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Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives (no.L84) [Unknown Binding]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (1958)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OHQB5G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
The biography of Marius is one of the least satisfactory of Plutarch's Roman lives from the historian's point of view. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crash course of democracy 20 Feb 2005
This is the collection of biographies of Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar and Cicero. Plutarch tells us how these powerful men used Roman democracy for pushing their personal agendas. The pattern kept repeating: our hero finds allies and strikes alliances, gains power, gets provinces and armies voted for himself and for his friends, eventually ambitions clash and the dictator emerges through armed conflict. Many lessons on nature of man can be learned from this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
If one merely wants to read an awfully good biography of some of the makers of history during the last generation of the Roman Republic, one cannot go wrong with Rex Warner's translation of Plutarch's Lives of Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Crassus, Caesar and Cicero. Each "Life" is full to the brim of goodies (Even the skimpy life of Marius has its magnificent moments, such as the Cimbri women strangling their children and stabbing themselves rather than surrender to the Romans; or Marius with his Bardyae goons, who laugh when he laughs and kill when he doesn't laugh [Godfather material!], and my favorite bit in the life of Marius is when he is tryihg to make a deal with the angry Senate at the front door of his house and his tribune Saturninus at the back door--running back and forth between the two, excusing himself each time, pretending that he has diarrhea. ["Terribly sorry, the sardines I ate at lunch must have been off!"; the subtext, not Warner].

This book is full of wonderful anecdotes that render the story of ancient Rome so entertaining.

As with the Penguin edition of "The Age of Alexander," however, the editors have skimped and not provided an index (which I notice Oxford has done) and therefore have made the book a pain to use in undergraduate classes. Again, the cover has been tarted up, but no effort has been made to facilitate students in looking up the multifarious characters in each of the lives.

Well, I'm cross with Penguin, but not with Rex Warner's splendidly readable translation!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plutarchs most dedicated biography 5 July 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having purchased several of Plutarch's work as companions to study courses, I must say that this is the most thorough and accurate of his compiled works. There is always a certain degree of anecdote and humour to his work but these biographies of the six men responsible for the fall of the Roman Republic seems to be a more serious affair. A must for anyone interested in Rome and the rise of Caesar.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plutarch 5 Stars Penguin 1 Star 7 July 2007
I got this book because my original copy of Plutarch's Lives, a 19th century edition of John and William Langhorne's excellent translation, is falling apart through continued use over the years.

Of course the ideas, anecdotes, and examples that Plutarch used continue to be fascinating, but the whole tone of Rex Warner's translation is low grade. I get the feeling that it's all been dumbed down in the forlorn hope of weaning glue-sniffers from council estates onto classical literature.

Compare this example from the "Life of Caesar," following the battle before the camps at Dyrrachium when Pompey failed to press his advantage.

Warner has Caeser flatly saying:
"Today the enemy would have won, if they had a commander who was a winner"

while the Langhornes put the same thing with much more poetry and gravitas:
"This day victory would have declared for the enemy, if they had had a general who knew how to conquer"

Rather than paying Warner for his flat, dull, safely literal, and dumbed down transaltion, Penguin should simply have used the 18th century Langhorne version which they could have used for free, and then cut the price to the consumer.
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