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 […]

The world of CARINA

CARINA launched two weeks ago amid lovely comments, tweets and posts and reviews are starting to accumulate (Exciting!).

Carina visits a number of places when she is sent to North America to carry out an important mission and I thought you might like to find out the ‘North America’ of the alternative Roman world.

Roma […]

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 […]

Thank you, Matthew Harffy, JJ Marsh and L J Trafford

Writers are strange people. They live in the Middle Ages, Ancient Rome, sometimes in Victorian India, on the high seas, during the Age of Enlightenment or just down the road at number 24. I count myself lucky to know some remarkable ones who’ve been kind enough to provide endorsements for RETALIO.

Matthew Harffy is the […]