Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic is a history book written by Tom Holland(no, not that Tom Holland!), which was published in 2003. It is not your standard dry and boring history book, even though it gives you a lot of detail. The book gives you a detailed description of all of the important events and all of the people in those events. One of the great parts of the book is the lengths it goes to help you understand all of the characters. You get to know what they do, why they did it, what they believe in. Almost every single action is justified for one reason or another. This is done for the major characters but also the minor characters.
The main part of the book covers from before Sulla comes to power to after Augustus has gained full control. You get to slowly see the degradation of the roman republic into the Roman Empire. The advances made by political figures for more and more power and the eventual realization of the new reality. The best part of the book is not the struggle between political figures, but the traditional Roman principles. The principles to be modest, not glamorous and for all political figures not to overextend their power. Due to this partying and personal feasts are shunned upon and overextensions of power receive a lot of outrage. The book’s true story is the slow dismissal of these principles as political figures start receiving more power and more feasts and games are being organized. By the end of the book, few political figures believed in these principles, and even fewer acted out on them, one of these exceptions being Cato the Younger. A lot of normal citizens still believed in these principles but there was nothing they could do to fix it. The beginning of the book portrays these principles nicely by starting with Rome’s beginning and what it had endured up until Sulla and its myths and legends. Based on what I’ve just said, you would think that this book is monstrous in size, but it is only 389 pages long and quite a page-turner.