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IHahn
Connecticut, USA
History maven, especially European ancient history & book lover
Interests: literature, classical music, history, ancient history, photography, mysteries, fiction, nonfiction, roman history, ancient rome, resident home town
Recent Activity
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September 6 & 13 (note 1-week interval because of Rosh Hashanah) Dictator by Robert Harris (Cicero III) also as eBook This is the final novel in the trilogy of the life of Cicero as narrated by his secretary Tiro. From exile to death. The earlier books: Imperium Conspirata New members are always welcome! Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
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More background to our current read, The Edge of the Empire: A Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall by Bronwen Riley. (May 3 & 17): Charlotte Higgins interviewed, in The New Yorker, Roger Tomlin, Chief Researcher, Roman Inscriptions of Britain III, Fellow, Wolfson College. How to Decode an Ancient Roman’s Handwriting. This is very helpful as Riley cites him many times in the above book. That led me to Higgins' own book on Roman Britain, which, upon inquiry in our Facebook group, was highly praised. With a little monetary windfall that I have reserved for buying books, I downloaded Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain. The two books take a very different approach. Riley sets up an imaginary travelogue in the year 130 CE for the then newly appointed governor. Higgins takes a look at the entire Roman Britain – albeit with selected sites – and explores the sites, the related history and archaeology, and frequently delves into literary connections, ancient and modern. Did you know that Wilfred Owen, a "Shropshire Lad," was an enthusiastic boyhood archaeologist and might have well chosen this as a profession, had he survives the Great War? I am... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
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Our current read, The Edge of the Empire: A Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall by Bronwen Riley, starts its travelogue in Rome and spends some time at Ostia and Portus. Thus you might want to make a virtual tour through Ostia Antica. Image from above website ***** On another note, Caroline Lawrence, whom many of you know, interviewed the author in 2015: The History Girls ***** Newcomers are always welcome! The Roman History Reading Group meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month except August at Skype IM (no video) from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. U.S. EDT (UTC/GMT -04). This means that in Asia and Australia/Pacific it's daytime. Here is a world time clock to help you. Chat room directions. Irene will assist you. Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
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May 3 & 17 The Edge of the Empire: A Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall by Bronwen Riley also as eBook UK title: Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130 also as eBook An imaginary travelogue. May 3: through Chapter VI, Westwards to Silchester May 17: through the end Newcomers are always welcome! The Roman History Reading Group meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month except August at Skype IM (no video) from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. U.S. EDT (UTC/GMT -04). This means that in Asia and Australia/Pacific it's daytime. Here is a world time clock to help you. Chat room directions. Irene will assist you. Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
edited Upon further checking, it turns out that we read Robert Harris' second book in the Cicero series under another title already. Thus we will continue with the third and final novel, "Dictator." Chat List for 2017 January 4 & 18, February 1 The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough also as eBook February 15, March 1 & 15 Rubicon by Tom Holland also as eBook April 5 & 19 Antony by Allan Massie May 3 & 17 The Edge of the Empire: A Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall by Bronwen Riley UK title: Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130 also as eBook June 7 & 21 A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica's Rebellion by The H-Team (Ruth Downie, Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Vicky Alvear Shecter), S.J.A. Turney, Russell Whitfield, E. Knight) also as eBook possible authors chat (U.S. based authors) July 5 & 19 Daughters of Rome (Empress of Rome) by Kate Quinn also as eBook Author chat August Recess September 6 & 13 (because of Rosh Hashanah) Dictator by Robert Harris (Cicero III) also as eBook October 4 & 18, November 1 SPQR: A... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
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April 5 & 19 Antony by Allan Massie As dictated to and and annotated by Antony's secretary Critias. April 5: through Chapter XIV April 19: through the end Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2017 at Roman History Books and More
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online book chats, Spartacus Road, Peter Stothard, Symachus, Statiua, Florus, Roman history, The Appian Way, Robert Kaster, travelogues Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2016 at Roman History Books and More
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March 16, April 6 & 20 The Death of Caesar: The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination by Barry Strauss also as eBook March 16: Through Chapter 6 (Wanted Assassins) April 6: Through the end (Chapter 13: Augustus) April 20: Author chat. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 BC—the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar. He was, says author Barry Strauss, the last casualty of one civil war and the first casualty of the next civil war, which would end the Roman Republic and inaugurate the Roman Empire. “The Death of Caesar provides a fresh look at a well-trodden event, with superb storytelling sure to inspire awe” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Why was Caesar killed? For political reasons, mainly. The conspirators wanted to return Rome to the days when the Senate ruled, but Caesar hoped to pass along his new powers to his family, especially Octavian. The principal plotters were Brutus, Cassius (both former allies of Pompey), and Decimus. The last was a leading general and close friend of Caesar’s who felt betrayed by the great man: He was the mole in Caesar’s camp. But after the assassination everything went wrong.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at Roman History Books and More
