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I've seen a lot of love for Rubicon recently on various LJs of those who watch HBO's Rome. It's a good book, but I wanted to recommend Ronald Syme's The Roman Revolution for anyone who might be interested in a classic and brilliant look at the fall of the Roman Republic.

This is a great, great work of history. It is a must for anyone who is vaguely sympathetic to Marc Antony as it attempts the almost impossible task of writing a history of the rise of Augustus from the perspective of the losing (Antonine) side. But most of all it is superbly written. Here's a sample of Syme's style:

"In all ages, whatever the form and name of government, be it monarchy, republic, or democracy, an oligarchy lurks behind the facade; and Roman history, Republican or Imperial, is the history of the governing class."

And on Tiberius' accession to power after the death of Augustus:

"From first to last the dynasty of the Julii and the Claudii ran true to form, despotic and murderous."

Read more... )

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lesbiassparrow

August 2011

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