Welcome to Historical References

   Ancient Rome - Primary Sources
   Ancient Rome - Modern Works
   Germania - Modern Works
   Other Works
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The Twelve Caesars Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus Penguin Books Ltd., 1957

The Annals of Imperial Rome Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Penguin Ltd., 1977

The Histories Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Penguin Ltd., 1980

The Germania Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Penguin Ltd., 1965

The Satyricon Titus Petronius, Arbiter Elegantiae at the court of Nero (reputedly the author) Penguin Ltd, 1977

The Conquest of Gaul Gaius Julius Caesar Penguin Ltd., 1984

The Satires of Juvenal Juvenal Mentor, 1963

The Letters of the Younger Pliny Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Penguin Ltd., 1963

The Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius Dover, 1960

The Strategems Sextus Julius Frontinus Harvard University Press, 1969

Dio's Roman History, Volume 8 Cassius Dio Loeb Classical Library

Historia Naturalis (Ten volumes) Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus) Loeb Classical Library


Seneca: Humanist at the Court of Nero Villy S=F8rensen Canongate, 1984

Roman Life and Manners (Three volumes) Ludwig Friedlander George Routledge & Sons Ltd.

The Story of Civilization: Caesar and Christ Wiil Durant MJF Books, 1944

The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 11 Edited by J.B. Bury and others Cambridge University Press, 1923-39

Daily Life in Ancient Rome Jerome Carcopino Yale University Press, 1940

Life in Ancient Rome F.R. Cowell Capricorn Books, 1975

A Day in Old Rome Williams Stearns Davis Biblo & Tannen, 1967

The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire Edward N. Luttwak Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976

The Roman Imperial Army Graham Webster Funk and Wagnall's, 1969

Army of the Caesars Michael Grant

The Roman Army from Caesar to Trajan Michael Simkins Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1984

Rome's Enemies: Germanics and Dacians Peter Wilcox Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1982

Tacitus Ronald Martin University of California Press, 1981

A Commentary on the Epigrams of Martial Peter Howell The Athlone Press, 1980

Herculaneum Joseph Jay Deiss Harper and Row, 1985

Roman Women: Their History and Habits J.P.V.D. Balsdon Barnes and Noble Books, 1962

Romans and Aliens J.P.V.D. Balsdon University of N. Carolina Press, 1980

Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome J.P.V.D. Balsdon

Roman Architecture Frank Sear Cornell University Press, 1982

Roman Art and Architecture Mortimer Wheeler Thames & Hudson, 1964

Mystery Religions in the Ancient World Joscelyn Godwin Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 1981

Law and Life of Rome J.A. Crook Thames & Hudson, 1967

The World of Rome Michael Grant The New American Library, 1960

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction David Macaulay Houghton Mifflin, 1974

The Roman Triumph Robert Payne Abelard-Schuman, 1963

The Mute Stones Speak Paul MacKendrick St. Martin's Press, 1960

Romans on the Rhine/ Archeaology in Germany Paul MacKendrick Funk and Wagnall's, 1970

Rome and the Barbarians Barry W. Cunliffe H.Z. Walck, 1975

Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans Franz Cumont Dover Publications, 1960

The Colosseum Peter Quennell and the Editors of Newsweek Book Division New York, Newsweek, 1971

Arena: The Story of the Colosseum


The Culture of the Teutons (Two volumes) Vilhelm Gronbech Oxford University Press, 1931

Teutonic Mythology (Four volumes) Jacob Grimm Dover, 1966

Rites and Religions of the Anglo-Saxons Gale R. Owen Barnes & Noble, 1981

Myth and Religion of the North E.O.G. Turville-Petre Greenwood Press, 1975

The Poetic Edda Trans. by Lee M. Hollander University of Texas Press, 1986

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe/Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions H. R. Ellis Davidson Syracuse University Press, 1988

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe H.R. Ellis Davidson Penguin, Ltd., 1964

Leaves of Yggdrasil Freya Aswynn Llewellyn Publications, 1992

The Bog People P.V. Glob Faber & Faber, 1977

The Early Germans E.A. Thompson

The Barbarians: Warriors and Wars of the Dark Ages Tim Newark Blandford Press, 1985

The Germanic People: Their Origin/Expansion and Culture Francis Owen Dorset Press, 1960

Runelore Edred Thorsson Samuel Weiser, 1987

Everyday Life in Roman and Anglo-Saxon Times Marjorie and C.H.B. Quennell Dorset, 1959

The Lost Gods of England Brian Branston Thames and Hudson, 1974

Teutonic Religion Kveldulf Gundarsson Llewellyn Publications, 1993

The Vinland Sagas Penguin Books Ltd., 1965


The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World Guido Majno, M.D. Harvard University Press, 1991

Medicines from the Earth: A Guide to Healing Plants edited by William A.R. Thomson, M.D. Harper and Row, 1983

Hildegard of Bingen's Medicine Trans. by Dr. Wighard Strehlow and Gottfried Hertzka, M.D. Bear & Company, 1988

The Lady of the Hare: A Study in the Healing Power of Dreams John Layard Shambhala, 1988

The Ancient Economy M.I. Finley University of California Press, 1973

The Ancient Engineers L. Sprague De Camp Ballantine Books, 1963

Women in Prehistory Margaret Ehrenberg University of Oklahoma Press, 1989

The Golden Bough James Frazer Mentor, 1959

The White Goddess Robert Graves 'arrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966

