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Twelve years earlier one of the finest houses in Rome had stood there. "Come back here," she said, and added, "at once." They came. Down below in the Forum Romanum the procession was forming, as the long crocodile which had wended its way from the house of Marcus Minucius Rufus met up with the equally long crocodile originating at the house of Spurius Postumius Albinus.

Nowadays the site bore little evidence of its previous dwelling, just an occasional stone half-buried in grass. The knights came first, not as many as on a fine sunny New Year's Day, but a respectable enough gathering of seven hundred or so; as the light improved but the rain grew a trifle harder, they moved off up the slope of the Clivus Capitolinus to where, at the first bend in this short and hilly track, the priests and slaughtermen waited with two flawless white bulls on spangled halters, their horns gilded and their dewlaps garlanded. A feeling he hosted like a guest who refused to leave, no matter how inhospitably he behaved?

Strong-minded Brother Sextus aside, the whole trouble with the Julius Caesars was their tendency to breed more than one son, and then turn sentimental about the predicament more than one son embroiled them in; they were never able to rule their hearts, give up some of their too-profuse male offspring for adoption, and see that the children they kept married into lots of money.

The money the boy had brought Brother Sextus—his real father—had been carefully invested in land and in city property, and hopefully would produce sufficient income to allow both of Brother Sextus's younger sons a chance at the senior magistracies.

Rich with gracefully integrated research and thundering to the beat of marching Roman legions." Kirkus Reviews "A GREAT GOLIATH OF A NOVEL . Perhaps the most thoroughly researched historical novel ever written.. A genuine tour de force." Milwaukee Journal "An intricate characterization of an age, agile in its movement from the minute details of household management to the precise composition of the military colossus Rome repeatedly mustered to repel the Teutonic hordes . While the two young men joined the ranks of the knights who preceded the new senior consul, Gaius Julius Caesar himself waited until Marcus Minucius Rufus passed by with his lictors, then slid in among the ranks of the senators who followed him. Identically swaddled herself, Marcia formed up her little convoy of daughters and servant escort, and led it through the door into the street.

An accomplishment so edifying as to be compelling." New York Daily News "The most spectacular of her books . Father and sons passed out into the narrow cobbled alley, there to separate. "It's chilly," said their mother, plucking warm woolen cloaks from the arms of a servant. Both girls looked disappointed, but knew better than to protest; they endured being wrapped up like caterpillars into cocoons, only their faces showing amid fawn folds of homespun.

Colleen Mc Cullough understands the undercurrents of human emotion . So he had summoned up the necessary steel to part with his eldest boy, given him up for adoption to the childless Quintus Lutatius Catulus, thereby making a fortune for himself as well as ensuring that his eldest son would come into a fortune.

If you would like to know more about the historical background of The First Man in Rome, turn to page 937 for a glossary explaining some Latin words and unfamiliar terms. Marcus Aemilius Scaurus Junior, his son by his first wife Sertorius Quintus Sertorius, cadet and military tribune Ria of the Marii, his mother, cousin of Gaius Marius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla, quaestor 107 B.

The older boy should have been adopted out and both girls should have been promised in marriage to rich men years ago; the younger son should also have been contracted to a rich bride. Cold, windy, blowing a fine mist of rain that slicked the cobbles dangerously and intensified the stale stench of an old burning in the air.

The men gone, she could see to her own little expedition. A laugh gave her the answer, coming from the cramped little sitting room the girls called their own; and there they sat, her daughters, the two Julias, breakfasting on bread thinly smeared with honey. It had always been said that every Julia ever born was a treasure, for the Julias had the rare and fortunate gift of making their men happy. The last child of her parents' marriage, she hadn't really been a welcome addition until she became old enough to enchant her softhearted mother and father as well as her three older siblings. Skin, hair, eyes, each a mellow gradation of amber. But not, alas, the wherewithal to climb the rungs of the cursus honorum, the ladder of honor leading up to the praetorship and consulship.

It was Marcia who murmured a reverence to Janus Clusivius, the god who presided over the closing of a door, Marcia who dismissed the yawning servants to other duties. They had lived in this modest house on the lower Germalus of the Palatine since Father Sextus had bestowed it upon his younger son, Gaius, together with five hundred iugera of good land between Bovillae and Aricia—a sufficient endowment to ensure that Gaius and his family would have the wherewithal to maintain a seat in the Senate.