Broadly agree with TLA. Again, the later books are all Julius, but the first three are all about Marius and Sulla, and you can’t start to understand Julius until you understand those two. Julius Caesar was Gaius Marius’s Military ability with Sulla’s Iconoclasm and political nous thrown in.*
I would disagree with the opinion here of Caesar being a bad egg, however. He wasn’t out there proscribing people like various other luminaries before and after did, and he tried to work within the constitution as much as he could. That the system was already broken was not his fault, and the sheer bloodymindedness of those opposing necessary reforms and denying him due credit as a statesman, successful general and man of good family must have been very trying. His clemency was famous and, I think, genuine. Compare Caesar to Augustus and you see a lion and a snake, though the snake seems to get better press.
well…. no, he didn’t proscribe anyone, and showed mercy to anyone willing to do as they were told. But saying he ‘tried to work within the constitution as much as he could’ is a bit like saying ‘The Bull tried to work within the confines of the China-shop’.
‘I am marching my army across the Border to defend the constitution’ is a ploy much-loved by dictators and war-mongers
But Yes, Augustus was worse.
May I add a late vote, if you fancy something much ‘heavier’ and a bit ripe in some ways, for Allan Massie’s novels on the period. They are very odd…. but very good I think. ‘Augustus’ and ‘Caesar’ are excellent reads.
*was it Julius who said ‘Sulla didnt’ know his Political ABC’ ? Hmmmm…. who died in his bed, and who was stabbed to death in Pompey’s Theatre, hmmm??
- This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Sane Max.