Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic

Rubicon The Last Years of the Roman Republic A masterful witty brilliantly researched popular history of perhaps the greatest civilization ever and the events and people that led to its transformation from a republic to an empire On a dark Jan

  • Title: Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic
  • Author: Tom Holland
  • ISBN: 9780385503136
  • Page: 490
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A masterful, witty, brilliantly researched popular history of perhaps the greatest civilization ever and the events and people that led to its transformation from a republic to an empire.On a dark January morning, Julius Caesar, the governor of Gaul, rode with his closest aides towards a river named the Rubicon, which marked the line of the frontier with Italy A governorA masterful, witty, brilliantly researched popular history of perhaps the greatest civilization ever and the events and people that led to its transformation from a republic to an empire.On a dark January morning, Julius Caesar, the governor of Gaul, rode with his closest aides towards a river named the Rubicon, which marked the line of the frontier with Italy A governor was forbidden to lead troops out of his allotted province to break this severest of laws was tantamount to a declaration of civil war Caesar was a gambler, however Like the consummate actor on the public stage he had always been, he quoted a line from one of Menander s plays It s time to roll the die Then he ordered the legion behind him to advance, over the river and on towards Rome Crossing the Rubicon was a step so consequential that it has come to stand for every fateful step in history since When Caesar rolled his die, the result was indeed a civil war, one that would end up destroying Rome s traditional freedoms and establishing a permanent dictatorship on the wreckage of her constitution.In Rubicon, Cambridge and Oxford educated historian and novelist Tom Holland gives us a harrowing and exciting account of the fall of the Republic, one that begins in 100 BC, the approximate birthdate of the generation that was to bring about the Republic s ruin He then traces the development of these men into the ruling minds of the Republic, and the occurrence at the Rubicon that marked the end of the expansionism for which they had fought Rubicon captures the suspense and drama of Rome s most famous political rivalries and shows its vibrant and charged atmosphere, all the while featuring some of the most celebrated personalities in history Julius Caesar, Cicero, Spartacus, Cleopatra, Brutus, Pompey, Virgil, and Augustus As America embarks on its own imperial adventures, Rubicon is the chronicle of Rome for which we have all been waiting carefully researched and wildly compelling.

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    1 thought on “Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic”

    1. ”Rather than gesture his men onward, Gaius Julius Caesar instead gazed into the turbid waters of the Rubicon, and said nothing. And his mind moved upon silence.The Romans had a word for such a moment Discrimen, they called it--an instant of perilous and excruciating tension, when the achievements of an entire lifetime might hang in the balance. The career of Caesar, like that of any Roman who aspired to greatness, had been a succession of such crisis points. Time and again he had hazarded his [...]

    2. The Good: Holland has an impressive understanding of Ancient Rome and the institutions of the Republic. What's more, this understanding was apparently acquired under the influence of a passionate enthusiasm for all things related to the Mistress of the Mediterranean; and this, combined with his novelist's skills and grasp of language, allows him to whip through the centuries without ever getting hung-up upon minutiae or buried beneath the weight of the various personalities who boldly and energe [...]

    3. Armed with the HBO series derived knowledge of ancient Rome, I always used to think myself an expert on the era. With a flippant, relaxed and easy telling of the story Holland has just made me even more comfortable in my entertainment-based version of the history of Rome. It is such a simple story, is it not? The whole city has the same sort of people and the direction of the Republic was like one unwavering arrow and everyone stays true to their characters. Narrative history is squarely in vogu [...]

    4. I know this books wasn't really meant to be read by someone with a classics background, but would it have killed Holland to write a popularized history with a bit more recent historical research in it? I will commend him - and nearly give him a 3 for - presenting the republican romans as the superstitious and religiously conscious lot they were, but that is pretty much (ok, and the raunchy details they would have left out) where this book diverges from something that could have been written in t [...]

    5. It is rare that you come across a history book which is suitable for both readers who know a fair amount about the subject and also for those who know virtually nothing, but this is one of those very unusual books. To be fair, most people know something about the Roman Empire, but this book fleshes out historical characters that may be just ‘names’ and puts them in context. The book begins with Julius Caesar about to take the supreme gamble of ‘Crossing the Rubicon,’ and then backtracks [...]

    6. Rubicon - Triumph Tragedy Roman Republic - Tom HollandRead by Steven Crossley | 13 cds | 15.7 hrs | unabridged | Clipper Audio | 2005 42 mp3 0101 _ Clipper Audio _ Rubicon, Last Years of the Roman Republic _ Tom Holland0102 _ Preface _ 49 BC _ Narrated by Steven Crossley0103 _ Preface _ The Die is Cast0108 _ Ch 01 _ The Paradoxical Republic _ Ancestral Voices0115 _ Ch 01 _ The Paradoxical Republic _ The Capital of the World0201 _ Ch 01 _ The Paradoxical Republic _ Blood in the Labyrinth0207 _ Ch [...]

