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June Book of the Month

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

by Mike Duncan

Reviewed by Peggy K. Potter
Director Hutchinson Memorial Library


For one thousand years Rome ruled the known world. Founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus, he was the first of seven kings. In 509 the last king was removed and Rome becomes a republic ruled by senators.  In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar becomes the first dictator after defeating Pompey in one of many civil wars. The Roman Empire begins in 27 B.C. with Caesar Augustus as Emperor. The Empire grew so big it is split in 395 A.D. into an East and West. The Western Roman Empire is ruled from Rome. The Eastern Roman Empire is ruled from Constantinople. Rome falls in 476 when defeated by the German Goth Odoacer and the Dark Ages begin in Europe. The Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire, lasts another 1000, falling in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople.

This book covers a short period of time after the kings and before the Dictatorships begins; basically the Republic from 146-78 B.C. It details the rampant corruption in government, how ethnic prejudices led to civil wars over citizenship and voting rights, and the men who laid the groundwork for the destruction of Rome. The author, Duncan, reveals enough human drama that the books is a faster read than many ancient history books. He is the creator of the award-winning podcast series, “The History of Rome” that began in 2007 and lasted 5 years. “The Storm before the Storm” should be equally popular. You do not have to be a history lover to enjoy this book.

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