Caesar’s Civil War 49-44 BC, Adrian Goldsworthy

Caesar’s Civil War 49-44 BC, Adrian Goldsworthy

We start with a useful overview of the history of the Republic, looking at the system as it was meant to work, and then it’s slow collapse into civil war as the rivalry between Marius and Sulla turned into open conflict. We then look at the triumvirate, the rise of Caesar, and the events that left him with a choice between risking trial and exile or civil war.

The chapter on the two sides only has to look at the standard Roman army of the period, as both sides used the same troops.

After that we move onto a good account of the civil war itself, which saw Caesar campaigning around most of the Roman world, starting in Italy, then Spain, Greece, Egypt, Pontus, Africa and finally Spain again.

There is then a brief gap in the conflict, as we look at Caesar’s brief period as dictator back in Rome, a busy few months that saw him reform many aspects of Roman life and plan for a campaign in the east, before being murdered.

We end with a look at the brief civil war that followed the assassination of Caesar, and saw the formation of the Second Triumvirate of Anthony, Octavian and Lepidus and the defeat of Caesar’s assassins at Philippi, and the final burst of fighting between Octavian and Anthony,

Goldsworthy has produced a useful book on this pivotal civil war, with a good balance between the political side of the story and the military, while at the same time acknowledging the limits of our knowledge of Caesar’s true motives and intentions.

Background to war – The First Triumvirate
Warring Sides – Legion against Legion
Outbreak – Crossing the Rubicon
The Fighting – Civil War
The World Around War – A Mediterranean war
How the War Ended – The Ides of March
Conclusion and Consequences – Civil Wars and the end of the Republic

Author: Adrian Goldsworthy
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 144
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2023

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