Lucullus – The Life and Campaigns of a Roman Conqueror, Lee Fratantuono

Lucullus – The Life and Campaigns of a Roman Conqueror, Lee Fratantuono

Lucius Lucullus was one of the most important Roman military and political figures in the dying days of the Roman Republic, a supporter of Sulla during the Civil Wars, and a generally successful General who achieved his greatest victories in the East. However he was unable to put a final end to his wars, despite winning a series of impressive victories, and was eventually replaced by Pompey, who thus gained the credit for the final victory in the Third Mithridatic War. Lucullus is thus almost always studied as a supporting character in the stories of either Sulla, Mithridates or Pompey, rather than as a major political figure in his own right.

The main strand of this book is a clear narrative of Lucullus’s life and achievements, with a limited analysis or discussion of the problems of our sources. This is a deliberate choice - the author is aiming at a wider audience, and does point us at much larger and more academic works that would satisfy those who want more detailed analysis. There are some more detailed discussions of key issues in the notes, but these have been presented as book end notes, which is a bit of a pain - chapter end notes would have made them easier to find (and to notice), but it is still useful to have this extra detail.

Most of the book covers his time in the east, fighting Mithridates of Pontus and in Armenia. Lucullus spent a key part of Republican history abroad, and unable to take part in the events that shook the Republic. He was back in time for the formation of the First Triumvirate, but by then his influence had waned.

The author has provided a balanced view of his subject, acknowledging his flaws (in particular his inability to motivate his own troops or to finish off his main opponents) as well as his achievements.

1 - From the Dawn of an Optimate Life
2 - The First Mithridatic War
3 - The Aftermath of War
4 - The Third Mithridatic War
5 - Armenia
6 - Early Retirement?
7 - Twilight Time

Author: Lee Fratantuono
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 188
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2017

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