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Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the…
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Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Tom Holland

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,596573,473 (4)1 / 120
Member:stevepugh
Title:Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Authors:Tom Holland
Info:Abacus (2004), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:history, rome, non-fiction

Work details

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

Recently added byprivate library, liz.mabry, ManuelGL, kopkoffie, cweller, lewbs, Themis-Athena, dzmeyer, Jorma_Paula
  1. 50
    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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English (50)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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 Republic it was Augustus who served as the origins of Conservatism, welding self-interest with tradtional ideals onto the unwashed. Sighs float up to the heavens as Order is found and Property is protected. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |


I found it really useful to keep a list of all the characters because they all have similar names and it can get confusing otherwise. ( )
  Catsysta | Aug 5, 2018 |
A history of the end of the Roman republic, from Caesar to Octavian/Caesar Augustus. It feels like the author's writing process was to take one sentence from a Wikipedia article, dress it up with a few adverbs, and then add around it three sentences of flowery but unsupported BS. Then repeat. It makes neither for good history, nor for good drama. For both, I'd recommend instead Harris's fictional "Imperium" series, written from Cicero's perspective. ( )
  breic | Jun 16, 2018 |
A great book that tells the story of the end of the Republic in Rome. In many ways this book reads as a novel, and it covers all of the major players. Ancient history is one of my weaker areas, and this book filled in many gaps for me in a way that was exciting to read. I imagine that there is probably not a lot new here for someone really into Roman history, but for someone with only a basic knowledge, this is a great place to start. Recommended and I look forward to his "sequel" that deals with the Emperors of Rome. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
Pacy, confident narrative history focusing on the political struggles within the Roman Republic which ultimately led to the establishment of the Empire. Tom Holland has a very engaging style, which I think has sometimes drawn criticism from reviewers for not being academic enough, but is refreshing for those of us who aren't experts in the period. Combining history reportage on an epic scale, ranging from Transalpine Gaul to Egypt, and speculation on the personalities and vices of the great men who were struggling to secure power, this is enjoyable and clear. Yet, for someone whose crossing of the Rubicon gives the book its title, Caesar in fact comes out of the book looking rather like the last victim of the power struggles, rather than the first of the Emperors - that place is undoubtedly taken by Augustus. A good introduction. ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Dec 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (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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For Eliza. Welcome to the world.
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In the beginning, before the Republic, Rome was ruled by kings. - Chapter 1
January 10th, the seven-hundred-and-fifth year since the foundation of Rome, the forty-ninth before the birth of Christ. - Prologue
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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)

Recounts the fall of the Roman Republic, tracing the events that marked the final century B.C. and discussing such topics as the rise of Alexandria and the contributions of such figures as Caesar, Cleopatra, Brutus, and Augustus. In 49 B.C., the seven hundred fifth year since the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar crossed a small border river called the Rubicon and plunged Rome into cataclysmic civil war. Tom Holland's enthralling account tells the story of Caesar's generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life. Combining verve and freshness with scrupulous scholarship, Rubicon is not only an engrossing history of this pivotal era but a uniquely resonant portrait of a great civilization in all its extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, decadence and catastrophe, intrigue, war, and world-shaking ambition.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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