By the middle of the second century B.C., the Roman Republic has been changed completely from the sober and virtuous character of the previous generations of self-sacrificing soldier-farmers. Rome has become a wealthy, diverse metropolis of many conflicting interests. The influence of Hellenism, while on the whole beneficial to the educated caste, has proved ruinous to the morals of the man on the street, who has joined an insatiable mob. But a greedy and power hungry faction of wealthy capitalists and nobles begin to use the Roman mob to promote their own selfish interests. Meanwhile, the immense expansion of Roman territory to include the entire Mediterranean has brought into being a complex bureaucratic apparatus which the fractious Senate is incapable of running. Bribery, graft, and wholesale theft by unscrupulous governors provokes armed rebellion in many provinces. At Rome, the mob has become accustomed to an expensive welfare system which threatens the state's financial powers.
Into this dreadful state of affairs steps one of history's bravest reformers, Tiberius Gracchus. Along with his brother, Caius, these two will introduce, beginning in 133 B.C., a series of political and economic reforms which unleashes over a hundred years of massive civil unrest and devastating civil war. The chaos is finally brought to an end with the accession to power of Octavian in 30 B.C., and with him comes an Imperial tyranny that spells the end of an ancient form of government known as the Roman Republic. Enjoy Cyril Robinson's superbly written historical masterpiece, a crowning achievement by the greatest historian of the 20th century.
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