Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What's in a name?

Last month, we talked about how the month of June got its name.  What about July and August?  July was named for Julius Caesar, the Roman general and statesman who was assassinated on the Ides of March (March 15), 44 BC.  August takes its name from Octavian Augustus, great-nephew of Julius Caesar and the first emperor of the Roman Empire. With all this talk about Rome, why not take a trip back in time and read some fiction books set in ancient Rome?

There are several enjoyable mystery series set in ancient Rome. Try Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder.  The first book in the series, Roman Blood, set in 80 BC, finds Gordianus hired by the orator Cicero to investigate a case.  Ruth Downie's series features army doctor Gaius Petrius Ruso, and is set in Roman-occupied Britain.  A series with a bit more humor is the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis, set during the rule of the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD). Falco, an informer and occasional imperial agent, has been compared to Columbo (for those us us who remember our 1970s TV shows!).

If you're not in the mood for a mystery, there are many other fiction books set in ancient Rome. William Napier's trilogy on Attila tells the story of Attila and his invasion of Rome in 449 C.E.  Robert Harris tells the life of the Roman orator Cicero in the books Imperium and Conspirata; the third book in the trilogy is not yet published.  Colleen McCullough, author of The Thorn Birds, has written several books set in Ancient Rome--Antony and Cleopatra retells their story in detail, and Caesar: Let the Dice Fly recounts his military exploits.

Enjoy your "trip" to Rome, regardless of which path (or book!) you chose.


1 comment:

  1. These sound like some great reads - will definitely check them out!