Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Who has read Coleen McCullough's "First Man in Rome" historical fiction series?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Books: Fiction Donate to DU
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:36 AM
Original message
Who has read Coleen McCullough's "First Man in Rome" historical fiction series?
I got the 2nd to last book of the series, "The October Horse", from the thrift store I work at and it blew me away. The book encompasses the period from the death of Pompey The Great, through Caesar's assassination, up through the victory of Mark Antony and Octavian over Brutus and Cassius at Philippi. McCullough shows all these famous historical figures as so very human.
Refresh | +2 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. Go back to the beginning.
The Grass Crown is the name, I think...

They are really good books and it made me want to study that period more than we did in school...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I actually just picked up the first book yesterday and am reading it.
I love the time period because it has so many similarities with our own time
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:29 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. I was wrong, it was the first man in Rome...
My mom got me that book for Christmas, it was my last Christmas with her...

The next book came out so quick that I mixed them up in my mind...

The history channel just did an hour long show about Marius and his 7 times as counsel.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
proudlib8134 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-13-11 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
20. +1
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
2. I have heard good things about these, but never read
them.

Thanks for the recommendation! I may get them from the library.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
zazen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. watching my HBO Rome episodes right now . . .
I'll definitely look them up. Thanks!
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. Oooh, I'm so glad you mentioned this. I love historical fiction,
and I've never heard of this series. I'll check it out! :hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. They are awesome, you won't want to put them down.
She really gets into all these people's heads very well, and any literary license she does has a recorded historical basis.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The historical novels I've read have taught me far more about
history than I ever learned in school. That's how they should teach it, novels (with the historical facts) or movies. I'd become catatonic trying to read the dry, boring, lifeless accounts we had in school.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:16 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Do yourself a favor-read this fabulous series and enjoy...its by the author of "The Thorn Birds"
but its far, far better writing than that. The author did years of research on each of the books and they're historically accurate but also engaging and well written. You don't get bored once you've gotten into their world.

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
6. Here's the list of the series from Wiki:
The First Man in Rome (1990)
The Grass Crown (1991)
Fortune's Favorites (1993)
Caesar's Women (1996)
Caesar (1997)
The October Horse (2002)
Antony and Cleopatra (2007)

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:12 AM
Response to Original message
9. I discoved this series 18 months ago and it literally has changed my life....
I'm retired and have time to read for pleasure but I prefer to learn something too. I was a history major in college but really had little awareness of exactly how Roman history went. I started "First Man in Rome" (which is the 1st book in the series) maybe 4 times before I got beyond the first 100 pages but when I did I was absolutely hooked. I devoured all seven books of the series and have since reread the first two books.

In addition I've read biographies of Augustus, Tiberius, "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" by Robert Graves, "Julian" by Gore Vidal and "Roma" by Steven Sailor. I'm currently reading "Conspirator" by Robert Harris and a serious history of the Punic Wars. I'm addicted to ancient Rome.

Of all the books I've read, McCullough's move me the most. She is absolutely superb-a masterful artist who paints vivid pictures of oh so very believable characters. Sadly she is elderly, very ill and pretty much in constant pain so her writing has dropped off significantly.

Reading this series is easily the equivalent of a college course on Roman history. The political parallels to today are very evident. Cato, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius and (eventually Pompey) were among the wealthy patricians who opposed the populist Caesar. Cato literally invented filibustering in one of the books. What has impressed me most is that so much of her work is merely adding slightly to the historical record. This is quality historical fiction.

Its gotten so bad that my partner and I have our Halloween costumes already. I'm going as "Julius Cheeser" (toga with a Wisconsin Cheesehead) and my partner as "Senator Gluteus Maximus" (I'll let you imagine the details)

Thanks for your post. I've been wanting to talk about this flawless series of books for awhile now.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. Cato reminds me of the Teabaggers.
Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Cato essentially caused the civil war by ranting about prosecuting Caesar for war crimes (as if all the rest of them never hurt a fly! Hypocrites!).
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:45 AM
Response to Original message
11. I have read the first three and then was distracted by some other
history projects but will locate the last two. I do own all but those. I need to finish this series which was indeed captivating.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
eShirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 04:10 AM
Response to Original message
13. I had a bit of a hard time getting into the first one at the beginning, then before I knew it
I couldn't put it down

I got the whole series in used paperbacks, one by one from Amazon... this was back when they still had reasonable prices for shipping & handling used books

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
15. I read the first one, then I think it was the second I got turned off with. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
16. And if you like these, you'll like Steven Saylor's books about this time period too
Check him out. I loved ALL of his books: http://www.stevensaylor.com/CARomaSubRosa.html

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Thanks
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
18. When The Thorn Birds first came out
I started it quite eagerly, and just could not get past the second chapter or so. It was totally derivative of every other second-rate historical fiction I'd ever read, and could not understand why everyone thought it was so great. I've never been willing to pick up anything of hers since then.

Obviously, quite a few people disagree with me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
19. I tried to, several times.
But couldn't get through it. I'd like to try again someday, though.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-14-11 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
21. I'm about 200 pages into "The First Man In Rome" now.
Damn was Sulla a messed up MFer or what? LITERALLY, he was fucking his M-I-L. Then he murdered her and made it look like the result of a accident at a party so he could have her money and lands so he qualified for the Senate.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-15-11 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Actually it was his step mother and her female lover that Sulla supposedly murdered....
His MIL was Marcia, wife of Caesar Sr (grandpa of Julius) who died of old age.

But, yes, Sulla was truly twisted. He was also a brilliant general. These were very serious people who approached life pretty much the same way we do today.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-15-11 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. DOH. you are right! I'm getting relationships mixed up!
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-16-11 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Earlier you mentioned how Cato reminded you of the teabaggers and that was spot on....
He saw all things strictly as right or wrong with no compromise possible. He basically invented the filibuster just to thwart Julius Caesar. Cicero reminds me a lot of John McCain-a legend in his own mind, convinced he is the salvation of the republic but unwanted by the electorate. Any of the incompetent aristocratic consuls who blundered into war could easily represent the Bushes with their wealth and privilege.

The parallels are really interesting and the characters are very well developed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-16-11 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. I have noticed the similarities between the dying Roman Republic and our own times for a while.
It's, frankly, frightening. It's like history is one giant case of the movie Groundhog's Day, the same shit happens again and again and nobody learns from their mistakes.

The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee labeled empires like Rome, Han China, and the US "Universal Empires", hegemonic powers that dominate and give to a civilization that is rotting from the inside out it's last wind, it's Indian Summer. The Universal State imposes a unity that the rest of the civilization acquiesces to out of shear exhaustion.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
26. I'm about half-way through book 2, "The Grass Crown".
Edited on Fri Sep-02-11 10:23 PM by Odin2005
I find it funny how King Mithridates of Pontus was intimidated by Sulla because of the later's fair complexion, red hair, and blue eyes.

Oh, and Servilia (the future mother of Brutus, she's still a kid at this point) is a monstrous little brat.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-17-11 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
27. Well, I'm finally to the last book, "Antony and Cleopatra".
Now I know why Octavian's dynasty is called the Julio-CLAUDIAN dynasty. Octavian falls in love with Livia Drusilla, wife of Tiberius Claudius Nero (father of the future Emperor Tiberius, and IIRC, great-grandfather of the Emperor Nero), and gives Claudius Nero financial and political help if he gave Octavian his wife, ROFL.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Dec 28th 2014, 06:08 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Books: Fiction Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC