Rome's Revolution: Death of the Republic & Birth of the Empire

ISBN : 9780199739769

Richard Alston
408 Pages
163 x 236 mm
Pub date
Jul 2015
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Novelized, televised, and endlessly scrutinized by scholars, the fall of the Roman Republic marks one of history's great turning points. Historians have studied the descent of the Republic into civil war as a great political tragedy, a warning from the past about the unsustainability of empires; political scientists have labeled it a parable about militarism, populism, moral decay, or the inevitable corruption of political systems. Yet the familiar story of the Roman Republic's downfall continues to be the story of its elites. What if we started thinking about Roman politics not from the perspectives of Caesar and Cicero, but from the point of view of the soldier, the peasant, or the pauper? In an original account of what he calls Rome's revolution, Richard Alston reinscribes these humble protagonists into their tumultuous era. They, like the ruthless aristocrats they swore allegiance to, were political agents, negotiating their positions in the context of a "failed state." Rome's Revolution blends riveting historical narrative with socio-economic analysis, restoring a rich context to the cataclysmic violence of the period. In addition to chronicling the drama of aristocratic rivalries, the book digs beneath the high politics of Cicero, Caesar, Antony and Octavian to examine the problems of making a living in first-century BC Italy. Portraying the revolution as the crisis of a violent society-both among the citizenry and among a ruling class whose legitimacy was dwindling-Rome's Revolution provides new insight into the motivations that drove men to march on their capital city and slaughter their compatriots.


The Historian's Problem
Death of a Dictator
The Crisis of the Republic
Caesar and Pompey
Mutina: The Last Battle of the Republic
A Victory Lost: The Defeat of the Senate
The Revolution Begins
Death in Rome
The Revolution Complete: From Philippi to Perusia
The Triumviral Wars
Antony and Cleopatra: Love and its Enemies
The Invention of Augustus
The Augustan Republic
Anarchy and Power
The Imperial Order
The Conquest of the World
Buying Rome: Empire, Money, and Power in the Augustan Regime
Death of an Emperor
Epilogue: Tiberius the Emperor

About the author: 

Richard Alston is Professor of Roman History at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author or editor of over a dozen books on ancient Rome and antiquity.

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