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Rome: Mid July-12 August, A.D.74
"A book may be defined ...as a written (or printed) message of considerable length, meant for public circulation and recorded on materials that are light yet durable enough to afford comparatively easy portability."
"[The creditor] examines your family affairs; he meddles with your transactions. If you go forth from your chamber, he drags you along with him and carries you off; if you hide yourself inside he stands before your house and knocks at the door.
"If [the debtor] sleeps, he sees the moneylender standing at his head, an evil dream....If a friend knocks at the door he hides under the couch. Does the dog bark? He breaks out in a sweat. The interest due increases like a hare, a wild animal which the ancients believed could not stop reproducing even while it was nourishing the offspring already produced."
Basil of Caesarea
POETRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SAFE
"Take your writing tablets up to our new house," suggested Helena Justina, my elegant partner in life. I was struggling against shock and physical exhaustion, acquired during a dramatic underground rescue. Publicly, the vigiles took the credit, but I was the mad volunteer who had been lowered headfirst down a shaft on ropes. It had made me a hero for about a day, and I was mentioned by name (misspelled) in the Daily Gazette. "Just sit and relax in the garden," soothed Helena, after I had rampaged about our tiny Roman apartment for several weeks. "You can supervise the bathhouse contractors."
"I can supervise them if they bother to turn up."
"Take the baby. I may come too — we have so many friends abroad nowadays, I ought to work on The Collected Letters of Helena Justina."
What — by a senator's daughter? Most are too stupid and too busy counting their jewelry. None are ever encouraged to reveal their literary skills, assuming they have them. But then, they are not supposed to live with informers either.
"Badly needed," she said briskly. "Most published letters are by smug men with nothing to say."
Was she serious? Was she privately romancing? Or was she just twisting the rope on my pulley to see when I snapped? "Ah well," I said mildly. "You sit in the shade of a pine tree with your stylus and your great thoughts, fruit. I can easily run around after our darling daughter at the same time as I'm keeping a check on a bunch of slippery builders who want to destroy our new steam room. Then I can dash off my own little odes whenever there's a pause in the screaming and stone-cutting."
Every would-be author needs solitude and tranquillity.
It would have been a wonderful way to pass the summer, escaping from the city heat to our intended new home on the Janiculan Hill — except for this: the new home was a dump; the baby had embarked on a tantrum phase; and poetry led me into a public recital, which was foolish enough. That brought me into contact with the Chrysippus organization. Anything in commerce that looks like a safe proposition may be a step on the route to grief.
In the long, hot Roman Summer of AD74, Marcus Didius Falco, private informer and spare-time poet, gives a reading for his family and friends. Things get out of hand as usual. The event is taken over by Aurelius Chrysippus, a wealthy Greek banker and patron to a group of struggling writers, who offers to publish Falco's work - a golden opportunity that rapidly palls. A visit to the Chrysippusscriptorium implicates him in a gruesome literary murder so when Petronius Longus, the over-worked vigiles enquiry chief, commissions him to investigate, Falco is forced to accept.
Lindsey Davis' twelfth novel wittily explores Roman publishing and banking, taking us from the jealousies of authorship and the mire of patronage, to the darker financial world, where default can have fatal consequences...
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Description du livre Etat : New. New. N° de réf. du vendeur M-0099298201
Description du livre Arrow, 2001. Paperback. Etat : New. Brand New!. N° de réf. du vendeur VIB0099298201