ROMA NOVA EXTRA - Fame at last!

Jumping up and down with excitement!

Barnes & Noble (yes, them) are featuring ROMA NOVA EXTRA in their new releases promotion, B&N Press Presents.
Okay, Bella André is on the first row of four and I’m on the sixth, but all the same…

 

And here it is!

 

So if you buy your books from B&N Press, formerly Nook, I’d love it if you would pre-order ROMA NOVA EXTRA today. 😉

Official publication date is 19 October!  Find out more about ROMA NOVA EXTRA here.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is now available in print and ebook.  Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Limonum or Lemonum? (Poitiers to you and me)

Funerary goods, Antran (Author photo)

Funerary goods, Antran (Author photo)

Earlier this week I took an afternoon off and went visiting Romans in Poitiers, about an hour’s drive south of where I live. France is rich in Roman archaeology and you can trip over remains in almost every town even if the experts can’t quite agree the site of the signature battle of Alésia!

Despite Astérix and Obélix’s efforts, Gaul was settled by the Romans from from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD. G.Julius Caesar’s punitive wars advanced and consolidated its conquest and it became one of the most productive parts of the Roman Empire.

In 22 BC, imperial administration of Gaul was reorganized, establishing the provinces of Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Belgica and Gallia Lugdunensis. Parts of eastern Gaul were incorporated into the provinces Raetia (15 BC) and Germania Superior (AD 83).

Map of Roman Gaul by Gustav Droysen (1886)

Map of Roman Gaul by Gustav Droysen (1886)

The Romans easily imposed their administrative, economic, artistic (especially monumental art and architecture) and literary culture. The Gaulish language and cultural identity merged with the Roman culture of the new governing class, and evolved into a hybrid Gallo-Roman culture that eventually permeated all levels of society.

Limonum ramparts in situ (Author photo)

Limonum ramparts in situ (Author photo)

So what do we have in Poitiers?
Extensive traces of Roman construction include ramparts at several levels, three aqueducts, baths built in the 1st century AD and demolished in the 3rd century, and until 1857 the ruins of a vast Roman amphitheatre 142 metres long and et 125 metres wide, including galleries, larger than that of Nîmes. (See note at end)

And of course, the early Christian baptistry (See below).

This all suggests that Limonum (or Lemonum, later Pictavium) was an important town, possibly the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Aquitania during the 2nd century.

The Museum of Sainte-Croix was built over the site of Roman ramparts, several levels of them, which must have made uncovering them interesting.

Finds from Poitiers itself and the surrounding area have been brought together at the museum; the glass is especially impressive.

Child's grave goods, second half of 2nd century/beginning of 3rd (Author photo)

Child’s grave goods, second half of 2nd century/beginning of 3rd (Author photo)

Domestic glassware, 2nd-3rd century Author photo)

Domestic glassware, 2nd-3rd century Author photo)

Blue glassware with handles (Author photo)

Blue glassware with handles (Author photo)

Pre-Roman gold, brass and bronze staters and gold curled ingots 4th-1st century BC

Pre-Roman gold, brass and bronze staters and gold curled ingots 4th-1st century BC

Detail of Minerva/Athena's cape with feather pattern and edged with wriggling snakes! Statue 1st century BC copy of older fifth century Greek piece (Author photos)

Detail of Minerva/Athena’s cape with feather pattern and edged with wriggling snakes! Statue 1st century BC copy of older fifth century Greek piece (Author photos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd-beginning of 3rd century decorated columns (Author photo)

2nd-beginning of 3rd century decorated columns (Author photo)

 

 

 

 

Mosaic flower, 2nd century (Author photo)

Mosaic flower, 2nd century (Author photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larrarium, the shrine for the household gods...

Larrarium, the shrine for the household gods…

…and the gods and spirits themselves (Author photos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian sarcophagus 4/5th century, in Aquitaine marble a far cry from the simple funerary urns of the earlier Roman period

Christian sarcophagus 4/5th century, in Aquitaine marble a far cry from the simple funerary urns of the earlier Roman period

There is far more to see, well beyond the scope of this blogpost. I heartily recommend a visit.

