Swedes and Romans

Anna at the ABBA museum, Stockholm

Visiting Sweden on holiday recently was personally enormous fun, especially as my hostess was the ABBA singing historical fiction writer Anna Belfrage. But in a way it was spooky.

Something was missing – big time.

Sweden brims over with history and its impact on my home country can’t […]

A tale of another Aurelia – the mother of Julius Caesar

(Possibly) Aurelia Cotta, unattributed

Many of you will be familiar with Aurelia Mitela, the elder stateswoman of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO and the heroine in her own trilogy set in her younger days – AURELIA, INSURRECTIO and RETALIO. Although an honourable name in Roma Nova, it was one with a long history in the […]

Slaves, damnati and freedmen in ancient Rome

In 161 BC, the Roman jurist Gaius wrote: “Slavery is a human invention and not found in nature. Indeed, it was that other human invention, war, which provided the bulk of slaves, but they were also the bounty of piracy … or the product of breeding.” (Institutiones)

A cold, yet trenchant statement. As in many […]

One of my favourite Roman fiction authors – Lindsey Davis

Lindsey Davis with Alison at the 2014 Historical Novel Society Conference

I was lurking in Waterstone’s Tunbridge Wells one day in the mid 1990s. (It had an apostrophe in the name then so I’ve left it in for authenticity.) My favourite genres were historical fiction, sci-fi, thrillers and crime. Wandering round the tables and […]

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 […]