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Blood in the Forum: The Struggle for the Roman Republic Hardcover – June 2, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Ambitious in scope ... [provides] a fresh focal point for examining the late Republic ... The material is clearly and succinctly presented ... clear prose and logical order.' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review


Shortlisted for the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award 2009


"Blood in the Forum is a worthy addition to the world history shelves."
-James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review, 2009


"Includes interesting vignettes about what being a Roman meant, aristocratic politics and competition, the role of violence in Roman politics, and so on...Summing Up: Recommended."
-J. de Luce, CHOICE, June 2010

About the Author

Pamela Marin studied at NYU, Wadham College, Oxford and completed her PhD at University College, Dublin. Previously a Senior Tutor in the Department of Classics at UCD, she lives in Ireland.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; First Edition edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847251676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847251671
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason Potter on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blood in the Forum represents the final years of the Roman Republic, from the Gracchii to the Assassination of Julius Caesar. The author presents fresh and compelling alternative views regarding many of the players and events. The book challenges many of the previous conclusion of earlier works. However, the narrative is rushed and someone not familiar with the chronology of the events discussed within the book may be confused. Also, many of the people in the book are discussed in great detail only to be forgotten about in later chapters, for example, Cicero, whose career and remarks are written about extensively early, completely disappears in the later chapters in the run up to Caesar's civil war and after. Marin's conclusion is solid: there is no one person to blame and if there is one person to blame, it's Augustus. Yet, the book's timeline never reaches Augustus and therefore seems out of place bringing him up in the conclusion without much previous treatment. The final chapters seem out of breath, almost rushed.

All in all, a fresh perspective on many things and worth reading, but I wouldn't recommend it if you were to read only one book about the last years of the Roman Republic.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Publius Cornelius Scipio on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms Martin presents a year by year account of the final years of the Roman Republic that is quite useful for someone not familiar with what is a very confusing period of history. It is marred, however, with a bias towards Cato the Younger and Pompey that is not supported by the events or the history. I find it interesting that Ms Martin is currently writing a biography of Cato the Younger and one can only surmise that she has succumbed to that occupational hazard of biographers of falling in love with their subject.
One must see that the final years of the Republic were marked by a ferocious rivalry amongst men and between factions. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys." All are individuals competing for power where there was no real rule of law or government structure to support a new empire. Just because Cicero postured as a defender of the republic does not mean that he was not as ambitious as Caesar or any less willing to violate the "constitution" when it suited his needs and ambition. After all, Caesar never ordered the execution of Roman citizens without trial, as did Cicero. Pompey violated every tenet of the constitition and the mos maoirum in his long years of power.
Cato the Younger was just another player in this drama, albeit one not nearly as intelligent or clever as his rivals; but certainly more hard-headed and less talented as his rivals. That the Roman electorate refused to elect him consul says so much about who and what Cato was.
Caesar certainly is not above criticism; but could it be that, in the end, he was just better than his opponents?
I would not recommend this book to anyone who has little knowledge of the last days of the Republic and is seeking an erudite, comprehensive, non-biased look at it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Historian Pamela Marin presents Blood in the Forum: The Struggle for the Roman Republic, a close dissection of the last days of the Roman Republic including the assassination of Julius Caesar and the subsequent ascension of Rome's first emperor, Augustus. Marin examines the lasting controversies concerning the interpretation of history - did Julius Caesar doom the Republic, or was he among the first to realize how severely Rome had changed? Was the assassination of Julius Caesar a heroic effort, a necessary evil, or simply an evil? Of particular note is the evidence that the Roman culture had shifted toward indulgence in the first century B.C.E., causing figures of the time to bemoan the loss of Republican values. Blood in the Forum is a worthy addition to world history shelves, and particularly recommended for college and public library collections.
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