Roma (Rome Series #1)

( 168 )

Overview

Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.

     Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city’s first thousand years — from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome’s astonishing ascent ...

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Roma (Rome Series #1)

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Overview

Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.

     Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city’s first thousand years — from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome’s astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history. Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome’s republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.

     Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome’s first families, the Potitius and Pinarius clans:  One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself.

     Epic in every sense of the word, Roma is a panoramic historical saga and Saylor’s finest achievement to date.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Author of the critically acclaimed Roma Sub Rosa series of historical mysteries, Saylor (The Judgment of Caesar) breaks out on an epic scale in this sprawling novel tracing Rome's extraordinary development over five centuries, as seen through the eyes of succeeding generations of one of its founding families. Skipping over several generations at a time, Saylor puts the Potitii family descendants at the side of Romulus and Remus at the official founding of the city; of Scipio Africanus during the Punic Wars; of the legendary reformers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus during the turbulent second-century B.C.; and of Julius and Augustus Caesar as the Republic ebbs into Empire. Solidly anchored in fact and vividly imagined, this long book moves at a sprightly clip and features some vibrant personages. One of the most memorable is Pinaria, a Vestal Virgin who loses her innocence to a enigmatic slave, and secondaries such as the deformed giant Cacus who terrorizes the early Roman settlement. Linked by blood and by a gold amulet (in the shape of a winged phallus) that is passed from generation to generation, the Potitii family gets to see some fascinating things. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, and before that, what? If all you recall is Romulus and Remus, here is a more complete story of the founding of Rome, from 1000 B.C.E. to the much more familiar territory of Julius Caesar and his successor in 1 B.C.E. Many customs and legends lingering into the Empire era have their original explanation here, such as the sacred geese or the building of various temples. The city's fictionalized history is likewise full of original source material, which relates, the author notes, "uncannily familiar political struggles and partisan machinations." Class warfare, nepotism, and moral and theological battles dogged the development of this often idealized Roman Republic, and a truly remarkable propensity for cruelty and merciless judgment foreshadows the later Empire. Unlike Saylor's popular mysteries, this work compares more to Edward Rutherfurd's Londonas it focuses on crucial incidents in the intervening centuries. Two families of ancient origin who pass an amulet onto the next generation provide continuity. This work will attract a different fan base from Saylor's other work (e.g., Arms of Nemesis) but should prove appealing to history and political buffs who enjoy comparing our current events with ancient Rome. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/06.]
—Mary K. Bird-Guilliams Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Library Journal
Saylor takes a detour from the mysteries he sets in ancient Rome to spin a saga of the city. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Roma resurrects the world's greatest city state, but also puts human flesh on the bones of history and installs a beating heart sizzling with passion. Fans of Steven Saylor will savor this novel; fans of ancient Rome will thrill to Saylor's in—depth understanding of Roman lifeways and be dazzled by the speed and sureness of the story . . . The shades of nobles, plebes, tribunes, and emperors past surely are united in giving him a thumbs up.”—Kilian Melloy, Edge (Boston)

“A modern master of historical fiction, Saylor has built his reputation on an ongoing series of ancient-world mysteries that have cumulatively and poignantly traced the collapse of the Roman republic. Now the well-regarded author stretches to even more epic goals for Roma. . . . In content and scope, Roma calls to mind James Michener's bestselling string of mammoth popular histories . . . In literary tone, however, and in its attempt to posit a plausible truth beneath Rome's well-worn myths, it invites comparison to such landmarks of the genre as Mary Renault's The King Must Die. Writing in a spare, elegant style shorn of excess description, Saylor convincingly transports us into the ancient world . . . What Saylor has produced is not just the history of Rome, but the history of history—of the way fact is buried by myth and of the way societies cling to traditions even when the meanings behind them are lost to memory . . . by the end, those stories have cohered into one, enthralling whole.”—USAToday

“Livy meets Michener in this sprawling, episodic 1000-year novel of the rise of ancient Rome from its first settlement to the assassination of Julius Caesar . . . Saylor's gift for dramatic narrative brings alive familiar tales from Roman history.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Author of the critically acclaimed Roma Sub Rosa series of historical mysteries, Saylor breaks out on an epic scale in this sprawling novel tracing Rome's extraordinary development over five centuries. . . . Solidly anchored in fact and vividly imagined, this long book moves at a sprightly clip and features some vibrant personages."—Publishers Weekly

