Atticus of Rome, 30 B.C.

Written by Barry Denenberg
Review by Juliet Waldron

This would be a wonderful tale to read in conjunction with a middle school history section on the ancient European world. There is an impressive amount of historical detail in this story of Atticus, a boy who is enslaved during a Roman raid. Sold away from his family, he is bought by a prominent Roman gentleman who treats him more like a son than a servant. Atticus witnesses gladiatorial matches in the coliseum, and, more importantly, some skullduggery at a gluttonous (but by contemporary standards, not unusually so) dinner party attended by citizens of high rank. The story, which might have been powerful, comes close to escape from the didactic purpose for which this work was ultimately intended.