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February 17, March 2 A Day of Fire by E Knight, Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot,, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Kate Quinn also as eBook Authors chat March 2 Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories: A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets. An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire. An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished. A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue. A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls. A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried. Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at Roman History Books and More
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Update, January 15 Our first chat in the New Year is an oldie but goodie: First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough. January 6 & 20, February 3 This novel, the first in the "Masters of Rome" series, has sparked the interest in Roman history for many readers. For myself, this is one of several go-arounds since I started these online chats in 1995. From the book description: With extraordinary narrative power, New York Times bestselling author Colleen McCullough sweeps the reader into a whirlpool of pageantry and passion, bringing to vivid life the most glorious epoch in human history. When the world cowered before the legions of Rome, two extraordinary men dreamed of personal glory: the military genius and wealthy rural "upstart" Marius, and Sulla, penniless and debauched but of aristocratic birth. Men of exceptional vision, courage, cunning, and ruthless ambition, separately they faced the insurmountable opposition of powerful, vindictive foes. Yet allied they could answer the treachery of rivals, lovers, enemy generals, and senatorial vipers with intricate and merciless machinations of their own—to achieve in the end a bloody and splendid foretold destiny . . . and win the most coveted honor the Republic could bestow. January 6:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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Our final chat for the year, on December 16, is the next in our occasional installments of the Gordianus mysteries: Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor, also as eBook. Overview: In the city of Massilia (modern-day Marseille), on the coast of Southern Gaul, Gordianus the Finder's beloved son Meto has disappeared--branded as a traitor to Caesar and apparently dead. Consumed with grief, Gordianus arrives in the city in the midst of a raging civil war, hoping to discover what happened to his son. But when he witnesses the fall of a young woman from a precipice called Sacrifice Rock, he becomes entangled in discovering the truth--did she fall or was she pushed? And where, in all of this, could it be connected to his missing son? Drawn into the city's treacherous depths, where nothing and no one are what they seem, Gordianus must summon all of his skills to discover his son's fate--and to safeguard his own life. Note: Steven Saylor does not do author chats, but he has told me he'd be happy to answer any questions by e-mail. You can find his address on the above author website. New members are welcome! Chat room location (with instructions)... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton also as eBook Author chat: Thursday, October 22 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. US ET (UTC/GMT -04) Please note change of date, the author chat with Stephanie Thornton will be on Thursday, October 22. New members are welcome! Chat room instructions Background: Procopius: The Secret History Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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September 2, 16 & 30 Taken at the Flood: The Roman Conquest of Greece by Robin Waterfield also as eBook Breakdown: September 2 Through Chapter 4: King Philip of Macden September 16 Through Chapter 8: Remote Control September 20 Through the end The book is not without controversy, see BMCR Review. Peter Green recently reviewed it with three other books in the NYRB, but unfortunately available only to subscribers: When the Roman Empire Didn’t Stop New members are welcome! Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. 2015 Reading Schedule Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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On June 3 & 17 we discuss Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero by James Romm. June 3: as far as we can get June 17: author chat with James Romm Background readings: The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca by Emily Wilson Review of both books: Such a Stoic: How Seneca became Ancient Rome’s philosopher-fixer Dialogues and Essays by Seneca Newcomers: Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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H. Rider Haggard: 'Cleopatra" from the Introduction: “The reader is asked to bear in mind, [that] the story is told, not from the modern point of view, but as from the broken heart and with the lips of an Egyptian patriot of royal blood; no mere beast-worshipper, but a priest instructed in the inmost mysteries, who believed firmly in the personal existence of the gods of Khem, in the possibility of communion with them, and in the certainty of immortal life with its rewards and punishments; to whom also the bewildering and often gross symbolism of the Osirian Faith was nothing but a veil woven to obscure secrets of the Sanctuary. Whatever proportion of truth there may have been in their spiritual claims and imaginings, if indeed there was any, such men as the Prince Harmachis have been told of in the annals of every great religion, and, as is shown by the testimony of monumental and sacred inscriptions, they were not unknown among the worshippers of the Egyptian Gods, and more especially of Isis.” ... “To such students as seek a story only, and are not interested in the faith, ceremonies, or customs of the Mother of Religion and... