Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


16.10.07
  Coincidences

I did some research for Eagle of the Sea and checked lists of consuls and officers to get the right ones, resp. make sure that I put invented characters in places where the historical ones aren't known. I found more than I had looked for.

A character in A Land Unconquered I thought I had made up, did exist - our all favourite Publius Cornelius Lentulus (Scipio). He is listed as consul under Tiberius 24 AD, and a Wikipedia article mentions he was commander in 22 AD which is confirmed by the information on Livius.org and Ritterling's essay 'Legio / Realencyclopädie der Klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 12' that name a Publius Cornelius Scipio as legate of the VIIII Hispana during the Tacfarinas rebellion in the Africa province.

Looks like our Lentulus has grown some military guts. His age in A Land Unconquered fits to make him old enough for the position of a legate in 22 AD, and I have always seen him as Tiberius' man (while Horatius Veranius has the protection of Germanicus).

But it gets even better. Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio was married to Poppaea Sabina, the mother of Nero's future wife. It was most probably a second marriage taking place after Poppaea's first husband died in 31 AD, but Cornelius Lentulus had a son, another Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio by a first marrige (who would be the half-brother of Nero's wife) who was consul in 56 AD, the time for the backstory of Eagle of the Sea; and the one I researched first.

There is another of the lot, a Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio who was legate of the newfounded II Adiutrix in 70 AD. There is no proof that he was closely related to the Cornelii Lentuli above, but I think he did belong to the same clan, so I made him part of my half invented, half real family tree.

Caius Horatius Veranius (and his descendants) get a connection to historical characters as well. There is a Quintus Veranius Nepos who was governor of Britain in 57 AD, the time of the backstory of Eagle of the Sea* again, and his father, another Quintus Veranius who was governor of Cappadocia in 18 AD. He can be Caius' uncle or something.

* I have decided to use the backstory about Aquila's father Marcus Horatius' involvement in the whole Cartimandua/Venutius mess in an active way in form of letters or a diary. Complicated plots are fun, lol.

On another note, the always kind and thoughtful Bernita posted a flattering analysis of the dialogue in my last Friday snippet on her blog. It is wonderful to learn that something works for the readers, esp. since I have a hard time coming up with good dialogue.

Picture: Walltown Craigs, Hadrian's Wall
 
Comments:
Isn't research fascinating? You never know what goodies you'll come across.
 
It's that frisson feeling when these things happen.
I love that photo.
Gabriele, there have been any number of lines and/or descriptions in your snippets that I remember, long after you posted them, for their vivid and acute quality.
And I maintain that resonance is a characteristic of a really good writer.
 
It is, Wynn.

Bernita,
by now I'm tempted to suggest the archaeologists should look for some Roman watch towers I put along the Weser. After all, I put the circus near Camulodunum right where they're digging it out now. :)

Maybe I'm on the way of finding my voice as writer.
 
That deja vu feeling can be creepy, can't it? When you make something up and then find it fits with facts you didn't know at the time.

Do you think you'll need to amend Lentulus' character to fit with what's known of the history, since he turns out to be a real person? Have you made him too slimy (or even not slimy enough)?
 
Carla,
since we know so little about him, and there's no living descendant left to sue me for libel, I'll keep him the slimy scumbag he is. :)

There is no problem to have Lentulus change from a man shocked to see the first real war into a legate who made the right decision at Tacfarinas. I'm going to pick a legion for his time as tribune that didn't see any action. It would even enhance the rivalry with Horatius Veranius who fought in Pannonia and then got promoted quaestor before the proper age. That's why Lentulus wants a position in Varus' staff in what he thinks is a conquered province. During Germanicus' campaigns, he can grow some military backbone. I don't want to make him purely evil, just someone who thinks of himself first, with little understanding for other people, and eager to make a career at any costs as long as his reputation remains intact. But he isn't stupid.
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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