The Gaius Marius Chronicle is the memoir of a retired Roman soldier, Gaius Marius Insubrecus, a legionary who served Caesar during his wars in Gaul and in the Roman civil wars, and who then supported Caesar’s heir, Octavius, in his struggle against Caesar’s assassins and against Antony and Cleopatra.
The Helvetian Affair is the first book of the Gaius Marius Chronicle and recounts the events leading up to Insubrecus’ decision to join the Roman Tenth Legion at the age of sixteen. The narrative recreates a colorful and culturally complex portrait of northern Italy, the Po valley and the city of Mediolanum, modern Milano, whose Celtic population is struggling with its own identity after more than a hundred years of Roman domination.
From The Gabinian Affair
I think a Roman mother is supposed to send her son off to the army with the admonition to be brave, never bring shame of the gods, the nation, or his family … and this is where I fail as a Roman mother. I just want you to come home, my child. Come home safe.
With these words, Valeria Helvetia Minor bid farewell to her younger son, Gai, off to join Caesar’s growing army in order to escape the murderous vengeance of the Roman consul, Aulus Gabinius.
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