Книга Imperium. Содержание - About the Author

There was a pause and then, reluctantly, Quintus started to laugh. “He is not here,” he repeated. “Well, that is true.” After a while, we all laughed; one had to laugh, really.

“That is better!” Cicero smiled at us. “The art of life is to deal with problems as they arise, rather than destroy one’s spirit by worrying about them too far in advance. Especially tonight.” And then a tear came into his eye. “Do you know who we should drink to? I believe we should raise a toast to the memory of our dear cousin, Lucius, who was here on this roof when we first talked of the consulship, and who would so much have wanted to see this day.” He raised his cup, and we all raised ours with him, although I could not help remembering the last remark Lucius ever made to him: “Words, words, words. Is there no end to the tricks you can make them perform?”

Later, after everyone had gone, either to his home or to his bed, Cicero lay on his back on one of the couches, with his hands clasped behind his head, staring up at the stars. I sat quietly on the opposite couch with my notebook ready in case he needed anything. I tried to stay alert. But the night was warm and I was swooning with tiredness, and when my head nodded forward for the fourth or fifth time, he looked across at me and told me to go and get some rest: “You are the private secretary of a consul-elect now. You will need to keep your wits as sharp as your pen.” As I stood to take my leave, he settled back into his contemplation of the heavens. “How will posterity judge us, eh, Tiro?” he said. “That is the only question for a statesman. But before it can judge us, it must first remember who we are.” I waited for a while in case he wanted to add something else, but he seemed to have forgotten my existence, so I went away and left him to it.

Author’s Note

Although Imperium is a novel, the majority of the events it describes did actually happen; the remainder at least could have happened; and nothing, I hope (a hostage to fortune, this), demonstrably did not happen. That Tiro wrote a life of Cicero is attested both by Plutarch and Asconius; it vanished in the general collapse of the Roman empire.

My principal debt is to the twenty-nine volumes of Cicero ’s speeches and letters collected in the Loeb Classical Library and published by Harvard University Press. Another invaluable aid has been The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Volume II, 99 B.C.-31 B.C. by T. Robert S. Broughton, published by the American Philological Association. I should also like to salute Sir William Smith (1813-1893), who edited the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography-three immense and unsurpassed monuments of Victorian classical scholarship. There are, of course, many other works of more recent authorship which I hope to acknowledge in due course.

R. H.

16 MAY 2006

About the Author

ROBERT HARRIS is the author of Pompeii , Archangel, Enigma, Fatherland, and Selling Hitler. He has been a television correspondent with the BBC and a newspaper columnist for the London Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. His novels have sold more than ten million copies and been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife and four children.

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