The storm before the storm The beginning of the end of the Roman Republic

Michael Duncan

Book - 2017

The creator of the award-winning podcast series The History of Rome and Revolutions brings to life the bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama that set the stage for the fall of the Roman Republic. The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome&#...039;s model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world. In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic. Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forbearers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

937.05/Duncan
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 937.05/Duncan Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York, NY : PublicAffairs 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxi, 327 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781610397216
1610397215
Main Author
Michael Duncan (author)
  • Prologue: the triumph of the Roman Republic
  • The beasts of Italy
  • The stepchildren of Rome
  • Daggers in the forum
  • A city for sale
  • The spoils of victory
  • The golden earring
  • Marius's mules
  • The third founder of Rome
  • Italia
  • The ruins of Carthage
  • The spiked boots
  • Civil War
  • Dictator for life.
Review by Choice Reviews

Indisputably, Duncan's focus is on an important period of Roman history: the years immediately following the end of the Third Punic War through the conclusion of the Sullan dictatorship (roughly 146–80 BCE). The narrative is chronological and written in an engagingly colloquial manner. For general readers and lower-level undergraduates with an interest in, but no familiarity with, the period, this book will be an adequate introduction to the pertinent personalities and issues. Upper-level undergraduates, however, should look elsewhere. The endnotes indicate an almost exclusive reliance on the primary sources, but the lack of substantive discussions of each ancient author's biases or reliability produces a free-flowing narrative with nagging questions of its veracity. Typical of a book in the popular history genre, the story is touted as both a pertinent and cautionary tale of empire. Because the "final" storm that instituted the Augustan Principate did not end Rome's empire (which continued for almost four more centuries), the lessons to be learned are unclear. Moreover, poor proofreading hampers the readability of the text (the numerous contiguous occurrences of the letters h and n are replaced by Ú; e.g., see pp. xxi, 26, 43, 50, among about a dozen others). Summing Up: Optional. Public, general, and lower-level undergraduate collections only.--R. T. Ingoglia, Saint Thomas Aquinas CollegeRobert T. IngogliaSaint Thomas Aquinas College Robert T. Ingoglia Choice Reviews 55:08 April 2018 Copyright 2018 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Plenty of people, notes Duncan (creator of the History of Rome podcast), are familiar with the facts of the end of the Roman Republic, including Julius Caeser's dictatorship and the rise of the emperor Augustus. But far fewer could tell you about the Gaius Marius's consulships, Sulla's march on Rome, or other events that weakened the Republic. Roughly covering the 130s to the 80s BCE, Duncan makes an excellent effort at familiarizing readers with those events. He lays out a narrative of how external conflicts, internal uprisings, political corruption, and even well-intentioned movements toward reform eroded the established rules and unwritten social codes that kept the straining Republican government together. While Duncan refrains from making explicit comparisons to modern events, threaded throughout the book is the reminder that the issues that provoked Roman unrest—economic and social inequality, questions of citizenship and legal rights, and the employment of intimidation and violence as political tools—parallel issues the United States is currently grappling with. VERDICT Award-winning podcaster Duncan proves to be just as effective at working in a written medium, presenting historical personalities and complex situations with clarity and verve.—Kathleen McCallister, Tulane Univ., New Orleans Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Recreating the turbulent years from 133-80 BCE, the author tells the story of the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic—a tale of the first generation that had to cope with the dangerous new political environment made possible by Rome’s unrivaled domination over the known world—drawing many parallels to present-day America. 30,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The creator of the award-winning podcast series The History of Rome and Revolutions brings to life the bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama that set the stage for the fall of the Roman Republic. The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world. In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic. Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forbearers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.