“Before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic, and before that, what? If all you recall is Romulus and Remus, here is a more complete story of the founding of Rome, from 1000 B.C.E. to the much more familiar territory of Julius Caesar and his successor in 1 B.C.E. Many customs and legends lingering into the Empire era have their original explanation here, such as the sacred geese or the building of various temples. The city's fictionalized history is likewise full of original source material, which relates, the author notes, ‘uncannily familiar political struggles and partisan machinations.’ Class warfare, nepotism, and moral and theological battles dogged the development of this often idealized Roman Republic, and a truly remarkable propensity for cruelty and merciless judgment foreshadows the later Empire. Unlike Saylor's popular mysteries, this work compares more to Edward Rutherfurd's London as it focuses on crucial incidents in the intervening centuries. Two families of ancient origin who pass an amulet onto the next generation provide continuity. This work will attract a different fan base from Saylor's other work but should prove appealing to history and political buffs who enjoy comparing our current events with ancient Rome.”—Mary K. Bird-Guilliams, Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615583430
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2008
  • Series: Rome Series , #1
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Saylor is the author of the long running Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder. He has appeared as an on-air expert on Roman history and life on The History Channel. Saylor was born in Texas and graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and classics. He divides his time between Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

Roma

The Novel of Ancient Rome
By Saylor, Steven

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2007 Saylor, Steven
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312328313

