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Masters of Rome is a series of historical fiction novels by author Colleen McCullough (b.

1937) set in ancient Rome during the last days of the old Roman Republic it primarily chronicles the lives and careers of !aius Marius" #ucius Cornelius $ulla" %ompeius Magnus" !aius &ulius Caesar" and the early career of Caesar 'ugustus. (t spans from &anuary 1" 11) *C through to &anuary 1+" ,7 *C. -ther ma.or historical figures /ho appear and play prominent parts in the series include Mithridates 0( of %ontus" Marcus 'emilius $caurus" %ublius Rutilius Rufus" 1uintus $ertorius" Marcus #ivius 2rusus" &ugurtha of 3umidia" $partacus" Marcus #icinius Crassus" Marcus 4ullius Cicero" Marcus Calpurnius *ibulus" Marcus %orcius Cato" %ublius Clodius" 4itus 'nnius Milo" 0ercingetori5" Marcus &unius *rutus" !aius Cassius #onginus" Marcus 'ntonius" Cleopatra 0(( of 6gypt" Caesarion and Marcus 0ipsanius 'grippa. 6ach boo7 in the series features a detailed glossary" hand8dra/n illustrations of the ma.or characters" and notes by McCullough detailing her reasoning for portraying certain events in certain /ays. 4he series has a thesis9 as Rome became more po/erful /ithin the Mediterranean /orld" the old /ays of doing things : through the deliberation of various interests" mainly aristocratic and mercantile : became impossibly cumbersome. (t became more and more difficult to govern an empire /ith institutions originally designed to administer a city8state. Certain po/erful leaders (especially Marius" $ulla" and Caesar on a populares tic7et) tried to create a state in /hich they had autocratic po/er but also preserved the e5ternals of the old /ays. 4hey /ere opposed by the conservatives (called the optimates by classical historians" though they themselves preferred the title boni or ;good men;). 4he obtuse or simply ignorant resistance of these reactionaries" /ho are all (e5cept for Cato) presented as degenerate or self8serving" made the creation of an autocracy necessary. 4he result /as the birth of an imperial monarchy" and a radically different organi<ation of po/er.=citation needed> 4he novels have been critici<ed for their ideali<ation of military dictators and strong men li7e Caesar and -ctavian. =citation needed> McCullough portrays Caesar as being an autocrat but also a great military man" populist and reformer" /hich is some/hat controversial. $he does not portray the death of the Republic as a positive thing but rather portrays Caesar as being a great man and his crossing of the Rubicon as being inevitable" given that the alternative /as e5ile and disgrace and the violation of his dignitas" /hich /as an unthin7able anathema to a Roman %atrician of consular ran7. 'ccording to McCullough?s portrayal" Caesar?s crossing of the Rubicon /as his last option" his last roll of the dice" as best illustrated by the timeless @uote from Caesar9 ;4he die is cast.;. McCullough points out that the translation of the alternative !ree7 version of his /ords is ;#et the dice fly high.;" /hich characterises not fatalism (as /ith the former) but rather ris78ta7ing" the crossing of the Rubicon being Caesar?s last gambit. 4he novels of the series are 1. ,. 3. B. C. +. The First Man in Rome (199)) spanning the years 11):1)) *C The Grass Crown (1991) spanning the years 97:A+ *C Fortune's Favourites (1993) spanning the years A3:+9 *C Caesar's Women (1997) spanning the years +7:C9 *C Caesar (199A) spanning the years CB:BA *C The October Horse (,)),) spanning the years BA:B1 *C and Antony and Cleopatra (,))7) spanning the years B1:,7 *C

7.

McCullough originally decided to end the series /ith The October Horse because in her opinion the ultimate fall of the Roman Republic too7 place after the *attle of %hilippi" /ith the death of Caesar?s assassins. Do/ever" most historians place the end of the Republic a decade later" after the final sho/do/n bet/een 'ugustus and Mar7 'ntony at the *attle of 'ctium" in 31 *C.