When in Rome… Tell Stories


Growing up in the United States, I was fascinated with Rome and the Romans. I heard about Roman art, literature, architecture, public water works, roads, law, theatre, and of course military prowess. I watched movies with Julius Ceasar, where all the actors had British accents. I saw Shakespeare plays, and Christmas pageants with pretend Roman soldiers. So, I was fascinated to find that some authors are publishing fictional stories set in alternate or imaginary Rome.

In 2003 Robert Silverberg published Roma Eterna, a group of short stories with the premise that the Roman Empire survived to the present time. The stories presented a series of snapshots over a period of about 1500 years, from AD 529 to AD 1970, with most stories involving Roman politics. In 2013 Alison Morton published Inceptio, about Roma Nova, a remnant of the Roman Empire in a mountain fastness in Europe. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman exiles and now ruled by women, it exists in a delicate balance with the rest of the modern world. In 2015 Assaph Mehr published Murder In Absentia: Togas, Daggers, and Magic. This story featuring Felix the Fox, takes place in a fantasy world, with magic, borrowing elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture.

Other authors have taken up telling stories with Roman backdrops. Mark Stone wrote Calasade: Sanguinem Isle, a fantasy which is set in a world similar to ancient Rome. Clash of Eagles by Alan Smales imagines an alternative Roman Empire visiting the North American continent and confronting Native-Americans in 1218 AD. Romanitas by Sophia McDougall tells an alternate history story where the Roman Empire flourishes today, spanning their territory from Persia to Terranova with magnetic railways. These stories share imaginary views of possible Roman worlds.

I admire stories that begin with historical reality and veer off into fantastical story telling. Each of these stories using Roman culture as a jumping off point to tell stories about interesting characters. The are many other tales in this sub-genre, and there is room for many more. I am glad these exist and would like to explore these fictional worlds more.

Author Links:

Assaph Mehr https://www.amazon.com/Assaph-Mehr/e/B015U1F3NC

Sophia McDougall https://www.amazon.com/Sophia-McDougall/e/B0034OSHPO/

Alison Morton https://www.amazon.com/Alison-Morton/e/B007JZ1XRS

Robert Silverberg https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Silverberg/e/B000APLXDS/

Alan Smale https://www.amazon.com/Alan-Smale/e/B00BAFDPWO

Mark Stone https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Stone/e/B006PPRRKK


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