Roberts would go back earlier into the Republican period, because once the empire was instituted, he said, politics started getting dynastic and boring. Stanley, on the other hand, would jump forward, to the fourth century under Constantine, who granted official approval to Christianity. Stanley said she was interested in the various religions to which the Romans were open.
One author is attracted to political unrest, another in change of the religious kind. The common factor: Upheaval is good, at least in historical crime fiction.
(Stanley is a classicist by training. So is Lindsey Davis, author of the Marcus Didius Falco series. Davis sets her books in the time of Vespasian, who came to the plate two spots before Domitian in the imperial batting order. Had a good chat with Stanley about Italy and its art at the convivial post-convention dinner Sunday night.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2009