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Roma: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Roma: A Novel of Ancient Rome

3.9 163
by Steven Saylor

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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 —


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.

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

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St. Martin's Press
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Rome Series , #1
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The Novel of Ancient Rome

By Steven Saylor

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2007 Steven Saylor
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-1706-3



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 the group 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.

* * *

The next morning, when the others began to wake and stir, Larth saw that Lara was back in the bower where she usually slept. He wondered if she had disobeyed him. Then he saw, by the look in her eyes and the smile on her face as she woke, that she had not.

While the others broke camp and made ready to depart, Larth called Po to his side. The youth was uncharacteristically slow to respond and kept his eyes averted while Larth spoke to him.

"Before we set out this morning, Po, I want you return to the place where you killed the deer yesterday. Rake the earth and cover any traces of blood on the path. If blood was spattered on leaves or loose stones, throw them in the river. This should have been done yesterday, but the light was fading and there was much work to do, skinning and roasting the deer. Do it now, before we set out. We can't leave blood on the trail."

"Why not?" said Po.

Larth was taken aback. Po had never used such a surly tone with him before. "Blood will attract vermin and predators. Blood on the trail may offend the numina that reside along the river, no matter that the deer freely offered herself. But I needn't explain these things to you. Do as I tell you!"

Po stared at the ground. Larth was about to speak again, more harshly, when he was distracted by the arrival of the metal traders, who had come to see them off.


Excerpted from Roma by Steven Saylor. Copyright © 2007 Steven Saylor. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

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.

Steven Saylor is the author of the long running Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, as well as the New York Times bestselling novel, Roma and its follow-up, Empire. 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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Roma (Rome Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
mlm202 More than 1 year ago
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.
Saramac More than 1 year ago
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.
Historiasbookworm More than 1 year ago
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.
HistorybuffIL More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
daveb48 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steven Saylor never disappoints. Historical fiction is hard work but he nails it every time. The events, the people, the times are superb.
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
I found this novel of ancient Rome to be both informative and entertaining. Considering that it is easily one of the most successful and long lived empires of all history, it warrants our study and consideration. This book was a great reminder of the fact that mankind has been fighting over the same issues of politics and power since the beginning of civilization. It forces one to evaluate the ways that societies behave and how they can best thrive and survive. It also causes you to consider the way that religions form and what they mean to a people. If you like history, you should enjoy this story of Roma. Michael Travis Jasper, author of the novel “To Be Chosen”
scorpion56 More than 1 year ago
Roma was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I was hooked pretty much from the first chapter. One of the unusual yet very pleasing aspects of this big read, is that each 'chapter' or story, is really a self-contained mini-book. So the reader can finish one chapter and be satisfied before starting a new one. The subsequent chapter can pick up decades or centuries from the previous one, with enough of a thread running through all the chapters, or stories, to lend cohesiveness to the book as a whole. Although fiction, plenty of the history of ancient Rome was revealed to keep me going back to Wikipedia for more info. The author also playfully "reveals" how we have modern phrases like "Alas", "Falls on one's sword". Pyrrhic victory and so forth in our vocabulary. Although these stories take place 2000-3000 years ago, it was interesting to note how man himself (and it was mostly about men back then) has changed little in his motivations, rivalries, politics, family and so forth. I plan to move on to Saylor's second book of the series, "Empire". If you enjoy history (especially of an era that you don't know much about) and great story telling, you'll enjoy Roma!
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"Roma" by Steven Say­lor is a packed his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book which attempts to tell 1,000 years of his­tory in 600 pages. The book suc­ceeds superbly in some parts, but not so much in others. It is dif­fi­cult to write a syn­op­sis for "Roma" since the book spans one thou­sands years. Start­ing with the early Roman set­tlers, the salt traders, the book intro­duces the reader to fasci­nus, the winged phal­lus which becomes a fam­ily heir­loom and each chap­ter afterwards. The book fol­lows through on the build­ing of Roma, how the city became a cen­ter of power and con­flict while the Roman Repub­lic is being created. Accord­ing to Steven Say­lor, his book "Roma" is mainly inspired by Roman his­to­rian Livy. Coin­ci­den­tally Livy also inspired Shake­speare though I would not mis­take Shakespeare's works for any­thing close to his­tory, too bad many other authors do. The book tells of the ori­gins of Roma by mix­ing leg­ends with actual events focus­ing on Roma's two most famous fam­i­lies, Poti­tii and Pinarii. The book touches on many famous sto­ries and events, Her­cules, Romu­lus and Remus, the rape of the Sabine women, rape of Lucre­tia, the abduc­tion of Verginia and the fes­ti­val of Luper­calia which I always wanted to know more about. While it seems that the book might be gloss­ing over some of the big events that defined ancient Rome, I felt that it did a mar­velous job attempt­ing to describe the day-to-day lives of the Romans. The story fol­lows an arti­fact, a winged phal­lus (fasci­nus), which is handed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion until its sig­nif­i­cance is lost and it sim­ply becomes an ancient heir­loom passed down. How­ever, an arti­fact isn't a char­ac­ter and while I found the book very inter­est­ing and enter­tain­ing, I felt as if it lacked focus. The books spans a thou­sand years and mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions so char­ac­ter devel­op­ment is lack­ing - but the story is gorgeous. Roma" was the "go to" book when­ever I found myself with­out a book at the moment, how­ever about one quar­ter in to the book I just made the plunge and read it straight through. I believe that read­ing this book in sec­tions, ver­sus just trudg­ing through it as the way to go. The sto­ries, while not too com­plex are not sim­ple either and dur­ing fast read­ing one might miss the sig­nifi­cance of an event. The book is sup­ple­mented by a very help­ful pic­ture of the fam­ily tree which the chap­ters talk about as well as fan­tas­tic maps show­ing Rome at that time as well. I rec­om­mend the book for any­one who wants an intro­duc­tion to his­tory of Rome and Italy, keep­ing in mind of course that the his­tory and leg­ends are mixed.
susan225 More than 1 year ago
I've read several Lindsey Davis books (the Marcus Didius Falco series) and I loved the way she integrated the mystery into the daily life of the Romans after Caesar's rule. This book goes more deeply into the early Roman history and ends with the death of Julius Caesar. It's a great companion and explains how the Patrician and Plebian classes interacted over time, the history of the Tribunes, etc. I'll certainly read more of Steven Saylor's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I peck your cheek "How was your day?" &hearts
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