Praetorian 3: Eagles of Dacia
The Damned Emperors - Caligula: Coming Soon

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Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney

Extant works, upcoming projects, work in progress. Constant updates and resources. Chat and comment.
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney2 days ago
I do love writing Rufinus. Praetorian IV: Lions of Rome is on the way... :-)
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney4 days ago
#Giveaway time. I have three signed copies of Caligula available, in either hardback or large format paperback. To win one, be the closest to the answer for this question:

Caligula is the first of the Damned Emperors series. There are 3 more novels planned in the series. Who do you think the other three are about?

Result drawn next Saturday. :-) Go #Win #Books
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney shared History 360: The Historical Fiction Collective's post.5 days ago
Welcome to the Palladium.

Ever heard of the Palladium? No, not the theatre, nor the metal. The ancient Palladium, I mean. Well oddly it’s cropped up twice recently for me, after never previously knowing anything of it. Firstly, when I was writing the H360 book A Song of War, and then more recently in my biography of Commodus (which will be out in April – nudges you towards the pre-order button.)

So what was the Palladium? Well, let’s go back into some mythology to find it. You’ve heard of Athena, right? Greek goddess, connected with Athens and owls, worshipped in Rome as Minerva, sprouted from the head of Zeus like a pretty and rather powerful boil? Well did you know that she was raised by the sea god Triton and raised alongside Triton’s daughter like a sister. That sister-friend was called Pallas, and one day when soft play went wrong, Athena accidentally killed Pallas. In her grief, she made a divine wooden likeness of Pallas. This, then, was the Palladium. But how does it fit into my tales?

Well, ‘A Song of War’ was the H360 tale of the fall of Troy, and it so happened that the Palladium fell from the heavens and landed in Troy, where it was worshipped, stored in the temple of Athena. So when we wrote of the sack and the fall of Troy, it inevitably involved researching some of the greatest treasures and sacred objects of the city. As legend would have it, the Palladium survives the fall of Troy. In our tale, the team told of Odysseus and Diomedes’ theft of the Palladium (or Palladion in Greek.) So I read of this most reverent wooden statue in the terms of Vicky Alvear Shecter’s amazing tale of Odysseus. So the Palladium leaves Troy with the great intuitive Greek and his lion-skin-clad mate. But somehow it leaves the city after the war, and not via Odysseus, since he heads back to Ithaka in order to drink some Ouzo and relax as he imports washing machines cheap from Albania.

Now here the tales seem to peter out. Somehow the Palladium leaves Troy, though it doesn’t seem to be in the hands of Odysseus. It perhaps left with Diomedes, who is recorded as ending up in Italy, or perhaps with Aeneas somehow. However it went, the next time it appears in the Historical/Mythological record is in Rome. Exactly how it stops being a Graeco-Trojan religious focus and becomes Roman is something of a mystery, but then the Romans were ever masters of claiming older valuable things as their own, a bit like Melania… I personally blame Virgil, who seems intent on making Troy Rome’s ancestor at any expense. Either way, the Palladium eventually ends up in the Temple of Vesta in Rome, where it is one of the city’s most sacred relics. There it is kept inviolable and hidden, away from the masses.

And this is where, for me, it turns up a second time in my research. I have just finished writing Commodus, my second book for Orion, in which I re-examine that infamous emperor in a new light, and lo and behold but what should suddenly crop up in my research but the Palladium!

I shall try and avoid spoilers of course, but suffice it to say there is, during that story, a fire in Rome. Let’s face it, Rome burns every ten minutes. Fires in ancient Rome are more common than non-sequiturs in a Richard Ayoade monologue or failures in Anglo-American government. This particular fire threatens the forum and the Palatine, and in the process catches and incinerates the temple of Vesta and the house of the Vestals. I give you my source material, the ever-entertaining Herodion:

“1.14.4 After consuming the temple and the entire sacred precinct, the fire swept on to destroy a large part of the city, including its most beautiful buildings. When the temple of Vesta went up in flames, the image of Pallas Athena was exposed to public view – that statue which the Romans worship and keep hidden, the one brought from Troy, as the story goes. Now, for the first time since its journey from Troy to Italy, the statue was seen by men of our time.
1.14.5 For the Vestal Virgins snatched up the image and carried it along the Sacred Way to the imperial palace.”

So there you have it. I wrote a tale set 1600 years BC in Anatolian Greece and it involved the Palladium. Then I wrote a tale set in the late 2nd century AD, almost two millennia later and half a known world away, and lo and behold there again is the Palladium.
Interestingly, I have since found a reference that Constantine (about whom I am also writing with the indomitable Gordon Doherty), when he founded the new Rome, moved the Palladium to Constantinople where he buried it below his column (hur, hur, hur – said in a Beavis and Butthead voice).
The Palladium, then. A battered wooden image of Pallas fashioned by a god, which seems fated to crop up in what I write. Bet you’ll remember it now when next it crops up.

(Post also on my blog at https://sjat.wordpress.com/2018/09/15/welcome-to-the-palladium/)
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney6 days ago
Today was another of those moments of being temporally challenged. Writing 4th century Rome and looking around my desk, befuddled, for a research book, but I'm surrounded with 10th-13th century Iberian and 2nd century Roman. Damn it, Turney, would you PLEASE stick to one project at a time #Tetrarchy #Praetorian #Templar
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney added 6 new photos.1 week ago
A selection of locations for Praetorian 4: Lions of Rome
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney
Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney2 weeks ago
Phew. I just hit the send button. Templar: The Last Emir is complete and has had 2 edits. Now it is in the hands of the publishers and editors. *nibbles fingernails*
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18 hours ago
Esprit d'escalier. Still one of my favourite phrases. :-)
2 days ago
I do love writing Rufinus. Praetorian IV: Lions of Rome is on the way... :-)
4 days ago
#Giveaway time. I have three signed copies of Caligula available, in either hardback or large format paperback. To win one, be the closest to the answer for this question:

Caligula is the first of the Damned Emperors... https://t.co/hsAZRdsKH2
6 days ago
Today was another of those moments of being temporally challenged. Writing 4th century Rome and looking around my desk, befuddled, for a research book, but I'm surrounded with 10th-13th century Iberian and 2nd century... https://t.co/lPRLClVWm2
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