I have often wondered how my fellow writers come upon their ideas for their novels. Do they perchance just have a flash of inspiration, or is it far simpler than that - maybe a particular person, a book they read, or a TV show or movie they watch fires their imagination and helps them formulate a plot for a new book.
With me it is often a visit to some ancient historical site that sends my thoughts into overdrive and makes me decide that there must be a story to tell about the particular place that I find so fascinatingly compelling. Some people may think I’m a tad insane but I’ve always believed that there is far more to this world than what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears and that perhaps tales of metaphysical happening aren’t quite as far fetched as some believe them to be.
I have no idea why but for me some places have what I can only describe as an aura, a powerful sense of time displaced. You can almost believe that if you closed your eyes and wished very hard you could step back in time and see them as they once were, vibrant and full of people. One of the places that affected me very strongly was
As soon as I laid eyes on
Women did have rights; rich women owned property and slaves of their own, but it was still a male dominated society. Nevertheless, some women purchased handsome young male slaves to service them in their beds at night, or visited the gladiator barracks regularly to avail themselves of the sexual services thy were also happy to provide. Some gladiators even attained the status of sex symbols much like attractive male pop stars do today.
The poor and the working class often visited brothels and there were at least 30 brothels in the city, maybe more, because some of it hasn’t even been excavated yet. These brothels were populated by whores from every corner of the
They liked wall paintings, all the houses of the wealthier inhabitants have brightly coloured paintings decorating their walls, some of them highly erotic and there is always a small niche for a house god in the entrance hall – often this is Priapus, the god of fertility. A strange looking man with a cock so massive he has to support it in his hand.
How could I not fail to be stimulated to write about such a fascinating place, although
I’m not sure if I would have liked to live there with my 21st century sensibilities. I would have enjoyed the pleasant climate, the central heating to warm my villa and the elaborate dinner parties they held. Reclining on couches they ate and drunk their fill, wandered off to throw up and then returned to fill their stomachs again. Bulimia it appears was quite acceptable, not a habit I’d like to attain, but then how would my stomach react to a feast of things like lark’s tongues and stuffed dormice? I can’t say the thought appeals to me.
Nudity wasn’t considered at all unacceptable although the sexes still bathed apart, and don’t wince here but bodily hair was more often than not removed and the only method they had was plucking. Give me waxing any day; it must have been odd and very painful to have a slave girl crouching between your thighs painstakingly removing all your pubic hair! Apart from that I probably wouldn’t have minded a visit to the bath house because all the handsome young men did their regular exercise in the nude! Then there were the public loos! That I couldn’t accustom myself to as they were truly communal and often served as a place to chat as well as relieving oneself. Imagine a long line of holes carved into blocks of stone, placed over streams of running water. While instead of loo paper they had a sponge on stick.
History fascinates me, just as the life people lived in the past stimulates me to write stories about them but oddly enough in many ways we haven’t changed that much over the centuries.