films and TV drama series.