BODY OF WORK
Prior to the more popular imperial and republican periods of ancient Rome, seven unsung kings ruled the rapidly growing settlement. Historical fiction author, Sherrie Seibert Goff, is bringing to life this relatively neglected period of history in a set of tales subtitled Seven Kings of Rome Novels.
The novels in the seven kings series are known for their in-depth research and historical imagination. Each has been written to stand alone from its predecessors while remaining subtly connected in a continuing epic tale of the earliest Romans.
The following briefly charts those legendary Latin, Sabine and Etruscan men who lived the incredible adventure that fostered the nation destined to extend its rule over the earth:
KING ROMULUS SILVIUS QUIRINUS Latin (reigned 753-715 B.C.)
The Arms of Quirinus is a fresh retelling of a classic story that brings to life immortal Rome’s pastoral beginnings as a craggy, wooded hilltop beside an ancient river crossing and spins a tale that might have been told by the very people who lived the incredible adventure that fostered the nation destined to extend its rule over the earth. This is the story of young Romulus, Rome’s first king, who took the rulership and built Mars’ own city, calling his people Romans after his own name and fostering the nation that wore the toga, the Roman nation, masters of the world.
The Arms of Quirinus opens with a young Vestal’s account of the disturbing events that led to the birth of her sons, Romulus and Remus. The tale continues in the rustic voice of the shepherd who rescues the famous twins from the Tiber and raises them to manhood. The wood nymph’s lament is a vivid account of mystic witchcraft, foredoomed love and grim sacrifice. Romulus tells the king’s own story with a strange mixture of justice and wry humor. Finally, the pragmatic priest unfolds the political unrest that ended the reign of Romulus.
Each person’s yarn adds to the story and moves it forward towards a climactic finale. The priest reveals a surprise ending that brings the whole adventure full circle and sets the stage for the second novel in the Seven Kings of Rome Series.
This novel will appeal to readers with inquiring minds who have a love of history and a fascination for the cultural roots of civilization, as well as to readers looking simply for an entertaining junket in the form of a novel that can bring to vivid life another time, another place. Although this novel is richly textured and heavily researched and rests on a voluminous bibliography, the author’s first aim has been to create a romantic adventure and a rousing good tale.
KING NUMA POMPILIUS Sabine (reigned 715-673 B.C.)
Romulus was an impetuous warrior hero who gathered rabble and outlaws together by force of his charisma and ruled by the seat of his pants until his assassination. By contrast, his successor, King Numa, was a generous, compassionate prince of peace, famed for justice and piety, who reigned more than forty years and died quietly in his sleep of old age.
Good King Numa, who was born the day Rome was founded, based his government on religion and peace, and mindful of order and legality, bound the Roman people with sacred law and ceremony.With divine advice from his mistress, this gentle lawgiver brought an end to war and instituted the priesthood, augurs and vestals for the rough-edged Romans.
Tradition ran that a water-nymph named Egeria was the mistress of wise King Numa, that he consorted with her in the secrecy of a sacred grove, and that the laws which he gave the Romans were inspired by communion with her divinity. The Scent of Hyacinth spins a plausible romantic adventure around the traditional legend of Numa and Egeria.
This novel opens with the melancholy tale of Robur, an Arician woodcutter, who endures the cruelty of a stepfather, loses his patrimony and sacrifices all for love of young Egeria. Egeria picks up Robur’s tale with her own harrowing story of survival and escape to an unwonted way of life that leads to her fated role in Rome’s history. Dauna, a talented pottery artisan, harbors a twisted love for Egeria and flirts with betrayal as her control over Robur and her place at Egeria’s side slip through her fingers.
Numa Pompilius, whose training as a religious scholar intensifies his innate distaste for politics, decries the intrigues and power plays that accost him in Rome. Prima, the daughter of assassinated King Romulus, holds precariously onto the reins of power and survives the dangerous machinations of ambitious senators only by advancing her friend Numa Pompilius to the heights of government.
KING TULLUS HOSTILIUS Latin (reigned 673-642 B.C.)