Baptistère Saint-Jean
Considered one of the oldest Christian buildings in Western Europe still standing, the central square part is said to have been first built around AD 360 over the substructures of Roman buildings demolished in AD 276, in what subsequently became the episcopal quarter of Poitiers. Staying on the safe side, experts conservatively date it to the fifth century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was badly damaged by Visigoths, but refurbished in the early sixth century. By the eleventh, it had deteriorated badly, but refurbished again and so on through the “slings and arrows” of history.

Baptismal tank added in the sixth century (Author photo)

Baptismal tank added in the sixth century (Author photo)

Part of watercourse from the aqueduct to the baptismal tank (Author photo)

Part of watercourse from the aqueduct to the baptismal tank (Author photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits were added to the original baptistry, the whole was renovated, earlier columns, stone and masonry decorations were reused, so it’s a bit of a hotch-potch, but somehow it’s still dignified. The colourful and delicate religious decorations date from the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.

Early decoration 11th-13th century, Emperor Constantine depicted on horse at right (Author photo)

Early decoration 11th-13th century, Emperor Constantine depicted on horse at right (Author photo)

Baptistry interior showing original shape of building (Author photo)

Baptistry interior showing original shape of building (Author photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the lost amphitheatre…
Sadly, despite significant protests from antiquarian and cultural organisations, the council demolished the amphitheatre ruins for town planning reasons, but early photographers Achille and Honoré Hivonnait recorded them pre-destruction. An act of vandalism, just to build a shopping street, but hindsight is, of course, our luxury today. Some traces still exist as does the original shape in the streets of Poitiers.

Vomitorium, Poitiers amphitheatre

Vomitorium, Poitiers amphitheatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what happened to Roman Gaul?
Roman control over the provinces deteriorated in the 4th and 5th centuries and finally collapsed as remaining Roman troops withdrew southeast to protect Italy. Between 455 and 476 AD Visigoths, Burgundians, and Franks assumed control much of the territory. However, the Domain of Soissons, a remnant of the Empire, survived from 457 to 486, still considering itself a Roman province despite being cut off from the alma mater.

Unfortunately for Syriagus, the last Roman ruler in Gaul, he came up against the most dynamic and ruthless leader of the new Europe, the Frankish king Clovis and was defeated at the Battle of Soissons in AD 486. Almost immediately afterwards, most of Gaul came under the rule of the Merovingians, the first kings of a proto-France.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is now available in print and ebook.  Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

The Roma Nova thriller series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

An 'Extra' piece of Roma Nova...

Delighted to announce that the ebook of ROMA NOVA EXTRA is now available on Amazon, B&N Nook and Kobo.

The official publication date is 19 October 2018 when the paperback edition will be available from online stores (Amazon, The Book Depository, etc.) and through bookshops.

Eight stories – four historical and four present day and a little beyond – but they’re all about the people of Roma Nova…

Apulius, a young military tribune posted to a backwater in 370 AD for having the wrong religion, encounters the fiery Julia.

What does his lonely descendant, Silvia, labouring in the 1980s to rebuild her country, make of the Italian architect supervising the reconstruction?

Can imperial councillor Galla stop the Norman invasion of England in 1066?

And will Allegra, her tough 21st century Praetorian descendant fighting her emotions, find her way to her own happy ending?

The Girl from the Market AD 370
Victory Speaks AD 395
A Roman Intervenes 1066
Silvia’s story  1983
Games  (Set just after the end of INCEPTIO)
Conrad and Carina’s Roman Holiday  (Set between PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO)
Saturnalia surprise  (Set after a few years after SUCCESSIO)
Allegra and Macrinus  (Set several years after SUCCESSIO)

Some are love stories, some are lessons learned, some resolve tensions and unrealistic visions, some are plain adventures, but above all, they are stories of people in dilemmas and conflict, and their courage and effort to resolve them. Oh, and there are a few surprises…

Readers of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO, AURELIA, INSURRECTIO, RETALIO and CARINA will be familiar with many of the characters in these short stories. But if you are new to Roma Nova, enjoy these eight ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses into Roma Nova for themselves and perhaps feel curious enough afterwards to find out more about the Roma Novans in the longer novels…

Find out more about ROMA NOVA EXTRA

STOP PRESS: Barnes & Noble have selected ROMA NOVA EXTRA for their October/November promotion B&N Press Presents. Beyond exciting!

Okay, Bella André is on the first row of four and I’m on the sixth, but all the same…

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now.  Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.