Rubicon: het einde van de Romeinse Republiek
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Rubicon: het einde van de Romeinse Republiek

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  5,184 ratings  ·  355 reviews

On a dark January morning, Julius Caesar, the governor of Gaul, rode with his closest aides towards a river named the Rubicon, which marked the line of the frontier with Ancient Italy. A governor was forbidden to lead troops out of his allotted province—to break this severest of laws was tantamount to a declaration of civil war. Caesar was a gambler, however. Like the cons

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Paperback, 423 pages
Published by Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep (first published 2003)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Rather than gesture his men onward, Gaius Julius Caesar instead gazed into the turbid waters of the Rubicon, and said nothing. And his mind moved upon silence.

The Romans had a word for such a moment Discrimen, they called it--an instant of perilous and excruciating tension, when the achievements of an entire lifetime might hang in the balance. The career of Caesar, like that of any Roman who aspired to greatness, had been a succession of such crisis points. Time and again he had hazarded his fu
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Riku Sayuj
Armed with the HBO series derived knowledge of ancient Rome, I always used to think myself an expert on the era. With a flippant, relaxed and easy telling of the story Holland has just made me even more comfortable in my entertainment-based version of the history of Rome. It is such a simple story, is it not? The whole city has the same sort of people and the direction of the Republic was like one unwavering arrow and everyone stays true to their characters. Narrative history is squarely in vogu...more
Szplug
The Good : Holland has an impressive understanding of Ancient Rome and the institutions of the Republic. What's more, this understanding was apparently acquired under the influence of a passionate enthusiasm for all things related to the Mistress of the Mediterranean; and this, combined with his novelist's skills and grasp of language, allows him to whip through the centuries without ever getting hung-up upon minutiae or buried beneath the weight of the various personalities who boldly and energ...more
Sean DeLauder
Breezy and brisk, Tom Holland tells the story of the early Roman Republic and the counterintuitive yet inevitable transition to a monarchy in a style that is very easy to read. The Roman Republic was founded upon an abhorrence of kings, making the presumption that Rome was destined to be ruled by emperors somewhat hard to swallow. Holland, however, makes the case for Roman personal ambition and competetiveness as major motivators for kingship, and also highlights a variety of additional interest...more
Endre Fodstad
I know this books wasn't really meant to be read by someone with a classics background, but would it have killed Holland to write a popularized history with a bit more recent historical research in it? I will commend him - and nearly give him a 3 for - presenting the republican romans as the superstitious and religiously conscious lot they were, but that is pretty much (ok, and the raunchy details they would have left out) where this book diverges from something that could have been written in t...more
Harte
I am a big fan of Roman history & have really enjoyed television shows such as HBO's Rome & STARZ's Spartacus and historical fiction by Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggudlen. For years I've had a collection of Roman history books such as Livy, Plutarch, Suetonius, Polybius, etc. I've had a difficult time really getting into the works by older historians because I find their prose & narratives long winded & difficult to read.
Rubicon being the first contemporary scholar's work I read on...more
Manray9
With “Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic,” Tom Holland has taken the ancient sources and fashioned an absorbing narrative of the waning years of Republican Rome. Holland transformed his source material, which often seems dry and obtuse to modern readers, into an exceedingly readable tale -- even though he is guilty of occasionally lapsing into glibness. Holland earned a strong Four Stars from me as well as an interest in reading his other works.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Too fast-paced for me, this account of the last years of the Roman Republic retold with modern sensibilities. Many characters often leave as quickly as they'd been introduced, achieving glory then shame in just a few pages. I would have loved that the narrative was slower, that it had been made to linger longer to let the great historical personages--Pompey, Cato, Cicero or Ceasar--impinge upon the memory and survive more vivid in it long after the book is closed and put down. But it is too much...more
Mark Russell
I recently finished reading Rubicon by Tom Holland, which tells the historical tale of the Roman Republic from it's inception until its ultimate demolition at the hands of Augustus, when the Republic was formally and forever transmuted into the Roman Empire. A rich and highly engrossing read, it primarily focuses on the Republic after the rise of the great generals who, through foreign conquest, and the unprecedented wealth and prestige it bestowed upon them, became such formidable power brokers...more
Juan-Pablo
This historical period is so fascinating that writing a History that reads like a novel doesn't sound like a big deal. But where many provide dry accounts, Holland excels with his sterling prose. Even if you already know the story, this book will give you new insights and a fast paced account of the Roman Republic that is always fun to read.

