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The October Horse (Masters of Rome #6)
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ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 3. OCTOBER HORSE... March 11 ~ March 17 ~ ~ pp. 113-182; No Spoilers Please

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message 1: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the third week's discussion of October Horse by Colleen McCullough. The threads are always open so folks can participate at any time as we move along and/or as you get caught up. Even though this book is part of the Masters of Rome series, it can easily stand alone. You do not have to have read any of the other books to read this one.

The third week's reading assignment is:

Week 3 – March 11-17: pp. 113-182

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 spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off February 25. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders 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.

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.

Citations:

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

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

Here is the link:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...

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 nonfiction or historical fiction that relate to the subject matter of the book itself. No self-promotion, please.

Here is the link:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...

The October Horse (Masters of Rome 6) by Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough


message 2: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Section Overview and Summary

II. The March of Cato’s Ten Thousand: From Sextilis (August) of 48 B.C. until May of 47 B.C.: 113 – 182 (all of chapter II)


Cato and Cicero are in Dyrrachium when Labienus comes to tell them of Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus. Labienus takes the roughly 8,000 troops which were left with him (because they were wounded in battle) to join Gnaeus Pompey’s fleet at Corcyra. The remaining Pompeians agree to re-form in Africa Province, which has remained anti-Caesarian. It takes Cato’s ships (carrying 1,500 of the wounded) some time to cross the sea, and the winds don’t take them southwest to Africa Province, but southeast to Paraetonium, between Alexandria and Cyrenaica. Cornelia Metella (Pompey’s widow) and Sextus Pompey are already there and Cato learns of Pompey’s death. From there his fleet sails west to Cyrenaica and meets up with Labienus, Afranius and Petreius in Apollonia, and we learn that Cato has been on the wagon since Corcyra.

A letter from Gnaeus Pompey requests the return of the ships Cato’s been using, so the rest of the journey will have to be overland, about 1,400 miles. Cato insists that the soldiers vote on the proposal, and they agree, as long as Cato takes command. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to take enough grain with them, and will have to subsist on meat, with the aid of a digestive made from silphium, a local plant. Cato will take along some of the local people, the Psylli, who know how to process the silphium. Cato has learned from Caesar to endure whatever the soldiers have to endure, eating what they eat, walking rather than riding since they have to walk. By the end of the journey he is respected and liked by the men when they finally reach Utica. There’s a dispute as to who should be commander-in-chief; Cato settles it by saying Metellus Scipio should be it, by virtue of his imperium maius and his famous name. Labienus will be the general in charge of military matters and Varus will govern the province. King Juba of Numidia, who has been stirring up unrest, is sent back to his kingdom.


message 3: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Suzann wrote: "Cato goes on and on about which woman slept with Ceasar. Dirty politics or normal Roman way of life? Ceasar himself dwelled on it previously as well."

In this series (but not in this particular book), Caesar goes out of his way to cuckold his enemies. Not sure how much of that is historical.


message 4: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
McCullough let us down in this chapter with regards to maps, which are usually really good in her books. If you can find a copy of the first book in the series, The First Man in Rome, the maps titled Africa (p. 243 in my edition) and Africa in Relation to the Mediterranean World at the Time of Gaius Marius (p. 323) are really good.

The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough


message 5: by Tomerobber (new) - added it

Tomerobber | 334 comments Vicki, I found a good map of this time period in one of the other books I bought about Ancient Roman history. On p. 32-33 there is a good quality map that I don't need a magnifying glass to see . . .

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome by Christopher Scarre by Christopher Scarre


message 6: by G (new) - rated it 3 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments Thanks, Tomerobber. I am going to have to see if my library has it.


message 7: by G (new) - rated it 3 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments It seems to me that McCullough is trying to give us the other side here, more than she did in the past. Especially with Cato. I didn't realize that Caesar furloughed his men so they could vote for him. On the other hand, it looks like Cato's successes are a direct result of having read Caesars 'handbook' relating to fighting with the Long Hair Gauls. As annoying as Cato is, and he is so very earnest, you have to feel for the guy. Hatred is an amazingly driving force, and to be as overwhelmed by it as he is casts him in a pitiable light - and the situation with his wife!


message 8: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
This is the first instance I can remember where I admired and liked Cato. He seems to deal well with physical adversity. His Stoicism serves him well in those circumstances.


message 9: by Tomerobber (new) - added it

Tomerobber | 334 comments As I continue with this series I'm amazed that Rome was such a force . . . just reading about all the effort it took to get troops from one area to another whether by land or sea . . wears me out! When I look at various maps and territory controlled by Rome . . I am truly in awe. These troops HAD to be in good shape to do all that walking . . . and what was even more interesting is that meat eating was considered a last resort . . a diet mainly of carbs, olive oil, and greens was the preferred food.


message 10: by Tomi (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tomi | 161 comments Tomerobber wrote: "As I continue with this series I'm amazed that Rome was such a force . . . just reading about all the effort it took to get troops from one area to another whether by land or sea . . wears me out! ..."

I agree! And I am amazed at all the stuff they carry with them!


message 11: by G (new) - rated it 3 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments Well that's the Mediterranean diet! But in reality, their average life span - other than the rulers - was not so great. Still amazing. 10 miles a day for 40 days. Not something I'd want to do.


message 12: by Tomi (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tomi | 161 comments And they are not exactly walking along nice paved streets...deserts, mountains, marshes...sometimes having to build the road before them. Hard to believe that anyone would choose that lifestyle!


Cheryl (cheryl319) | 372 comments I was truly impressed by the march of the ten thousand - Cato knows he is no general in battle, but his command of the troops here for the purpose of movement and organization certainly approaches that of Caesar's. I found a map on Wikipedia that can be enlarged, and shows all of the major towns mentioned in the section starting with Paraetonium and Apollonia, then from Arsinoe to Hadrumetum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rom...


message 14: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Thanks for the map, Cheryl. It's too bad McCullough didn't include one - she's usually so good with maps. At least there were a couple in The First Man in Rome that were pretty good, although one showing Cato's route would have been interesting.

The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough


message 15: by Mhoira (new) - added it

Mhoira Tennison I found the map to be quite useful. McCullough does a fine job even though it is fiction of Caesar's battles and life in general. I find the book interesting.


message 16: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Maps are so important in these books to visualize what's happening. It's great that there are sources online.


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