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The First Man in Rome: A Novel by Colleen McCullough

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“The First Man in Rome” is a historical novel by Colleen McCullough, first published in 1990. The story chronicles the life of Gaius Marius, a Roman general and politician of the late 2nd century BC and early 1st century BC. It is the first book in McCullough’s Masters of Rome series.

front page of the novel the first man in Rome by colleen mcCullough.

Gaius Marius was born to a poor family in the Italian town of Arpinum. He rose to prominence through his military career, serving as consul seven times and winning several major victories against foreign enemies, including the Numidian king Jugurtha and the Cimbri tribe. His reforms to the Roman army helped it become a more effective fighting force, and his political alliances with influential men such as Lucius Cornelius Sulla ensured his rise to power.

However, Marius’ enemies eventually brought about his downfall, and he died in exile in 86 BC.

There are very few historical novels that can rival Colleen McCullough’s masterpiece, The First Man in Rome. This novel is the first in her highly acclaimed Masters of Rome series and tells the story of Gaius Marius, a man who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most powerful men in Rome. Although he was not born into a wealthy or influential family, Marius had a natural talent for military strategy and quickly rose through the ranks of the Roman army.

He proved himself to be a brave and capable leader during his campaigns against the Numidians and Cimbri, and eventually became consul – the highest office in the Roman Republic. As consul, Marius initiated a series of reforms that increased the power of the common people at the expense of the aristocracy. He also controversially allowed landless citizens to join the army, which helped to swell its ranks with loyal supporters.

Marius’s populist policies made him immensely popular with ordinary Romans but earned him enemies among the ruling class. His growing power and popularity eventually led to his downfall, but not before he changed the course of Roman history forever. The First Man in Rome is an epic novel that brings to life one of ancient history’s most fascinating characters.

If you’re looking for an engrossing read that will keep you hooked from start to finish, then this is definitely the book for you!

What is the First Man in Rome About?

The First Man in Rome is a historical novel by author Colleen McCullough, first published in 1990. The story covers the life of Gaius Marius, a Roman general and statesman who lived through the fall of the Roman Republic. The book begins with Marius’s childhood in rural Italy and his early career as a soldier.

It chronicles his military successes against Numidian raiders and Germanic tribes, as well as his political rivalry with Lucius Cornelius Sulla. The novel culminates with Marius’s victory over Mithridates VI of Pontus and the subsequent collapse of the Republic. Critics have praised The First Man in Rome for its accurate portrayal of historical events and its complex characters.

However, some reviewers have criticized the novel for its slow pacing and dense prose.

Is Masters of Rome Historically Accurate?

“Masters of Rome”, a series of novels by Colleen McCullough, is a work of historical fiction set in the late Roman Republic. The story follows the lives of several major characters, including Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, and Julius Caesar. The novel has been praised for its historical accuracy, with one reviewer writing that “McCullough has done her homework” and that the book is “a convincing picture of life in Rome during the 1st century BC”.

However, others have criticized the novel for its lack of accuracy, claiming that it contains numerous historical errors. It is difficult to judge how accurate Masters of Rome really is without knowing more about Colleen McCullough’s research methods and sources. However, given that it is a work of fiction, it is likely that some elements have been embellished or fictionalized for dramatic effect.

Colleen Mccullough Books in Order

Colleen McCullough was an Australian author who wrote 27 novels in a variety of genres. McCullough is best known for her historical fiction, such as The Thorn Birds and The First Man in Rome. However, she also wrote mysteries, romances, and even a science fiction novel.

Below is a list of all of Colleen McCullough’s books in order of publication:

The Thorn Birds (1977)

An Indecent Obsession (1981)

A Creed for the Third Millennium (1985)

The Ladies of Missalonghi (1987)

The Song of Troy (1998)

Morgan’s Run (2000)

Angels Fall (2002)


The First Man in Rome is a historical fiction novel by Colleen McCullough. The novel tells the story of Gaius Marius, a Roman general and politician who lived during the 2nd century BC. The novel chronicles Marius’s life from his humble beginnings as a member of the lower class to his eventual rise to power as one of Rome’s most influential leaders.

The First Man in Rome is considered to be one of McCullough’s best works, and it won her several awards, including the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal.

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