The History Book Club discussion

Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4)
This topic is about Caesar's Women
ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 11. CAESAR'S WOMEN... June 18 ~ June 24 ~ ~ Part VI - (711-777); No Spoilers Please

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (last edited May 22, 2012 02:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

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

The week's reading assignment is:

Week Eleven - June 18-June 24: Part VI, pp. 711-777

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.






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.


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.


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:


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:

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

message 2: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
Chapter Overview and Summary

Part VI, pp. 711-777
January 59 BC to April 59 BC

Caesar starts his consular year with a detailed and lengthy law providing land for Pompey’s veterans. He has taken care of every contingency and made a couple hundred copies so that most Senators can study it. At the next meeting he takes up the issue of the stalled publicani contracts, reducing the amount of taxes to be collected from the eastern provinces by one-third. When the Senate won’t vote to pass it, he has it presented to the Popular Assembly, where it passes easily. The boni continue to stall on the land law, Bibulus giving no other reason for opposing it than that Caesar wants it, and he’s evil. When both Crassus and Pompey speak for the law, the boni finally realize the existence of the triumvirate. Bibulus decides to interfere with Caesar by declaring all days on which the Senate could meet as a holiday, when the Senate is forbidden from conducting business. Caesar does get in one unobstructed day near the end of January to propose ratification of Pompey’s settlements in the East, and says if the Senate won’t deal with it, he’ll send it to the Plebeian Assembly, who have no experience with foreign affairs, and will probably do a bad job. Unfortunately, that’s what happens, and the Plebs also pass the land law. Caesar then makes all Senators swear to uphold the laws. Finally the only way Bibulus can see to foil Caesar is to retire to his villa, “watch the skies” and declare that every day is unpropitious, and any laws Caesar manages to get passed will be illegal.

Meanwhile, Cicero has made Caesar mad enough that he lets Clodius become a plebeian by being adopted by a plebeian about ten years younger than himself. Clodius is planning to be elected Tribune of the Plebs and wants to make Cicero’s life miserable.

Aurelia has noticed that Julia has a crush on Pompey and tells Caesar. They decide that Pompey would make a much more advantageous husband for her than Brutus, but they have to approach it carefully. Caesar invites Pompey to dinner with just himself, Julia and Aurelia present. Pompey’s immediately smitten with Julia and they talk all evening about philosophy and his adventures.

message 3: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (GLH1) | 901 comments This combines a bit from the prior section, but the connection and line is so wonderful I had to comment. When discussing Crassus with Pompey, and convincing Pompey to work with him, Caesar's logic was simple, clear and unassailable. Then when bringing up the agrarian bill to first the senate, and then the popular Assembly, Caesar blind sided the boni. As Bibulus sneers, and Caesar first brings in Pompey then Crassus, it is a magnificent example of political maneuvering. Well done! I almost wanted to get up and cheer.

I also wanted to ask if you think the word 'bibulous' could have it's derivation in Bibulus? I looked it up and found no direct link. I just think its curious that this rather ranting and uncontrolled person has a homonym which means drunken.

message 4: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
Interesting thought about bibulous. In the first book of the series, The First Man in Rome, McCullough has an appendix with the meanings of many cognomens, but Bibulus isn't among them. For instance, Caesar means "fine head of hair" (ironic, since our Caesar is balding) and Cicero means "chick-pea." Wikipedia says "Plutarch explains that the name was originally given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea."

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

message 5: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (GLH1) | 901 comments I think the time for Roman period movies has passed, but I can't help but visualize these 'scenes' in a movie format. The description of the look on Caesars face when Brutus asks to marry Julia is wonderful and I'd love to see a great (living) actor play him.

message 6: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
I'd love to see Patrick Stewart play Caesar. He looks just like one of the busts of Caesar. Plus he's got that great voice.

Cheryl (Cheryl319) | 372 comments I was really surprised at Caesar's treatment of Lucullus when Lucullus spoke out against Caesar's ratification of the East. His anger doesn't surprise me, nor his abuse of Lucullus, who was responsible for starting the rumors about Caesar and King Nicomedes, but that he would do so in such a manner in front of the entire Senate. He acts like a dictator threatening to behead a subject who dares speak against him, and that's how his actions are interpreted. This seems like the turning point for Caesar - the comparisons to Sulla are plentiful and also warranted. No one wants another Sulla, and they see Caesar's potential to become one here. Crassus even calls him on it, but Caesar doesn't see it. Surprising for someone so smart and so politically savvy. Is it ego that blinds him here?

message 8: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
Maybe he's feeling particularly defensive, given all the real plots against him. I've always had a fondness for Lucullus, given his upstanding treatment of Asia Province, so it's sad to see him denigrated.

Cheryl (Cheryl319) | 372 comments Good theory. I didn't mind seeing Lucullus taken down, no matter what his record, only because of my disgust at his predilection for young girls.

message 10: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vicki Cline | 2781 comments Mod
I wonder if that's something she made up, his pederasty. I haven't read Plutarch's life of Lucullus, so maybe it's true.

Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans by Plutarch by PlutarchPlutarch

back to top

unread topics | mark unread

Books mentioned in this topic

Caesar's Women (other topics)
The First Man in Rome (other topics)
Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Colleen McCullough (other topics)
Plutarch (other topics)