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The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome #2)

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  9,078 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
The second book in the epic Masters of Rome series.

Rome. 97 BC. Gaius Marius is one of the greatest generals Rome has ever known. under him, Rome has conquered the Western world, withstood invasion and crushed its enemies. But when the ageing Marius grows weak, the stability of the mighty Republic looks uncertain.

Ambitious, tormented Lucius Cornelius Sulla, once Marius's r
Paperback, 1043 pages
Published August 7th 2003 by Arrow (first published January 1st 1990)
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Emily If you have a pretty good sense of Roman history, it wouldn't be totally vital, but the First Man in Rome gives a really solid characterization of…moreIf you have a pretty good sense of Roman history, it wouldn't be totally vital, but the First Man in Rome gives a really solid characterization of both Marius and Sulla, without which I think I would struggle to care about them much upon starting the Grass Crown. Perhaps not utterly necessary, but in my opinion, reading the first book would improve your experience on the second one.(less)
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Community Reviews

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I used to think this book was greater than The First Man in Rome, but now that I've re-read it again, I have to say that it's not exactly as good as I thought it was. First Man rose in my estimation on a re-read, this was slightly lowered, so now I think they're pretty much even.

The elements that make it great are all here, except for one. I'd forgotten that Publius Rutilius Rufus' letters barely make an appearance and I sorely missed them. Not that he dies, but he's in no position to be informi
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome #2), Colleen McCullough
Mar 05, 2014 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antiquity, owned
Edit 9/12/14: I'm kind of doing a quick run through of this again before tackling Fortune's Favorites to refresh myself on the billion people, places and events and I have to admit I was probably being a bad-moody, picky little bitch when I gave this four stars originally. Shameful! It certainly deserves five stars. When you have a book that veers from vicious, sprawling oratorial battles in the Senate to profound psychological portraits of truly legendary people to scenes like the one in which ...more
Aug 27, 2009 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I can admit it - I'm an ancient Rome junkie, and Colleen McCullough is my dealer. Nobody - not even the venerable Robert Graves, or Marguerite Yourcenar, can write a crackling, entertaining AND factually nails-on story of Ancient Roman politics, history and characters like McCullough. Thanks to her books I can describe the difference between a praetor and a consul, and understand that great Roman leaders didn't just start with Julius Caesar. This book mostly covers the period of the dictator ...more
Jul 01, 2007 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially fans of historical fiction
This is the second book in McCullough's series of books on the fall of the Roman Republic and rise of the empire under the Caesars. In terms of style and substance, it's similar to The First Man in Rome, dealing with the same characters and themes, albeit later in their lives.

Where as Marius was the primary character and Sulla was secondary in the first book of the series, the two trade places here. Marius is older and will soon be sidelined by a younger generation - and a stroke. Moreover, his
Jan 12, 2014 Konstanze rated it it was amazing
I am, quite frankly, in awe of the amount of research and detail that went into this book. This is how historical fiction should be: respecting the uniqueness of cultures far removed from ours, but unflinching in the face of the alienness and brutality that were inherent to these periods - unlike the pretty costume fests that historical fiction is usually. Quite frankly, after studying Greek and Roman history for a semester I vowed I'd never spent a single minute on it again (less due to the sub ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, 800 pages and where did it go? Ms. McCullough does an outstanding job of bringing Republic Rome to life. Excellent character development, fast-moving, hooking plot... and all based on true events and historic reasearch.

This second book in the series covers Lucius Cornelius Sulla's rise to being First Man, and then things go nuts!!! Blood, blood and more blood.

McCullough creates vivid, believable and lovable characters, and avoids getting bogged down in historical detail "showing off", but w
Mar 27, 2017 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mixed bag. Flashes of genius interspersed with long stretches of tedium and density. Rise of Sulla and Fall of Gaius Marius. List of characters woefully incomplete. Line drawings good but maps and diagrams poor. I do not understand reasoning for all the very positive reviews. 2.5/5.
Feb 14, 2011 Christin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a horrible classics student. I barely read the books and I couldn't remember the dates or names of anything other than the obvious characters and events. But I could remember fun details and things that were amusing to me. Killing someone by pouring molten gold down their throat is one of those things.

So when Mithridiates tells a consul (who knows what his name was, SEE? SEE?!) "you'll get your precious gold," I squealed "OH SHIT!" clapped my hands with glee, and giggled for the rest of t
Feb 10, 2011 Brandt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The easiest way to become an expert in the end of the roman republic, and later, the end of Ceasar, is to read this series.
Historical novels always walks a line of historical correctness and entertainment, i thought this series managed to provide both, which is an impressive feat considering the extensive amount of information available for this time-period.