Chapter One A Stop on the Salt Route 1000 B.C. As they rounded a bend in the path that ran beside the river, Lara recognized the silhouette of a fig tree atop a nearby hill. The weather was hot and the days were long. The fig tree was in full leaf, but not yet bearing fruit. Soon Lara spotted other landmarks—an outcropping of limestone beside the path that had a silhouette like a man’s face, a marshy spot beside the river where the waterfowl were easily startled, a tall tree that looked like a man with his arms upraised. They were drawing near to the place where there was an island in the river. The island was a good spot to make camp. They would sleep on the island tonight. Lara had been back and forth along the river path many times in her short life. Her people had not created the path—it had always been there, like the river—but their deerskin-shod feet and the wooden wheels of their handcarts kept the path well worn. Lara’s people were salt traders, and their livelihood took them on a continual journey. At the mouth of the river, the little group of half a dozen intermingled families gathered salt from the great salt beds beside the sea. They groomed and sifted the salt and loaded it into handcarts. When the carts were full, most of thegroup would stay behind, taking shelter amid rocks and simple lean-tos, while a band of fifteen or so of the heartier members set out on the path that ran alongside the river. With their precious cargo of salt, the travelers crossed the coastal lowlands and traveled toward the mountains. But Lara’s people never reached the mountaintops; they traveled only as far as the foothills. Many people lived in the forests and grassy meadows of the foothills, gathered in small villages. In return for salt, these people would give Lara’s people dried meat, animal skins, cloth spun from wool, clay pots, needles and scraping tools carved from bone, and little toys made of wood. Their bartering done, Lara and her people would travel back down the river path to the sea. The cycle would begin again. It had always been like this. Lara knew no other life. She traveled back and forth, up and down the river path. No single place was home. She liked the seaside, where there was always fish to eat, and the gentle lapping of the waves lulled her to sleep at night. She was less fond of the foothills, where the path grew steep, the nights could be cold, and views of great distances made her dizzy. She felt uneasy in the villages, and was often shy around strangers. The path itself was where she felt most at home. She loved the smell of the river on a hot day, and the croaking of frogs at night. Vines grew amid the lush foliage along the river, with berries that were good to eat. Even on the hottest day, sundown brought a cool breeze off the water, which sighed and sang amid the reeds and tall grasses. Of all the places along the path, the area they were approaching, with the island in the river, was Lara’s favorite. The terrain along this stretch of the river was mostly flat, but in the immediate vicinity of the island, the land on the sunrise side was like a rumpled cloth, with hills and ridges and valleys. Among Lara’s people, there was a wooden baby’s crib, suitable for strapping to a cart, that had been passed down for generations. The island was shaped like that crib, longer than it was wide and pointed at the upriver end, where the flow had eroded both banks. The island was like a crib, and the group of hills on the sunrise side of the river were like old women mantled in heavy cloaks gathered to have a look at the baby in the crib—that was how Lara’s father had once described the lay of the land. Larth spoke like that all the time, conjuring images of giants and monsters in the landscape. He could perceive the spirits, called numina, that dwelled in rocks and trees. Sometimes he could speak to them and hear what they had to say. The river was his oldest friend and told him where the fishing would be best. From whispers in the wind he could foretell the next day’s weather. Because of such skills, Larth was the leader of the group. “We’re close to the island, aren’t we, Papa?” said Lara. “How did you know?” “The hills. First we start to see the hills, off to the right. The hills grow bigger. And just before we come to the island, we can see the silhouette of that fig tree up there, along the crest of that hill.” “Good girl!” said Larth, proud of his daughter’s memory and powers of observation. He was a strong, handsome man with flecks of gray in his black beard. His wife had borne several children, but all had died very young except Lara, the last, whom his wife had died bearing. Lara was very precious to him. Like her mother, she had golden hair. Now that she had reached the age of childbearing, Lara was beginning to display the fullness of a woman’s hips and breasts. It was Larth’s greatest wish that he might live to see his own grandchildren. Not every man lived that long, but Larth was hopeful. He had been healthy all his life, partly, he believed, because he had always been careful to show respect to the numina he encountered on his journeys. Respecting the numina was important. The numen of the river could suck a man under and drown him. The numen of a tree could trip a man with its roots, or drop a rotten branch on his head. Rocks could give way underfoot, chuckling with amusement at their own treachery. Even the sky, with a roar of fury, sometimes sent down fingers of fire that could roast a man like a rabbit on a spit, or worse, leave him alive but robbed of his senses. Larth had heard that the earth itself could open and swallow a man; though he had never actually seen such a thing, he nevertheless performed a ritual each morning, asking the earth’s permission before he went striding across it. “There’s something so special about this place,” said Lara, gazing at the sparkling river to her left and then at the rocky, tree-spotted hills ahead and to her right. “How was it made? Who made it?” Larth frowned. The question made no sense to him. A place was never made, it simply was. Small features might change over time. Uprooted by a storm, a tree might fall into the river. A boulder might decide to tumble down the hillside. The numina that animated all things went about reshaping the landscape from day to day, but the essential things never changed, and had always existed: the river, the hills, the sky, the sun, the sea, the salt beds at the mouth of the river. He was trying to think of some way to express these thoughts to Lara, when a deer, drinking at the river, was startled by their approach. The deer bolted up the brushy bank and onto the path. Instead of running to safety, the creature stood and stared at them. As clearly as if the animal had whispered aloud, Larth heard the words “Eat me.” The deer was offering herself. Larth turned to shout an order, but the most skilled hunter of the group, a youth called Po, was already in motion. Po ran forward, raised the sharpened stick he always carried and hurled it whistling through the air between Larth and Lara. A heartbeat later, the spear struck the deer’s breast with such force that the creature was knocked to the ground. Unable to rise, she thrashed her neck and flailed her long, slender legs. Po ran past Larth and Lara. When he reached the deer, he pulled the spear free and stabbed the creature again. The deer released a stifled noise, like a gasp, and stopped moving. There was a cheer from the group. Instead of yet another dinner of fish from the river, tonight there would be venison.   