From pirate to emperor

Pirates have fascinated people for several centuries, but the fictional world of pirates, represented in novels and movies, is somewhat different to the reality, but where does fact end and fiction begin?

Helen Hollick has written a series of nautical voyages based around her fictional pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his ship, Sea Witch, but […]

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 […]

Reconciling 'real' Romans and Roma Novans

Family of Drusus, Museum of Roman Civilisation, Rome (Author photo)

I’ve been fascinated by all things Roman since I walked on my first mosaic in northern Spain. At age eleven, I wanted to know who the people were who had lived in houses with such beautiful floors: what did they eat, what did they […]

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 […]

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 […]