The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe Marija Gimbutas University of California Press, 1982

The Women's Encylopedia of Myths and Secrets Barbara G. Walker Harper and Row, 1983

Priestesses Norma Lorre Goodrich Franklin Watts, 1989

The God of the Witches Margaret A. Murray Oxford University Press, 1931


Throughout my twelve years of work on the book the research was carried out continuously--ancient Rome is a vast subject, and it's easy to believe you can never know enough! By the time the book was complete, I'd used dozens of primary sources, and hundreds of modern sources. Always I tried to adhere as closely as possible to the history of the era, or, when inventing the plot, to recreate circumstances appropriate to the times. However, as almost always happens when creating fiction from history, there were occasions when time had to be foreshortened to meet the demands of plot: History unfolds at a natural pace, but fiction must move from dramatic high point to high point. Probably the greatest liberty I took was removing ten years from Domitian's reign.

The majority of the books on Roman history and culture came from the San Francisco Main Library; others were ordered from university press catalogues. There was also the occasional treasure found in a used bookstore. Material on Rome is, at least, fairly easy to find; most bookstores carry the Roman historians and commentators in Penguin editions. Recreating the life of the barbarian tribes required more ingenuity--the material is scanty and elusive, and comes almost entirely from one primary literary source--Tacitus's GERMANIA -- in addition to a scattering of minor mentions by other Roman historians. Much of the material had to be recreated by indirect means, by what I thought of as 'parallel research': Where a gap existed, I'd find a culture that historians and anthropologists generally agreed had many parallel beliefs and customs, and then carefully, cautiously, I'd draw from that culture.

It's not too difficult to get a sense of what it must have felt like to be alive in first century Rome: Roman voices are everywhere, and Roman attitudes are no mystery to us. They come through clearly in Pliny's letters, in medical treatises, in satirial poetry, in graffiti on the walls of Herculaneum and Pompeii. But for the proto-Germanic tribes, the written word lay centuries in the future. How to get a feel for daily life in a tribe that never was able to speak for itself, that was, in its day, described only by its enemies? Works such as the EDDAS and the ICELANDIC SAGAS provide the only 'literary window'--but they were written nearly a thousand years later. However, they do deal with what was basically the same culture--experts agree that many cultural norms hadn't changed that radically: for example, the customs regarding treatment of guests, the concept of 'luck' or life force (if you had it, your wounds would heal more quickly, and men would follow you into battle) and belief in the holiness of the vengeance rite. Care must be taken in using the Sagas, though, because they contain concepts borrowed from Christianity, which wouldn't have been part of the ancient tribal pattern. One great breakthrough in my research came when I discovered Vilhelm Gronbech's two volume work, CULTURE OF THE TEUTONS, a surprisingly poetic examination of the religion and culture of the Sagas--this was the beginning, for me, of getting a sense that I was able to see through the 'tribal eye'. I also studied much older sources, going back to the Bronze Age, which I began to do when I realized how many Bronze Age elements were preserved in this culture, because of its relative isolation from the classical world.

Another helpful source were the works of archeologists. Some of the finds in northwestern Europe are spectacular. Scientists have found and studied perfectly preserved bodies from the first century--the peat bogs in which they had been deposited contained chemicals which prevented decay. P.V. Glob's THE BOG PEOPLE gives a wonderful description of these finds. From them, scientists have a good idea of how Iron Age men and women looked and dressed, and what they ate (at ritual meals, at least, since most of the bodies are thought to have been sacrifices) and they've been able to reconstruct many details of the last moments of these people's lives. I also drew from a chronicle of an experiment at a Danish university, in which students constructed and lived in an Iron Age village, using only tools of the period as they prepared food, wove cloth, and performed daily tasks.

Another breakthrough in conceiving of the Germanic religion and its relation to the culture came when I realized what Northwest European witchcraft was: the last dying ember of a nature religion that stretches back, in all likelihood, to the Ice Age. I then could supplement the small amount of information from Tacitus with anthropological studies of witchcraft and shamanism. There's little doubt that many of the festival days of witchcraft were also holy days of the old Germanic religion, particulary May Eve, Astura or Eostre, and Yule. These books also gave clues to certain cryptic references in Tacitus' Germania. For example, Tacitus mentions the white horses of the sacred groves whose snorts and neighs were recorded by the priests as a form of divination. Then, in Margaret Murray's GOD OF THE WITCHES I read of 'domestic familiars' and 'divining familiars'--the latter is usually a large animal, often a horse. This immediately suggested the white horses of the grove, and I was able to fit them into a larger, more coherent picture. This is how much of the research was done: by following small clues from book to book.

The study of European folklore was also helpful. The elements of the pagan Eastre scene, for example, drew heavily from several books on folklore, particularly John Layard's THE LADY OF THE HARE, which described Easter traditions around the world and speculated on their origin.

The above bibliography is partial because many of the books are lost to me now; through the years, I didn't always write down titles and author's names. I also left out books that don't specifically relate to the period--for example, the books on saber fencing that I used for the swordfighting scenes, and the books describing native plants, trees, and animals. The books listed above are the important ones to which I turned again and again.


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