Betrayal of a Republic

Betrayal of a Republic is a novel based on historical facts, recounting the demise of the Roman Republic through the eyes and reflections of a woman, Cornelia Africana, mother of the Gracchi brothers and a woman at the zenith of power and influence in the Republic.

The novel is set in the 1st century BCE. At its peak as the sole superpower in the Mediterranean, the Republic of Rome is gripped by an internal crisis, generated by the breakdown of Senate leadership. For the elite, the Republic has become a means for self-enrichment. Land grab, financial scandals, corruption, intrigues and electoral fraud plunge the Republic into a constitutional crisis. The Gracchi brothers try to save the Republic as a union of free men by reclaiming public land for the veterans and restoring the rule of law through an extensive legislative program. Exasperated by their legal actions and political campaigns, Senators and fellow-Tribunes kill both brothers, tearing the Republic apart into warring factions, which ultimately leads to its fall into dictatorship.

In her final years, an aging Cornelia looks back on her life and that of her sons who tried, unsuccessfully, to save the Republic. The story is even more compelling for the parallels it offers with the current superpower politics, the rise of strongmen, financial scandals, the shrinking of the middle class and questions about the future of our democracy. Some historians compare the murder of the Gracchi brothers with the assassination of the Kennedy brothers.

The novel was published in the Netherlands in December 2011. Review in the Journal of Historical Novel Society (of the Dutch novel): See also:

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