The Roman Mysteries

  (Redirected from The Thieves of Ostia)

The Roman Mysteries is a series of historical novels for children by Caroline Lawrence. The first book, The Thieves of Ostia, was published in 2001, finishing with The Man from Pomegranate Street, published in 2009, and 17 more novels were planned, plus a number of "mini-mysteries", spin offs and companion titles.

The Roman Mysteries
The Thieves of Ostia cover.jpg
Book 1 in the series

The Thieves of Ostia
The Secrets of Vesuvius
The Pirates of Pompeii
The Assassins of Rome
The Dolphins of Laurentum
The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
The Enemies of Jupiter
The Gladiators from Capua
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Fugitive from Corinth
The Sirens of Surrentum
The Charioteer of Delphi
The Slave-girl from Jerusalem
The Beggar of Volubilis
The Scribes from Alexandria
The Prophet from Ephesus
The Man from Pomegranate Street
AuthorCaroline Lawrence
IllustratorFred van Deelen, Peter Sutton, Richard Carr
CountryUnited Kingdom
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

The books take place in the ancient time period Roman Empire during the reign of the Emperor Titus. They detail the adventures of four children who solve mysteries and have adventures in Ostia Antica, Rome, Greece, and beyond: Flavia, a rich Roman girl who lives in Ostia; Nubia, a freed slave girl from Africa; Jonathan, a rich Jewish boy; and Lupus, an orphaned mute beggar boy.


The four detectivesEdit

  • Flavia Gemina: A wealthy Roman girl, daughter of a sea captain Marcus Flavius Geminus
  • Jonathan ben Mordecai: A kind but pessimistic Jewish/Christian boy
  • Nubia: An African girl, former slave of Flavia, good with animals
  • Lupus: A mute beggar boy with a tragic past

Other charactersEdit

  • Marcus Flavius Geminus: Flavia's father, a sea captain
  • Mordecai: Jonathan's father, a doctor
  • Miriam bat Mordecai: Jonathan's older sister
  • Aristo: Greek tutor of the children

Characters based on historical personsEdit


  1. The Thieves of Ostia (2001)
  2. The Secrets of Vesuvius (2001)
  3. The Pirates of Pompeii (2002)
  4. The Assassins of Rome (2002)
  5. The Dolphins of Laurentum (2003)
  6. The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (2003)
  7. The Enemies of Jupiter (2003)
  8. The Gladiators from Capua (2004)
  9. The Colossus of Rhodes (2005)
  10. The Fugitive from Corinth (2005)
  11. The Sirens of Surrentum (2006)
  12. The Charioteer of Delphi (2006)
  13. The Slave-girl from Jerusalem (2007)
  14. The Beggar of Volubilis (2008)
  15. The Scribes from Alexandria (2008)
  16. The Prophet from Ephesus (2009)
  17. The Man from Pomegranate Street (2009)


  1. The Roman Mysteries Omnibus I: The Thieves of Ostia, the Secrets of Vesuvius and the Pirates of Pompeii.
  2. The Roman Mysteries Omnibus II: The Assassins of Rome, the Dolphins of Laurentum, the Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina.
  3. The Roman Mysteries Omnibus III: The Enemies of Jupiter, the Gladiators from Capua, the Colossus of Rhodes.


  1. Bread and Circuses (short story published in 2003 in The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunits); re-published in a shorter version as a novella, titled The Code of Romulus for World Book Day in April 2007)
  2. Trimalchio's Feast and other mini-mysteries (2007)
  3. The Legionary from Londinium and other mini-mysteries (2010)

Companion booksEdit

  1. The First Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
  2. The Second Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
  3. The Roman Mysteries Treasury (2007)
  4. From Ostia to Alexandria with Flavia Gemina: Travels with Flavia Gemina (2008)

Sequel trilogyEdit

In 2008 a sequel trilogy for young adults was proposed, with the main characters being Jonathan's 14-year-old orphaned twin nephews. The stories would have been partly set in Roman Britain. The first book was to be published in March 2010. The working title for the trilogy was the Flavian Trilogy, with individual stories "Brothers of Jackals", "Companion of Owls" and "Prey of Lions". On her blog and website, Caroline Lawrence has said the content was deemed "too edgy" for the Roman Mysteries brand and as a result has been put on hold indefinitely.[citation needed]

In April 2010, author Caroline Lawrence announced that she is planning a spinoff for younger readers. The main character will be Threptus, an 8-year-old Ostian beggar boy who makes appearances in the final Roman Mystery, The Man from Pomegranate Street and the final short story in The Legionary from Londinium and other mini-mysteries.[citation needed]

Special featuresEdit

Each of the novels has at least one map of the area covered in the story, sometimes also plans or diagrams; these are by Richard Russell Lawrence. The chapters are called scrolls, after the rolls of papyrus which were Roman 'books', and are numbered with Roman numerals. The glossary explaining Roman terms is called "Aristo's Scroll", after Flavia's tutor, and the author's note, which separates fact from fiction, is called "The Last Scroll".

TV seriesEdit

The BBC produced a television series based on the books, entitled Roman Mysteries. The first season was broadcast in 2007, the second season in 2008.[1]


External linksEdit