Interaction between Political and Social Life in Ancient Imperial Rome

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Interaction between Political and Social Life in Ancient Imperial Rome

The interaction between political and social life in Ancient Rome has been accurately portrayed in the well researched novel, "The Course of Honour", by Lindsey Davies. However as this is a fictional novel told as an interesting story instead of fact, the information given must be corroborated with several primary sources to correct any inherent biases.

Lindsey Davies is an author who specialises in writing about life in Ancient Rome. Her novels are famous for the detective work of Marcus Didius Falco, with books such as "Last Act in Palmyra", "Venus in Copper", "A Dying Light in Corduba" and "The Iron Hands of Mars" winning her the Sherlock Holmes Award for
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"But when Vespasian, in the course of his general triumph, restored stable government to Britain..." (Tacitus, p.68)

As well as being a strong source of information about political life during this time, the novel also catalogues the struggles faced before and after marriage by Vespasians mistress, the freedwoman Caenis. Their forbidden relationship is threatened as Vespasian reaches the height of his political career. Caenis was but a footnote mentioned in history which Davies has sanctified into a wonder woman without whom Vespasians career could not have possibly succeeded. This obvious glorification of a story is an example of a bias used to make a tale more interesting, and the lack of historical sources commenting on Caenis only proves that she is nowhere near as important as Davis makes her out to be. Regardless, this novel achieves its aim as an interesting secondary source of information on Imperial Rome from two totally different perspectives- that of a slave and freedwoman, and that of an emperor. It showcases very suitably both the social and political struggles which are faced in upkeeping this unlikely relationship.

There are different viewpoints on the way slaves were treated in Imperial Rome. Caenis in the story is first portrayed as a faithful and respectful slave, claiming "I know how to keep my mouth shut, any sensible slave does!" (Davies, p.17) This restricted form of life is backed up by this quote by a primary

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