The Thorn Birds
The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best-selling novel by the Australian author Colleen McCullough. Set primarily on Drogheda—a fictional sheep station in the Australian Outback named after Drogheda, Ireland—the story focuses on the Cleary family and spans the years 1915 to 1969. In 1983, the novel was adapted into a miniseries that, during its run 27–30 March. The miniseries starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Richard Kiley, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, Philip Anglim and it was directed by Daryl Duke and produced by television veteran David L. Wolper. Although Meggie is a child with curly red-gold hair, she receives little coddling. Of these brothers, her favourite is the eldest, Frank and he is much shorter than his brothers, but very strong, unlike the other Clearys, he has black hair and eyes. Paddy is poor, but has a sister, Mary Carson. One day, Paddy receives a letter from Mary offering him a job on her estate, Ralph has befriended Mary, hoping a hefty enough bequest from her to the Catholic Church might liberate him from his exile.
Ralph is strikingly handsome, a man, who does not bother to conceal her desire for him. Ralph blandly shrugs off these attentions and continues his visits, meanwhile, he cares for all the Clearys and soon learns to cherish beautiful but forlorn little Meggie. Meggie, in return, makes Ralph the centre of her life, franks relationship with his father, has never been peaceful. The two vie for Fees attention, and Frank resents the many pregnancies Paddy makes her endure. One day, after Fee, now in her forties, reveals she is again pregnant, long ago, Fee had been the adored only daughter of a prominent citizen. Then she had an affair with a politician, and the result. Because he resembles her lost love, Fee has always loved Frank more than her other children, to the sorrow of Meggie and Fee, when Frank learns that Paddy is only his stepfather, he runs away to become a prizefighter. Fee gives birth to twin boys and Patrick, shortly afterward, Meggies beloved little brother, dies. With Frank gone and Hal dead, Meggie clings to Ralph more than ever, although her will of record leaves the bulk of her estate to Paddy, she quietly writes a new one, making the Roman Catholic Church the main beneficiary and Ralph the executor.
In the new will, the magnitude of Marys wealth is finally revealed
The Ladies of Missalonghi
Set in the small town of Byron in the Blue Mountains of Australia in the years just before World War I, the novel is the story of Missy Wright and the Hurlingford family. In the years before World War I in Byron and those Hurlingford women without a man due to spinsterhood or widowhood lead cramped lives of hard work and little money on scraps of land or in businesses that just barely support them. With limited funds and suffering bouts of ill health, Missys only consolation are her trips to the library where her distant cousin Una Hurlingford works. Una, a society beauty, has returned to Byron after a life in Sydney. Under Unas tutelage and bolstered by the novels she sneaks home, Missy begins to dream of the world outside Byron. The book had a full cover art and interior illustrations by Peter Chapman. The book closely resembles The Blue Castle, a 1926 novel by L. M. Montgomery, the plot and character details are nearly identical. Gillian Whitlock and Mary Jean DeMarr have described the history of the allegations of plagiarism, the Ladies of Missalonghi ISBN 0-09-170600-9 First edition The Ladies of Missalonghi ISBN 0-06-015739-9 First US edition Les dames de Missalonghi ISBN 2-7144-1998-4 First French edition.
Translated by Marianne Véron The Ladies of Missalonghi ISBN 0-09-953640-4 First paperback edition
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, usually known in English as Pompey /ˈpɒmpiː/ or Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, and his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility, Pompeys immense success as a general while still very young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. His success as a commander in Sullas Second Civil War resulted in Sulla bestowing the nickname Magnus. He was consul three times and celebrated three triumphs, after the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar contended for the leadership of the Roman state, when Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated. His career and defeat are significant in Romes subsequent transformation from Republic to Empire, Pompeys family first gained the position of Consul in 141 BC.
Pompeys father, Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, was an equestrian from Picenum. He fought the Social War against Romes Italian allies and he supported Sulla, who belonged to the optimates, the pro-aristocracy faction, against Marius, who belonged to the populares, in Sullas first civil war. He died during the siege of Rome by the Marians in 87 BC, either as a casualty of an epidemic and his twenty-year-old son Pompey inherited his estates, and the loyalty of his legions. Pompey had served two years under his fathers command, and had participated in the part of the Social War. When his father died, Pompey was put on due to accusations that his father stole public property. As his father’s heir Pompey could be held to account and he discovered that this was committed by one of his fathers freedmen. Following his preliminary bouts with his accuser, the took a liking to Pompey and offered his daughter. Another civil war broke out between the Marians and Sulla, Cassius Dio added that Pompey had sent a detachment to pursue him, but he outstripped them by crossing the River Phasis.
