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Search tags: julius-caesar
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review 2019-11-17 16:16
Ideal for the middle school or high school student
Julius Caesar: Dictator for Life (Revised Edition) - Denise Rinaldo

My son is currently studying Roman history at school, and during one of our trips to our local library a couple of weeks ago he picked up as many books about Roman history as he could find. This Julius Caesar biography was among them, and while it's geared to a slightly older group of learners I'm not one to tell someone what they can't read. As soon as we arrived home, though, the books landed on the floor in his room, where they've sat ever since.

 

One of the reasons for this is that reading it wasn't an obligation. While he has a considerable amount of homework every week, he's allowed to choose what he wants to read. Because of this, he usual meets his obligations by reading books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dog Man series, both of which he enjoys greatly. In addition to that, though, he also has a weekly project due that rotates between Literature, Writing, Science, and Current Events. This week Literature came up in the rotation, which means that he has to not just read a book but "respond" to it in some way. I decided to use the assignment to push him to read the Caesar biography, and for it I decided to read it myself.

 

For an adult it's a quick read, with plenty of illustrations and info boxes. Denise Rinaldo does a good job of presenting the basic facts of Caesar's life, with some helpful short-term background information added in for context. Overall, it's a fine introduction for anyone seeking "just the facts" on one of history's big names, and is ideal for the middle-school or high school audience to whom it is geared. Hopefully with a little help an elementary school reader can enjoy it as well!

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url 2019-03-26 15:31
Podcast #141 is up!
The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works - Gaius Julius Caesar,Kurt A. Raaflaub

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it I interview Kurt Raaflaub about his new translation of the works of Julius Caesar (which I reviewed here). Enjoy!

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review 2019-03-20 12:33
An incredibly accessible edition of Caesar's writings
The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works - Gaius Julius Caesar,Kurt A. Raaflaub

Until I purchased this book I had never attempted to read the works of Julius Caesar. And after reading this I'm glad that I waited until now to do so, as I doubt that I would have found them as accessible and comprehensible as Kurt Raaflaub makes them in this translation.

 

The first step is the essay-length biography that serves as the Introduction to the book. In it, Raaflaub gives readers an overview of Caesar's life that is worth reading even for those already familiar with it, as in it Raaflaub provides a helpful context for the books that follow. These he presents in chronological order, starting with Caesar's Gallic Wars and concluding with the Spanish Wars. As Raaflaub explains, the inclusion of the later books in what is termed the "Corpus Caesarianum" represents something of a fudge, as their authorship is increasingly distant from Caesar, with only a few portions of the Alexandrian War based on Caesar's own drafts and the African War and the Spanish War written entirely by other authors, both of whom were likely officers who served in those campaigns. Yet the value of even the later works as firsthand accounts of Caesar's campaigns is enormous, justifying their inclusion here.

 

It is Raaflaub's labors with the translation, though, that make this book such a worthwhile read. Unfamiliar as I am with Caesar's writings, I cannot comment on the quality of the translation from the original Latin or how it compares to the English-language translations undertaken by other scholars. For me the value lay in Raaflaub's extensive footnotes and the supplementary materials he provides. The notes helped provide a modern explanation for the various Roman concepts and names mentioned in the text, while the maps and images provide further context and definition. Best of all, their inclusion within the text itself, with the notes at the bottom of the pages and the maps next to the relevant passages, saves readers from laboriously paging back and forth through the book for them. Together they make Raaflaub's edition an incredibly useful edition of Caesar's works, one that makes his classic account of his campaigns accessible to readers today.

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text 2019-03-15 23:43
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 896 pages.
The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works - Gaius Julius Caesar,Kurt A. Raaflaub

It seemed an appropriate date to start reading this.

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review 2017-09-25 18:13
Julius Caesar / William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar - William Shakespeare
  Politics. Power. Ambition. Backstabbing (Literally).

Shakespeare knew human behaviour well. I thoroughly enjoyed the production that I attended on Sunday. So many lines of this play are still used today! “The fault … is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” “Cowards die many times before their deaths.” “Constant as the northern star.” “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”

And of course, I cannot think of this play without remembering the Canadian comedy team, Wayne & Shuster and their still funny sketch, Rinse the Blood Off My Toga. (Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR_5h... )

Now, join me for a martinus (wait, we’ll need more than one: martini) and we’ll “Beware the Ides of March.”

 

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