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Caesar's Women Paperback – November 11, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061582425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061582424
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Senator and debtor, general and seducer, orator and would-be world conqueror, Julius Caesar, as depicted in this fourth installment (after Fortune's Favorites) in McCullough's epic re-creation of ancient Rome, is both a force of nature and something of a momma's boy. He worships his sophisticated mother Aurelia, "a fount of experience and a mine of common sense," while dismissing as "not important" his "expensive, idle, and monumentally silly" second wife, Pompeia. Its title notwithstanding, this marvelously researched and detailed novel focuses on traditional male pursuits-political intrigue, war, conquest-in the corruption-riddled late Roman republic even as it elucidates the behind-the-scenes influence of women in a repressively patriarchal society. Caesar, though tenderly loving and protective toward his daughter, Julia, pledges her as a child to the adolescent Brutus, with whose mother-the cruel, scheming Servilia-the future dictator of Rome has a purely sexual affair. Years later, Caesar cancels the betrothal in order to use his blossoming daughter as bait to forge a political alliance with the commander of the Roman legions. Meanwhile, Cicero, Caesar's main rival, is portrayed as an incurable vacillator and social climber who displays scant gratitude toward his "sour" and "ugly" wife, Terentia, despite her foiling a conspiracy against his life. With great brio, and ample attention to Roman customs and rites, as well as to the religious, sexual and social institutions of the day, including slavery, McCullough captures the driven, passionate soul of ancient Rome. Illustrations; maps. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In the fourth book in her "Masters of Rome" series, McCullough (Fortune's Favorites, LJ 9/1/93) details Caesar's rise to power from 68-58 B.C. Caesar repeatedly outmaneuvers his enemies, who devise one scheme after another to bring about his political, economic, and social downfall. Eventually he allies himself with Pompey and Crassus to create a formidable triumverate. Despite the book's title, women play minor roles in the novel. Caesar consults his shrewd mother about strategy and depends on her to manage his household. He adores his daughter and misses her dead mother. Nonetheless, he consistently subordinates personal affection to political ambition, seducing the wives of his rivals and maintaining an emotional distance from his own wives and lovers. McCullough crams the book with details about Roman life and politics and includes many pages of notes and a glossary. Those readers following the series and others with an intense interest in the time period will enjoy this installment.?Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Colleen McCullough was born in Australia. A neuropathologist, she established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney before working as a researcher and teacher at Yale Medical School for ten years. Her writing career began with the publication of Tim, followed by The Thorn Birds, a record-breaking international bestseller. She lives on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific with her husband, Ric Robinson.

Customer Reviews

The four books in the Masters of Rome series by colleen McCullough are insidious.
J. Biallas
She does not appear to make any major mistakes, but at times her interpretation on characters and their motives confuse me to say the least.
An excellent book that is well written and continues the Colleen McCullough fictionalized "history" of ancient Rome.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on August 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can think of no other books that encompass a lost society so well than the 'Masters of Rome' series. Caesar's Women is a marvel of research from this author. Fictionalizing it must have been very difficult...but then again, how could it not be. But reading it one feels like the author was the proverbial fly on the wall over 2,000 years ago. Amazing!
Caesar's Women focuses on the powerful roles that the ladies during Caesar's rise played in the formation of things to come. Aurelia (his mother) is undoubtedly the strongest of these, as is Servilia (Brutus' mother and Caesar's lusty wanted and dangerous woman). Julia, Caesar's daughter, plays a pivotal role as she is swept away from Brutus --- whom she was betrothed to --- and then given to Pompey (who is as happy as a clam since he sees her as a goddess figure and a way into the Julii line). My only problem with this portion of the story was that Pompey fell head over heels for Julia but never seems to see the political significance of it (for the Caesars). Pompey is a very powerful man with much dignitas and wealth. Surely he must have noticed how quickly Caesar agreed to break Julia's betrothal to Brutus and give her to him. But there is no mention of this, and the story only tells us how in love the two became. Pompey wasn't a fool.
That being said, I think Caesar's Women is a triumph for the history of the women of that time. They are always seen as insignificant to the arena and times, since men dominated. But Mrs. McCollough shows us the back rooms behind the Senate and the Plebian Assembly. Women were pivotal. And Caesar's Women doubly so. Extremely intriguing.
Of course, now it's on to Caesar --- the last book in the series thus far (at least to my knowledge). The build up of Clodius, Brutus, and Cato leaves a tingling in one's spine as you realize what is to come. The dagger! Oh god...where is that next book! I've got to start now!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on November 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms McCullough has done a profound historical research in order to write her "Roman Saga" started with "The First Man in Rome" (1990), continued with "The Grass Crown" (1991), "Fortune's Favorites" (1993) and "Caesar's Women" (!1995).

She delivers an accurate picture of the late Roman Republic, bringing to life historically characters with amazing detail.
The author follows and reveals step by step all the intricacies of that rich and complex era.
Does this mean that the book is boring? By no means, Ms McCullough is able to show daily life, dressing, feeding, religious rituals, political and social structures in a magnificent fresco and at the same time construct an engaging story that will trap the reader for hours.

The story starts in the year 68 BC after Sulla's death. Pompeius Magnus, Julius Caesar and Marcus Crassus consolidate finally in triumvirate and defy Cato, Bibulus and the Senatorial Party. There are two major interesting issues described in this volume: Caesar's political growth thru ten years, giving the reader a complete picture of less known aspects of his life.
Second issue is feminine characters are brought into limelight. They are strong, willed, some beautiful, some cunning and most of them determined to succeed. They are all true Roman Matrons.

As in preceding volumes Ms McCullough continue extrapolating and giving wonderful explanations to odd issues as why Clodius hated so many contemporaries; why and when Caesar and Cicero started fencing and growing enemies.

Last but not least the author has drawn beautiful busts of the main characters; detailed maps of different ancient scenarios where action takes place and very complete glossary.

I advise reading the first volumes of the series, but even if you don't do it, you may start here and consider it as first part of Caesar's adulthood story.
I strongly recommend this book to any serious history aficionado!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kris Dotto on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Far from the weightiness of "The First Man In Rome" and "The Grass Crown," yet nowhere as torpid as "Fortune's Favorites," Colleen McCullough's fourth installment in her Masters of Rome series, "Caesar's Women," is the perfect summer novel. It is light, airy, and filled with enough scandal and rancor to put any Judith Krantz or Terry McMillan novel to shame.
That said, it is too heavy on the scandal, too light on the politics, and McCullough weights the scale in favor of the scandal by making her Caesar an impossible man to beat or block. Caesar was an incredibly brilliant man, a political animal who achieved great military feats--but McCullough makes light of his faults by portraying his enemies as buffoons or fools, or worse. Cato the Younger was a bad politician, a drunkard, and a bigot; yet he was also one of the late Republic's great Stoics. Likewise, Cicero, albeit timid and insecure, was a great orator and a master of legal rhetorical technique; McCullough makes him a figure of ridicule all through the book. No matter what the challenge, Caesar comes through looking like a hero (or at least with the last word). And the scene with Lucullus is cringe-inducing--even though it was probably the reaction McCullough was hoping for in readers, it left me feeling as if I'd seen a bad bit of overacting.
Still . . . the book is titled "Caesar's Women," and the women are something to enjoy. Although McCullough likes to remind her audience of the patriarchal nature of Roman society (as if it could be forgotten!), still one fact remains: a Roman woman was not someone to be ignored. Be she widow, crone, Vestal, whore or lawful wife, her society and her culture acknowledged her existence, no matter how bounded it was by custom and morality.
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