n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Gaius Marius : a political biography, Richard Evans : book review

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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Evans seeks to portray Marius as 'a politician of inestimable capability' (174) and he sees the work of this consummate politician as the cause of the beginning of the fall of the Roman Republic. He would transfer to Marius the epithet which Badian applied to Sulla, 'The Deadly Reformer'.

The book is sub-titled 'a political biography', and thus, in intention, Evans is closer to Sallust than to Plutarch, and in the best tradition of the of Graeco-Roman historiography Evans claims that a study of his subject is fundamental to an understanding of the political history of that era, and also 'to an awareness of the constant evolution which inevitably hurtled the Republic, from its inception, towards an autocracy' (p. xii). Evans was here unwise to abandon Sallust for hyperbole.

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