Read Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny by Edward J. Watts Online

Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny

A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and polit...

Title : Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny
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ISBN : 0465093817
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Number of Pages : 352 pages
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Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny Reviews

  • Karl

    I have this scene playing in my head of some book publisher checking his Twitter in 2018 and declaring “Books about the fall of republics are hot right now! Get me a Roman historian.” This book promises an analysis and description of the violent end of the Roman Republic, an always worthy and interesting subject. My complaint then is that the author provides little analysis and the description is too high level for the reader to draw their own conclusions. In fact, it is hard to figure out who t

    “When citizens take the health and durability of their republic for granted, that republic is at risk. This was true in 133BC or 82BC or 44 BC as it is an AD 2108. In ancient Rome and in the modern world, a republic is a thing to be cherished, protected, and respected. If it falls, an uncertain dangerous, and destructive future lies on the other side.”


    Before I sound too negative, there are a few things that are very interesting in this book. Edward Watts is clearly a knowledgeable professional historian who has a great depth and familiarity with this subject, and his characterizations of events that he glosses over demonstrate his understanding of subjects he chooses not to write about. Watts spends more time talking about the economics of the republic than other authors and discusses the effects of the currency and credit markets at different points in its history. He also relies upon archeological evidence to correct some of the exaggerations of the ancient historians, for instance that the countryside had become totally dominated by rich landowners by the 140’s BC, as he points out that the demographic trends and migration patterns strongly suggest that the diminishing fortunes of the family farmer resulted from same amount of land was being divided among more and more children every generation. I would be very interested in reading some of his more focused and scholarly works.

    In short: This is not the best book on the subject. ...more

  • Matt McCormick

    The book is a fine overview of 300-years of Roman history to the end of the Augustinian age.

    Watts writes well and this chronological description of the Empire was interesting and easily digested. What it lacked, and what I was looking for, was a compelling analysis of the "why". Why did the Republic allow freedom to vanish and autocrats to rule? I think readers will simply infer, based on their own prejudices, the causes. This isn't to say that Watt's doesn't provide some thoughts on the subject
    ...more