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  • A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

  • Murder in Ancient Rome
  • By: Emma Southon
  • Narrated by: Sophie Ward
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Ancient History
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Summary

In Ancient Rome all the best stories have one thing in common: murder. 

Romulus killed Remus to found the city, Caesar was assassinated to save the Republic. Caligula was butchered in the theatre, Claudius was poisoned at dinner and Galba was beheaded in the forum. In one 50-year period, 26 emperors were murdered. But what did killing mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? 

Emma Southon examines real-life homicides from Roman history to explore how perpetrator, victim and the act itself were regarded by ordinary people. Inside Ancient Rome's unique culture of crime and punishment, we see how the Romans viewed life, death and what it means to be human.

©2020 Emma Southon (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Not a serious history book

I thought I was buying a serious history book but this is awful. Every other minute, there's a four letter word: F*** or p*** or s***. WHY THE VULGARITY? It's both offensive and patronising and a real turn off. I'm returning this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Popular history at its best.

Emma Southon has played a blinder here. A serious exploration of Roman attitudes to the killing of individuals which is explained in colloquial and conversational ways. Some will say that swearing undermines an argument but they’re being silly. And this brings me to my one disappointment. The narrator reads this book like Alexa would. How someone could fail to give life to the language here is beyond me but she gave me the impression she was too lofty to be saying things like “chinny reckon”. It just needed and deserved more life.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Jarring pop culture “down with the kids” references

Firstly, I like most listeners of this am no expert in Roman history, and the content and concept of this book are interesting. But the constant, unfunny and cringeworthy references to YouTube, Kardashians, Instagram, page 3 models etc are very unnecessary, distracting and overall ruined my enjoyment of the book. Perhaps it was the way they were delivered by the narrator, but the tone seemed very patronizing. Like a Horrible Histories book with f-bombs, but less funny.

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Bloody excellent.

I wasn't sure of the narration at first, but soon grew to enjoy the deadpan delivery.
I knew a lot of the history before but it was eye opening and you start to rethink your understanding. Really very very good.

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very interesting but occasionally unnecessary

the subject matter is very interesting but have to say swearing feels OTT at points

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Poor narration

There is a real mismatch between the narrator and the style in which the book is read. Obscures the interesting subject matter for me.

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Great read

A witty & honest look at ancient murder with links to modern social norms. Really enjoyable read

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Concise and fun to listen

Really nice. I will
definitely return to it for another listen. Quite enjoyable narration and full of interesting information