ROMAN REMAINS: Throughout Spain.

ROMAN REMAINS: Throughout Spain.

WHEN some years back a tractor driver dug up pieces of brightly coloured stone in a field in the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain little did he realise he had hit upon a Roman ‘billionaire’s villa’ with exquisite mosaics built 17 centuries ago. A ‘billionaire’ with connections to Theodosius I, Roman emperor in the fourth century – decorative paintings, sculptures and ornaments, further evidence of the owner’s wealth.

The Romans were in Spain for hundreds of years, so no wonder their remains have been found. Andalucia, in particular, is rich with Roman sites, from hidden paths to entire towns.

All right, I hear you say, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Well, peace for a start. There was a greater degree of law and order than in many countries outside the empire plus trading advantages. I remember reading somewhere that one German tribe wanted to be part of the empire, but the Romans thought they were troublemakers and wanted to keep them out.

So the tribe actually went to war with Rome to ‘compel’ the Romans to accept them. Needless to say, the Germans didn’t win! Watch the movie ‘Gladiator’. That’s how the movie begins: with the ‘genius’ Marcus Aurelius’s battle with the Germans.

Mostly true as well, that bit. (Though maybe not the bit about being a genius – I, err, made that up.) But it is true that I know all too well what it’s like to be labelled a genius. I once completed a jigsaw in under five minutes – on the box it read five to seven years!

Finally, on a completely different note, many thanks to all of you who’ve purchased my latest thriller, ‘The Sentinel’, now available in audiobook format narrated as before by my good friend Rayner Bourton who created the role of ‘Rocky’ in the original London production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ (all profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity, as you know).

Happy reading and listening!

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Sentinel’, ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as eBook (€0.99; £0.99), Apple Books, paperback and audiobook. 

Nora Johnson’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.