Open main menu

Dictator is a historical novel by British author Robert Harris, published in 2015, which concludes his trilogy about the life of the Roman lawyer, politician and orator Cicero (106–43 BC). Dictator follows the first novel Imperium (2006) and the second novel Lustrum (2009). It is both a biography of Cicero and a tapestry of Rome in the time of Pompey, Crassus, Cato, Caesar, Clodius and ultimately Octavian.[1]

Dictator by Robert Harris Cover.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorRobert Harris.
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesCicero trilogy
GenreHistorical novel
Publication date
8 October 2015
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages384 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN978-0-09-175210-1 (first edition, hardback)
Preceded byLustrum 

In Harris's summary: "Thus Imperium describes the rise to power, Lustrum the years in power and Dictator the repercussions of power."[1] All three novels were adapted for the stage in 2017 by Mike Poulton.

Plot summaryEdit

The story is told through Tiro, secretary of Cicero, detailing Cicero's last fifteen years. It begins with Cicero fleeing Publius Clodius Pulcher and his mob in Rome and going into exile in Thessalonica. He is able to return to Rome after more than a year under the promise to support Julius Caesar. Back in Rome, he attempts to revive the Roman Republic, but the forces against this are too strong. Rule by a triumvirate -- Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus -- eventually becomes rule by one man when Caesar takes control through civil war. Caesar becomes too powerful and is murdered by a group led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and Marcus Junius Brutus. The Senate fails to take control and Mark Antony rises. Cicero sets his hopes on the young Octavian, but when Octavian strikes a deal with Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Cicero is doomed and the days of the Republic are over. Tiro also relates family and personal matters during Cicero's final years.[2]



  1. ^ a b Robert Harris. "Robert Harris: why I write political fiction". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  2. ^ Peter Jones. "Dictator by Robert Harris - review". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 October 2015.