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The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most notorious murders in history. Even now, many questions remain about his death: Was Brutus the hero and Caesar the villain? Was Mark Antony aware of the plot? Using historical evidence to sort out these and other puzzling issues, historian and award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins recaptures the drama of Caesar's demise and the chaotic aftermath as the vicious struggle unfolded for power between Antony and Octavian.
For the first time, he shows how the religious festivals and customs of the day impacted how the assassination plot unfolded and how the murder was almost avoided at the last moment. A compelling history packed with intrigue and written with the pacing of a first-rate mystery, The Ides will challenge what we think we know about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire.
I stopped reading about a third of the way in when the nonsense just brought me over the limit. At one point the author claims that Caesar was a soldier at heart who would have been bored by subtle political maneuvering, which is the most mind-bogglingly absurd statement I've ever heard a biographer make about Caesar. Caesar was a politician first and foremost! He had climbed to the very top of Rome's political ladder long before he ever became a general. Even his whole military career was one big ploy to outmaneuver his political enemies, that wanted him arrested and executed for daring to institute land reforms. Since governors of provinces were immune to prosecution, Caesar could prevent his arrest as long as he was governor of Gaul. Governorships were normally limited to a single year, but it would be difficult to deny an extension for a governor who was currently engaged in massively successful war of conquest...
The book is rife with these sorts of things, as well as key pieces of context that the author fails to mention altogether. Don't take my word of it. Look up the reviews for the text version on Amazon and you'll see a chorus of others pointing out all the inaccuracies.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
This title came to my attention while listening to the excellent podcast, "The History of Rome." This is a fine & concise primer that gives the listener an overview of the issues & men surrounding Caesar's assasination. It is rich in facts & tidbits and I learned much that I hadn't heard or read before. The author spends a lot of time leading his listeners to that fateful day in March, but then seems to rush a bit towards the end as he reports on the fate of the participants in the murder. After listening to this book I suggest you then download, "Augustus: The Life of the First Emperor."
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Stephen Dando-Collins is a Australian writer of history. He has written on vast periods and subjects that had presented it in history. In "The Idea: Caesar's Murder and the War for Rome" he congested and popularised the murder of Julius Caesar by re-examining and presenting this notorious incident to the layman.
If you are a Shakespeare fan or you have a classical background you might not find much that is new from what you already know. You will however find accent changes and a more realistic portrayal of the day that Caesar was stabbed to death by members of the Roman Senate under Brutus and Cassius.
Dando-Collins claims (of seem to) make critical use of his sources which include Suetonius, Dio Cassus, Cicero and some other material. While he makes use of the original sources, I got a feeling that he was not always as critical and evaluating of the evidence presented in the sources. For example, when Gaius Iulius Caesar's wife dreams that he will die and when an augur reads and omen of death in the entrails of a bird, he takes it as facts. In my humble opinion the ancient Roman historians used just as much literary devices to tell a good story of which timely dreams and predictions are just two to mention. Dando-Collins seems not even to consider this. Yet het uses the earliest sources available and he is very critical when the sources do not agree with each other.
You as the listener might find it interesting how Dando-Collins describes the web of intrigue that surrounded Caesar's death. He also comes up with some very interesting facts and gives a colourful picture of the Ides of March, the day Caesar died.
Bronson Pinchot read the book fairly but at times he really presented the content as just downright boring. While you will be able to listen through the book, I would lie if I don't say that I was disappointed in the narration the the book. It could've had a negative impact on the way I interpreted Dando-Collins' story of the turning point in Roman history. His heavily accented quasi-Latin pronunciation of Latin words and phrases (although very few), really hindered.
Yet the book is worth a listen to anyone who wants to know more about the events that led up to Caesar's assassination and what expired thereafter. It has a thorough perspective though a lot is already known. I comes recommended for those with an interest in ancient Roman history.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Week-by-week and sometimes even day-by-day account of the events leading up to the assassination of Julius Caesar; and the sad, violent unwinding of its aftermath. It's a gripping story, perfect background for either Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" or the HBO series "Rome." Being mostly familiar with the story from Shakespeare's standpoint, I was surprised at how much of the aftermath the play left out: it jumps almost immediately from the assassination to the cynical plotting of the second triumvirate and the war with Brutus and Cassius. In fact it took months of politicking for this to play itself out. Read with enthusiasm and clarity by Bronson Pinchot. I liked it a lot. What I really want now is more info on the FIRST triumvirate.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Ides again? Why?
One of the greatest stories in history is accounted by Mr Dando-Collins. He takes the reader through the twists and turns of politics and of Roman life during the time of Caesar.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ides?
It's impossible to select just one part over another. The end of each chapter had an ominous statement that enticed me to read on.
Have you listened to any of Bronson Pinchot’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, this is my first. But I rather enjoyed it.
Any additional comments?
My education into history goes no further than anyone's who did not choose this course of study as a major or minor in college. Mine is just a laypersons review. I enjoyed the book a great deal. As for it's accuracy and appeal to historians or those better educated than me, I cannot say. I do think that it's style would appeal to all. Especially those who, like me, enjoy the authors style of leading the reader as if by hand through the scenes he creates.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
it was a good listen and at a good pace. The book it self is very informative and researched well. Overall, a very good book.
Like any book by Stephen Dando-Collins, definitely one to recommend. Excellent narration of a book filled with that combination of detail and broad insight that I look for a work of historial non-fiction. Really brought that turbulent period to life. Very satisfying.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful