"The world of 'I, Claudius' and then some. This is a serious study of violent death in ancient Rome, from assassinations and murders at the highest level down to killings at the bottom rung of the social ladder. On every page there is a fascinating and often surprising human story that reveals just how different our basic attitudes toward life and death often are from those of the classical world. Whether such an untimely death was held to be nurder at all could depend very much on the status of the victim or that of the perpetrator. Southon's tone is sometimes witty, always pithy, and, for a serious historian, occasionally downright earthy. (Be forewarned!)"
An entertaining and informative look at the unique culture of crime, punishment, and killing in Ancient Rome
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 theater, Claudius was poisoned at dinner, and Galba was beheaded in the Forum. In one 50-year period, 26 emperors were murdered.
But what did killing mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? In A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Emma Southon examines a trove of real-life homicides from Roman history to explore Roman culture, including how perpetrator, victim, and the act itself were regarded by ordinary people. Inside Ancient Rome's darkly fascinating history, we see how the Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.