Oh your god? Hanuman? Shiva? Brahman? In regard to what?

Maccullough's portrait of Sulla is somewhat sympathetic, too, while somehow remaining clear on his monstrousness at the same time.

For alternative history, you can also try Kirk Mitchell's "Procurator" series: Procurator

Mithridates was quite a fellow. Interesting rendering in this: The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy

I found Ford's historical novels quite enjoyable, overall - not as dense as the MASTERS OF ROME novels, but still a fun way to absorb a reasonably detailed and well-informed modern version of the history of the period. Always advisable, of course, to check against more serious work. I think I've also mentioned the Robert Harris novels set during the same period, focusing on Cicero - very readable. Fun to compare the re-tellings of the same narratives from vastly different perspectives. You could throw in the HBO ROME series for yet a third fourth modern/post-modern popular version. Something about the ancients never gets old.

I was not aware that there was still Duning going on after all these years.

er... maybe that Caesar story should have been leather- or twine- or ribbon-held scrolls... am not 100% sure how it was done, but I think I've seen several methods depicted in movies.

(Resuming the above dialogue with bob)

Amusing idea. I think George Bernard Shaw had ideas along those lines, too, and compared British English to Latin in that way. But you get into a chicken and egg thing. Reduce the empire, and Latin turns into lazy Italian dialects...

Add this to your concept: I've read - don't know whether it's true or just a tradition - that Caesar is credited with having invented book-binding. The story goes that he was an avid reader as well as a heavy user of written orders and reports, so came up with the idea of binding scrolls together in sheaves - I guess you'd call 'em - instead of stacking them in leather-bound rolls.

Then also consider that Cicero at around the same time - or perhaps his favorite secretary/slave - was inventing dictation and shorthand for the purpose of recording and working on his famous speeches.

So key innovations driven by practical need, realized for world-historical individuals. Necessity mother of invention and all.

bob: some kind of collapse from which some kind of Rome could recover, as neither Republic nor Empire.

That would pose a challenge for the strong geographical/materialist/determinist view. Was someone destined - at the level of technology generally characteristic of the ancient world - to dominate the known world via a critical position on the Mediterranean? Is there good reason why Italy was likely to take a turn, and at that time, given the predicaments of potential competitors? Could be! That would imply that if Caesar had died in Gaul, sooner or later someone else or some line of lesser Caesars would likely have occupied approximately the same hinge position historically.

bob: I guess my thought is to highlight the common rhetorical strategy of Ceasar and Robin’s conservatives. “I am what stands between you and the three headed chaos so my tyranny is just because it is necessary.”

That they say it doesn't make it untrue. It also means that occasions arise in which their saying it helps them politically - and, going back to Hobbes/Schmitt, it may be definitional for the political. It it isn't, then the alternatives by my count would be 1) some version of the embrace of chaos, including total skepticism; 2) Hegelian/messianic progressivism, having in common some notion of the movement, ideal or real or both, toward the end of politics; 3) the classical view, of the endless degenerative cycle. In the extreme case they all may meet up somewhere, or determine each other.

There's an awful lot of classical history as well as philosophy against that view. Without Caesar, things obviously would have had to develop differently, but, in addition to the pre-existing weakness and gross instability that provided him with an opening, the fact that neither his assassination nor any subsequent efforts restored the Republic supports the (over)deterministic perspective on its obsolescence.

Even apart from economic, geographical, military, and technological problems - which may sooner or later always re-appear - it remains a key premise of classical political science, not yet definitively overturned by our perhaps wishful modern alternatives, that democratic forms of government always sooner or later decay into oligarchy and other non-democratic, non-republican variants. Modern systems theory may also support this perspective. Our reluctance to accept it may in part be explained by our own status as citizen-beneficiaries of our own deteriorating mega-republic.

Interesting - and Caesar was by most accounts a unique individual uniquely suited to the times, but the Republic had been already been falling for many years, having absorbed blow after blow to its traditions and integrity, while also proving ill-suited to and its increasingly imperial character. This standard historical view also provides a basis for the idea of Caesar's seizure of power being in some sense just as well as necessary.

Militarily intervening against Congress itself, rather than merely without receving formal approval, might be worthy of the name Caesarism. What Obama has done - in making a few appointments to existing agencies under his preferred interpretation of the relevant law - is much further from Caesarism than Republican sabotage of those same agencies is from Nullification, but I'm persuaded that neither term applies.

There was a rumor going around, flatly denied, that Obama was intending to use a similar maneuver to mount a major home mortgage relief effort. That would have been much more aggressive and risky than either these appointments or, in a different way, from supporting the international Libyan intervention in the way that he did. He exploited a gray area frequently exploited by presidents, sometimes much more egregiously, or in the face of clearly stated and duly passed legislation: Iran-Contra, on both ends of the plot, FDR's pre-WW2 maneuvers to help our future allies, Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and military occupation of Baltimore, several much smaller-scaled interventions.

The War Powers Act has never, I don't believe, been put to the absolute test anyway. It would be interesting to see some serious, popular, congress-hating president launch an attack on the Budget Act, which is even more constraining on the powers of the presidency.

I'm not sure that Paul has a coherent position on the subject. On the historical issues, he has called the Civil War a "senseless conflict," and has argued that economics would have taken care of slavery. It's a popular or at least frequently enunciated position among right-libertarians. I think he's enough of a constitutionalist, however, that he considers actual amendments to the Constitution to be binding, even if they represent an undesirable expansion of federal power. Differing libertarians might react to slavery itself differently, though I think most today view it is obviously anti-liberty to declare any person to be somebody else's property. What they would do about it is I think confined to taking their business elsewhere.

It's not clear to me that you understand what the debatable term "nullification" is meant to refererence. Either way, I thought my discussion above was fairly even-handed, all things considered.

Your point being that Pelosi had much better reasons for opposing use of recess appointment for Bolton than the Rs have in the current situation?