A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
‘Those left cold by the sober tones of scholarship will find this voice liberating and intoxicating. Its energy is boundless and its range immense.’ Wall Street Journal
In Ancient Rome all the best stories have one thing in common – murder. Romulus killed Remus to found the city, Caesar was assassinated to save the Republic, Caligula was butchered in the theatre, Claudius was poisoned at dinner.
But what did killing really mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? Emma Southon examines real-life homicides from Roman history to take us inside Ancient Rome’s unique culture of crime and punishment, and show us how the Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.
'A brilliant idea, brilliantly executed.' -- Tom Holland, author of Rubicon, Dynasty and Dominion 'Southon brings some great and little-known murder stories to light, revelling in the bizarre and the macabre.' * BBC History Magazine * 'She has a rare gift... Those left cold by the sober tones of scholarship will find this voice liberating and intoxicating. Its energy is boundless and its range immense... At a moment when the study of classics struggles to escape its starchy, imperialist legacy, Ms Southon's cheeky enthusiasm feels like the path of salvation.' -- Wall Street Journal 'Blood, guts, murder, emperors and a sprinkling of uplifting Latin. A wonderful book on the Roman way of death. Mirabile dictu!' -- Harry Mount, author of Carpe Diem and Amo Amas Amat... and All That 'I love this funny, scholarly, erudite, irreverent book; Emma Southon wears her learning lightly but we never for a moment doubt her authority, and the past arrives with total immediacy from the first page. Reading it is like seeing a classical statue not remote and austere on a pedestal, but painted in all its original bright colours.' -- Sarah Perry, author of Melmoth and The Essex Serpent 'The genius of Emma Southon's new book, A Fatal Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome, is that it simultaneously humanizes the Romans and alienates us from them, portraying a society that's at once a familiar ancestor and a rabid monster.' -- Foreign Policy
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