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ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 12. HF - THE FIRST MAN IN ROME - THE TENTH, ELEVENTH YEARS (902 - 978) (11/22/10 - 11/27/10) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the historical fiction discussion of THE FIRST MAN IN ROME
by Colleen McCullough.

This is the reading assignment for week twelve - (November 22, 2010 to November 27, 2010)

Week 12 - Nov 22 - 27: p 902 – 978 The Tenth Year, The Eleventh Year


This is the third historical fiction group selected book.

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 if you are catching up.

This book was kicked off on September 6th; but we are now entering the twelfth week of discussion

This discussion is being led by assisting moderator - Alisa. She has done an amazing job with the Supreme Court and civil rights threads and this is her first venture in moderating an historical fiction book and she is very excited to be doing this. Please support her in this effort.

We always enjoy the participation of all group members. Amazon, Barnes and Noble 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, but this is not available on Kindle or audible.

This thread opens up Monday, November 22nd for discussion. Although, Alisa may open this thread up earlier due to her different time zone. This is a non spoiler thread.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

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

Alisa is using the current version available to her as follows:

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

Please feel free to research the complete Table of Contents and Syllabus on this thread:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 2: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Saturninus, betrayed and becoming increasingly ambitious, begins to give virulent speeches against Marius everyday in the forum. Marius, deciding to take a short break from Roman discord, has a stroke in his sleep, causing his face to be slightly deformed, though he is otherwise unaffected. Saturninus decides that he can become the first man in Rome solely in virtue of his ability to stir up the crowd. He claims he will run for tribune again and that his friend Glaucia will run for consul. Marius advises them against this action, but they do not heed his advice. There is a grain shortage in Rome and Saturninus intends to stir up the crowd by claiming that it is the Senate that is preventing a solution to the grain crisis.

Glaucia on his way to stand for election to consul meets another senator on the way. The senator rips his toga off and insults Glaucia. Glaucia in his rage beats the senator to death. Saturninus, realizing that his chance at gaining power through election is over, decides to use the crowd to stage a coup. Saturninus whips up the crowd and tells them to return to their houses so they can arm themselves. The Senate, terrified, realizes that Saturninus intends to take Rome by force and have himself made king. The Senate, still hesitant to give Marius complete dictator powers, gives him complete power to act with legal immunity to solve the crisis.

Marius has an army stationed outside of Rome that he could march into the city, though it is expressly illegal for the Roman army to enter the city limits. Instead, Marius arms the senators around him and marches them in formation into the Forum. With orders to use the minimum amount of force, Marius quickly retakes the forum and imprisons Saturninus and his gang in the Senate hall. Citizens found complicit in the treason are thrown off the Tarpeian rock and the leaders of the coup attempt sit, awaiting their trial. Sulla and a gang of younger senators, with whom he has ingratiated himself, sneak into the Senate house and kill the leaders of the coup. Marius, tired of the violence, pardons the murdering senators. Marius addresses the crowd, informing them that the crisis is over and that he has secured a new supply of grain that will be sold at rock bottom prices. Marius leaves the rostrum content that he is the First Man in Rome.


message 3: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Saturninus is pursuing power at all costs. What a caustic fellow!


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

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
He must have been unbalanced. What possibly made him think he could get away with such a coup! Given the antipathy of the man-in-the-street to having a king, all the powerful men in Rome would have had him knocked off immediately. The image of the rebels being killed by a hailstorm of roof tiles is really vivid. Almost like it was made up for a movie.


message 5: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) No kidding, he was almost delusional. Pure power hungry, quite something.
The tile hailstorm was clever, if not gruesome. I suppose she had to end the book with another juicy bit of Roman violence. The image of the rebels shaking and dodging the tiles is vivid indeed!


message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) I really like the way Julia handled the situation after Marius had a stroke. She really restored him as patiently as she knew how so that he could return to Rome. It doesn't necessarily read that way in the book, but when you reflect back on her character and what I think was genuine love for him, she arguably knew him well enough to know that he would return to Rome, even though she may not have been in complete support of the idea. I think she at brought him back to health well enough to regain stamina to finish out his term gracefully.


message 7: by Karol (new)

Karol Alisa wrote: "I really like the way Julia handled the situation after Marius had a stroke. She really restored him as patiently as she knew how so that he could return to Rome. It doesn't necessarily read that..."

Alisa, I agree with you. Julia showed her strength in making sure that Marius got everything he needed to recover as much as he could. But she knew when to give in - as the book later points out, when Marius knew he HAD to go back, he did. And Julia did not attempt to stand in his way in the slightest.


message 8: by Karol (new)

Karol This novel has been so full of violence and intrigue - not surprising that it ended with a gruesome ending for those who would try to rebel against Marius. Saturnius was certainly an example of power-lust. It seems to be that Marius actually cared about the people of Rome, while Saturnius just used them for his own means in his attempt to rise to power. Saturnius and his crew in the end got what they deserved.

The author left things wide open for a second book, noting Marius' belief that he would be consul for a 7th time, and hinting at a future ahead for Sulla. Yet, I felt that she gave this book a satisfying ending, with Sulla and Marius walking off the stage hand in hand, enjoying the glory of Rome.


message 9: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Kay wrote: "This novel has been so full of violence and intrigue - not surprising that it ended with a gruesome ending for those who would try to rebel against Marius. Saturnius was certainly an example of po..."

and we should say the "gory of Rome" ;-) It was a great ending and wow what a power play by Saturnius. It was not settle to be sure.


message 10: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "The author left things wide open for a second book, ..."

As we know, there are seven books in this series. I wonder if she plotted out the whole arc or did it one book at a time. She must have had an overall plan.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
You would think so wouldn't you Vicki. I wonder if she at the beginning just planned on writing the first one and then got hooked.


message 12: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) She must have planned to write several of the series up front given that there are seven. That is a LOT of material. Quite a dedication to the topic, eh?


message 13: by Bryan (last edited Dec 03, 2010 06:29AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I think she stopped at six, but then decided to do a final volume. I'm not sure if it was fan or publisher pressure.

Ah, hah, Bentley's article in the other thread answers the question. She had the research and the series didn't feel finished, so it was her decision.


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