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Rome: Republic into Empire (Hardback)

The Civil Wars of the First Century BCE

Ancient History Rome

By Paul Chrystal
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 243
ISBN: 9781526710093
Published: 20th February 2019



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As featured in The Bookseller, October 2018

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Rome: Republic into Empire looks at the political and social reasons why Rome repeatedly descended into civil war in the early 1st century BCE and why these conflicts continued for most of the century; it describes and examines the protagonists, their military skills, their political aims and the battles they fought and lost; it discusses the consequences of each battle and how the final conflict led to a seismic change in the Roman political system with the establishment of an autocratic empire.

This is not just another arid chronological list of battles, their winners and their losers. Using a wide range of literary and archaeological evidence, Paul Chrystal offers a rare insight into the wars, battles and politics of this most turbulent and consequential of ancient world centuries; in so doing, it gives us an eloquent and exciting political, military and social history of ancient Rome during one of its most cataclysmic and crucial periods, explaining why and how the civil wars led to the establishment of one of the greatest empires the world has known.

Featured as competition prize

24seven Lifestyle Magazine, August 2019

A praise also to the choice of iconographic sources that I particularly appreciated. A book of great value.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

Rome: Republic into Empire offers readers a readable narrative, informative notes, a good index, maps and bibliography. The illustrations, chosen from the art of several centuries, are of absorbing interest. I liked a fifteenth century illustration of Julius Caesar's murder, showing Caesar as a medieval Holy Roman Emperor wearing a crown and purple robe, while Brutus and Cassius are stiletto-wielding fifteenth-century dandies in brightly-coloured jerkins and tights. I could go on praising this book, but I shall stop here: buy it and enjoy it for yourself.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

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Wargames Illustrated, January 2019

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The Bookseller 5/10/18

A good narrative account of the period that saw the transformation of Rome from democratic republic to Empire. It demonstrates how ‘democracy’ was a thin disguise for the greed and ambition of the few for which the many paid with lives and destitution and that the advent of ‘Empire’ was a formalisation of the same but with the winners clearly identified. It echoes with modern parallels; the redistribution of land to war veterans in Zimbabwe and other places in Africa; the consolidation of power amongst the few, the adjustment of political convention to gain advantage and perhaps most of all a need to revalue the ubiquitous use of the word ‘uncertainty’ in modern politics.
These were truly uncertain times. Lives blighted by civil wars and the problems of those wars bringing destitution to the rural poor. The consequences of choosing the wrong/losing side and perhaps not having the benefit of a choice. The close web of political marriages that could in an instant see family members proscribed and even more ardent opponents created from the outcome.
The only criticism is that the narrative would have benefited from better maps, particularly as the reader often needs to look up the modern equivalent of the names of cities and regions.
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Paul Chrystal

About Paul Chrystal

Paul Chrystal was educated at the Universities of Hull and Southampton where he took degrees in Classics. He has worked in medical publishing for thirty-five years, but now combines this with writing features for national newspapers, as well as advising visitor attractions such as the National Trust’s ‘Goddards’, the home of Noel Terry, and ‘York’s Sweet Success’. He appears regularly on BBC local radio and on the BBC World Service. He is the author of fifty or so books on a wide range of subjects, including histories of Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, York and other northern places, social histories of tea and of chocolate; a history of confectionery in Yorkshire and various aspects of classical literature and history. He is married with three grown up children, and lives in York.

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