Characters in the Scipio Novels: Pomponia

Readers have asked me if I have a particular person in mind when I write about the characters in the four Scipio novels. As writers will tell you, it’s very helpful to have someone in mind who characterizes the appearance, values and personality of the character you are writing. By having an image of the character, you can better stay on track when you write about them over the hundreds of pages of your books. Pomponia is one of my readership’s favorite characters. Little is known about Pomponia, but I have cast her as a clever and strong-willed politician who exercises her wits and sexuality for maximum political effect within the gender-constrained opportunities of ancient Roman society. For me, Pomponia must be queenly, as befits the widowed matron of a powerful Roman family. She is beautiful enough to play sexual politics with the Senators she must sway, but is a caring mother who’s wisdom guides Scipio Africanus’ early development.   I chose Lucy

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The Dogs of War: Molossus

“Never, with them on guard need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief, or onslaught of wolves, or Iberian brigands at your back.”  Virgil “The Molossus dog of the Molossia region of Epirus was the strongest known to the Romans, and was specifically trained for battle.”   I have been asked several times about the Molossus dog featured in my Scipio Africanus novels. People have wanted to know if such a breed existed, because they couldn’t find any record of it today. Rest assured, dear readers, the Molossus dog was real. Though the breed is extinct today, and it has a lot of contemporary grandchildren breeds in the large working dog category! The Molossus was used by the Romans as early as 300 BC, following the war dog traditions of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians. The Romans used the molossus as one of their primary military breeds, possibly equipping them with a spike-studded leather collar similar to those still in vogue today.

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