The distance from the riverbank to the island was not great, but at this time of year—early summer—the river was too high to wade across. Lara’s people had long ago made simple rafts of branches lashed together with leather thongs, which they left on the riverbanks, repairing and replacing them as needed. When they last passed this way, there had been three rafts, all in good condition, left on the east bank. Two of the rafts were still there, but one was missing. “I see it! There—pulled up on the bank of the island, almost hidden among those leaves,” said Po, whose eyes were sharp. “Someone must have used it to cross over.” “Perhaps they’re still on the island,” said Larth. He did not begrudge others the use of the rafts, and the island was large enough to share. Nonetheless, the situation required caution. He cupped his hands to his mouth and gave a shout. It was not long before a man appeared on the bank of the island. The man waved. “Do we know him?” said Larth, squinting. “I don’t think so,” said Po. “He’s young—my age or younger, I’d say. He looks strong.” “Very strong!” said Lara. Even from this distance, the young stranger’s brawniness was impressive. He wore a short tunic without sleeves, and Lara had never seen such arms on a man. Po, who was small and wiry, looked at Lara sidelong and frowned. “I’m not sure I like the look of this stranger.” “Why not?” said Lara. “He’s smiling at us.” In fact, the young man was smiling at Lara, and Lara alone.   His name was Tarketios. Much more than that, Larth could not tell, for the stranger spoke a language which Larth did not recognize, in which each word seemed as long and convoluted as the man’s name. Understanding the deer had been easier than understanding the strange noises uttered by this man and his two companions! Even so, they seemed friendly, and the three of them presented no threat to the more numerous salt traders. Tarketios and his two older companions were skilled metalworkers from a region some two hundred miles to the north, where the hills were rich with iron, copper, and lead. They had been on a trading journey to the south and were returning home. Just as the river path carried Larth’s people from the seashore to the hills, so another path, perpendicular to the river, traversed the long coastal plain. Because the island provided an easy place to ford the river, it was here that the two paths intersected. On this occasion, the salt traders and the metal traders happened to arrive at the island on the same day. Now they met for the first time. The two groups made separate camps at opposite ends of the island. As a gesture of friendship, speaking with his hands, Larth invited Tarketios and the others to share the venison that night. As the hosts and their guests feasted around the roasting fire, Tarketios tried to explain something of his craft. Firelight glittered in Lara’s eyes as she watched Tarketios point at the flames and mime the act of hammering. Firelight danced across the flexing muscles of his arms and shoulders. When he smiled at her, his grin was like a boast. She had never seen teeth so white and so perfect. Po saw the looks the two exchanged and frowned. Lara’s father saw the same looks and smiled.   The meal was over. The metal traders, after many gestures of gratitude for the venison, withdrew to their camp at the far side of the island. Before he disappeared into the shadows, Tarketios looked over his shoulder and gave Lara a parting grin. While the others settled down to sleep, Larth stayed awake a while longer, as was his habit. He liked to watch the fire. Like all other things, fire possessed a numen that sometimes communicated with him, showing him visions. As the last of the embers faded into darkness, Larth fell asleep. Larth blinked. The flames, which had dwindled to almost nothing, suddenly shot up again. Hot air rushed over his face. His eyes were seared by white flames brighter than the sun. Amid the dazzling brightness, he perceived a thing that levitated above the flames. It was a masculine member, disembodied but nonetheless rampant and upright. It bore wings, like a bird, and hovered in midair. Though it seemed to be made of flesh, it was impervious to the flames. Larth had seen the winged phallus before, always in such circumstances, when he stared at a fire and entered a dream state. He had even given it a name, or more precisely, the thing had planted its name in his mind: Fascinus. Fascinus was not like the numina that animated trees, stones, or rivers. Those numina existed without names. Each was bound to the object in which it resided, and there was little to differentiate one from another. When such numina spoke, they could not always be trusted. Sometimes they were friendly, but at other times they were mischievous or even hostile. Fascinus was different. It was unique. It existed in and of itself, without beginning or end. Clearly, from its form, it had something to do with life and the origin of life, yet it seemed to come from a place beyond this world, slipping for a few moments through a breach opened by the heat of the dancing flames. An appearance by Fascinus was always significant. The winged phallus never appeared without giving Larth an answer to a dilemma that had been troubling him, or planting an important new thought in his mind. The guidance given to him by Fascinus had never led Larth astray. Elsewhere, in distant lands—Greece, Israel, Egypt—men and women worshiped gods and goddesses. Those people made images of their gods, told stories about them, and worshiped them in temples. Larth had never met such people. He had never even heard of the lands where they lived, and he had never encountered or conceived of a god. The very concept of a deity such as those other men worshiped was unknown to Larth, but the closest thing to a god in his imagination and experience was Fascinus. With a start, he blinked again. The flames had died. In place of intolerable brightness there was only the darkness of a warm summer night lit by the faintest sliver of a moon. The air on his face was no longer hot but fresh and cool. Fascinus had vanished—but not without planting a thought in Larth’s mind. He hurried to the leafy bower beside the river where Lara liked to sleep, thinking to himself, It must be made so, because Fascinus says it must! He knelt beside her, but there was no need to wake her. She was already awake. “Papa? What is it?” “Go to him!” She did not need to ask for an explanation. It was what she had been yearning to do, lying restless and eager in the dark. “Are you sure, Papa?” “Fascinus . . . ,” He did not finish the thought, but she understood. She had never seen Fascinus, but he had told her about it. Many times in the past, Fascinus had given guidance to her father. Now, once again, Fascinus had made its will known. The darkness did not deter her. She knew every twist and turn of every path on the little island. When she came to the metal trader’s camp, she found Tarketios lying in a leafy nook secluded from the others; she recognized him by his brawny silhouette. He was awake and waiting, just as she had been lying awake, waiting, when her father came to her. At her approach, Tarketios rose onto his elbows. He spoke her name in a whisper. There was a quiver of something like desperation in his voice; his neediness made her smile. She sighed and lowered herself beside him. By the faint moonlight, she saw that he wore an amulet of some sort, suspended from a strap of leather around his neck. Nestled amid the hair on his chest, the bit of shapeless metal seemed to capture and concentrate the faint moonlight, casting back a radiance brighter than the moon itself. His arms—the arms she had so admired earlier—reached out and closed around her in a surprisingly gentle embrace. His body was as warm and naked as her own, but much bigger and much harder. She wondered if Fascinus was with them in the darkness, for she seemed to feel the beating of wings between their legs as she was entered by the thing that gave origin to life. Copyright © 2007 by Steven Saylor. All rights reserved.
 

