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Old 10-02-2010, 11:50 PM   #1
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When in Rome

For my purpose Rome means anything from Roma, the city, to any of its far flung outposts. If you want, call it the Roman experience.

Recently I finished five books -
Under the Eagle and The Eagles Conquest by Simon Scarrow
Roma and Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
Pompeii by Robert Harris.


About the authors
Simon Scarrow - He completed a master's degree at the University of East Anglia after working at the Inland Revenue, and then went into teaching as a lecturer at City College Norwich.
He is best known for his Eagle series of Roman Military fiction set in the territories of the Roman Empire, covering the second invasion of Britain....

Steven Saylor - Steven Saylor is the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder and set in the ancient Rome of Cicero and Caesar.

Robert Harris - Robert Harris is the author of Pompeii, Enigma, and Fatherland. He has been a television correspondent with the BBC and a newspaper columnist for the London Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. His novels have sold more than ten million copies and been translated into thirty languages.


The Eagle series is fast action/adventure. Think fast roller coaster. The main characters in the book, Marco and Cato, are opposites. If their world was different they would probably dislike each other quite a bit. They don't antagonize each other, they simply have so very little in common.

Macro is a career soldier who has reached his Peter Principle. As a soldier and leader in battle, he is very competent. But as a new Centurion in charge of 83 men, he's somewhat lacking. He knows the Roman Legion, but the Roman Legion has a lot of paperwork. He is effectively illiterate. If that comes to the attention of those over him, he'll be busted back in to the ranks.

Cato is about 16 - 17 and grew up in the Imperial Palace as a slave. He was given his freedom upon joining the Roman Legion. Not that he had a choice about it. Unfortunately for Macro, and Cato, he is assigned as Macro's #2 officer. With out any training! But he can read, so Macro makes use of him. No one expects him to live long.


Roma is a short history, spanning centuries. If that makes sense. Perhaps I should say that it's about the founding of Rome as told by many individuals, over many centuries, and over their lifetimes. The book isn't that that large, 486 pages. But the stories amount to an epic tale.


Roman Blood is a detective story, pure and simple. What makes it so enjoyable is that Roma is an alien world. This is not the Rome of today. Reading this book you'll almost taste the dust in the streets, and touch the blood stained stones.


Pompeii is of course about the last few days of Pompeii in 79 AD, as seen from the eyes of a newly appointed chief engineer to the Aqua Augusta, the aqueduct going around Mount Vesuvius.

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Old 10-03-2010, 12:05 AM   #2
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I recently got a couple of kindle freebies about ancient Roma. They are still waiting in my reading queue, so I can't give any commentary.

Ancient Rome: from the earliest times down to 476 A.D. by Robert F. Pennell.
Roman life in the days of Cicero by Rev. Alfred J. Church.

I know this Roman experience as Romanitas.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:27 AM   #3
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About half way through Alexandria which is a Marcus Didio Falco mystery by Lindsey Davis. So far, a good read.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:48 AM   #4
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I have "I, Claudius" on my reading queue. I will comment on it when finished. I love Rome, (I'm in the second year of my masters degree in Classical philology) but I read very little fiction set in Rome.
This is slightly off topic: One book that I've been dying to get my hands on is "The Golden Mean", by Annabel Lyon, a fictional story of Alexander the Great and Aristotle.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. The Eagle series looks interesting, I will add it to my list.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:47 AM   #6
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You might try AddAll for "The Golden Mean". Lowest price - $ 18.71.

And it does sound very good.


Ancient Rome : from the earliest times down to 476 A. D. has more to do with Roman events than life in Roma.

One passage that I like is this >
"On the death of Sulla, in 78, CRASSUS and LEPIDUS were chosen Consuls; but such was the instability of the times that they were sworn not to raise an army during their consulship. Lepidus attempted to evade his oath by going to Gaul, and, when summoned by the Senate to return, marched against the city at the head of his forces. He was defeated by Crassus and Pompey in 78, and soon after died."

That last could be described as a "natural death" for Roman politicians who wanted to rule Roma.

Another good book is Life in Ancient Rome by F R Cowell. This book covers those things that made up day to day living in Roma, complete with photographs and illustrations. As near as I can tell, this is only available in paperback. But as in Ancient Rome : from the earliest times down to 476 A. D. you'll probably read only those sections that are of interest, rather than read cover to caver. Both books are well worth having.

Of ANCIENT ROME FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES DOWN TO 476 A.D. and Roman life in the days of Cicero I enjoyed Roman life in the days of Cicero better.


