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 […]

Alternative history isn’t just about Nazis!

Yes, okay, The Man in the High Castle (original story by Philip K Dick, 1962) and SS-GB (Len Deighton, 1978) are the most prominent ‘what if’s at present. These stories grip our imaginations as the most horrific thing that could have happened to Western Europe/America in the recent history. Of course, Robert Harris’s Fatherland […]

Comparing Roma Nova with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

This is a treat from a reader in Luxembourg! How does Roma Nova measure up against the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg? Dylan Harris has kindly given me permission to reproduce his post  https://dylanharris.org/blog/2017/b8.shtml

Roma Nova is Alison Morton’s series of alternative history novels set in a surviving remnant of the Roman Empire, also called Roma Nova, […]

Naples underground

The BBC’s series that started last week with fabulous film and virtual reconstructions of tunnels and monuments under present day Naples (#invisiblecities #italy) reminded me of my mini-excursion underground in 2012. Roman remains are built into the arteries of underground Naples and I was fascinated to see how Roman walls and arches were criss-crossed with later […]

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 […]