Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona of Mytilini - Captured and Sold as a Slave in Rome - AD 107


Relive the drama of the Roman Empire through the eyes of a young Greek slave in this latest installment in an acclaimed historical series.

Iliona never imagined that her sea voyage from Greece to Egypt would lead her to Rome. But when her ship is boarded by pirates, that’s where she ends up — as a slave. Separated from her brother, Apollo, Iliona is soon at the whim of her owners, and the chance of regaining freedom seems like a distant dream. But unlike her brother’s plight, ...

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Relive the drama of the Roman Empire through the eyes of a young Greek slave in this latest installment in an acclaimed historical series.

Iliona never imagined that her sea voyage from Greece to Egypt would lead her to Rome. But when her ship is boarded by pirates, that’s where she ends up — as a slave. Separated from her brother, Apollo, Iliona is soon at the whim of her owners, and the chance of regaining freedom seems like a distant dream. But unlike her brother’s plight, Iliona’s life as a slave isn’t as bad as she feared: her new family provides clothing, food, and even schooling, and best of all, she is free to explore the wonders of Rome. Step back to AD 107 and take in the luxury of the baths, the splendor of the Senate, the thrill of gladiatorial combat, and the excesses of Roman feasts in a fictional diary full of excitement, humor, and accurate historical detail.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
This diary, subtitled The Journal of Iliona of Mytilini, tells about a girl who was captured and sold as a slave in Rome, AD 107, and chronicles her life in Rome. The exciting trip from Greece to Egypt for her family becomes a nightmare for Iliona and her brother, Apollo, after pirates abduct the family at sea. Their parents are killed and Iliona and Apollo are sold into slavery in Rome. They begin an unimaginable journey into a new life as slaves in a strange country. Iliona is sold to a Roman senator and separated from Apollo by the senator's overseer. The senator's family, however, provides for her well-being. This does not change her status as a slave, but it does make her life more bearable. She tours many of the sites in Rome and discovers that the city at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire is a fascinating place. The overseer is not so kind and caring to her brother. Apollo works very hard in the vineyards and is not treated very well. Iliona saves every coin she earns to try and buy his freedom. Because of her bravery during a fire, both of them are eventually released from slavery. Iliona and Apollo decide to remain in Rome since they are orphans, and their former owners are now their only family. The life of Rome in AD 107—the luxury of Nero's baths, the splendor of the Senate, the excitement of gladiators fighting in the famous amphitheater, and the legendary Roman feasts—are vividly described by Richard Platt and illustrated by David Parkins. Although the story is fictional, this book contains accurate historical detail and continues the acclaimed historical-fiction series that includes Castle Diary, Pirate Diary, and Egyptian Diary.In Roman Diary, the reader views the drama of the ancient Roman Empire through the eyes of this young Greek slave girl. Six pages of factual historical content supplement the text, and a glossary and index are also provided. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

This oversize volume follows the fictional musings of a girl in second-century Rome. Born into a wealthy Greek family, Iliona and her brother, Apollo, are captured by pirates while on a journey to Egypt and she is sold as a slave to a senator in Rome. The subsequent diary entries detail life, including relaxing at the public baths, doing chores, and watching gladiatorial games at the Coliseum. Elements of diet, religion, social customs, and politics are included in the clear text. The episodic narrative holds readers' attention while presenting characters from various aspects of Roman life, such as a senator, a soldier, field slaves, and entertainers. Parkins's color cartoon illustrations fill half the page, the text weaving round the images, while full-page illustrations occur at select moments in the text. Truthful to history, different-colored garments reflect different social classes: the vivid red of the legionnaire's uniform, the purple stripe of the senatorial toga, and the dry earth tones of the common tunic are all accurately portrayed. Six pages of factual content appear after the text, including information regarding the legion, games, religion, and engineering; black-and-white illustrations aid this material, including architectural cross-sections and details of legionnaire's equipment. This title should appeal to a broad audience.-Jeff Meyer, Slater Public Library, IA

Kirkus Reviews
Oversized pages well-stocked with Parker's graceful women and burly, plain-featured men, this latest entry in Platt's Diary series brings second-century CE Rome to bustling life. Captured by pirates, young Iliona records how she is purchased as a slave for the household of a Senator while her little brother is dispatched as a laborer to a country estate. Though she alludes to rough treatment, she never suffers or encounters much of it; instead, she accompanies her mistress to the public baths, cares for a new baby, sees a bit of gladiatorial combat, witnesses a formal triumph for the Emperor Trajan, serves at a banquet, recounts small incidents and routines of daily life and ultimately wins freedom for herself and her brother. Aside from being nearly free of dirt, disease and violence, her narrative is laced with period detail, and the author departs from the diary format for several added-value spreads on Roman armies, society and architecture. Readers overwhelmed by the teeming scenes in Stephen Biesty's Rome in Spectacular Cross-Section (2003, written by Andrew Solway) will enjoy this lighter-weight journey into the past. (Historical fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763634803
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,500,900
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 13.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Platt is the author of more than sixty nonfi ction books for children, including EGYPTIAN DIARY, also illustrated by David Parkins, and CASTLE DIARY and PIRATE DIARY, both illustrated by Chris Riddell. He lives in England.

David Parkins has illustrated numerous books for children, including EGYPTIAN DIARY by Richard Platt, AUNT NANCY AND THE BOTHERSOME VISITORS by Phyllis Root, and WEBSTER J. DUCK by Martin Waddell. He lives in England.

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