Mos maiorum – 'doing the right thing' in ancient Rome

Unwritten codes of behaviour, maintaining standards, behaving ‘properly’ are as old as the hills, at least as old as the Seven Hills of Rome.

The  mos maiorum, loosely translated as ‘ancestral custom’ was the unwritten code of ancient Rome. It included time-honoured principles, behavioural models and social practices that affected every aspect of life in […]

Sex and marriage in Roma Nova

Author photo, Venus and Mars, House of Mars And Venus, Pompeii, Naples Museum

Well, yes to sex – they are Romans – but not so much marriage, more informal family arrangements.

Marriage in the majority of cultures has meant one man and one woman, with the woman leaving her father’s family and joining the […]

RETALIO - excerpt

The first page …

‘Betrayal and collaboration used to lead automatically to a death sentence. You should be grateful this is the 1980s.’

She refused to look at me and instead jabbed her spoon into the coffee cup, almost scraping the glaze off as she rattled it round the tiny amount of liquid at the […]

Power grabs

The Death of Caesar, Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798 (public domain)

In ancient Rome, grabbing power was the default way to become emperor. Even in the Republic, achieving consulship required some serious bribery and corruption, subverting the process, whipping up the emotions of the people with simplistic slogans and the like. Power rarely passed cleanly or without […]

Telling Roman stories - the audio of its day

Reading – Funerary relief, Museum of Roman Civilisation, Rome (Author photo)

The recent release of the first four Roma Nova audiobooks prompted me to look into ancient Roman oral storytelling traditions. Here’s what I found…

Storytelling in Roman societies covered stories (fabulae) from the classics through philosophy, politics, religion and travel to sheer entertainment. […]

Eating the Roman way

A boy holding a platter of fruits and a bucket of crab(?) in a kitchen with fish and squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century) CC Commons – creator Sailko

Food is one of the most powerful ways of conveying information about characters. It shows readers not only status and […]