This series follows the most important romans and their families for two generations.
The rise to power of the succesful battlecommander Gaiu
Mar 31, 2015 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series! McCullough is such a good writer...her pacing, characterization, and style are all fantastic. I also enjoy reading about a period of ancient Rome that I am not as familiar with. I did enjoy "The First Man in Rome" slightly more than this one; I think because there was more of a "rise to glory" theme in the first book as opposed to this one's "fall from grace." Still so fantastic though.
Sonia Wilde
Le promesse del primo libro vengono tutte mantenute in questo seguito, la cui prima parte - devo ammetterlo - scorre molto più velocemente della seconda non perché quest'ultima sia meno interessante ma piuttosto per la grande maggioranza di dettagli contenuti in ogni riga: saltarne una significherebbe perdere qualche informazione preziosa e bisogna stare attenti ad ogni riga. Opera notevole per una scrittrice e una sfida decisamente ardua per un lettore la cui passione non viene mai meno anche p ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the second book in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, following The First Man in Rome. It covers the period from 99 -86 B.C. Since I know very little about the history of ancient Rome I learned a great deal from this detailed account which is largely a story of political intrigue, civil war and upheaval. I also found it to be very suspenseful and proved that truth can be stranger than fiction. The central characters are Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Gaius Marius, both of whom were
James Burns
Great book, as historically accurate as for events and characters as a historical novel can be. I was so into this book I could physically experience the events to smelling tasting and the heartbreak that the characters experienced, it was so realistic to me that I was dreading the end of the book. I came to Identify with one of the main characters Gaius Marius, I was wishing that I could skip over the ending because I didn't want here about his last days and his death, which is was familiar wit ...more
Apr 12, 2009 Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this, the second of the Masters of Rome series, we learn more about the remarkable Sulla. His ability to casually murder those who will thereby aid his rise to power, has already been established in the first book. His pursuit of the Grass Crown - recognition by a Legion of the brilliance of its commander - provides the theme for this tale of a ruthless but strangely attractive man. Again it is McCullough's understanding of Rome of this time and the details she provides that add to rather tha ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Absolutely Brilliant.
The scheming, the intrigue, the hatred and the killing, all wrapped up in togas of respectability as though the Senate is some private club. Colleen McCollough continues the story from where she left off in "First Man in Rome" but it isn't necessary to have read that to enjoy this fascinating book. The controlled animosity between Marius and Sulla fills the pages, whilst Rome endures crisis on its own lands.
Often I felt I was there, an eavesdropper, sometimes a participant,
Deborah Pickstone
It took me the first 100+ pages to get into this one, which surprised me after the first but equated to my first try at these novels at the time of publication. After that shaky beginning I was hooked, thoroughly enjoying watching the development of known future characters of this historical epic. You really couldn't make it up (though, of course, McCullough did exactly that; it is fiction!) I haven't yet received the next installment to my chagrin.
Ivana Azap Feješ
May 04, 2014 Ivana Azap Feješ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Whoa!!! OK, I have always wanted to read this book until the end - I have tried earlier but I guess I was not brave enough. But now... Fantastic point of view for the time in history where Great Man delivered chess games of high class, where "dignitas" and "auctoritas" were the thing that truly great personalities were thriving for... I am amazed and can not wait to read the Fortune's Favorites.
Great recommendations ;)
Rebecca Huston
The follow up to The First Man in Rome, and the rivalry begins between Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla. And in the city of Rome, a little boy is starting to grow up. Wonderful read, but you should read TFMiR first, to get the basics down. One of my favourite novels, and a desert island keeper.

For the complete review, please go here:
The second in the series about the life and death of the Roman Republic. I have undertaken to read the complete series but wonder if I have the commitment to do this; I am unconvinced by the author's style and the detail she includes. I am considering substituting a non-fiction account of the events covered in the rest of the Masters of Rome series and devoting the time saved to more contemporary fiction.
Fernando Delfim
Jul 10, 2016 Fernando Delfim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este foi o segundo volume de uma série de sete! Melhorou em relação ao primeiro volume. Nesta obra somos transportados para Roma antiga; estamos lá, vivemos lá, respiramos aquele ar... Muito bom!

“- O problema dessas mulheres é que têm muito pouco que fazer […] têm amas para os filhos, festinhas com as amigas em que o que conta são os mexericos, teares em que não têm qualquer intenção de mexer, e cabeças demasiado vazias para encontrarem consolação num livro”

“[…] o rei Nicomedes era tão efeminado
4.5 stars.

The Grass Crown is the second book in the Masters of Rome series and is honesty even better than the first one. Its main characters are again Gaius Maius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite series. McCullough's knowledge of the historical period is just mesmerizing. The setting, the traditions, the characters - everything truly comes to life in her novels. It is obvious she did extensive research and perfectly knows what she's writing about, but th
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Historical Fiction
This is the second book in the Masters of Rome series begun in The First Man in Rome. That first man was unmistakenly Gaius Marius, a flawed but still admirable figure who married Julia, an aunt of Julius Caesar, making him a brother-in-law to Lucius Cornelius Sulla. A secondary character in the first book, he's on the rise in this one, as Marius is in decline.

