by Pamela Marin
London/New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2009. Pp. xx, 198.
Illus., maps, chron., notes, index. $29.95 paper. ISBN:1847251676
Blood in the Forum
takes fresh look at the final century of the
, which, although the best documented period in history before the Renaissance, still remains rather enigmatic.
The book opens with an long chapter on "What it Was to Be Roman," which reminds us of the many ways in which Roman life and society differed from our own, a matter not always taken into account by people attempting to make comparisons between our society and theirs. It then the follows events from about 100 B.C. through the establishment of Caesar's dictatorship and, then his death, covering nearly six decades of seemingly recurring political and military crises, punctuated by only a few years of real stability. Although, as Dr. Marin argues, the "fall" of the republic was not inevitable, the many forces that led to that outcome were not understood clearly by the Romans themselves.
A very useful review of a very complex subject.