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A series of Latin textbooks which has some association with Cambridge. Due to the lack of Latin textbooks it basically became the only one used in the UK for the past forty years, causing most former classics students to remember it. It even got a shout-out in Doctor Who.
Someone decided the best way to teach Latin was to write a set of stories in the language most of which link in an arc...sort of. This forms the main part of the course.
These textbooks provide examples of:
- Big Bad: Salvius. ( And Vesuvius as well, in a sense.)
- Doomed Hometown: The first book is set in Pompeii.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Occurs in "The Debate", with the Greeks being Elves and the Romans being Dwarves:
Quintus: [The Romans] are the the strongest. We triumph over the ferocious barbarians. We have the largest empire.
Alexander: Us Greeks are creators. You look at Greek statuess, you read Greek books, and listen to Greek rhetors.
- Flash Back: Book 2 provided a not only a flashback of Clemens time in between Britannia and Pompeii but a flashback inside this flashback.
- Foregone Conclusion: Again, the first book takes place in Pompeii.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Grumio ancillam delectat!
- Love Triangle: Bulbus loves Vilbia, Vilbia wants Modestus...
- Post Script Season: So the writers end the first book with the explosion of Vesuvius and everybody dies, or so we think. Caecilius the main character dies onscreen. It doesn't exactly give the impression there was going to be another book. Then in Book 2 we discover his son miraculously survives and the action is shifted elsewhere. Also, Book IV had a lot of Filler arcs, don't you think? Who cares about Those Two Guys at Bath and random weddings? Get back to Salvius and his evil!
- Prayer of Malice: Defixiones thrown into the holy spring at Aquae Sulis.
- Put on a Bus: Clemens leaves the series toward the end of book 2... by staying in Alexandria to run his glass shop. It's looking more like a Long Bus Trip now, though.
- The Roman Empire: Well duh
- Relationship Sabotage: Bulbus curses Modestus for stealing Vilbia.
- Those Two Guys: Modestus and Strythio.
- Took a Level In Badass: Quintus starts out as kind of a loser. As the series continues, he ends up killing alligators in Book 2, thwarting poison plots in Book 3, and prosecuting against Salvius in a Roman court in Book 4.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Caecillius is a real moneylender who actually lived in pre-Vesuvius Pompeii, his real life wife was called Metella, quite a few of the anecdotes in the book are based on the writings that he left behind. But Caecillius actually died in a earthquake 10 years before the destruction of Pompeii.
- Given a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Shout-Out near the end of Book 1, mentioning the earthquake but changing the actual happening a little - Iulius asks why Caecilius wasn't scared of the enormous cloud and ashes, and he replies, "'iamprīdem terra tremuit. iamprīdem tremōrēs vīllās et mūrōs dēlēvērunt. sed larēs vīllam meam et familiam meam servāvērunt." ("a long time ago, the ground shook. A long time ago, the tremors destroyed houses and walls. But the household gods saved my family and my house.)
- The Vilbia curse is actually real. It was one of the many curses that was tossed into the spring at Aqua Sulis (known to you and me as Bath) and is one of the more famous of them.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Grumio. Kind of. The obvious answer is that he died in Vesuvius... but the book never clarifies. He just kind of disappears after the first story in Stage 12.
- You Are Already Dead: Said by Salvius to Belimicus after serving him poisoned food.