NECRWA is only a couple days away!!
I’m not pitching anything this year, not for this conference. I’ll be relaxing and enjoying the workshops. And the food. And some great company!
Right now, as far as work goes, I am trying to deal with issues of historical accuracy, in particular, with the subject of slavery. Many scholarly people make it out like being a slave in ancient Rome was… if not exactly pleasant, tolerable. In reality, slavery is slavery. When you are a slave, you are a piece of property for your master to do with as he sees fit. Roman slaves were allowed to marry if their master’s allowed it, but then your family could be split up at the drop of a sesterce, and even though you were married, your master could still use your wife however he wished. A master could be kind because you are his property, but he would be kind to you in the way that you are kind to a dog. You would be nothing more than an ignorant animal to him. There were a few exceptions, of course. There were some that weren’t treated as animals, but as children. Romans did free their slaves, but not as often as is portrayed in fiction and movies. A slave could buy his freedom, but how could he raise the money? It happened sometimes, but not often. When a slave was freed, he still was obligated to his former master, paying him fees, doing work for him, etc. My point: being a slave in ancient Rome was unpleasant business.
In my book, I am walking a fine line. I must deal with the issue of slavery, and do so in a way that is accurate and tasteful and creative, not cliche. Fun stuff! But I’ve always enjoyed a challenge!