The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same. Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.
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Tom Holland has won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History 2004; Persian Fire, which won the Anglo-Hellenic League's Runciman Award 2006; and the highly acclaimed Millennium. He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio and his most recent book is In the Shadow of the Sword.Review:
The book that really held me, in fact, obsessed me, was Rubicon ... This is narrative history at its best. Bloody and labyrinthine political intrigue and struggle, brilliant oratory, amazing feats of conquest and cruelty -- Ian McEwan Guardian A modern, well-paced and finely observed history which entertains as it informs Observer I owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Holland not just for reminding me of great figures who bestrode the Roman world - Pompey and Crassus, Cato, Cicero and Caesar - but for explaining what it was that made Rome the greatest superpower the world has known, why it lasted so long and what caused its eventual fall Daily Mail
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