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Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Plutarch , Robin Seager , Rex Warner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Feb 2006 Penguin Classics
Dramatic artist, natural scientist and philosopher, Plutarch is widely regarded as the most significant historian of his era, writing sharp and succinct accounts of the greatest politicians and statesman of the classical period. Taken from the Lives, a series of biographies spanning the Graeco-Roman age, this collection illuminates the twilight of the old Roman Republic from 157-43 bc. Whether describing the would-be dictators Marius and Sulla, the battle between Crassus and Spartacus, the death of political idealist Crato, Julius Caesar's harrowing triumph in Gaul or the eloquent oratory of Cicero, all offer a fascinating insight into an empire wracked by political divisions. Deeply influential on Shakespeare and many other later writers, they continue to fascinate today with their exploration of corruption, decadence and the struggle for ultimate power.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (23 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449341
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Plutarch (c.50-c.120 AD) was a writer and thinker born into a wealthy, established family of Chaeronea in central Greece. His voluminous surviving writings are broadly divided into the 'moral' works and the Parallel Lives of outstanding Greek and Roman leaders. The former (Moralia) are a mixture of rhetorical and antiquarian pieces, together with technical and moral philosophy (sometimes in dialogue form). The Lives have been influential from the Renaissance onwards.

Robin Seager is a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Liverpool and the author of a biography of Pompey.

Rex Warner (translator) translated widely from Latin and Greek including, for Penguin, Xenophon, Thucydides and Plutarch.

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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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5.0 out of 5 stars My Classics literature 14 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another item for my library of classics literature to support my post graduate studies. The content is unique to the author and an essential for classics students
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