Our friends(?) the Praetorians

Inventing a military unit like the 21st century Praetorian Guard Special Forces in my Roma Nova books was an interesting challenge!

I chose to use the old Roman name because, although later corrupt and power broking, they were the courageous, battle-hardened elite who guarded the Ancient Roman emperor’s life with theirs. And service to the […]

Maps and Rome

The old clichéd saying that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is true, but so was its ‘decline and fall’ equally slow. Going from its traditionally accepted date of foundation the Roman Empire in the West of 753 BC, it lasted 1229 years in the West until the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD.


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 […]