Robert Fabbri sets the scene for his bestselling Roman historical fiction series Vespasian.
Read a full transcript of this video below:
“Vespasian was a very, very interesting man; he came from nothing and became Roman Emperor in 69 AD, the last man standing in the Year of the Four Emperors. So I decided to take his story, and follow him from his birth to his coronation as Emperor. Originally the series was going to comprise of six books, but like a lot of authors I got carried away. But it will end once he becomes Emperor, and probably with the combined triumph that he and Titus shared in 71 AD.
Because of the sacrifice at Vespasian’s naming ceremony and the imperial omens that accompanied it (according to Seutonius’ account), we always know that he’s going to be emperor. That doesn’t really come as a surprise to anyone except him. He begins his life as what you might call a nice middle class Roman boy; his uncle was a senator, and his father an equestrian. He’s really just your normal chap, but one who sets out in the most competitive society in the world to make a career.
We follow him throughout his life, going through everything that we know happened to him – we know he was a questor in the combined province of Crete and Cyrene [ed: modern day Libya], we know he was praetor, we know he was legate of the Second Augusto. So I take all of those points and then I write a fiction around them. It’s like joining-the-dots-writing really.
I like to make it exciting, I hope, and I like to have a lot of political intrigue. Most of the characters are real characters, and most of them are doing what they really did, and I fit Vespasian through this narrative.
Sex, swords, intrigue: we have the lot. I hope you enjoy the series.”