    7. Breezy and brisk, Tom Holland tells the story of the early Roman Republic and the counterintuitive yet inevitable transition to a monarchy in a style that is very easy to read. The Roman Republic was founded upon an abhorrence of kings, making the presumption that Rome was destined to be ruled by emperors somewhat hard to swallow. Holland, however, makes the case for Roman personal ambition and competetiveness as major motivators for kingship, and also highlights a variety of additional interest [...]

    8. In the few days since I finished this book the initial vague feelings of disatisfaction have coalesced into a malignant lump of unfufilled ambition for the book. The opening chapter promises so much that the rest of book falls resoundingly flat.In 49 BC, Ceasar crossed the rubicon with his army and thereby ended a proto democracy with dictatorial rule by deified monarchs as the prevalent form of government for the next millenia and more. Which is an essentially fascinating question why would suc [...]

    9. Roman history is well documented and this book does a great job of retelling their superb history. Marius the retired Military hero is appointed commander to fight Rome’s enemy Mithridates. This angered his former deputy Sulla who had campaigned for that job. Sulla then challenged Marius for the job which caused a civil war in Rome. Unfortunately Marius died before he could campaign. Without his leadership Sulla’s forces defeated the remainder of Marius’s soldiers. Then he marched on Rome [...]

    10. I am of two minds about this book. There is no denying that as an overview of the final years of the Roman Republic, running from roughly the time of the Social War to the establishment of the principate, it's a fine achievement. Holland takes events which have been recounted many times over the last two thousand years or so, and makes them fresh and interesting, even to someone like myself who has read of them more times than I care to think about. There is a great sense of narrative verve and [...]

    11. Contar por enésima vez la historia de la República, desde su formación hasta la irrupción de Augusto, puede parecer algo manido. Aníbal y Cartago, Mitrídates, Mario y Sila, la revuelta de Espartaco, Catilina, el primer triunvirato los hechos son más o menos conocidos. La gracia del enfoque de Holland está en cómo alumbra su relato bajo el espíritu del buen romano. Cómo el mantenimiento de la libertad y la búsqueda de las glorias personal y de la República pudieron estar detrás de t [...]

    12. For the generation that had lived through the civil wars, this was the consolation history gave them. Out of calamity could come greatness. Out of dispossession could come the renewal of a civilised order.(from July of 2005) I finished the above by Tom Holland today at lunch. A (near)Footean examination of the short-lived Roman Republic -- the text has flourishes of prose but it is the titanic visiage of the people themselves which carry the text.It also appears that in the aftermath of the Repu [...]

    13. Πολύ καλή περιγραφή και ανάλυση της πιο σημαντικής περιόδου της ρωμαϊκής ιστορίας. Ειδικά για έναν μη σχετικό με το θέμα, ανοίγει το ενδιαφέρον και κυρίως με ορθή ερμηνευτική προσέγγιση και σκιαγραφηση προσώπων.

    14. I am a big fan of Roman history & have really enjoyed television shows such as HBO's Rome & STARZ's Spartacus and historical fiction by Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggudlen. For years I've had a collection of Roman history books such as Livy, Plutarch, Suetonius, Polybius, etc. I've had a difficult time really getting into the works by older historians because I find their prose & narratives long winded & difficult to read.Rubicon being the first contemporary scholar's work I read on [...]

    15. With “Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic,” Tom Holland has taken the ancient sources and fashioned an absorbing narrative of the waning years of Republican Rome. Holland transformed his source material, which often seems dry and obtuse to modern readers, into an exceedingly readable tale -- even though he is guilty of occasionally lapsing into glibness. Holland earned a strong Four Stars from me as well as an interest in reading his other works.

    16. Because I’ve been bogged down with reading Ulysses for the last month, I decided that I would read something engaging and entertaining alongside it. And so Rubicon proved to be. Tom Holland’s narration of the fall of the republic is a deft bit of popular nonfiction: educational but not pedantic, eloquent but not pompous. Holland manages to condense an enormous amount of history into a novel-sized book. He paints thumbnail sketches of the principle actors (Cicero, Caesar, Pompey), and also gi [...]

    17. This historical period is so fascinating that writing a History that reads like a novel doesn't sound like a big deal. But where many provide dry accounts, Holland excels with his sterling prose. Even if you already know the story, this book will give you new insights and a fast paced account of the Roman Republic that is always fun to read. The narrative is structured in a zoom in/out fashion. The author quickly covers in the first part of the book from the beginnings of the republic until the [...]

    18. I’ve grown accustomed to Tom Holland. He’s a writer with a fairly limited bag of tricks and a somewhat cynical attitude towards the subjects of his writing, or perhaps towards humanity as a whole. After reading four of his books, I find I can predict his judgements on this or that historical event or personage with considerable accuracy. One simply assumes the worst, and Tom provides it. He also has a few stock forms of sentence construction ('Just as A, so B’ appears in numerous variation [...]

    19. Rubicon reads with all the taught pacing of a political and military thriller - more spectacular for the fact that it's true. Author Tom Holland manages to walk the very fine line between the objective scholarship and reporting that is classical history and the analysis, invention and narrative finesse of a master storyteller. Any book recounting events from antiquity suffers from a dearth of primary sources (especially when compared to the record keeping of the modern age) and while we may know [...]

    20. This compulsively readable book put it all together in one seamless narrative, and replaced my slides with a breathtaking movie that has it all: epic battles, dynastic soap opera, noble patriotism, eyecatching eccentricity, treacherously shifting alliances, scheming and backstabbing and dazzling hypocrisy, with the survival of a great democracy always at stake and always at risk.The cast of characters over here is the stuff of legends: Pompey the Great, the temporizing orator/politician Cicero, [...]

    21. Tom Holland's historical narrative is an account on the final years of the Roman Republic--a time often called the Roman Revolution--as feuds, civil wars, and the consequences of empire engulf the ancient republican state of Rome. Caesar, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Cato, Brutus, Cicero, Augustus, Antony, Cleopatra--the names most well-known to the casual reader of Roman history--enter the stage with grand flourishes, give passioned performances, and become unwilling participants in very dramatic exi [...]

    22. I recently finished reading Rubicon by Tom Holland, which tells the historical tale of the Roman Republic from it's inception until its ultimate demolition at the hands of Augustus, when the Republic was formally and forever transmuted into the Roman Empire. A rich and highly engrossing read, it primarily focuses on the Republic after the rise of the great generals who, through foreign conquest, and the unprecedented wealth and prestige it bestowed upon them, became such formidable power brokers [...]

    23. I first wanted to read this book after listening to the Hardcore History podcast series on the fall of the Roman republic. The host, Dan Carlin, recommended Rubicon for a more in-depth treatment of the subject matter, even though the podcast came in at around six hours.Carlin was right, Rubicon treated the topic exhaustively, but the narrative flow was superb. At times it was like reading a political soap opera. The characters were amazingly well-rounded. No one came off as a total villain or sa [...]

    24. Rubicon is breezy, colloquial, and fun to read, so it can't possibly be authentic history. This is character-driven narrative history, like the TV histories but better sourced. There are pitfalls to this kind of history telling: timelines get squashed and contemporaneous events play out sequentially, but framing history around the most spectacular characters keeps it interesting, even if it feels at times like eating Lucky Charms from the box.

    25. For starters, the absurd amount of time it took me to read Rubicon is in no way indicative of the quality of the read. More than anything it's indicative of how life just sometimes gets in the way - I started a new job, tried to soak up all the last outdoor hours possible before the worst season hits New England, still do some freelance proofreading, still practice with the roller derby team, have been sucked in by football season (and fantasy football season) and still try to maintain some frac [...]

    26. Rubicon: the Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland is a narrative/popular history textbook that chronicles the rise and fall of the Roman Republic from its early beginnings as a loose federation of neighbouring tribes to the overthrow of the Republic by the first Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Rubicon is a riveting account of Rome and how the once noble (for the time) ideals of the Republic succumbed to atrophy and intense political and social machinations. It is fascinating and we [...]

    27. The death of the Roman Republic and the civil war that turned Rome into a world wide empire under the control of one man was a signature event in the history of the west that echoes even today in our ears. The founders of the U.S. used Rome as both a model and a warning when founding our own republic. The republic of Rome had separation of powers between the consuls two of whom were at the head, the Senate and Tribune of the plebs. This balance degenerated as the republic conquered the Mediterra [...]

    28. Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic is a well-written fact-filled narrative interpretation of the end of the Roman Republic. Interpretation? Of course - all history books are the author's interpretation. Holland has his biases, but it does not distract from the power of the book. With the exception of a slow bit in the middle, this is an entertaining read and worthy to sit on the shelf next to other histories of Rome.I wholeheartedly recommend this one for enthusiasts (his spin on thin [...]

    29. Tom Holland makes a great, well-written and riveting account of the Roman Late Republic in this book and I loved his descriptions of daily life or Roman society, but he's often a bit simplist on the political level (I could say that, for instance, the reasons for the fall of Carthage and Corinth or the issue of the army's loyalty could be better explained) even if the basics of Rome's political workings are relatively well explained. I also didn't like the way how he summarily describes some poi [...]

    30. I'm surprised by the great reviews this book receives on GoodReads and on . I found the writing to be extremely choppy and full of unsupported generalizations about what Romans desired, detested, dreamed about, etc. This is not good history- no matter how many primary documents the author reviewed, there is simply no way for a modern author to get into the heads of the ancients. This is a world in which Greek towns welcomed home their sailors with phallic processions, in which women paraded thro [...]

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