The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic

The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic

The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. After its founding in 509 BCE, Rome grew from an unremarkable Italian city-state to the dominant superpower of the Mediterranean world. Through it all, the Romans never allowed a single man to seize control of the state. Every year for four hundred years the annually elected consuls voluntarily handed power to their successors. Not once did a consul give in to the temptation to grab absolute power and refuse to let it go. It was a run of political self-denial unmatched in the history of the world. The disciplined Roman republicans then proceeded to explode out of Italy and conquer a world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings.

But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome ruled. Bankrolled by mountains of imperial wealth and without a foreign enemy to keep them united, ambitious Roman leaders began to stray from the republican austerity of their ancestors. Almost as soon as they had conquered the Mediterranean, Rome would become engulfed in violent political conflicts and civil wars that would destroy the Republic less than a century later.

The Storm Before the Storm tells the story of the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic--the story of the first generation that had to cope with the dangerous new political environment made possible by Rome's unrivaled domination over the known world. The tumultuous years from 133-80 BCE set the stage for the fall of the Republic.

The Republic faced issues like rising economic inequality, increasing political polarization, the privatization of the military, endemic social and ethnic prejudice, rampant corruption, ongoing military quagmires, and the ruthless ambition and unwillingness of elites to do anything to reform the system in time to save it--a situation that draws many parallels to present-day America. These issues are among the reasons why the Roman Republic would fall. And as we all know, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Title:The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781610397216
Format Type:

    The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ”By simultaneously destroying Carthage and Corinth in 146 the Roman Republic took a final decisive step toward its imperial destiny. No longer one power among many, Rome now asserted itself as the p...

  • Mike

    We truly live in an amazing age when someone can go from releasing a podcast about history before people really knew what podcasts were (2007) to getting a book publishing deal on the subject. If you ...

  • Hilary Scroggie

    "These echoes could be mere coincidence, of course, but the great Greek biographer Plutarch certainly believed it possible that 'if, on the other hand, there is a limited number of elements from which...

  • Margaret Sankey

    This is a solid popular history of the generation and a half before the First Triumvirate--the period from the Gracchi brothers to the death of Sulla, which is usually simplified in popular forms or s...

  • Doug

    This is so far, without a doubt, the best secondary source I've read on the civil wars and political and social unrest that plagued the last century and a half of the Roman Republic. Duncan writes in ...

  • Michael Perkins

    The shocking story of the Oligarchy ruthlessly cracking down on populist Tribunes (considered traitors), who advocated for the poor and disenfranchised masses (via the Lex Agraria).The next era would ...

  • Dan Lutts

    Many people are familiar with how the Roman Republic ended when Gaius Julius Caesar formed the First Triumvirate in 60 B.C. with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus. That informal allia...

  • Andrew

    *4.5 stars*At the time, everyone thought that just one more push for their personal agenda would win the day. Collectively, they ended up pushing the republic over the edge.Oh, I'm sorry. This is Anci...

  • Omar Ali

    A relatively short (265 pages), fast paced and lively account of the Roman Republic from 146 BC (the fall of Carthage and Corinth) to 78 BC (the death of Sulla), covering the period in which the Repub...

  • Dorin

    Mike Duncan's dive into the civil wars before Caesar's (the period between the Gracchus brothers and the end of Sulla's reign) is quite insightful. It's not an exhaustive treatise, but it catches the ...