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Roman Roamin

Roman Roamin > Is this myth, or history?

Is this myth, or history?

The curious thing about the period covered in this novel, 627 to 508 BCE, is that so little is known about the era. It is a mosaic with most of the pieces missing. The Etruscans left behind little more than one hundred lines of text, mostly short tomb inscriptions in a language we cannot translate. Add to that the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387 BCE, who burned all their records. We are left with virtually no written records describing the rise of the most important civilization in the western world.

Even the Romans of Caesar's age knew very little about the years surrounding the founding of their republic. But this did not daunt them. Historians known to posterity as Livy and Dionysius used myth and legend to embellish the gaps in their knowledge. The myths and legends are fascinating stories, but only serve to muddy the waters and obscure the truth.

The city was not founded by Romulus on 753 BCE, as tradition holds. The villages united into a city when they came together to build the Forum, more than a century later. The historian is forced to telescope a hundred and twenty years of mythic history, including four kings who never actually lived. He is challenged to put into their proper context real events that have been ascribed to legendary characters who did not exist, in a time period that did not take place.

Legend says Romulus created the Senate, but history says Servius Tullius created the Senate. Details are missing, and subject to question. But it is possible, of course, to fill in the blanks with educated guesses. Like a mosaic with missing pieces, the eye fills in what the mind says should logically be there. In this novel about the birth of Rome, the missing tiles in the mosaic have been drawn in as accurately as possible. I have carefully considered the latest archeological and historical research, then consulted Livy and Dionysius, and mixed this with my own spin to arrive at the story told on these pages.

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