Tullus Hostilius, a warlike realist and complete opposite of his peaceful predecessor, was the grandson of Romulus’ cavalry hero, Hostius Hostilius, who died fighting the Sabines. King Tullus is portrayed in legend as a young demigod, impetuous, insolent, unhampered by scruples, and exposed to the temptations of tyranny. He is celebrated in history as the bellicose leader who destroyed the ancient city of Alba Longa after staging a dramatic battle between two famous sets of brothers, the Curiatii and Horatii. Tullus built a new Senate building, added the Caelian mount to the city, and won a reputation as the first Roman king to conduct warfare through treachery.
The adventure begins during the waning days of elderly King Numa, when Tullus and his restless young partisans go about decrying a Rome grown weak. In the springtime of their lives, they ridicule the piety and peace forced upon them by a doddering ruler and yearn to pursue the warrior’s way. A new generation longs for action and glory, while fathers quake at the seditious talk of their sons.
The Warrior’s Dance is told in the words of those who lived the adventure of King Tullus’ ascent to power. Their fates perforce are caught up in their hero’s triumphs and snared by his ruinous descent into superstition and brutality. When the balance tips too far, the gods will demand their due.
KING ANCUS MARCIUS Sabine (reigned 642-617 B.C.)
The Tiber Bridge is a poignant tale of Rome’s fourth king, a man of power and ability, who is haunted by the ghosts of his past folly. Rumor ran that King Ancus murdered his predecessor and seized the crown because of the warrior’s disregard for the gods and religious ceremonies instituted in Rome.
The illustrious Ancus Marcius, an ideally balanced soldier and builder, fought wars and political rivals, conquered the Latins, seized the coastal salt flats and established a colony at Ostia, added the Aventine Mount to the city and fortified the Janiculum, founded the Plebs, built the famous Mamertine Prison, and constructed the first bridge to cross the Tiber.
Yet his accomplishments remain tarnished and unrewarding, as he suffers the hatred of his predecessor’s son and endures the cruel suspicions of his wife. A pious and peaceful man by nature, he is thwarted constantly by Rome’s Pontifex Maximus and is forced repeatedly into war with Rome’s neighbors. Builders, priests, Vestal Virgins, generals, two wives, and a family of Etruscan shepherds all play a part in this tale of human frailty and woe set against the demands of a royal crown.
KING LUCIUS TARQUINIUS PRISCUS Etruscan (reigned 616-578 B.C.)
[aka Tarquin I, aka Lucumo] The Elder Tarquin had an Etruscan name but was really the son of the Corinthian Demaratus and an Etruscan woman. Seeking advancement and fortune, Lucumo came to Rome and rose through the ranks of society to become Rome’s fourth king, at which time he took the name Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. King Tarquin adopted and raised his own son-in-law and heir, Servius Tullius. He drained the marshy forum and sewered central Rome, built the Circus Maximus, enlarged the Senate, created more tribal classes, and established the census. King Tarquin fought both Sabines and Latins and was altogether a tyrant in the grand style. (Novel in Progress)
KING SERVIUS TULLIUS Latin (reigned 578-534 B.C.)
[aka Mastarna] The Roman, Servius Tullius, identified by the Etruscans as the young revolutionary Mastarna, is credited with the political and economic reorganization of Rome’s army and the citizen classes. His parents were from Corniculum, a town in Latium. He added the Esquiline and Viminal mounts to the city and enclosed the seven hills with a great stone wall. He built a great temple to Diana on the Aventine and divided Rome’s citizens into five classes according to wealth. His reforms being animated by a new and modern spirit, he restricted the rule of the aristocracy. He was murdered by his predecessor’s ambitious grandson, who wanted to return to the old order, the tyranny of an absolute monarchy. (Novel in Progress)
KING TARQUINIUS SUPERBUS Etruscan (reigned 534-510 B.C.)
[aka Tarquin the Proud] The younger Tarquin seized the kingship and reigned as a cruel taskmaster, straining Rome to the breaking point. Tarquin the Proud undertook big public works, finished the main sewer, built the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and destroyed Gabii, but he humiliated the Latins and made himself unpopular by tyrannical acts. When his son raped Lucretia, a nobleman’s wife, the house of Tarquin was brought down and thrown out by an aristocratic conspiracy. (Novel in Progress)
In 509 B.C.,
upon the expulsion of Rome’s last king,
the Roman Republic was born.