He reached the Maeotis and stayed in the Cimmerian Bosporus and he had his son Machares, who ruled it and gone over to the Romans and recovered that country. Meanwhile, Pompey set up a colony for his soldiers at Nicopolitans in Cappadocia, in Plutarchs account Pompey was invited to invade Armenia by Tigranes’ son, who rebelled against his father. The two men received the submission of several towns, when they got close Artaxata Tigranes, knowing Pompey’s leniency and allowed a Roman garrison in his palace. Pompey offered the restitution of the Armenian territories in Syria, Cilicia, Galatia and he demanded an indemnity and ruled that the son should be king of Sophene
The Grass Crown (novel)
The Grass Crown is the second historical novel in Colleen McCulloughs Masters of Rome series, published in 1991. The novel opens shortly after the action of The First Man in Rome, Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla eat dinner together with their wives, and discuss the threat presented by Mithridates VI of Pontus and Tigranes II of Armenia. Marius and Sulla, still friends and professional colleagues, face the Italian threat together, Marius suffers a serious stroke, and is forced to withdraw from the war. Marius, now an aged and discredited statesman previously dubbed the Third Founder of Rome, is pining for further glory, Sulla feels as though his old mentor is unwilling to step aside and wants to destroy Sullas chance of outshining him. The Senate cites Mariuss age and poor health as a reason to back Sulla, the seeds of serious discord are planted. The Roman comitia quickly becomes a source of conflict between the two men, and leads to Sullas first shocking march on Rome. It leads Gaius Marius to pursue an unprecedented seventh consulship, which he wins and undertakes after suffering a series of strokes, and is depicted in this novel as going mad
Colleen Margaretta McCullough AO was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds. McCullough was born in 1937 in Wellington, in the Central West region of New South Wales, to James and her father was of Irish descent and her mother was a New Zealander of part-Māori descent. During her childhood, the family moved around a great deal and her family eventually settled in Sydney where she attended Holy Cross College, having a strong interest in both science and the humanities. She had a brother, who drowned off the coast of Crete when he was 25 while trying to rescue tourists in difficulty. She based a character in The Thorn Birds on him, before her tertiary education, McCullough earned a living as a teacher and journalist. In her first year of studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and she spent 10 years researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, United States.
While at Yale she wrote her first two books, one of these, The Thorn Birds, became an international best seller that in 1983 inspired one of the most-watched television miniseries of all time. Under his birth name Cedric Newton Ion-Robinson, he was a member of the Norfolk Legislative Assembly and he changed his name formally to Ric Newton Ion Robinson in 2002. McCulloughs 2008 novel, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet engendered controversy with her reworking of characters from Jane Austens Pride, susannah Fullerton, the president of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, said she shuddered that Elizabeth Bennet was rewritten as weak, and Mr Darcy as savage. McCullough died on 29 January 2015, at the age of 77 and she had suffered from failing eyesight due to hemorrhagic macular degeneration, trigeminal neuralgia and uterine cancer, and was confined to a wheelchair. She was buried in a traditional Norfolk Island funeral ceremony at the Emily Bay cemetery on the island, in 1984, a portrait of McCullough, painted by Wesley Walters, was a finalist in the Archibald Prize.
The prize is awarded for the best portrait painting preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, the depth of historical research for the novels on ancient Rome led to her being awarded a Doctor of Letters degree by Macquarie University in 1993. It covers a 14-year period from the novel which was omitted from the first production, Mary Jean DeMarr, Colleen McCullough, A Critical Companion. Greenwood Publishing Group 1996, ISBN 0-313-29499-2
The October Horse
The October Horse is the sixth novel in Colleen McCulloughs Masters of Rome series. The latter stages of The October Horse chronicle the death of Cicero, the emergence of Octavian and his battles with Mark Antony, and conclude with the Battle of Philippi. The title of the book comes from a chariot race in Rome on the Ides of October, after which the right-hand horse of the winning team was sacrificed to the Roman gods. Then two teams, one from the Subura and the other from the Via Sacra, competed for the Horses head, Julius Caesar, figuratively the best war horse in Rome, represents the October Horse in this novel. Gaius Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Marcus Tullius Cicero,2003, paperback 2003, USA, Pocket Books, Pub date. November 2003, paperback 2003, UK, Arrow Books, Pub date 7 August 2003, paperback
Uxellodunum is an iron age hill fort, or oppidum, located above the river Dordogne near the modern-day French village of Vayrac in the Lot department. This stronghold lay within the lands of the Cadurci tribe, according to Aulus Hirtius in his addendum to Julius Caesars Commentaries on the Gallic War, the last revolt against Romes authority in Gaul occurred here, and was brutally punished. The name apparently means high fort, dun is a Celtic word for fort which is to be found in many place-names, the main source of information about the siege in 51 BC is Book 8 of the Commentaries on the Gallic War. The siege is mentioned briefly by the engineer Sextus Julius Frontinus in his book Stratagems, the siege began after Lucterius, the leader of the Cadurci, and Drapes from the Senones, prepared Uxellodunum against a Roman assault. Caesars commander in the area, the legate Gaius Caninius Rebilus, informed by letter of the situation, Caesar decided to take personal charge of the siege. So he decided to all others by making an example of the defenders of Uxellodunum.
