It is 10 in the morning and on Mont Beuvray (France), dyed in the colors of autumn, only the rustling of the leaves can be heard. The challenge is to overcome the mud; a light splash under the mist that interrupts the voice of Santiago Posteguillo (Valencia, 1967) narrating the different episodes of the Gallic War, the one that began in Bibracte, in the heart of Burgundy.
Although it seems impossible to find out the exact location of the battle, it is in Bibracte where it begins and ends. Damn Rome (Ediciones B), the second of the six installments where the writer delves into the figure of Julius Caesar and which arrives in bookstores this Tuesday. “I tell the unknown of what is already known. From there I build the dramatic irony that hooks the reader and conveys my interest in the subject. The entire saga is a great dramatic irony,” he says. A successful literary project that started with Rome is methe best-selling historical novel in Spain in 2022, exceeding 300,000 copies.
We walk among the remains of the the town of the ancient Gallic city – an ally of the Romans in their struggle against the Helvetians before the betrayal of Vercingetorix – while Posteguillo is linking anecdotes about the legions and the military strategies devised by Caesar at 820 meters above sea level. He also talks, of course, about his intense personal life: of his three wives and countless lovers, of his epileptic attacks in moments of tension and of his bond with Apolonio Molón, his mentor in the art of oratory when he was condemned to exile in Rhodes. “Caesar and Cicero would excel in oratory compared to today’s politicians. In any case, I prefer not to give an opinion beyond the year 476“he laughs.
Santiago Posteguillo is an exceptional guide: from Bibracte he leads us to the Roman theater of Autumn, or what’s left of it. There he explains that Caesar He departed from the usual populist scheme: “he gave the people what they demanded, such as gladiator shows, but he also made an effort to offer them other cultural activities, such as theater performances and exhibitions. Everything was at his expense, he constantly went into debt so as not to resort to the public treasury” .
With Crassus as a creditor, Caesar presented his agrarian reform law on the first day after becoming consul. “It is striking how he went into debt almost 600 million euros at today’s exchange rate to carry out public works, such as reforming the Appian Way,” he says. “We are too accustomed to politicians not fulfilling the promises of the electoral program or waiting until the last year of the legislature to do so.”