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Mortal Republic

How Rome Fell into Tyranny
Narrated by: Matt Kugler
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
2 out of 5 stars (1 rating)
Non-member price: $41.31
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Publisher's Summary

A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse

In Mortal Republic, prize-winning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and political customs successfully fostered negotiation and compromise. By the 130s BC, however, Rome's leaders increasingly used these same tools to cynically pursue individual gain and obstruct their opponents. As the center decayed and dysfunction grew, arguments between politicians gave way to political violence in the streets. The stage was set for destructive civil wars - and ultimately the imperial reign of Augustus.

The death of Rome's Republic was not inevitable. In Mortal Republic, Watts shows it died because it was allowed to, from thousands of small wounds inflicted by Romans who assumed that it would last forever. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Edward J. Watts (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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  • Edmo11
  • 28-12-2018

Rome’ Lessons

This an excellent summary of Rome’s transition from Republic to an autocratic empire in a period of three centuries. And the lessons that history holds for us. .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl A. Gallozzi
  • 25-12-2018

History of the Roman Republic - relevant today

This is the equivalent of a survey plus course - concerning the Roman Republic.

It was written with at least one eye on recent (geo)political events/attitudes/gestault - because words such as populism/autocracy/"reduction of political norms" abound.

Bottom Line: The history seems to indicate that over time - there was a "loosening" of the Political Norms and process models within the Roman Republic - from the time and behavior of Marius - down to Caesar, Octavian, and the others. Then, as now - it is not only "what was done" - but the "politics and political messaging/positioning" that certain representatives of certain Roman families did as they competed for power.

In the end after a series of Civil Wars - Octavian wound up "the winner" - but he constructed a governance model for a large empire - gives roles to the Senate - but he (Emperor) was the indispensable individual.

Relevant for today - not just in the United States but in other budding autocracies (Russia, China, Hungary the Philippines) - will the other branches of political power - "stand up" to autocratic instincts - if not them - the people need to act - else the institutions may give way to a budding autocracy.

Great history - with great relevance for today - should be of interest to those who study Roman history.

Carl Gallozzi
cgallozzi@comcast.net

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  • Paul Custer
  • 24-12-2018

Terrific condensed history of the late Republic

Dense and dramatic, this is an excellent introduction to the Republic's last century. All the main personalities are here, and the story weaves individual and structural causes fairly well. Very well-read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-2019

Starts strong, falls into narrative.

The book started strong. It felt like it was making points outside the narrative. Unfortunately I realized halfway through we were simply going over the Julius Caesar story. Having read about Caesar many times before, I started to lose interest.

It all wraps up with a good message at the end. If you are fairly new to the story of Caesar and Octavian, this serves as a good introduction. Unfortunately though, it does little to offer a new angle or insight.

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  • Mark Belisarius
  • 21-01-2019

Not just a chronology but reasons

I am no novice on the Roman Republic and its demise but despite some repitition, I found this book engaging and the author has provided an insight into and a rationale for events that was plausible and illuminating. As always a secondary source may miss the mark but this is certainly worthy of an assessment.