Continues...

Excerpted from Roma by Saylor, Steven Copyright © 2007 by Saylor, Steven. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Questions

1) What did you know about ancient Rome before reading this novel? Did this book teach you something new or change your impression of this important chapter in the world’s history of civilization?

2) Which characters in the book are the most memorable, and why? Which characters were makers of history? Which characters were victims of history?

3) In what ways is the city of Rome itself a character in this novel?

4) Why do modern readers enjoy novels about the past? Which is more important, the ability of a historical novel to educate or to entertain? How does ROMA compare with other historical novels you’ve read (as a group or on your own)?

5) What comparisons can be drawn between Roman politics, religion, and foreign policy and those of the United States? The Romans overthrew their monarchy and established a republic, but the Roman Republic ended with the rise of an all-powerful autocrat. Do you think the American 'republic' could ever come to an end as well?

6) In ROMA, certain ceremonies—like the celebration of the sacred geese and ritual punishment of a dog to mark an episode in the capture of the city by the Gauls—endure through the centuries, even when their original significance becomes hazy. Are there any rituals we practice today, even though we can’t explain what they mean or how they began?

7) Two thousand years later, why is there still such a widespread fascination with Rome? What elements of that enduring fascination are captured or evoked by the novel?

8) We are taught, as young readers, that every story has a moral. Is there a “moral” to ROMA? What can we learn about our world—and ourselves—from this book?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 168 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(67)

4 Star

(58)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 169 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    Welcome to Ancient Rome

    Steven Saylor, known for his popular detective series set in ancient Rome, tackles a more ambitious project here. He traces the history of two fictional families from before the founding of Rome to the assassination of Julius Caesar, a period of about 1000 years. I believe this format has been done better by Michener and Rutherfurd. Yet Mr. Saylor does a respectable job of telling the story, and the book is enjoyable. The characters are well-portrayed, the most appealing and moving for me being the crippled aristocrat Kaeso, who is compelled to hide his sexual orientation from society, with tragic consequences. There are acts of heroism and cruelty both in this lengthy saga, though credit goes to the author for keeping graphic violence to a minimum. Unlike most sword-and-sandal fiction, there are no battlefield scenes. The author prefers to focus on setting, character, and plot. This is a fine addition to historical fiction of the period.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    Roma

    This was a great find. I am someone who loves historical dramas. If you know someone that enjoys reading historical drama literature, this would make a wonderful gift. 1000 years of early Roman history. Who knew it would be informative as well as a good read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    Brilliant research and understanding of the reality of Roman life.

