Review of "De Imperatoribus Romanis"
by: Gn. Dionysius Draco
This is a review of the well-known Web site "De Imperatoribus Romanis" <www.roman-emperors.org>. Its goal is to collect all possible information that may be helpful to construct the ultimate online library on the Roman emperors.
Since it's a known site, this presumes that the info on it is accurate and accessible. It is. Not only does it have lots and lots of information on the Roman emperors, the East has also been included and as such there are also a number of biographies available on the Eastern emperors. Most of the biographies are written in a scholarly, entertaining style that may come across as a bit dry to some but is certainly not boring, and neither does it get lost in an ocean of silly details or anecdotes. DIR clearly avoided the clip of indulging too much in Suetonian anecdotes and tries to use multiple sources all the time, which is of course a very good thing. The site also has rather rare info on the youths of emperors, and tries to discuss, if any information is extant, the actual policies they had and how they affected the empire and its inhabitants.
Next to the biographies of the emperors, they also have a section of family trees, maps, battlegrounds and various essays on other personalities from the empire. The only small flaw in their content may be, perhaps, that this information is not always presented as coherently as it could be and that the maps are often fuzzy. Also, links to e-texts in the sources section right below the essays on the emperors would have been good, but I'm not complaining. Content-wise it's one of the greatest and most scholarly sites out there.
The interface does the job. It's not a thing of beauty, but it's fairly functional and you can navigate easily. Chances are that if you are looking for a specific item, you'll find it pretty soon, but sometimes the general overview is missing and gets lost in the large, large amount of information that is available on the site. Also, some pages look plain ugly in terms of design (especially the version with frames), but at least they've not overdone themselves in flash menus or unnecessary animations. Still, a better graphical presence would have made this site neater. In terms of interactivity it's better than one would expect from such a vast empire of information. People are invited to submit their own articles which are to be judged by peers.
In concluding, I give the following marks: