Monday, February 5, 2007

Rubicon (Book #13)

It took me nearly a week to finish Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (Tom Holland, 2003). Frankly, it was a bit of a slog, and if I hadn't been so impressed by Holland's Persian Fire, a chronicle of the Greco-Persian Wars, I might not have made it through Rubicon. But I'm glad I stuck with it. I know a fair amount about Rome in the first century AD, mostly from learning it as the context for the rise of Christianity and from Lindsey Davis's Falco mysteries (there's you a contrast!). Yet I'm almost ignorant of what happened in the hundred years before that, beyond a vague awareness of Caesar and Marc Antony as personalities. Now I've got some context for that, even if the factions and what drove them are still a big blur in my head.

What struck me the most was that the Romans didn't set out to destroy their Republic--it just collapsed under the weight of their ambition and partisan infighting. I'm sure there's a cautionary tale there somewhere...

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