Alexandria sounds similar to the Roman Blood with Gordianus the Finder. I just read an excerpt on the Sony site and it sounds pretty good. Who knows, I may bet back into detective stories again.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:49 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions. The Eagle series looks interesting, I will add it to my list.
The biggest problem is that the first book went by too fast.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:03 AM   #8
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I have "I, Claudius" on my reading queue. I will comment on it when finished.
The television production from years ago, starring Derek Jacobi as Claudius, was brilliant! I did go on to read the book later.

A book I can highly recommend would be:

Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day

Coincidental to finding this thread, I have this book out from the library, that I haven't yet started:

A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries, and Curiosities

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Old 10-04-2010, 03:43 AM   #9
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Has anyone read "The First Man in Rome" by Colleen McCullough?

Looks like it's paper only, which has stopped me from picking it up. But I could be persuaded.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
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Thanks, Doreen.

I havent read it, although I think that I've seen it before.

After reading a breif bio of Colleen McCullough I think I'd like to read a book about her! Concidering the picture she chose for that little bio, you have to like her sense of humor.

And more here on Wiki. She seems to be absolutly facinating!
"McCullough was born in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough.[2]. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-Māori descent. During her childhood, her family moved around a great deal, and she was also "a voracious reader". [3] Her family eventually settled in Sydney, and she attended Holy Cross College, having a strong interest in the humanities."

"McCullough spent ten years from April 1967 to 1976 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States."

"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."

The book you mentioned is part of a series of books (as opposed to a book series) listed as Masters of Rome in Wiki.

Colleen McCullough does have many ebooks available, so all may not be lost.

Thanks again, Doreen, for bringing her to my attention.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:03 PM   #11
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Let me try to add these "old" books

by Robert Graves
I, Claudius (1934) and the sequel Claudius the God and his Wife Messalina.
Spoiler:
In 2005, the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present.

LatinandGreek has it in his to read list.

by Gary Jennings
Raptor (1993), The novel treats actual historical events, the fall of the Western Roman Empire and Theodoric's assassination of Odoacer among them.

by Mika Waltari

The Etruscan
The Roman sequel to The Secret of the Kingdom about the early days of Christianity.

I had great pleasure in reading all of them. I time I reread them several times.

Recently I read with pleasure a non fiction book by Edward N. Luttwak "The grand Strategy of The Roman Empire", easy, entertaing and very interesting. It's a book of 1976.

Years ago I read by Jerome Carcopino "La vie quotidiane a Rome a l'apogee de L'Empire" flunked all the accents, as I consider myself Quebecquois. It is a book of 1941. I was not even born then. Not even a spark in my mother's eye.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:46 AM   #12
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Let me try to add these "old" books

by Robert Graves
I, Claudius (1934) and the sequel Claudius the God and his Wife Messalina.
Spoiler:
In 2005, the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present.

LatinandGreek has it in his to read list.
Just for the record, I'm a lady.


I will have a look at the books by Mika Waltari. I'm reading a non-fiction book about the Etruscans (Etruscologia, by Massimo Pallottino). I just started, so I can't comment on it yet.

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:31 AM   #13
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Perhaps you need a bigger avatar? Or Beppe is confused about certain things?

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Old 10-05-2010, 07:16 PM   #14
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Just for the record, I'm a lady.
taberuet! i put my foot in the soup!
What can I say? Nothing. What can I do? Prostrate my self at your feet and kiss the hem of your dress, imploring mercy oh kind and sweet lady.

Let me try an Italian angle:

Gentile signora, la sua bellezza mi ha accecato. La sua grazia mi lascia senza parole. Accetti, la prego, le mie umili scuse e voglia contarmi tra i suoi affezionati ammiratori. Un suo sorriso porterà gioia al mio cuore.

Quote:
I will have a look at the books by Mika Waltari. I'm reading a non-fiction book about the Etruscans (Etruscologia, by Massimo Pallottino). I just started, so I can't comment on it yet.
The Etruscan has a very good story. The other two ... From what I understand you are not that far from their country. I think that the places were they choose to live are among the finest in the world. I remember Tarquinia, the necropolis there lies exactly in the dimensionless space between earth and sky. A thematic trip to their country, for a lady of your culture and sensibility could be really of interest.

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:38 AM   #15
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i am reading the latin classics in latin getting through them got them on amazon very cheap just read i claudius and history of rome vol 1 -9 going to read the rulers or rome starting at volume 1 and finish at around vol 12
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