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Posts posted by Denia

  1. I recently read in different books about Roman houses, but I can't seem to find out what the exact function of the tablinum was.

    And which furniture was inside (a table, a desk)?

    Last question: how did you get from the atrium into the perystilium. Someone told me this was only possible through the tablinum, but on most pictures I see a kind of corridor at one side of the tablinum.

  2. So, the best advice I can give is, don't make things even more difficult for yourself, and make sure you check every little thing, no matter how inconsequential it may seem at the time. Sixty percent of your readership might not know the difference - but that 40% who do - phew - they will seize on it.

    Yes, I know. I'm really worried about that 40%. My biggest problem is that I had started writing before I did enough research after names. It's difficult to change names when you feel like you know your character. But I know I just have to...

    The problem is I don't know where to find a lot of correct names, especially cognomina. The list on Wikipedia didn't work :) But I'm very pleased with the help you all offer.


    If I recall correctly, the opera Aida is based on an Egyptian story, with the title referring to an Egyptian princess...maybe that's a more appropriate name.

    Actually when I started the story a few years ago, I remembered Aida was Egyptian, but everyone knew that name from the opera. So I changed it into Aisha... Only the 'sh' is different :)

    Well, I'll try to find another name. Maybe I could use the name of a less important character from Aida.

  3. Thanks very much, Nephele, for your early reply :) ! But I can see I still have a lot to change.


    I don't believe your Tertia would still be called "Tertia" if there were no longer any living "Prima" and "Secunda" in the family, particularly if the sisters born before Tertia didn't survive infancy long enough for any distinguishing names for them to have mattered. These feminine numerical names were used to distinguish living sisters by order of birth -- they weren't really formal "given names".

    Allright, this will mean I have to change the whole story and create two living sisters or I have to give Tertia a completely different name

  4. If your lady wanted to help the poor and yet not compromise the conventions of her class, maybe she could send a slave to identify stricken families in the poorer areas, and perhaps pay for the services of doctors / midwives anonymously? This could open up some interesting plot lines, as the slave relays information between the poor families and the rich lady, who might even try a little evangelism by proxy! I believe at this time, even christians did not have a problem with slavery, and food would not be an issue with the poor, as the corn dole kept most families from starving.

    Thanks, the idea of sending a slave is very good!

    I might set the story during the Flavian dynasty as you and Ursus suggested. The only reason to set it earlier was the prosecution by Nero.

  5. For a short story that depicts how Rome's early Christians concealed their faith, you could try Caroline Lawrence's "Bread and Circuses," which was published in the anthology: The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits (edited by Mike Ashley with an introduction by Steven Saylor).

    Caroline Lawrence has also written an entertaining series of ancient Roman mystery novels for children (although adults and young adult readers can find these enjoyable, too), and one of her characters in fact is a Jewish boy whose family are members of the new Christian cult.

    Sounds interesting! I will try this novels too (hope I can find them here in Holland, somewhere)


    Additionally, if she heard Paul (Saul) of Tarsus speak directly

    She didn't. She hears another man who wants to convert the whole world to christianity. He didn't really excist. Anyway, only the apostles did try to reach te world then? The rest of the church just quietly supported them.


    A roman girl had no real money to herself so she can not give away. She is under the authority of her father and he takes care of her money if she has any.

    You're right, Kosmo, I forgot that. So she has no opportunity to help the poor, even if she would want to.

  6. Then Arius it's going to spend the next 25 years in the legion and will not marry until the end of his service.

    You are right, but the bad news is that he gets injured very badly and paralized soldiers are of no use... So the end of his service is a little earlier. I was wondering what Rome did for those men. No social security, I guess.


    If Lucius father it's of senatorial rank, a bussines career would be seen badly. If he is equites then he is free to do whaterver he pleases if he has the money for it. Of course the best way to get richer for a influent roman was in politics. A equites can govern the property of the emperor named Egypt or after an outstanding carrer a senator can enjoy Africa for a year and a couple million sesterts.

    Lucius father is plebeian and he's an aedilis, so yes, politics. But I don't want Lucius to be a politician. Politics are too boring


    Once he takes on his adult toga and shaves, the young man can make his own decisions. Nonetheless, his father is the boss by roman custom, or rather head of the household and as such his son must pay him respect and observe his wishes or be regarded as a bad son.

    OK, that's more freedom than I thought. I remember reading somewhere (but not exactly where) that a Roman son had to ask permission to his father for almost everything. And that's really destroying for a good story. So I'm very glad to hear this!

  7. As for your girl visiting the market or going to the baths with a friend... She would most likely have attendants of some sort go along with her, even if her mother were to accompany her. The streets and public places of Rome were not the safest, remember.


    All right, I will have to keep that in mind.


    And I understand I just had a very wrong view on weaving and spinning. I thought of it as hard work. But now my character is going to weave (whether she likes it or not :) ).

  8. Thanks for all the information about marriage. I will change my story a little to give the parents a more important role in this matter.


    Something more about the reason I started this topic: hobbies.


    If your character is of a noble family, she might spend her days at home with a private tutor who would teach her poetry (but not the poetry of that scandalous Ovid!). She might also study the use of a musical instrument, and some dance --


    I thought Roman girls quit school when they were really young. Or is this something different from school?


    And another question about weaving and embroidery: what did she make? Can

  9. He would be a rariety of course, and his fellow legionaries would cotton on to his superior breeding very quickly and poor Arius may find himself the butt of some very poor behaviour from his legionary brethren until he earns respect and friends.

    That's excactly what I'm writing about. His fellow legionaries find out who Arius' father is and make his life a nightmare.


    By the age of 15 young Lucius is considered old enough to make his own decisions and to be of marriageable age. At 16-18, he's a young businessman according to your story. The fact he gets his fingers dirty with trade and finance lowers his social level - men of good families didn't involve themselves in such grubby details (at least not publicly anyway, and there were plenty of knowledeable slaves to do the nitty gritty stuff anyway)


    Weren't there any businessman from an higher social level, then? Thought I read about that, but I don't remember where. In my story Lucius knows the example of a man who became very rich because of trade and then he wants to give it a try himself. Lucius' father doesn't like it, but as you say, Lucius is old enough to make his own decisions. (By the way: isn't his father the ruler of the whole family until he dies? Can Lucius really make his own decisions?)

  10. OK, Caldrail, I must say that I have to think a little longer to find out which of your options my young men can use.

    By the way, I recently found out that they are both plebeian. I thought they were patricians, but they are not. Does that change their situation?


    Anyway, Arius is a little foolish, VERY stubborn, and he dislikes everything his father likes. When his father tries to move him into a position he doesn't want (something in politics, i'm not sure yet), Arius runs away from home and becomes a legionary. Is this a credible story?


    Don't know what Lucius is going to do yet. I think bribe is the right option for him. I mean, trade was profitable, so he's got the money to do it... What about his age? he's 16-18 years old in my story. Maybe he's going to the army after the end of my story...

  11. However, it's entirely conceivable that a father would give a recalcitrant daughter a difficult time. But it seems to me that a Roman father, in forcing his daughter into marriage this way, would effectively be lowering her status to that of a slave concubine.


    The father of my girl is definitely not pleased with the situation, but what can he do if no one wants to marry his daughter? I mean: he can not force his daughter into marriage if there's no bridegroom, can he?

    So if the daughter says: "Dad, please be patient, I think XX likes me and is going to ask for my hand." Won't he listen to that?

    (Maybe my idea of marriage is to romantic)