Falco, the Official Companion, is the last book (maybe) in the Marcus Didius Falco series. The author has recently completed two novels in the Flavia Alba series -The heroine is Falco’s adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, who has grown from a troubled teenager to a feisty widow and who is an investigator in her own right. Meanwhile, this book, Falco, the Official Companion is chock full of interesting information about Falco’s Rome.
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Taking up themes in the Falco Novels, we now look to Masculinity as virtue. Is masculinity a troubling term? Is masculinity how a man defines and expresses his manhood, his maleness? Is masculinity something a man does and expresses in word and action, or is it a facet of his being, his self? What exactly is masculinity?
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Love and Falco; in Shadows in Bronze, it seems a doomed subject as Falco begins on his task with regrets that he may never see Helena Justina again. Falco is filled with regrets at lost opportunities.
Continue reading Human Values – Love
With so many of the Falco novels focussing on aspects of Law and Order in ancient Rome, it is worthwhile to examine some aspects of this presented in Time to Depart. Falco’s friend Petro is a leader of a cohort of Vigiles.
You may wish to read Time to Depart.
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In this part of examining the issues raised in Lindsey Davis’s novel The Iron Hand of Mars, we will be taking a look at Leadership, or more specifically, leadership by historical and fictional characters as presented in this work of historical fiction. Due the nature of the environment (Rome and its military legions, and the activities thereof) observations about the nature of leadership generally, are raised.
You may wish to read The Iron Hand of Mars.
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“[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 a 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
Continue reading Falco, Family and Business
When Falco was but a tyke, his family consisted of his father Marcus Didius Favonius (aka Geminus), his mother Junilla Tacita, and seven children: Festus, Vittorina, Maia, Falco, Junia, Allia and Galla. At the time of this novel his older brother Festus, late of the Legio XV Appolinaris, has been dead three years. We may hear more of how Festus came to his end in the Judean War. His older sister Vittorina died during December of AD71 whilst Falco was in Free Germany, serving the Emperor. Vittorina died of ‘womens troubles’; the remainder of his sisters are alive.
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Poseidon’s Gold is somewhat focussed around relationships within the Falco family. It also reveals Falco’s determination to make an honest woman of Helena Justina and bring no dishonour to her family, by marrying out of station-in-life. Due illegal trading by Festus and probing by centurions of his Legion, Falco is charged by his mother to protect the good name of his family; he also takes up the task of protecting his Father’s good name as an auctioneer against the overweening possessiveness of the art collectors, who seek to ruin him, and that, feloniously.
Continue reading Values and Virtue
The family is the only unit in society based on need. To a degree, this was the same in Roman times, although the extensive fiduciary support we have come to take as the norm in this day and age (i.e. supporting parent benefits, child endowments, etc.) did not exist in Falco’s times.
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We have looked at the basic plot and the landlord’s fiddles which Lindsey Davis raised in Venus in Copper, and examined some of the characters, albeit with a quick glance. We take the opportunity to look at some of the actions of the main characters as the narrative unfolds. On page 290, Falco makes a broad conclusion that all landlords are bullies. Why does he say this, and what bears the weight of Falco’s comment in the narrative?
Continue reading Character and Values