The Novel of Ancient Rome

Book - 2007
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Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.
     Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city's first thousand years -- from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome's astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history. Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome's republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.
     Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome's first families, the Potitius and Pinarius clans:  One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself.
     Epic in every sense of the word, Roma is a panoramic historical saga and Saylor's finest achievement to date.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312328313
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 555 p. : maps, geneal. table ; 25 cm.


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May 17, 2017

I enjoyed this book very much. It was interesting to learn a bit about how the city evolved through the experiences of the characters in the story.

A truly epic novel covering the history of ancient Rome from it’s very beginning, around 1,000 B.C. to the reign of Augustus Caesar, 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. The history of two ancient family lines provides the reader with a personal account of the major events that shaped the birth and triumph of the Roman Empire.

tleslie Oct 22, 2013

Quite disappointing. I enjoyed the "Finder" mysteries and expected the same level plot complexity in Roma.
But the book follows an "epic across the ages" approach and uses a strange plot device. Each era presented is done so through a "youth" who will become an important person in the era. But, we really only see Rome through the "youth's" eyes and are presented the challenges of the day by having the "youth" tell us what he hears from the adults.

Very shallow, very boring.

BeccaBB Oct 01, 2012

Roma covers 1000 years of history. It does this by skipping over large chunks of time and stopping along the way at important and often famous events like Romulus and Remus’ founding of Rome, Hannibal, the building of the Appian Way, the assassination of Julius Caesar among others. Saylor manages to keep a sense of continuity and maintains a flow through the entire 550 page narrative by following one family through time. The setting and the characters are well written and even though the characters keep changing and you only spend a small portion of the book with each of them you get to know them all and get a good look at the world they live in. You also get to learn about Rome; how her famous roads were built, religious ideas and ceremonies, the changing of politics over time. And even though the time span is so long it does not feel like the book tries to cover too much. Having everything laid out together gives you a nice perspective on all these famous events as they relate to each other and to the passage of time. I found it very interesting the way Saylor would recount an event when it happened or show you the beginning of a religious rite and then show you how the event was remembered centuries later so you could see how things passed into legend and became part of tradition. Saylor brings to life many of the famous stories of Ancient Rome in an entertaining and very readable way.

Apr 08, 2011

Although I have enjoyed previous works of historical fiction from this author, I must say I found this particular tome to be quite the disappointment! Roma is actually a succession of short stories about the early history of Rome. Some of the stories are excellent, but most are mediocre at best.


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