    History is a list of facts, illuminated by whatever prejudice or political venues of it's writers. Saylor has given life to history through his brilliant research with humanity, thoughtfulness, and creativity in his marvelous book "Roma". I immediately read his resources and found the wonder of what he has clearly presented therein. An engaging and exciting study in early Roman history. It is intellectually engaging and more than thought provoking as we struggle within our own political age. Yes, there are definitely lessons to be learned, as well as, a gratifying, exciting read to be gained through Saylor's magnificant "Roma" -a- Wow! Sarah MacAller, PhD Eng. Lit.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing!

    As a lover of books on ancient Rome, this novel was right up my alley. Very fascinating and inventive, Roma captured my interest from page one. It was a joy to read. I am now a Steven Saylor fan.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    That explains everything!

    Steven Saylor has given highly plausible and entertaining backgrounds for all the myths you have ever heard for the founding of Rome and the Roman gods and goddesses involved.
    The sections may be read one at a time for leisure evenings or (as I found), read as a whole because you want to see what is tackled next!
    Extremely thought-provoking as another look at the making of history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A very in depth look at the ancient history of the city of Rome. Well written and interesting, but also somewhat overwhelming, because it covers such a long time span.

    This is a great book for someone who is looking for a complete history of how the city of Rome came to be. I purchased it because I had read other novels about Julius Caesar, and enjoyed reading about that time period. Although he does end the book with several chapters about that time frame, the vast majority of the book takes place much further back in history. If you want to learn about how their beliefs and religious practices were formed, you will find all at that information here. It isn't a great choice for someone who wants to become attached to the characters, because they were only around for a chapter or two. The history focuses on several families in ancient Rome and follows their descendants through time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2009

    Terrible Book from A Normally Decent Writer

    I haven't been this disappointed in a book in many years. I've read all of Saylor's Roma sub rosa novels, many of the short stories and his O'Henry historical, Twist at the End, and enjoyed them to one degree or another, but this book was a terrible mistake. The writing is so poor it's embarrassing, the premise is borderline ridiculous(a winged phallus, prized and passed along through the generations by a very unbelievable bunch of shallow dorks)and the few interesting nuggets of Roman history are buried in alternating layers of treacle and grotesque sensationalism. The book is a mish-mash of historical factoids, two-dimensional characters and National Enquirer writing style. I made it about half way through before the author convinced me it was never going to get any better, and I had just wasted three hours of my life. Someone should have told Mr. Saylor not to publish this one.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2009

    A good book all around.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found it original and well written. I would recommend this for any avid reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    History at its most enjoyable

    Reading Roma is like walking through ancient Rome. This book is an extremely easy read considering it takes you from Romulus And Remus to Julius Caesar. It is very imaginative how the author turns mythology into human interest stories. All history lessons should be this much fun!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    G

    No. Goodbye.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Nicko

    Ok

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Jake

    Yep

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Aiiaha

    "Well, you could have said that." Aiisha took out a small dagger and went out to train.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Lukas

    Walks in son of mars wants to be praetor

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Andrew

    I was talking about the male canadate slots

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Aspen Owen ¿Can I Join?¿

    She enters the camp smiling. She had bright gray eyes, filled with small silver circles, like craters on the moon. Her eyes obviously held great mischeviousness but also a small hint of vigor. Her hair was wavy and long, and a smoky shade of chocolate. She had fair skin, soft and gentle like moon beams, "Hullo," she said, with a hint of an irish accent, "im Aspen Owen, daughter of Diana." She smiled confidently, exposing her dimples, "and i was wondering if i could join?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Plague

    *she yawns.* Praetor here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Joe

    The praetor waits

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    A History of Ancient Rome

    Fun.

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  • Posted January 23, 2013

    After having attempted to read several so-called Roman history n

    After having attempted to read several so-called Roman history novels, Roma was a welcome relief. The author laid out theories of many legends of this period that made the reader think a bit. Hand in hand with that is a great read with interesting characters and fact-based events of the times. Anyone who enjoys great historical fiction should give Roma a try.

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