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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Our chats on May 6 & 20 are on an unusual novel by H. Rider Haggard: Cleopatra, as seen from the Egyptian POV. The book is available both on Gutenberg and (also free) on Kindle. May 6: Let's plan through Book II, Chapter VIII. May 20: Through the end. Haggard: Reputation and legacy. Chat Room Directions for Newcomers Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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Our upcoming chats on April 1 & 15 are letters by Seneca: Corrected to adjust dates. Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) Online The Penguin book contains the following letters which we will discuss - ideally - as follows: April 1: II, III, V, VI through IX, XI, XII, XV, XVI, XVIII. XXVI through XXVIII, XXXIII, XXXVIII, XL, XLI, XLVI through XLVIII, LIII through LVI April 15: LXIII, LXV, LXXIII, LXXV, LXXVII, LXXVIII, LXXXIII, LXXXVI, LXXXVIII, XC, XCI, CIV, CVII, CVIII, CXIV, CXXII, CXXIII Chat Room Directions for Newcomers Seneca, the fat-cat philosopher Connected: June 3 & 17 chats Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero by James Romm / author chat also as eBook Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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We will discuss The Reach of Rome: A Journey Through the Lands of the Ancient Empire, Following a Coin by Alberto Angela on February 4 & 18, March 4 February 4: through "Milan ~ Women's Liberation" February 18: through "Provence ~ Beware of the Brigands" March 4: through the end Newcomers: Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at Roman History Books and More
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We are starting the new year off with a well known time travel novel that gets us to 2nd century CE Carnuntum! January 7 & 21 Household Gods by Judith Tarr & Harry Turtledove (eBooks only ouside the U.S.) This is a great site to explore the ancient town: Carnuntum, Reborn City of Emperors Newcomers: Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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Join us in December for two mysteries: December 3 Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #3) aka "The Root of all Evils" by Ruth Downie (link includes eBook. Less expensive used copies may be had at ABEbooks.com and elsewhere) => December 2 Update Robert Greaves found these two useful links: Barbarian let loose in Gaul with camera Nemausus (Nîmes) December 10 (because of Hanukkah) Roman Games (Plinius Secundus Series #1) by Bruce MacBain (link includes eBook) Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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Get ready for an engrossing read! Wednesday, November 19 The Legate's Daughter: A Novel by Wallace Breem The only recommendation The Legate's Daughter should require is its author's name. Wallace Breem was one of the most gifted writers ever to turn his attention to the historical novel, with a mastery of descriptive writing, characterization, tone and mood rare indeed among those who work in the genre. The Legate's Daughter is as shrouded in rich, suggestive shadows as a Rembrandt masterpiece. Whether the setting is the slums of Rome or an African palace, the most striking scenes tend to take place at night, when those shadows grow darker and an unknown danger seems to lurk just out of sight. Those dangers steadily grow as the plot proceeds and suspense ratchets upwards. The Legate's Daughter Wallace Breem—some biographical notes Used copies may be had at ABEbooks.com and elsewhere. Also as eBook at Amazon. Newcomers are welcome. Information Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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October 1 & 15, November 5: Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome by Anthony Barrett (used copies may be had at ABEbooks.com and elsewhere) Also as eBook at Amazon and iTunes. The book has 222 pages of narrative text and 107 pages of appendices. The breakdown - sans appendices which may be read anytime - will be as follows: October 1: Preface, Part I (THE LIFE OF LIVIA), 1 - 4. October 15: through Part I (THE LIFE OF LIVIA), 5 ; Part II, (LIVIAN THEMES), 6 & 7. November 5: through the end of the narrative text. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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Our seond chat on Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni will be on Wednesday, July 30. As some members did not have the book yet or needed a refresher read, we will basically discuss the entire book. New York Times Video Interview Plutarch's Parallel Lives: Cato the Younger Cato the Elder Pompey Julius Caesar Sallust: The War with Catiline Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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Our next two chats February 19 & March 5 are texts by Cicero. Update March 2: There was some original confusion: On February 19 we discussed "Brutus: A History of Famous Orators," on March 5 it will be The Orator which is part of the same book. Brutus: A History of Famous Orators/The Orator at Gutenberg (downloadable to your tablet) Also availabe in print at Loeb Classical. "Cicero: A Portrait" by Elixabeth Rawson. Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM. Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2014 at Roman History Books and More
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This will our third and final chat, on February 5, about Empire (Rome Series #2) by Steven Saylor (link includes eBook): from Lucius: The Seeker, A.D. 93 through Marcus: The Sculptor (A.D. 113-141). These are my favorite parts of the novel. Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome’s empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more. Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire, the persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel’s heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii. Steven Saylor once again brings the ancient world to vivid life in a novel that tells the story of a city and a people that has endured in the world’s imagination like no other. Steven Saylor does... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2014 at Roman History Books and More