Review: The Roman Republic by Captivating History

Posted May 25, 2023 by Stephanie in 4 Stars, Ancient History, Captivating History, History, Nonfiction, Review / 6 Comments

Title: The Roman Republic: A Captivating Guide to the Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic, SPQR and Roman Politicians Such as Julius Caesar and Cicero
Author: Captivating History
Publication: March 24, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Ancient History, Roman History
Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5★

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When we think of ancient Rome, the first notion that comes to mind is the one of the empire, followed by the image of a mighty emperor, his legions, colossal buildings, and the Gladiators (or the rhetoric and poetry, depending on your preferences). Some may recall the image of a “unified” Europe under a single sovereign – the emperor of Rome. However, Rome did not become remarkable at this considerably late phase. In fact, many historians see the history of Rome under the Emperors as a long, gradual decline. It was during the Republic that Rome gained an empire. Most of the achievements that the first emperor of Rome, Octavian Augustus, claimed to have completed were, in fact, earned during the Roman Republic. In this book, we’ll have a close look at the beginning of Roman civilization, the foundation of the city and the Senate, the expansion of the Roman Republic, its glory, and its end.

Some of the topics covered in this book include:

  • The Past that Made It Possible: The Foundation of Rome between Myth and History
  • Down with the Kings: The Past that Made It Happen
  • Early Republic
  • Military Achievements of Early Republic: Taking Italy
  • Middle Republic: The Punic Wars and Mediterranean Dominance
  • The Military vs. Cultural Dominance: The Roman Civilization meets the Greek World
  • Limitless Power and the Beginning of the End: The Late Republic
  • The Age of the Generals: Pompeius, Crassus, and Caesar
  • Senatus Populus-Que Romanus (SPQR) and Its Downfall
  • The Rise and Fall of Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic
  • And a Great Deal More You Don’t Want to Miss Out On!

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“So perish anyone else who shall leap over my walls.”
—Titus Livius a.k.a. Livy, Roman historian

This was a guide about the Roman Republic from its mytholical origins to its blood-soaked end. At 86 pages this isn’t the most detailed book about the subject but if you want a quick overview of the most important things that happened in this era, then it definitely is a good one to read.

I feel like most people are usually drawn to the Roman Empire and its compelling emperors but I’ve always been a bit more fascinated by the Roman Republic, personally. Not to say that I’m also not highly interested with the Roman Empire because I certainly am but if I had to pick between the two to read about I’d go for the Republic.

I really enjoyed this book because it was a shorter read that put the Roman Republic’s most important events in a chronological order. It even goes into the mythological beginnings of Romulus and Remus, which I really liked reading about. Sure, it could’ve been a little more specific and detailed but when you pick up a Captivating History book you want a quick and accurate read and that’s exactly what I got.


Some interesting facts I learned from the book:

  • Our ideas of liberty and citizenship, as well as the terminology of modern politics, including senators and dictators, have been defined and thoroughly used in antiquity.


  • The pattern of fratricide and civil conflict was established early in the Roman history. According to Livy, Rome had been under the rule of ‘kings’ – seven of them – for two and a half centuries.


  • Consuls were the central public officials of the Republic, in charge of many aspects that used to be the duties of the king. Consuls were chosen entirely by the vote of the people of Rome, and they could hold the function for only a single year at a time.


  • There isn’t much of written evidence about women, as they were mainly confined to their homes and domestic roles of wives, daughters and household managers. Even those who were free-born, they were always under the complete authority of their fathers and husbands.


  • Hannibal was the greatest single enemy that the Republic ever encountered. According to Livy, he was one of the best generals of ancient times; a leader that inspired confidence in his men; both mentally and physically strong; brave and resilient; “unequalled as a fighting man, always the first to attack, the last to leave the field.”



6 responses to “Review: The Roman Republic by Captivating History

    • Well, this one is about the Roman Republic, which came before the Roman Empire. But Captivating History has also a book about the Empire!

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