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Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4)
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ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 6. CAESAR'S WOMEN... May 14 ~ May 20 ~ ~ Part IV - (341-402); No Spoilers Please

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message 1: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (last edited May 22, 2012 02:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments Hello Everyone,

Welcome all to the sixth week of the History Book Club’s discussion of Caesar’s Women.

The week's reading assignment is:


Week Six - May 14-May 20: Part IV, pp. 341-402

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other books.

This book was officially kicked off on April 9th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell's and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle. This weekly thread will be opened up either during the weekend before or on the first day of discussion.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Vicki Cline will be moderating this selection.

Welcome,

~Vicki

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS

Notes:


It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

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If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

Here is the link to the thread titled Mechanics of the Board which will help you with the citations and how to do them.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...

Glossary

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Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author may have used in his research or in her notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations or other books either non fiction or historical fiction that relate to the subject matter of the book itself. No self promotion, please.

Here is the link:

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Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCulloughColleen McCullough


message 2: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (last edited May 20, 2012 07:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments Chapter Overview and Summary

Part IV, pp. 341-402
January 63 BC to November 8, 63 BC


Cicero is starting his year as consul and wants his time in office to be memorable. Unfortunately, nothing momentous seems to be in the offing. He makes a few modifications to some laws. Then, not long before the elections for next year, a woman called Fulvia Nobilioris, the mistress of Quintus Curius, comes to see Terentia, Cicero’s wife, asking to see Cicero. She tells him Curius is part of a conspiracy to get Catilina elected consul, after which he will cancel all debts. Cicero tries to get the Senate to postpone the elections until he can find out more, but to no avail. The elections are held as usual and Catilina is not elected.

Cicero is still worried Catilina will do something to provoke unrest, and tries to discover more, but can find nothing overt. Then one night in October, Crassus and two other Senators come to Cicero’s house with copies of letters that spell out an uprising, but Catilina’s name isn’t mentioned. Cicero shows the letters to the Senate, but they still refuse to act. Next, Fulvia tells Cicero she has overheard plans to kill him and some other officials and gives him names and dates. The men she named as assassins do come to his house but he says he’s too ill to receive anyone.

On November 8, Cicero gives the first of his famous Catiline Orations, spelling out all the details of the plot, including the names of the conspirators. All the other Senators shun Catilina and when the speech is through, he leaves Rome.


message 3: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments Note that the dates for this chapter overlap with those of the previous one, which ended with Caesar getting elected praetor in the same election where Catilina lost as consul. It's interesting that elections were held so far in advance of the start of the term of office.


message 4: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments What a wonderful character Terentia, Cicero's wife, is. She seems a particularly no-nonsense type of woman, probably ideal for him, although he may rather have had someone who idolized him for the great man he thought he was. I don't know if McCullough invented her personality out of whole cloth or if there were hints of it in Cicero's letters, many of which are still around and which were often quite candid.
Letters to Atticus vol. 1 by Marcus Tullius Cicero The Letters to his friends Books 1-6  vol. 1  by Marcus Tullius Cicero by Marcus Tullius CiceroMarcus Tullius Cicero


G Hodges (GLH1) | 833 comments I tried finding a link to a concise summary of the Roman economic system, but was not able to do so. Can you recommend one?

Getting back to Caesars women, I see most clearly in this section that women are information messengers (or gossip, if you choose). For example, Fulvia imparting the bad news about Catilina asking for a debt cancellation. And then they are information massagers. For example, Terentia who infers from Fulvia's information that Catilina is starting a revolt against Cicero.

This might be fiction, but I believe McCullough correctly reflects the role of women in the household of men of power (then, as well as today).


G Hodges (GLH1) | 833 comments First Catiline Oration.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/t...

and the Gutenberg project link which is in Latin with a rather dense anecdotal translation.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/24967/...


message 7: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments G, I like your idea that women are information messengers. Even though they weren't specifically involved with politics, they surely overheard what was going on, and may well have transmitted that info to their women friends. Some, like Servilia and Clodius' Fulvia, would definitely have been interested in politics and did what they could to advance their husbands/sons/lovers careers.

As for the Roman economic system, here are a couple of links, but you'd probably need a book to really get into it.
http://www.unrv.com/economy.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_ec...
http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/r... (for kids, but interesting)

And I will copy your post about the Catiline Orations to the Bibliography.


Cheryl (Cheryl319) | 372 comments And not to mention all of the information Caesar gets from his mother.


Cheryl (Cheryl319) | 372 comments I feel bad for Cicero that no one believes him - his lack of patrician status certainly hurts his credibility here. Catilina certainly is a cool customer when accused.


message 10: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments Cheryl, you're sure right about Catilina - what nerves of steel he must have had.

The Romans seem especially class-conscious, at least in regard to ancestors. It wasn't really that Cicero was not patrician, just that none of his family had ever been in the Senate. Marius had the same trouble being a "new man." But talent does sometimes win out.


message 11: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Master of Rome Series (last edited May 19, 2012 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 1436 comments The whole Catilina affair is the source for two really good Roman mysteries, SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy and Catilina's Riddle. The "detectives" in each of these books approach the problem from a different angle, naturally enough since they are from different strata of society. Decius Caecilius Metellus, in SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy, is part of the political elite, and Gordianus the Finder, in Catilina's Riddle, is non-political and just wants to make a living doing what he's good at, investigating suspicious events.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decius_M...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordianu...

SPQR II  The Catiline Conspiracy by John Maddox Roberts by John Maddox RobertsJohn Maddox Roberts
Catilina's Riddle (Roma Sub Rosa, #3) by Steven Saylor by Steven SaylorSteven Saylor


G Hodges (GLH1) | 833 comments Vicki wrote: "G, I like your idea that women are information messengers. Even though they weren't specifically involved with politics, they surely overheard what was going on, and may well have transmitted that..."

Thanks for the historyforkids link! It was just what I needed. Concise, clear and informative. (the others were good, also, but at that point, all I needed was an overview). It looks like a major 1% situation in Rome during Caesars time. Hardly any long term economy at all. No wonder power was so important.


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