Thieves and Cheese


I began Book 2 of the series early in December and am now (12/29) over halfway through!  First draft, that is.  Once I had the main character and sort of a plot, things fell into place.

For Christmas, Thrim gave me a 7-dvd set of the History Channel’s series on Ancient Rome.  All I can say is, I’m glad my story takes place in Gaul and Britannia, far from Rome.  Not that the Roman influence isn’t there.  It is, because conquerors always try to spread their way of life.  The Romans, unlike some others, allowed the local population to continue their customs as long as they conformed to certain Roman ways, such as honoring the Roman gods.

The legal system often had elements of Roman law and local law, as shown in the New Testament during Christ’s trial.  The Jews and the Romans were at odds with one another, but finally the Roman leader gave up, saying, “Do what you want.  I’m not handling this.”

One of my new characters, Fortius, is a farmer who sells his sheep cheese [remember sheep and cheese from the last blog entry?] in Lyon.  He has a sideline of hiring thieves to steal from people who leave their belongings in the baths while they are bathing.  It was quite common to be robbed while you were at the baths.  I wonder why the rich people didn’t take more precautions.  They probably did, such as bringing a slave along to guard the goods.  But if the slave had friends among thieves who gave kickbacks for fine jewels and money, most likely he’d risk the wrath of his master by helping the robber.

Fortius is found out because one of his thieves squeals on him.  He is taken to prison where he will be whipped with the flagellum, a wicked instrument with three to twelve leather thongs studded with lead spikes and weights.  A few blows with that could tear up a guy’s back real badly.  I feel sorry for Fortius, but I’m also upset with him because to save his own hide, he’s going to snitch and get some main characters in big trouble.

It seems from the dvd that there wasn’t a lot of justice for those who were not wealthy, and Fortius is not.  He makes good cheese, though, so maybe he’ll get off.  I don’t know.  I do know that his wife, Marcia, is going to try to persuade him to do whatever it takes to get free.  I can’t blame her.  She’s got her family to think about, and he’s their breadwinner.

France, still the home of superb cheese!

Author: Victoria Paulsen

I'm writing the second of two YA novels about the Roman empire just before Septimius Severus became emperor, and just after. My background is in theater. At UCLA and Univ. of Colorado, I studied Greek and Roman drama as well as Latin. That was awhile ago. My new research is even more fascinating, thanks to the Internet. I want to share the fun stuff!

3 thoughts on “Thieves and Cheese”

  1. Such a great idea, to blog about your writing! I love hearing how the story is developing! Thanks! (Though flogging sure sounds painful! Ouch.) Can’t wait to read it!

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