The History of Rome: The Leadership of L. Aemilius Paulus

Inauguration Speech “I think, Quirites, that my having received, through the ballot, Macedonia as my province has been greeted more warmly than when I was congratulated on my election as consul, or on the day when I entered on office. And the sole reason for this, I believe, is that you thought I could be the means of bringing this long-protracted war to such a … Continue reading The History of Rome: The Leadership of L. Aemilius Paulus

“The History of Rome” by Livy

In Book 34, Livy recounts a debate in the Roman senate concerning the Oppian Law, which forbids ‘female extravagance’. It presents a microcosm of ancient Rome. All the issues being raised here, such as moral virtues and vices, human rights, the relations between the sexes and between the social classes, the desires of the people vs. the sanctity of the laws, are universal, and highly … Continue reading “The History of Rome” by Livy

“The Rise of the Roman Empire” by Polybius

The Roman Constitution The Roman Constitution has three interdependent elements: monarchy (The Consuls), aristocracy (The Senate) and democracy (The Tribunes of the People). Their respective share of power in the whole state are regulated with a scrupulous regard to equality and equilibrium. This, according to Aristotle, is the golden mean of the form of government. Polybius attributes the original conception of this type of constitution … Continue reading “The Rise of the Roman Empire” by Polybius

“Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

This Roman play by Shakespeare is based on Plutarch’s “Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans” (Caesar and Marcus Brutus). One might call it an adapted stage play, since the majority of the plot and dialogues in the play have been incorporated directly from Plutarch. But I noticed a significant difference when comparing the two renditions: Shakespeare failed to capture the complexity, magnificence, and more … Continue reading “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

“The Civil War” by Julius Caesar

Two of the greatest generals of Rome, Caesar and Pompey, war against each other for life, glory, honor, dominance and, above all, the fate of the Roman Republic. The Gallic War lasted 8 years (58 BC – 51 BC), but the Civil War, from the very beginning till the decisive Battle of Pharsalus and death of Pompey, a year and a half (49 BC – … Continue reading “The Civil War” by Julius Caesar

“The Conquest of Gaul” by Julius Caesar

The people of Gaul were the inveterate enemies of Rome, having once before captured the City. The Roman historian Livy observed that the Gauls could not endure heat and physical exertion, and tire quickly in battles. They were impetuous, abounding in ingenuity, but lacking in fortitude, according to Caesar. The Commentaries on the Gallic War (58 BC-51 BC) are an intriguing account of war through … Continue reading “The Conquest of Gaul” by Julius Caesar

“Philippics” by Cicero

[Volume XV of Loeb Classical Library’s 28-volume series] Peace, Slavery and War The name of peace is sweet, and the thing itself wholesome, but between peace and servitude the difference is great. Peace is tranquil liberty, servitude the last of all evils, one to be repelled, not only by war but even by death. Although all decent men desire peace, especially peace between fellow countrymen, … Continue reading “Philippics” by Cicero