The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic (Paperback)
“But this was an age when a lie was not a lie if a man had the audacity to keep asserting the lie was true.”
I am typically skeptical of those who draw parallels with history generally and those who draw parallels between Rome and the US specifically. That said, readers in America today will likely sympathize with the times described. Excellently researched yet not mired in detail, this work from Duncan (of “History of Rome” podcast fame) details the final decades of the late Roman Republic. Set in a transitional period during which historical governance norms were eroded and political violence was increasingly employed, “The Storm Before the Storm” sets the stage for Julius Caesar, Augustus, and the rise of the Roman Empire.— From Caleb
The creator of the award-winning podcast series The History of Rome and Revolutions brings to life the bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama that set the stage for the fall of the Roman Republic.
The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world.
In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic.
Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forbearers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.
About the Author
Mike Duncan is one of the foremost history podcasters in the world and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Storm Before the Storm. His award-winning series The History of Rome has generated more than ninety million downloads and remains one of the most popular history podcasts on the internet. Duncan has continued this success with his ongoing series Revolutions -- which so far has explored the English, American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. Since debuting in September 2013, Revolutions has generated more than forty-four million downloads.
"Mike Duncan's popular podcast, The History of Rome and Revolutions, packed facts, dry humor and historical parallels into easily digestible 20-minute episodes. His new book, The Storm Before The Storm, focuses on the decades that led up to the fall of the Republic. From income inequality to questions about who does and doesn't deserve citizenship to the rise of populism, it's consistently surprising how the issues we're facing today were relevant two millennia ago. And if you're worried about those parallels, this book provides a dose of reassurance. We're divided, but hey, at least we're not laying siege to our political rivals' cities just yet!"National Public Radio, Best Books of 2017
"The Storm Before the Storm is massively entertaining and relevant to our own time. All times, in fact. War, politics, money, power, corruption, and class warfare seem to overwhelm the republican Roman political system and the results are horrifying. Huge personalities like Marius and Sulla cast a large shadow, but forces beyond anyone's control seem to drive the narrative. A chilling reminder of what can happen in any republic. Masterfully told."Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History podcast
"Written in Duncan's usual congenial style. He zeros in on Rome's polarization between 'optimates' (conservatives) and 'populares' (populists), the disintegration of participatory democracy, and the concomitant rise in inequality, uncivil discourse, and violence. The parallels with modern times, and particularly contemporary America, leap off the page."
"This companionable and sprightly book captures the political drama and human passion of that extraordinary story."
"An impressively well written, exceptionally informative, inherently fascinating historical study, The Storm Before the Storm is an extraordinary read from beginning to end."Midwest Book Review
"A lively, extremely well-informed chronicle of nearly seven decades of Roman political and social life... Drawing on ancient sources as well as modern histories, the author reveals chilling parallels to our own time... Crucial decades in the history of the ancient world vividly rendered."