segunda-feira, abril 02, 2018

Rubicon, by Tom Holland

I always loved History, and always had a particularly soft spot for Ancient History - first through a fascination with archaeology, then the Greek myths, then the exciting perversity of the TV series I, Claudius, and so on. Later I read Suetonius, Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Edward Gibbon, and I still love to get my hands on a good book about Roman history; fortunately there are still people writing them. I enjoyed Tom Holland's Dynasty, so I now read this one, and it's also very good. Holland writes History like a novelist, sometimes like a thriller writer, and his books are a pleasure to read. What fiction drama could be more fetching than the turbulent last century of the Roman Republic? It would take a really imaginative mind to invent such characters and plot. From the Gracchi to Augustus, it's hard to imagine a more remarkable set of people, like Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero, Clodius, Antony, Cleopatra. Some people can say this somewhat romanticised and fictionalised way of writing history is not serious enough, but I disagree - history writing is always a kind of fiction since it assumes a lot and weaves a more or less plausible explanation for the events, so as long as the facts are right (according to what we know for the moment, of course, which may change), it's perfectly legitimate to imagine what those people felt, and it's definitely a very engaging way to capture our interest and make us wonder about human nature and aspirations, not that different from our own whenever the epoch.

So I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes History in general and Roman history in particular.

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