The Roman Forum: From Outpost to Empire in Ten Easy Centuries is unique because I’m a classicist and a guide. So, on one hand, years of research went into the guidebook. On the other, being in the field taught me about visitors’ questions and what sparks their curiosity. While many authors of guidebooks on the Roman Forum possess more academic qualifications than I, very few understand their audience. But I have mastered the subject matter and can phrase it in a way that helps you understand it too.
My guidebook is also a group effort, as I often invite ancient Romans to speak in my place. While their voices, agendas, and eras vary wildly, they all contribute local color and greater authenticity to The Roman Forum: From Outpost to Empire. For example, I quote the long-lived and miserly Marcus Cato (243 – 149 B.C.), who mused on the Latin language and the benefits of starving disobedient servants; Augustus’s celebrated court poet Virgil (1st century B.C.) has his say; Virgil’s contemporary Frontinus, Director of Imperial Rome’s Water Works, contributes to the discourse; and Jerome (early 5th century A.D.) makes star appearance to bemoan Rome’s decline. They (and myriad other ancient writers) describe their experiences, memories, knowledge of the Roman Forum.