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Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin Classics) by [Plutarch]
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Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin Classics) Revised ed. , Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product description

Synopsis

Brings together biographical sketches of six men who lived during the period of foreign and civil war that marked the collapse of the Roman Republic.

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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1112 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140449345
  • Publisher: Penguin; Revised ed. edition (23 Feb. 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9N5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #249,890 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this version of Plutarch after reading Lustrum and Imperium by Robert Harris. Basically, I just wanted to see how closely Harris kept to the original sources whilst portraying Cicero, Caesar, Crassus and Pompey - and he did a pretty good job.

This was my first venture into Plutarch and I found it interesting and rewarding, although at times the going was slow. Plutarch wrote for patient readers who believed in omens and who could handle long sentences. Like many modern readers, I am often impatient and don't have much time for omens. On the positive side, Plutarch was a marvellous exponent of the art of illustrating a character with an anecdote and trusting the readers to reach their own conclusion. These anecdotes were invariably entertaining and they handsomely made up for the "dull" bits.

My favourite lives were those of Pompey and Cicero. The characterisation of Pompey was so good I could almost feel his presence beside me. The portrayal of Cicero was equally sharp but somehow less charismatic. Cicero came across as having a cruel tongue. He was the master of the cutting remark and the not so subtle put down. Not surprisingly he managed to offend nearly everyone he met and made many enemies. Crassus was something of a disappointment. I didn't feel that Plutarch really got inside the man's head and all he revealed were a few facts, leaving the man as something of an enigma. Julius Caesar was reasonably well done. Plutarch doesn't say much about the Gallic wars, but then Caesar himself wrote those up extensively (if perhaps exaggerating the successes and brushing over the failures). To be blunt, I found Marius and Sulla boring; they were both unpleasant men of violence and ambition and Plutarch doesn't expand much on that.
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By Roman Clodia TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Writing in the first century AD, Plutarch blurs the boundaries between classical history writing and biography. In these lives of six great Romans from the age of the republic (Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero) he re-creates them as real men, warts, quirks and all.

These lives have been the source for many of the later receptions of Rome and prominent Romans and thus have become the `truth' rather than versions of reality, but are still fascinating reading.

Plutarch originally paired up Roman and Greek (so Alexander ,for example, with Julius Caesar) so the Penguin editions do us a slight disservice in separating these lives into separate volumes, but the translation is readable and fresh.
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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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Plutarch's 6 biographies of Roman politicians/generals give a fair picture of a decadent Rome in the 1st century B.C.: mighty unequal distribution of wealth and `legal safeguards inadequate to deter the forces of law and order from murder.' `Since the whole state was rotten within itself, it was in the power of any bold man to overthrow it.' Bold were men like the generals, `who had risen to the top by violence.'

Plutarch's portraits of `Gaius Marius' and `Crassus' are very superficial.

On the contrary, his picture of `Sulla', the first Roman dictator, is very clear-cut: `Sulla, a butcher. (He got) immunity for all his past acts, while for the future he was to have the power of life and death, the power to confiscate property, to found new cities or to demolish existing ones.'

A brave `Cicero' attacked Sulla's murky business transactions in court.

`Pompey' restored the powers of the tribunes, the representatives of the plebeians, and the rights of the classes outside the Senate to serve on juries in law courts. He worked together with `Caesar' to destroy the powers of the aristocracy. After they grabbed power, they fought one another: `armies of the same kin, ranks of brothers, here the whole manhood and might of a single state was involved in self-destruction.'

Why did they fight? Out of greed and personal rivalry.

Caesar won and asked to be given all powers. The Romans opted for the Hobbes/Machiavelli solution: `the rule of one man would give them respite from the miseries of the civil wars, and so they appointed Caesar dictator for life. This meant an undistinguished tyranny; his power was now not only absolute, but perpetual `... until the Ides of March.
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