The History Book Club discussion

ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 2. HF - THE GRASS CROWN - CHAPTER II (131 - 240 ) (02/14/11 - 02/20/11) ~ No spoilers, please

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

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the historical fiction discussion of THE GRASS CROWN
by Colleen McCullough.

This is the reading assignment for week two - (February 14th to February 20th, 2011)

Week 2 - Feb 14-20: Chapter II , pp. 131 – 240

This is the sixth 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 February 7th.

This discussion is being led by assisting moderator for The Grass Crown - Vicki Cline. 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, February 14th for discussion. This is a non spoiler thread.




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

The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome, #2) by Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough Colleen McCullough

message 2: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
The Italian communities are frustrated at the inaction of the Senate regarding their incorporation as Roman citizens. Milo, one of the leading Italians, has come up with a plan to have many Italians claim to be citizens when the census takers come to their areas. His Roman friend Drusus begs him to reconsider, but the plan goes ahead anyway. When the Senate finds out, they pass a very harsh law condemning the false citizens to flogging, a heavy fine and having them and their descendents barred from citizenship forever. Drusus warns Milo about this law, and most of the ones who would have been caught flee to the countryside.

Meanwhile, Drusus’ brother-in-law Caepio is moving his vast fortune from the East back to Italy by setting up manufacturing towns in Italian Gaul. In fact, the Italians are big customers of his weapons factories, stockpiling arms for a planned war with Rome. While Caepio is away for a year, his wife, Drusus’ sister Livia, is glad to be rid of her hated husband, and moves to the country with her two daughters. The first day there, she runs across Cato, the young man she had fallen in love with years ago just by seeing him from her balcony. They start an affair and she becomes pregnant. When Caepio returns, she is indifferent to him and he beats her when she is unresponsive in bed. After a few days Drusus finds out about the beatings and throws Caepio out. Caepio divorces Livia and she marries Cato. Sadly, she dies of childbirth after their son is born.

message 3: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
McCullough has certainly painted an unpleasant portrait of Caepio. I wonder if he would have turned out better if Livia had liked him and grown to love him. His idea of manufacturing towns was a good one, good for his fortune and good for the locals.

Here's an interesting family tree at Wikipedia.

message 4: by Bryan (last edited Feb 16, 2011 08:41AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Boy, is Servilia (the elder daughter) a piece of work. She scares me a little.

Caepio is also something else, too. It was quite a disturbing read when I got to the parts where he was beating his wife and enjoying it.

message 5: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
Servilia is scary. Imagine having to live with a child like that. But she's also deeply unhappy. I'd like to think she would have turned out better if her father had loved her and paid more attention to her, but given both their personalities, that probably wouldn't have helped much.

message 6: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
Cato the Elder, the grandfather of the Cato who married Livia, is a very interesting character. See . According to a book he wrote on farming, which is still around, he was very hard on his slaves and advised selling them when they got too old or feeble to work.

And he had no use for the Greeks. He wrote his son "In due course, my son Marcus, I shall explain what I found out in Athens about these Greeks, and demonstrate what advantage there may be in looking into their writings (while not taking them too seriously). They are a worthless and unruly tribe. Take this as a prophecy: when those folk give us their writings they will corrupt everything. All the more if they send their doctors here. They have sworn to kill all barbarians with medicine—and they charge a fee for doing it, in order to be trusted and to work more easily. They call us barbarians, too, of course, and Opici, a dirtier name than the rest. I have forbidden you to deal with doctors."

message 7: by Erik (new)

Erik | 2 comments I believe the child Servilla is the same who will grow up to be Ceasar's lover. I wonder how ever this child can ever grow into a woman that manages to attract Ceasar's interest. Looking forward to read more of her as she grows up.

message 8: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3833 comments Mod
She does develop into a very intersting grown-up. There's a lot about her in Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4) by Colleen McCullough , the fourth in the series.

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