The events of this book take place in the late Roman Republic during the years of Caesar's life, from 100 to 44 B.C. At this time, Rome is the pre-eminent power in the Mediterranean area. The city enjoys luxuries and entertainments from many lands and a hitherto unknown degree of material comforts. Yet the strains accompanying its transition from city-state to world power have racked Rome with social and political turmoil for years before Julius Caesar's birth.

(The entire section is 76 words.)