The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire

The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire


By (author) Christopher S. Mackay


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Paperback $35.98
  • Format: Hardback | 445 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 226mm x 33mm | 816g
  • Publication date: 24 August 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521518199
  • ISBN 13: 9780521518192
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: b/w pls
  • Sales rank: 1,303,326

Product description

In this new primarily narrative history of the final century of the Roman Republic MacKay aims to get beyond the moralistic and personality based reasoning of the ancient sources to evaulate the causes of the failure of the Republican system. MacKay's thesis broadly stated is that the acquisition of empire necessitated the maintenance of a large military, but that the Republic lacked any effective safeguards against generals using this army for their own political ends, resulting the chaotic political violence of the last century of the Republic. The class composition of the army too led to this situation, with the army increasingly based on the landless rural poor, whose interests did not lie with the oligarchic Republican system. There is also a linked look at the changing iconography of Republican coinage, all of which combines to form a lively and persuasive treatment of the subject.

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Author information

Christopher S. Mackay is a professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta.

Review quote

Review of the hardback: 'Christopher S. Mackay has written an exemplary and noteworthy account of the late Roman Republic's transition from oligarchy to empire ... a popular masterpiece that will please all but the most ardent admirers of Cicero and the most diehard of populares. His work deserves a place [in] every university and public library collection. Bravo.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Historical background; 2. Tribunate of Ti. Gracchus; 3. Tribunates of C. Gracchus; 4. Numidia, senatorial failures, and the rise of C. Marius; 5. Ascendancy of C. Marius; 6. The Italian allies, M. Livius Drusus, and the social war; 7. Sulla, Marius, and civil war; 8. Roman territorial expansion before the First Mithridatic War; 9. First Mithridatic War; 10. Sulla's victory in civil war; 11. Sulla's settlement; 12. The 70s BC: attacks on the Sullan regime and the rise of Pompey; 13. Third Mithridatic War, war with the pirates, and the ascendancy of Pompey; 14. The 60s BC: Rome in the absence of Pompey; 15. Consulship of Cicero; 16. Consulship of C. Caesar; 17. Caesar in Gaul; 18. Last decade of the free Republic; 19. Civil war and Caesar's victory; 20. Caesar's domination and assassination; 21. Turmoil after the Ides of March; 22. Struggle of the warlords; 23. Final showdown; 24. The Augustan settlement and the 'restored' republic.