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Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (2003)

par Tom Holland

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneDiscussions / Mentions
2,969633,366 (4.02)1 / 122
The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same. Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.… (plus d'informations)
  1. 50
    Imperium par Robert Harris (YossarianXeno)
    YossarianXeno: Rubicon and Imperium are both exceptionally well-written and researched accounts, one non-fiction and the other fiction, of the politics of Rome covering much of the same period.
  2. 20
    The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy par Adrienne Mayor (statmonkey)
    statmonkey: Rubicon gives the other side of the story, telling how the Republic that Mithradates fought came to be. The Poison King details how Romes biggest rival came to be a threat and what was really going on in Pontus before and after Sulla. The books complement each other very well.… (plus d'informations)
  3. 10
    Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West par Tom Holland (santhony)
    santhony: The same narrative approach to history.
  4. 10
    The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire par Christopher S. Mackay (longway)
  5. 00
    La révolution romaine par Ronald Syme (Thruston)
    Thruston: Syme's dense Tacitean style is a world away from Holland's light narrative sweep, but he conveys the same sense of excitement and tension, albeit with the confines of a much more scholarly approach.
  6. 00
    The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians par Peter Heather (kkunker)
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» Voir aussi les 122 mentions

Affichage de 1-5 de 62 (suivant | tout afficher)
This is my first Tom Holland book, inspired by my visit to Rome in October-November 2011. I was looking for an accessible book on Roman history in general, on the empire and stuff. From there I could then get into something more specific later. Whether Tom Holland may or may not have twisted the truth a little or invented some things to make the story more interesting, he did write in a style that makes it easy to follow, to understand.

I was surprised, and not, by the political intrigues, how the empire came to fall, how political figures like Sulla, Caesar, Pompey, Cato, Cicero and so on battled for power, how each put his stamp on the Roman history. Since so many characters are involved, it's best to keep your mind to it, even if - I repeat - the writing itself is very smooth.

All in all, I can recommend Rubicon for those interested in the Roman empire, its fall and specifically the political-military side. There's not much on daily life, but I don't think that's what Tom Holland had in mind when he wrote the book. From here you can then go into something more detailed by, for example, Adrian Goldsworthy or Peter Heather. Or perhaps go for some historical fiction by Simon Scarrow or Conn Iggulden, to name just these. Although I'm not familiar with either of their novels. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Rubicon is focused on the events leading to the end of the Republic, which in this age of authoritarian ascendancy is worth a second look. The full cast of famous characters and events are here and retold with verve and imagination. There is a lot to cover but Holland manages to find a good balance. Roman culture placed a premium on competition and reputation to such an extent public good was neglected by leaders who spent their times and energies literally back stabbing one another. That's the impression anyway. And so it was civilian rule broke apart replaced by a military dictatorship.

I was happy to see Holland did not shy from the slavery question, how widespread it was and how the civilization could not have existed without this cruel and pitiless institution - something to remember when admiring Roman innovation, like finding pleasure in the beauty of American South work camps (so-called plantations) whose beauty was a mask covering it's ugly purpose, the subjugation of peoples they barely considered human for the purpose of material gain. It was in this environment Christianity took root. But that's for another book. ( )
2 voter Stbalbach | Nov 29, 2020 |
Having just completed "Why Liberalism Failed " by Patrick Deneen, I thought it might be profitable to recur back to the the ancients for an example of pre-liberal politics as a source of wisdom that might suggest alternative manners and mores that might serve as a guide to a post-liberal politics. So I turned to Tom Holland's "Rubicon - The Last Years of the Roman Republic" and can confidently report that not only is there "no going back", there's no reason to want to.

More than just a history of the last years of the Roman republic, Rubicon is a more extensive narrative that covers the battles with other cities on the Italian peninsula, the Punic wars, the Roman wars in Spain, Gaul, North Africa, Greece, western Asia and its first forays into Britain. The murders of the Gracchi brothers, the dictatorship of Sulla, the rise and fall of Pompey, the slave revolt led by Spartacus, the first triumvirate of Pompey, Caesar and Crassus, Caesar's conquest of Gaul and their leader Vercingetorix, the assassination of Caesar and the the subsequent civil war that saw the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, the emergence of the new triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus, Octavian's victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium and the eventual granting of a dictatorship for life to Octavian, henceforth to be known as Caesar Augustus are all chronicled ably and entertainingly by Holland. Holland relies principally on the ancient authors particularly Plutarch, Cicero, who is a major player in the drama, Appian and Valerius Maximus.

It could be said that Rubicon serves as an illustration of the history behind the argument of Federalist 10 concerning the objects of government and the problems posed to civil peace by the activities of factions. The biographies of the best of the Romans concerns their ongoing efforts to climb the greasy pole to the top of the city and the political alliances that are formed around family connections, outright bribery, the use of the courts to proscribe political enemies, switching sides for temporary advantage, marriages and divorces of convenience, the employment of mobs, paying off armies not only with the wealth looted from foreign conquests but land looted from domestic enemies. In all it is not a very edifying spectacle.

There is also abundant evidence that shows that the sins of liberalism described by Deneen in his book are better understood of as endemic to human beings, By way of example, consider this paragraph on Roman mining operations in Spain.

"The mines that Rome had annexed from Carthage more than a century previously had been handed over to the publicani, who hd proceeded to exploit them with their customary gusto, A single network of tunnels might spread for more than a hundred square miles, and might provide more than forty thousand slaves with a living death. Over the pockmarked landscape there would invariably hang a pall of smog, belched out through the smelting furnaces through giant chimneys, and so heavy with chemicals that it burned the naked skin and turned it white. Birds would die if they flew through fumes. As Roman power spread the gas clouds were never far behind."

The above relies on a book published in 1994 by a J. Hughes titled "Pan's Travail: Environmental Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans". No liberal democracy, no capitalism, no Industrial Revolution required. ( )
1 voter citizencane | Oct 5, 2020 |
As the title indicates, this work covers the monumental events and enormous personalities which comprise the alleged fall of the Roman Republic.

The author has the ability to discern interesting societsl trends throughout the period. Unfortunately, his passive writing style can sometimes be a bit obtuse, which detracts from the overall work. In that regard, he could have learned from Caesar - narrative conveyed in an active and concise fashion is the most compelling. ( )
  la2bkk | May 21, 2020 |
fast paced and entertaining account of the last days of the Roman Republic. surprising number of parallels to modern American society especially in the current election cycle. ( )
1 voter aabtzu | May 18, 2020 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 62 (suivant | tout afficher)
As with most academics reviewing a "popular" book, I approached Rubicon with a certain amount of trepidation. The rather hammy sub-title seemed to suggest the worst. However what is inside the covers is a different matter altogether. This is a well-researched, well-written overview of the Roman republic. It should serve as a model of exactly how a popular history of the classical world should be written.
 

» Ajouter d'autres auteur(e)s (17 possibles)

Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Holland, Tomauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionsconfirmé
Lindgren, StefanTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
McGillivray, KimConcepteur de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same. Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.

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