Gordianus the Finder
Gordianus the Finder is the fictional protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

 of Steven Saylor
Steven Saylor
Steven Saylor is an American author of historical novels. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics....

's Roma Sub Rosa
Roma Sub Rosa
Roma Sub Rosa is the title of the series of mystery novels by Steven Saylor set in, and populated by, noteworthy denizens of ancient Rome. The series is noted for its historical authenticity. The phrase "Roma Sub Rosa" means, in Latin, "Rome under the rose"...

series of mystery novels set in Republican Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He lives by his wits, investigating crimes and other cases for Roman advocates such as Marcus Tullius Cicero. Initially, he lives in a small house on the Esquiline Hill
Esquiline Hill
The Esquiline Hill is one of the celebrated Seven Hills of Rome. Its southern-most cusp is the Oppius .-Etymology:The origin of the name Esquilino is still under much debate. One view is that the Hill was named after the abundance of holm-oaks, exculi, that resided there...

 in Rome with his family; but he later inherits a farm in Etruria
Etruria—usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia—was a region of Central Italy, an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna, and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H...

, then exchanges it for a house on the Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city...

, giving his older house to his son Eco.

Gordianus shows not only the regular deductive and perceptive abilities of fellow detectives of all novels and ages, but a remarkable gift of inducing all kind of characters, sometimes without trying, to confide to him even their most hidden secrets, longings and intentions.

Gordianus interacts with non-fictional citizens including Sulla, Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, Marcus Crassus, Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the Republican period. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.-Biography:...

, Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, Quintus Sertorius
Quintus Sertorius
Quintus Sertorius was a Roman statesman and general, born in Nursia, in Sabine territory. His brilliance as a military commander was shown most clearly in his battles against Rome for control of Hispania...

, and Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...


The first Gordianus novel, Roman Blood, is based on an actual murder trial in which Marcus Tullius Cicero (aided by his slave Marcus Tullius Tiro
Marcus Tullius Tiro
Marcus Tullius Tiro was first a slave, then a freedman of Cicero.The date of Tiro's birth is uncertain. From Jerome it can be dated to 103 BC, which would make him only a little younger than Cicero...

) defended Sextus Roscius
Sextus Roscius
Sextus Roscius , tried in Rome for patricide in 80 BC, was defended successfully by the young Cicero in his first major litigation...

 against the charge of parricide
Parricide is defined as:*the act of murdering one's father , mother or other close relative, but usually not children ....

. The crime has a unique punishment, which Saylor describes in gruesome detail.

For an ancient Roman, Gordianus has an unconventional family. His wife, Bethesda, was his former Egyptian concubine, whom he had purchased as a slave in Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. His eldest adopted son Eco was a former mute who followed in his father's footsteps as an investigator; another adopted son, Meto, estranged himself from his father by becoming a soldier and a spy; while the youngest adopted son, Rupa, was the brother of Cassandra, an adulterous love of Gordianus. The only official child of his blood is his daughter Diana, an intellectual and headstrong young woman. Gordianus and his family had a cat named Bast (after an Egyptian cat-deity), but Bast was killed in Roman Blood, by one of Gordianus's enemies, who had been trying to kill Bethesda. Later on, Bethesda acquires other cats: usually, one is called Bast.

A pacifist, Gordianus shows a successive bitter criticism to the deeds of almost all historical characters shown in the series and their harsh and bloody consequences on ordinary Romans. He remains a republican at heart, despite witnessing the crumbling of the ancient state and the beginning of the soon-to-be Roman Empire.

Gordianus was thought to have died soon after the apparent death of his wife, while in Egypt, by drowning in the Nile (The Judgement of Caesar). However, he and his wife return very alive in the recent issue of the series (The Triumph of Caesar) and Saylor's website indicates that there may be more novels coming, and that Gordianus may be around to witness the death of Caesar.

External links

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