The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome

eBook - 1990
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Rome 110 BC: Two Romans, one lowborn but propserous, the other an aristocrat corrupted by power, fight to become the First Man of the Empire.

110 BC:

The world cowers before its legions, but Rome is about to be engulfed by a vicious power struggle that will threaten its very existence.

At its heart are two exceptional men: Gaius Marius, prosperous but lowborn, a proud and disciplined soldier emboldened by his shrewdness and self-made wealth; and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a handsome young aristocrat corrupted by poverty and vice.

Both are men of extraordinary vision, extreme cunning and ruthless ambition, but both are outsiders, cursed by the insurmountable opposition of powerful and vindictive foes.

If they forge an alliance, Marius and Sulla may just defeat their enemies, but only one of them can become First Man in Rome.

The battle for Rome has just begun.

Please note: This ebook contains all the original maps and illustration.

Publisher: New York : Morrow, 1990.
ISBN: 9781781857915
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor
Bib Control Number: 81669


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May 22, 2017

I'm interested, in a layman's way, in the history of Rome, so this entire series (books listed below) was riveting for me.

Masters of Rome series:
1. The First Man in Rome (1990) - The narrative begins in 110 B.C. with the story of Gaius Marius.
2. The Grass Crown (1991)
3. Fortune's Favourites (1993)
4. Caesar's Women (1995)
5. Caesar (1999)
6. The October Horse (2002) - Originally intended to be the final book of the series, the narrative carries us through Julius Caesar's death on the Ides of March in 44 B.C., and ends after The Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C., the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (Caesar's great-nephew, and adopted son) and the forces of the tyrannicides Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
7. Antony and Cleopatra (2007) - Somehow McCullough was persuaded to add one more book to the series, tying up loose ends, perhaps? Or maybe it was just hard for her to imagine life without The Masters of Rome? I had secretly hoped she'd carry on further into the reign of Augustus.

Julius Caesar appears in each of the first six books. If you're interested in popularized Roman history, this is a treasure. The writing is good, if not quite up to the standard of Robert Graves two volume set "I, Claudius," and "Claudius the God," or Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy. If you have read and enjoyed any of these, however, you MUST read them all - in chronological order, of course. It is particularly interesting that McCullough seems more or less in the Caesar-worshipping camp. He was a prodigy; he was too good at too many things, which in the end had a lot to do with his downfall. But what a magnificent creature he was!

However, Cicero was Caesar's mortal enemy, and Robert Harris' books tell much of the same story as we find in McCullough - from a diametrically opposed point of view.

Be forewarned, these books are packed with lengthy Roman names, so will in some ways read like Russian novels. Hard to keep track of the cast of characters without a program, which the author naturally provides, along with detailed hand-drawn maps, and her own line-drawing fanciful portraits of the principle characters. Not very good drawings, but somehow rather endearing. She was quite a character herself.

P.S. It gets easier to keep the characters straight on the third and fourth readings. Yes, the books are that good ………

librarymovieguy Aug 14, 2013

Warning: if you read this, you'll need to read the entire series. Well worth it, though.

Feb 27, 2013

It's very readable even for those that do not know much about late Roman republic history/politics.

EuSei Apr 22, 2012

Good enough to read the whole book... although Mrs. McCullough took lots of license with historical information. (Read Appius and Plutarch and you will know what I mean.) For instance, I wonder where she got the idea that Marius and Rutilius were friends and maintained correspondence. Also, why would she conclude Sulla had sexual relations (at the same time) with both his step-mother and Nicopolis? The only thing, for example, I could find was a mention in Plutarch, that he inherited money from "a step-mother who loved him as her own son." Also that "he made court to a common but rich lady, Nicopolis" and that "she rather than he was the lover, and that at her death she bequeathed him her whole property." And where did she get the idea that there were no chickens in Rome?! Not only they had and ate them, but also used them for oracles. I guess during her “meticulous research” she did not come across Columella, Cato, Varro, or Pliny…

cloudni9e Jun 04, 2011

Masters of Rome series:

1. The First Man in Rome (1990)
2. The Grass Crown (1991)
3. Fortune's Favourites (1993)
4. Caesar's Women (1995)
5. Caesar (1999)
6. The October Horse (2002)
7. Antony and Cleopatra (2007)

Excellent series.
Use interlibrary loan service to order titles not owned by Orangeville Public Library.


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FavouriteFiction Oct 14, 2009

Gaius Marius, while able to lead his army to defeat the invading barbarian German tribes, finds himself resorting to deceit and treachery to achieve his political goals.


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Feb 11, 2018

He, a patrician Cornelius


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