The narrative is structured in a zoom in/out fashion. The author quickly covers in the first part of the book from the beginnings of the republic until the...more
M.J.
Tom Holland's historical narrative is an account on the final years of the Roman Republic--a time often called the Roman Revolution--as feuds, civil wars, and the consequences of empire engulf the ancient republican state of Rome. Caesar, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Cato, Brutus, Cicero, Augustus, Antony, Cleopatra--the names most well-known to the casual reader of Roman history--enter the stage with grand flourishes, give passioned performances, and become unwilling participants in very dramatic exi...more
Siria
I am of two minds about this book. There is no denying that as an overview of the final years of the Roman Republic, running from roughly the time of the Social War to the establishment of the principate, it's a fine achievement. Holland takes events which have been recounted many times over the last two thousand years or so, and makes them fresh and interesting, even to someone like myself who has read of them more times than I care to think about. There is a great sense of narrative verve and...more
Jonfaith
(from July of 2005) I finished the above by Tom Holland today at lunch. A (near)Footean examination of the short-lived Roman Republic, the text has flourishes of prose but it is the titanic visiage of the people themselves which carry the text.

It also appears that in the aftermath of the Republic it was Augustus who served as the origins of Conservatism, welding self-interest with tradtional ideals onto the unwashed.
Dale
Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic is a well-written fact-filled narrative interpretation of the end of the Roman Republic. Interpretation? Of course - all history books are the author's interpretation. Holland has his biases, but it does not distract from the power of the book. With the exception of a slow bit in the middle, this is an entertaining read and worthy to sit on the shelf next to other histories of Rome.

I wholeheartedly recommend this one for enthusiasts (his spin on thi...more
Craig Coleman
I first wanted to read this book after listening to the Hardcore History podcast series on the fall of the Roman republic. The host, Dan Carlin, recommended Rubicon for a more in-depth treatment of the subject matter, even though the podcast came in at around six hours.

Carlin was right, Rubicon treated the topic exhaustively, but the narrative flow was superb. At times it was like reading a political soap opera. The characters were amazingly well-rounded. No one came off as a total villain or sa...more
Leif Erik
Best account of the Roman republic and its fall I've ever read. Worth the time alone to discover the battle chant of Caesar's legions;

Lock up your women
Our commander's bad news
He may be bald
But he'll fuck anything that moves

Seriously, excellent reading for anyone interested in this era.
Nicholas
Rubicon reads with all the taught pacing of a political and military thriller - more spectacular for the fact that it's true. Author Tom Holland manages to walk the very fine line between the objective scholarship and reporting that is classical history and the analysis, invention and narrative finesse of a master storyteller. Any book recounting events from antiquity suffers from a dearth of primary sources (especially when compared to the record keeping of the modern age) and while we may know...more
Lindz
While reading on the train this morning, just as Julius Caesar made the fateful decision to cross the Rubicon, the shuffle on my iPod flipped on to the Imperial March (or the music that Darth Vader marches around to). There could not have been a more perfect song (Spoiler Alert by the way; but who hasn't heard of the Ides of March, Et Tu Brute, the great love affair of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, eh I mean Cleopatra and Mark Antony?) for the final and fatal blow of the Roman Republic. Y...more
Scott
Holland's book is one of the best on the topic. It is both very well researched (and his use of quotes from classical sources is exceptionally helpful) and very readable to a general audience. What makes his book unique is that it is not a biography of individuals but the story of the republican system, its people, and its descent into collapse. As he says in his introduction, it is a story about citizens in Rome and what they lost politically in the last century BC/BCE.

Much of Holland's narrati...more
jeand99
On August 3th I finished reading for the second time Tom Holland's book 'Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic'. I wanted to find out why Julius Caesar (100 - 44 BC) crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC. The river Rubicon marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper to the south. Any Roman general was by law of the Roman Republic (509 - 44 BC) obliged to disband his army before crossing the Rubicon. Otherwise both he and his men were guilty of hi...more
Ben
It is a shame of my education that I did not learn more thoroughly about the classic battles of Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, and Crassus, let alone the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. I can’t say if it’s a product of the fact that America’s education system no longer focuses on the classics or whether it’s because I just missed it, but I the final days of Rome’s Republic should be mandatory reading for all Americans, since it shares so many similarities to ours.