It makes for a sad book, seeing that decline of a character I grew fond of in the first book. Sulla, as in the first book, is shown as bo
Colleen Martin
Dec 18, 2007 Colleen Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Final update 11/6/12: It only took a year and two months but I FINALLY finished this behemoth. The delay wasn't because it wasn't good - quite the contrary, it's an incredibly entertaining history lesson disguised as a novel - but because I had so much going on personally that I just didn't have time to sit and immerse myself in this world. Even if I'd had the time, it wouldn't have been a quick or easy read. It's an old-school historical fiction epic, written in archaic, old-fashioned language, ...more
Olga Trueshine
Jul 28, 2016 Olga Trueshine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McCullough's passion for all things Rome really translate in her books. This one is the second volume in the Master's of Rome series and it doesn't disappoint. It circles around Marius' decline and Sulla's rise to power concluding with the climax of Marius' last consulship. This book is essential to understanding the reasons and the climate in Rome which led to the fall of the Republic and the rise of Caesar and the Roman Empire.

It is here we are more intimately introduced to the young Caesar, t
Jan 15, 2010 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this second book in the Masters Of Rome series the characters that were introduced in 'First Man In Rome' continue to move the narrative forward. The aging Gaius Marius declines and his legate Sulla, an impoverished patrician who gained money and power through marriage and murder rises to prominence as the Italian states revolt in what is called the Social War. Mithradates of Pontus schemes against Rome in the eastern Mediterranean. The conflict between the aristocrats and the equestrians int ...more
Juan Carlos
Oct 16, 2016 Juan Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
La corona de hierba, segunda entrega de Señores de Roma de Colleen McCullough, nos presenta uno de los períodos más convulsos de la historia de la República, en primer lugar tenemos la Guerra Social, entre Roma y el resto de pueblos itálicos debido a la negativa por parte del Senado de otorgar la ciudadanía romana a estos pueblos, por lo que deciden autoploclamar su independencia de Roma y luchar contra ella. Una vez más, Sila y Cayo Mario serán los que den solución al conflicto, pero vamos vien ...more
Andrew Flynn
Aug 10, 2008 Andrew Flynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in historical Rome
Recommended to Andrew by: My father
The Grass Crown,book 2 in the Masters of Rome Series by Colleen McCullough tells the story of the Rome through the eyes of the major historical figures of the period.

Running from the end of the German invasion through the Italian War, Colleen McCollough masterfully blends the historical facts with a blending of fiction to give her readers a amazing journey that not only tells about the major events of the period but also blends in a picture of everyday life in late republic Rome.

Additionally, th
Christopher Donaghue
It pains me to say that this is better than the original, but such is the case. I would not have expected it to be true until I reached maybe around page 100 and saw the potential which this book bore. I was mildly disappointed with the ending, but I have no doubts that the next book shall resurrect the feelings of the first 800 pages.
Unlike most historical fiction - where the fiction comes first, and the history simply sets the scene - Colleen McCullough's historical fiction is primary history
Jan 14, 2013 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough is a monster of a book. Coming it at just under 1000 pages of reading, it is quite an undertaking. The undertaking is well worth the effort.

The Grass Crown takes to us those days of internal strife during the Late Roman Republic. Here we get to read about the great historical figures of Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Young Julius Caesar, Young Pompey, Young Cicero, and many others. Collen McCullough does a superb job of writing historical Rome that it
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Goodreads Librari...: Additional info 2 14 Apr 11, 2014 09:30AM  
  • A Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa, #5)
  • Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (Claudius, #2)
  • Julian
  • King of Kings (Warrior of Rome, #2)
  • The Invasion of Gaul (Marius' Mules, #1)
  • Claudius (Rufus, #2)
  • See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco, #17)
  • Pride of Carthage
Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and Tim.

Raised by her mother in Wellington and then Sydney, McCullough began writing stories at age 5. She flourished at Catholic schools and earned a physiology degree from the University of New South Wales in 1963. Planning become a doctor, she found that she had a violent aller
More about Colleen McCullough...

Other Books in the Series

Masters of Rome (7 books)
  • The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1)
  • Fortune's Favorites (Masters of Rome, #3)
  • Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4)
  • Caesar (Masters of Rome, #5)
  • The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome, #6)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome, #7)

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“His sudden and utterly overwhelming panic was over almost before it began; but not quickly enough. In the midst of his brief yet total terror, the King of Pontus shat himself. It went everywhere, solid faeces mixed with what seemed an incredible amount of more liquid bowel contents, a stinking brown mess all over the gold-encrusted purple cloth of his cushion, trickling down the legs of his throne, running down his own legs into the manes of the golden lions upon the flaps of his boots, pooling and plopping on the deck around his feet when he jumped up. And there was nowhere to go! He could not conceal it from the amazed eyes of his attendants and officers, he could not conceal it from the sailors below amidships who had looked up instinctively to make sure their King was safe.” 3 likes
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