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Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman…

Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Tom Holland

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2,345502,682 (4.02)1 / 111
Title:Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic
Authors:Tom Holland
Info:Anchor (2005), Paperback, 464 pages

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

Recently added byprivate library, jkrzok, fphilipp, DGSBiblio, paintfox, petercalluy, gareth.russell, Olias
  1. 40
    Imperium by 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 by 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.… (more)
  3. 10
    Persian Fire : The First World Empire and the Battle for the West by Tom Holland (santhony)
    santhony: The same narrative approach to history.
  4. 10
    The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire by Christopher S. Mackay (longway)
  5. 00
    The Roman Revolution by 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 by Peter Heather (kkunker)

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Tom Holland tells the story of the fall of the Roman Republic. Starting with Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon he moves back to cover the events leading up to that point, starting with the brothers Gracchi and then takes the story on to the reign of Augustus.

I didn't think this really added much to the numerous re-tellings of this story in fact and fiction. He could have done with an editor -- some sentences were so convoluted and distorted from normal grammar I had to read them twice to be sure what he was trying to say. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 17, 2017 |
Tom Holland is money. Dan Carlin had talked him up quite a bit on Hardcore History, but it has taken me a while to finally read the book. He has a breezy but fact and information filed style that I find very engaging.

He does an excellent job breaking down the self destruction of the Roman Republic, starting w Marius through the death of Caesar. He speaks to Augustus also. I don't think he is pulling any punches in this book, and does a good job of addressing the personal characteristics of the major players. I also like the contrasts b/t Rome and the eastern empires. Basically he states the Romans were tainted by the human god worship culture of the east. ( )
  delta351 | Dec 23, 2016 |
Tied up for me all the loose hearings of people like Tarquin, Hannibal, Sulla, Cicero, Crassus, Pompey and Octavian. A good story. Of real life. 2500 to 2000 years ago. ( )
  br77rino | Oct 7, 2016 |
A thoroughly absorbing account of the fall of the Roman Republic. A counterpoint to Tom Williams' Augustus. If all historians wrote history like this, they'd be backordered at Amazon. ( )
  mkgutierrez | Oct 23, 2015 |
In a book titled "Rubicon", I would expect actually more than two chapters about the Roman civil war. While I hugely enjoyed Holland's condense sketch of Greek and Persian history in Persian Fire, I found his attempt in presenting the story of the Roman Republic less stellar. His focus is on Sulla and Cato whom he presents as staunch conservative heroes in contrast to Cicero the weather vane and Pompey the vain. His Caesar is quite dull too.

What I lament most, however, is the absence of the stories of the early heroes of the Roman Republic such as Publius Decius Mus whose crazy willingness to sacrifice himself was part of why the other peoples could not resist the Roman impetus. Like the French levée en masse, the Roman Republic was willing to fling countless bodies at its enemies. The Romans were willing to absorb the casualties their enemies could or would not (see Pyrrhic victory). Endurance and frugality (the Roman soldiers ate mostly vegetarian food) in the name of the Republic made the difference (intrinsic instead of extrinsic motivation). The professionalization by Marius and then Sulla prepared the creation of the Roman empire where a commander and no longer the people decided the issue. Insofar, the Republic was already on life support when Caesar entered the stage. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holland, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lindgren, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGillivray, KimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the beginning, before the Republic, Rome was ruled by kings. - Chapter 1
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034911563X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This narrative history paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. Tom Holland brings to life the strange and unsettling civilization, which still holds up a mirror to our own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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