All who had borne arms had their hands cut off and were let go. There has been long-running controversy as to the location of Uxellodunum, charles Athanase Walckenaer asserted that Uxellodunum was to be identified with the village of Capdenac on the Lot River. However, archaeological work has since validated the theory that the oppidum in question was at Puy dIssolud, weapons have been found there and features which have been interpreted as relating to the water transfer described in the historical account of the siege. This site was recognised by the French Ministry of Culture in 2001. Various finds from Puy dIssolud are displayed in Martel, Lot at the Musée dUxellodunum, housed in a historic building, there is a Musée Uxellodunum in Vayrac. There have been proposals to develop quality tourism at the site itself, which as at 2008 lacked interpretative material for the visitor
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain that was governed by the Roman Empire, from AD43 to 410. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 and 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars, the Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by other Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had been aiding Caesars enemies. He received tribute, installed a king over the Trinovantes. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34,27, in AD40, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel, only to have them gather seashells. Three years later, Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain, the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni, and organized their conquests as the Province of Britain. By the year 47, the Romans held the lands southeast of the Fosse Way, control over Wales was delayed by reverses and the effects of Boudicas uprising, but the Romans expanded steadily northward. Around 197, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces, Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior, during the Diocletian Reforms, at the end of the 3rd century, Britannia was divided into four provinces under the direction of a vicarius, who administered the Diocese of the Britains.
A fifth province, Valentia, is attested in the 4th century, for much of the period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian invasions and often came under the control of imperial usurpers and imperial pretenders. The final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410, the kingdoms are considered to have formed Sub-Roman Britain after that. Following the conquest of the Britons, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged as the Romans introduced improved agriculture, urban planning, industrial production, after the initial invasions, Roman historians generally only mention Britain in passing. Thus, most present knowledge derives from archaeological investigations and occasional epigraphic evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an emperor, over the centuries Roman citizens settled in Britain from many parts of the Empire, such as Italy, Spain and Algeria. Britain was known to the Classical world, the Greeks and Carthaginians traded for Cornish tin in the 4th century BC, the Greeks referred to the Cassiterides, or tin islands, and placed them near the west coast of Europe.
The Carthaginian sailor Himilco is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC, however, it was regarded as a place of mystery, with some writers refusing to believe it existed at all. The first direct Roman contact was when Julius Caesar undertook two expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, as part of his conquest of Gaul, believing the Britons were helping the Gallic resistance. The second invasion involved a larger force and Caesar coerced or invited many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute. A friendly local king, was installed, and his rival, hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether any tribute was paid after Caesar returned to Gaul. Caesar conquered no territory and left no troops behind but he established clients, Augustus planned invasions in 34,27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, and the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo, writing late in Augustuss reign, claimed that taxes on trade brought in annual revenue than any conquest could
Battle of Pharsalus
The Battle of Pharsalus was a decisive battle of Caesars Civil War. On 9 August 48 BC at Pharsalus in central Greece, Gaius Julius Caesar, Pompey had the backing of a majority of the senators, of whom many were optimates, and his army significantly outnumbered the veteran Caesarian legions. The two armies confronted each other several months of uncertainty, Caesar being in a much weaker position than Pompey. Pompey wanted to delay, knowing the enemy would eventually surrender from hunger, pressured by the senators present and by his officers, he reluctantly engaged in battle and suffered an overwhelming defeat, ultimately fleeing the camp and his men, disguised as an ordinary citizen. Caesar, lacking a fleet to give chase, solidified his control over the western Mediterranean – Spain specifically – before assembling ships to follow Pompey. Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, whom Pompey had appointed to command his 600-ship fleet, set up a blockade to prevent Caesar from crossing to Greece. Caesar, defying convention, chose to cross the Adriatic during the winter and this move surprised Bibulus and the first wave of ships managed to run the blockade easily.
Now prepared, Bibulus managed to prevent any ships from crossing. Caesars only choice was to fortify his position, forage what supplies he could, Pompey by now had a massive international army, his troops were mostly untested raw recruits, while Caesars troops were hardened veterans. Realizing Caesars difficulty in keeping his troops supplied, Pompey decided to simply mirror Caesars forces, Caesar began to despair and used every channel he could think of to pursue peace with Pompey. When this was rebuffed he made an attempt to back to Italy to collect his missing troops but was turned back by a storm. Finally, Mark Antony rallied the forces in Italy, fought through the blockade and made the crossing, reinforcing Caesars forces in both men and spirit. Now at full strength Caesar felt confident to take the fight to Pompey, Pompey was camped in a strong position just south of Dyrrhachium with the sea to his back and surrounded by hills, making a direct assault impossible. Caesar ordered a wall to be built around Pompeys position in order to cut off water, Pompey built a parallel wall and in between a kind of no mans land was created, with fighting comparable to the trench warfare of World War I.
Finally the standoff was broken by a traitor in Caesars army, Pompey immediately exploited this information and forced Caesars army into a full retreat, but ordered his army not to pursue, fearing Caesars reputation for setting elaborate traps. This caused Caesar to remark, Today the victory had been the enemys, had there been any one among them to gain it, Pompey continued his strategy of mirroring Caesars forces and avoiding any direct engagements. After trapping Caesar in Thessaly, the prominent senators in Pompeys camp began to argue loudly for a decisive victory. Although Pompey was strongly against it—he wanted to surround and starve Caesars army instead—he eventually gave in, the date of the actual decisive battle is given as 9 August 48 BC according to the republican calendar