The Civil War is Julius Caesar’s personal account of his war with Pompey the Great - the war that destroyed the five-hundred-year-old Roman Republic. Caesar the victor became Caesar the dictator. In three short books, Caesar describes how, in order to defend his honor and the freedom of both himself and the Roman people, he marched on Rome and defeated the forces of Pompey and the Senate in Italy, Spain, and Greece. Julius Caesar himself was one of the most eminent writers of the age in which he lived. His “Commentaries” offer a unique opportunity to read the victor’s version of events.
Julius Caeser was born on 13 July 100 BC. His family, the Julii, claimed descent from the ancient kings of Rome and from the goddess Venus. Caesar rapidly carved out an impressive political career, forging an alliance with Pompey and Crassus in 60 BC. The Civil War is Caesar’s attempt at an explanation of the war that changed the Roman world.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I've enjoyed reading Caesar's works for decades. This let me revisit it while on the road and puttering at various tasks around the house. It is a story I'll return to.
The obvious example is the Gallic War by Caesar. It is also a well told story written by a major participant. Like this one, it's entertaining to look for Caesar's self aggrandizement, though he hides it well.
I chose this version of Caesar because of Robin Field's reading. Once again he makes me feel that I'm listening to the author. I'll be looking for more of his work.
Caesar's generosity to his opponents, particularly to the legionaries, but also to their commanders, is a stark contrast to the massacres of his followers by those same opponents. Undoubtedly there's some exaggeration on his part, but his popularity with the common Roman soldier and man in the street is more understandable from seeing his approach to the conflict.
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