Roma Sub Rosa

Roma Sub Rosa is a series of historical mystery novels by Steven Saylor set in ancient Rome and therefore populated by famous historic roman citizens.[1] The phrase "Roma Sub Rosa" means, in Latin, "Rome under the rose." If a matter was sub rosa, "under the rose," it meant that such matter was confidential.

Roma Sub Rosa
Saylor roman blood.jpg
A paperback version of the first book in the series, Roman Blood.
AuthorSteven Saylor
CountryUnited States
GenreDetective, Historical fiction
PublisherSt. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books
Publication date
1991 –
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback) and

The detective is known as Gordianus the Finder, and he mixes with non-fictional citizens of the Republic including Sulla, Cicero, Marcus Crassus, Catilina, Catullus , Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony.


For an ancient Roman, Gordianus has an unconventional family:

  • Bethesda, his beautiful Egyptian slave purchased from a slave market in Alexandria. Bethesda and Gordianus have a mutually affectionate relationship and are later married after he frees her.
  • Eco, his oldest adopted son, was a mute boy when he first appeared as a key player in the book Roman Blood. He recovered his speech in Arms of Nemesis. He followed in his father's (meaning Gordianus) footsteps as an investigator.
  • Meto, his second adopted son, was a slave of Crassus who became a soldier serving under Julius Caesar.
  • Rupa, his third adopted son, brother to Cassandra; a mute.
  • Diana, his intellectual and headstrong daughter (by Bethesda).
  • Davus, his son-in-law (Diana's husband) who was Gordianus' former slave and bodyguard.
  • Aulus, his grandson (by Diana).
  • Little Bethesda, his granddaughter (by Diana).


The books are listed below in chronological order. For publication order, see the author's page.

  1. The Seven Wonders (2012) — 92-90 BC: The young Gordianus travels to see the Wonders of the Ancient World.
  2. Raiders of the Nile (2014) — 88 BC: The young Gordianus must travel into the Nile Delta to find a gang of bandits.
  3. Wrath of the Furies (2015) — 88 BC: Gordianus travels to Ephesus during Mithridates' war against Rome
  4. Roman Blood (1991) — 80 BC: Gordianus investigates a murder case for the famous lawyer Cicero.
  5. The House of the Vestals (1997) — 80-72 BC : Short stories.
  6. A Gladiator Dies Only Once (2005) — 77-64 BC: Short stories.
  7. Arms of Nemesis (1992) — 72 BC : Gordianus tries to save the lives of 99 slaves, while Spartacus threatens Rome.
  8. Catilina's Riddle (1993) — 63 BC: Gordianus is embroiled in the Catiline conspiracy.
  9. The Venus Throw (1995) — 56 BC: Gordianus tries to discover who murdered an Egyptian diplomat.
  10. A Murder on the Appian Way (1996) — 52 BC: Gordianus investigates the death of Publius Clodius Pulcher.
  11. Rubicon (1999) — 49 BC: Gordianus investigates a murder close to home as Rome nears civil war.
  12. Last Seen in Massilia (2000) — 49 BC: Gordianus looks for his son Meto in the city of Massilia as it is besieged by the army of Caesar.
  13. A Mist of Prophecies (2002) — 48 BC: Gordianus searches for the killer of a seeress.
  14. The Judgment of Caesar (2004) — 48 BC: Gordianus travels to Egypt in an attempt to find a cure for his wife's illness.
  15. The Triumph of Caesar (2008) — 46 BC: Gordianus investigates a conspiracy to murder Caesar.
  16. The Throne of Caesar (2018) - 44 BC: the Ides of March and the conclusion of the series.

- "Ill Seen in Tyre" (2014), in the cross-genre anthology Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, set in 91 BC just before the Epilogue of The Seven Wonders


  1. ^ Craine, Debra (March 3, 2018). "Review: The Throne of Caesar by Steven Saylor — it's toga and out for a great Roman sleuth". The Times UK. Retrieved 24 December 2020.

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