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The Civil Wars (Penguin Classics)

Book by Appianus, translated by John Carter

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vivid account of the fall of the Roman Republic

  • Jun 24, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+5
  This work is the largest surviving piece of Appian's Roman History, and it covers the time from the fall of Gracci through the defeat of Antonius at the hands of Octavian. The book is also the oldest surviving continuous narrative of this era. The book is vivid, even lively at times. 

While the speeches are probably apocryphal, the book is filled with a great deal of information about the decline of Rome. Despite the title, the book focuses more on politics than on war. The stories are frequently of political intrigue, capture, murder, escape, etc. 

Appian's sympathies are clearly autocratic and authoritarian. He praises Caesar and seems to be unsympathetic with the the more republican figures. He defends the political purges of the Second Triumvirate. 

However even for those of us who do not share Appain's political leanings, the book is a very fascinating look into Roman thought and history. The book is extensively footnoted, and the introduction is also quite helpful. 

On the whole this is a very important work, and the translation is very good. Highly recommended.

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June 24, 2011
The concept of empire building and expansion has severe limitations.
June 24, 2011
agreed
 
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About the reviewer
Chris Travers ()
Ranked #115
   I live in a haunted house Beneath a tall and mighty tree   With my wife Mia and my sons Wilhelm and Conrad   Where I write software and carve runes   It is a … more
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