In that vein, Tom Holl...more
Shawn Thrasher
I like reading fiction about this time period in Roman history, particularly mysteries, so reading Tom Holland's Rubicon was sort of like having friends over for dinner, and then having someone describe the dinner party after watching it through the window - another perspective on people who are essentially a blank slate. Holland himself writes right off the bat that "one day perhaps, when the records of the twentieth century AD have grown as fragmentary as those of Rome, a history of the second...more
Garrett
For dramatic events and titanic personalities, how many centuries can compete with the hundred years from the Gracchi to the settlement of Octavian? It would be hard to write a dull book that features figures like Caesar and Pompey, Antony and Cleopatra, Marius and Sulla, and Octavian and Cicero, and Holland has, in fact, written a very lively and compelling one. This is narrative history aimed at a general audience -- there's little by way of rigorous argumentation or careful analysis -- althou...more
Curtis
Rubicon is Holland's account of the collapse of the Roman Republic. I enjoyed Persian Fire so I was interested to read his work on Rome. I was bored with this one pretty quickly, but decided to stick with it for 100 pages because many reviewers seem to enjoy it.

I can see why some like the book. It tells the story of some of the most important characters of the classical world. Many reviewers write that the last third of the book is the most exciting, but I couldn't get through the first few hund...more
Hanley5545 Hanley
This is the second book by Holland which I've read. The other is the Persian Fire (q.v.)
This,too, was really interesting and, as several of the reviews on the book remark, the narrative was gripping/compelling,etc. ALL True.

The strength of the book, for me, was that subject/period of Roman history is quite complex and somewhat confusing since my study of the period (c. 140 BCE to 14 AD) tended to be through deep dives into specific parts, e.g. Caesar's Commentaries, Spartacus' Revolt, Catiline's...more
Taylor K.
For starters, the absurd amount of time it took me to read Rubicon is in no way indicative of the quality of the read. More than anything it's indicative of how life just sometimes gets in the way - I started a new job, tried to soak up all the last outdoor hours possible before the worst season hits New England, still do some freelance proofreading, still practice with the roller derby team, have been sucked in by football season (and fantasy football season...) and still try to maintain some f...more
Cindiloohoo Montgomery Sloate
Interesting history but somewhat overly dramatic and revisionistic, in my opinion. Reads at times more like a Harold Robbins novel. It makes me sad when people write books that do nothing but disparage every single thing of which they are writing about. It became tedious toward the end. For a better picture of the "scandalous" goings on in Rome at around that time, I would suggest Suetonious instead. Further, while I am no great Cicero fan I hardly think the portrayal of him in this book as bein...more
GoldGato
I crossed the Rubicon with this book, hoping it would be a glorious history of Rome and its last days as a Republic, before the Empire began. It is a decent retelling of basic history but really nothing too stalwart. Given the cast of characters and the swirling battles from the days of Tarquin to Caesar, there should be an elevation of prose and heightened enlightenment, but it reads as a thesis from a college student. The book is meant to be popular history for those who don't know Romulus and...more
Steven Peterson
A literate work on the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. Why did the Republic fail? How did a new system, of emperors, replace it? This volume makes the effort to tell that story. It begins with Caesar deciding to take his troops across the Rubicon, a small river of little consequence. With that step, he ushered in the end of the Republic. But the seeds for its demise had been planted long before. The story considers key personalities--Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Crassus, Cicero, Cato, Caesar,...more
Kathy  Petersen
"Crossing the Rubicon" and "The die is cast" have long been part of our modern jargon. I have known the origin of these common metaphors, but Tom Holland gives us a thorough background of the historic occasion, with a glance at the beginnings of the Roman Republic through a detailed discussion of the drama of Julius Caesar and all those other intriguing Romans (not forgetting Cleopatra and Mithridates et al) to the subtle glory of Caesar Augustus. Well written, in a distinctly modern tone.
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52292
An acclaimed British author. He has written many books, both fiction and non-fiction, on many subjects from vampires to history.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury, England. He obtained a double first in English and Latin at Queens' College, Cambridge, and af...more
More about Tom Holland...
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“It was an article of faith to the Romans that they were the most morally upright people in the world. How else was the size of their empire to be explained? Yet they also knew that the Republic's greatness carried its own risks. To abuse it would be to court divine anger. Hence the Roman's concern to refute all charges of bullying, and to insist they had won their empire purely in self-defense.” 2 likes
“This [for opposition leaders to claim royal lineage], in a world ruled by a republic, was what revolution had come to mean.” 1 likes
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