Book Review: The Death of Caesar, by Barry Strauss

The assassination of Julius Caesar was a critical event in western history. It led to the end of the oligarchic Roman Republic and to the establishment of a monarchy as Rome continued to expand and dominate much of Europe and the Middle East. Barry Strauss has examined all of the near-contemporary literature about the assassination [...]

Book Review: SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard.

Mary Beard writes in a breezy, often anecdotal, style which makes her book both informative and entertaining. SPQR covers the history of ancient Rome from its founding by Romulus to the reign of Emperor Caracalla, who, in the year 202 A.D. granted Roman citizenship to the entire free male population of the empire. This is [...]

Book Review: Chronicle of the Roman Republic-The rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus

Chronicle of the Roman Republic is a beautiful book, replete with striking illustrations. Despite some defects, I think it’s a must read for anyone who wants an overview of Roman history from the city’s founding until the end of the Republic. The text is largely a Who’s Who of notable Romans, starting with Romulus and [...]

Book Review: Augustus by John Williams

John Williams’ Augustus is an epistolary novel-that is, a work composed of letters and memoires. Some of the letters are taken from actual correspondence by historical figures of the time, such as Cicero and Maecenas, and others are complete inventions of the author, speculating on what the character would have written if given the chance. [...]

Book Review: Pompey, Rising Sun by Robert Allen Johnson

“Oh you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome. Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft have you climbed up to the walls and battlements, to towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops, your infants in your arms, and there have sat the live-long day, with patient expectation, to see great Pompey pass the [...]

Book Review: Caesar’s Daughter-Julia’s song

“It was a paranoid time in the City. Politicians were more concerned with denying glory to their rivals than with solving problems. Everybody was stabbing everybody in the back. There was no legitimate economy-it was characterized by exploitation and unsustainable debt. Discontent among the masses was rising-there were high levels of unemployment, and great resentment [...]

How Did Slavery in the Amercan Antebellum South Compare to Slavery in the Ancient World?

In comparing the peculiar institution in the American Antebellum South with its ancestor in the ancient world, you find a few differences and many similarities. One of the most obvious differences is that to qualify as a slave in the Antebellum South, you had to have some Black African ancestry. You didn’t need much. By [...]

What Was the Attitude of the Ancients Toward War?

How did the peoples of the ancient world regard war? Did they glory in it, or did they consider it a necessary evil. Did everyone in those days agree that “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori?” A bit of research would indicate that the attitude, at least of the educated ancients, was ambivalent to [...]

Quotes of the Day: On Wisdom

“The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity, and the brute by instinct.”-Cicero “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”-Socrates “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”-Plato “What should a wise person do when given a blow? [...]

Quotes of the day: On Old Age

“As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.”-Cicero “Old age has deformities enough on its [...]