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Book Reviews: Caesar’s Women + Caesar

Caesar’s Women by Colleen McCullough
The 4th in the ‘Masters Of Rome’ saga sees Caesar continue his rise. He is lamentably popular and has an international mission to conquer. Pompey and Crassus work together and events move toward the prescribed future. There are loads and loads and loads of characters who plot, screw, die and are wilful and utterly unfit to live.

Caesar has a career long fondness for intensity and is intimidating to the various women in his life. Brutus and his mother are pugnacious. Women simper over Caesar who uses them and casts them aside with shocking expediency. People have guilty intent and no consideration. This 1996 novel was ponderous, full of bad drawings and exposition. McCullough is reverent towards Caesar and this causes the book to be boring, over-written and sexist. Why is the whole issue of slavery ignored? What do the slaves make of their lords and masters?

Best Lines:
“Has everyone forgotten how our Gaius Caesar lost his virginity? Face down on a couch in the palace of King Nicomedes,”

“Respectable men lift their tunics and squat to defecate in the street when a public latrine is in full sight!”

“Cato the censor would weep. Then he would go home and hang himself. Oh, how often I have to resist the temptation to do the same!”
“Don’t, Cato, don’t resist it a moment longer!”

“Yield unmentionable orifices to unmentionable acts.”

“Putting decency back as our highest priority!”

“How can a state be strong, how can it contemplate ruling the world, when the men who ruin it are degenerate, decadent, filthy,”

“Women bear and mother children, they have no other use!”

“The height of a man’s glory!”

~
Caesar by Colleen McCullough
This 1998 novel in the ‘Masters Of Rome’ saga is wretchedly poor. Caesar rampages in Gaul, marches on Rome, becomes a ranting dictator and his 2 non-BFFs Crassus and Pompey die in badly written fashion. Meanwhile in Egypt, Cleopatra fights to keep her crown safe from malign influences. Caesar is a self-reliant tool who is a dreadful person.

People rant and rave and events are heading toward their bitter conclusion. This was absolute rubbish. Everyone is terrible, there is exposition and people fail to grasp the enormity of their responsibilities. Caesar’s reputation is waning and there is more sexism, war, death and bad writing.

Best Lines:
“They’ve taught her to despise clothes, manners, good food and good conversation.”

“You’ll all walk in my triumph.”

“Non-belligerents-”

“Throw her out on the streets where she belongs!”

“We walk to Alexandria,”

“I can’t tell what’s him and what’s wood.”

“Rid me of this Caesar!”
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