Crassus: The First Tycoon (Ancient Lives)

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Crassus: The First Tycoon (Ancient Lives)

Crassus: The First Tycoon (Ancient Lives)

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Crassus is the least known of the Triumvirate of the Late Republic so this book likely fills th gap between all that is written about Pompey and Caesar. Crassus's vanity and a desire to achieve something on the battlefield worthy of being welcomed back to Rome with a Triumph -- not accorded to him for the defeat of Spartacus -- drives him to his death and many of his men in faraway Parthia. Romans saw the value of precious metals but also the danger of mining them—for pollution of mind and the land.

Since the Romans were certain that their country was the greatest country of its time, the underground wealth had surely to be somewhere. Marcus Licinius Crassus (115–53 BCE) was a modern man in an ancient world, a pioneer disrupter of finance and politics, and the richest man of the last years of the Roman republic. Here he cleverly explores the life of one of the most puzzling and elusive 'big men' in the history of Rome, and why it matters. Crassus usually appears in biographies of Caesar or Spartacus, so it was interesting to read a book focusing on the man himself. It was only on the second reading that I noticed all the similarities between the structure and style of this book and of an Aristotelian tragedy and began really to appreciate it as such.

Stothard’s biographical history is erudite yet written in an easy-to-read style honed by years as an editor, journalist, and critic. If historical writing has shifted attention from the privileged and powerful in recent years, hovering over the lives of outsiders and the disenfranchised, Crassus yanks that pendulum right from its socket. Eighteen years after rising to the public’s attention for ending Spartacus’ revolt, Caesar’s one-time banker and Rome’s former head of state departed for the Tigris and Euphrates with mad imperialist designs of annexing Parthia to Rome. He purchased the election of priests, even investing spectacular sums to make Caesar chief priest, the pontifex maximus, as a counterweight to the power of Pompey.

The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products.The central message is a topical one - even if someone is good at amassing wealth and political clout, they may be very bad at war. Crassus is best known as the richest man of Rome and member of the First Triumvirate together with Caesar and Pompey. Rome’s richest man, memorably played by Laurence Olivier in the film of Spartacus, owned most of the city and its surroundings in the first half of the first century BCE.

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