A Historical Fiction
novel set in Ancient Rome
, Quo Vadis?
(1896) is internationally the most well-known work of Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz, also known for the Sienkiewicz Trilogy
. Quo Vadis
tells the story of Marcus Vinicius, a young pagan Roman officer, and Lygia, a Christian barbarian princess
raised in a Roman household. The novel is set against the events surrounding the Great Fire of Rome of AD 64, including the Roman persecution of Christians.
The name comes from the Christian legend that recounts that when St. Peter was fleeing Rome as a result of persecution, he saw a vision of Christ
and asked Him, Domine, quo vadis?
("Lord, where are you going?") — to which the reply was "I go to be crucified again." Thus realizing that he was abandoning the faithful of Rome to their fates, Peter turned around and was martyred.Quo Vadis?
has been adapted to film several times, including in 1951 by Mervin LeRoy and in 2001 by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.
This book contains examples of
- Author Appeal: Lygia is from the Lugii, an ancient tribe that lived in Poland during the time of the Roman Empire, probably an example of Genius Bonus by the author, who was Polish.
- Beast and Beauty: Vinicius and Lygia.
- The Caligula: Emperor Nero.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Chilon.
- Concert Climax: At a gladiatorial arena.
- Damsel in Distress: Poor Lygia.
- Deadpan Snarker: Petronius. Which is why we love him.
- Date Rape Averted
- Driven to Suicide: Petronius and Eunice.
- Everything IS Better With Princesses: Lygia is a barbaric princess.
- Fanservice: For a novel with such a pro-Christian message, the author goes into quite some detail describing the Romans' debauched activities.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Vincius was obsessed with Lygia for a long time, but after caring for him, Vinicius began to see her as a person and truly care for her, rather than just lusting after her pretty looks.
- The Fundamentalist: Crispus, until called out by St. Peter.
- Gentle Giant: Ursus.
- Happily Married: Pomponia and Aulus, Lygia's adoptive parents.
- Happiness in Slavery: Eunice. One must admit that Petronius treated his home slaves pretty well.
- Heel-Faith Turn: Vincius and Chilon.
- Love at First Sight: Averted; more like lust at first sight, leading to...
- Love Redeems
- Manly Tears: The tribune of the Praetorians giving the thumbs up to Ursus, Lygia, and Vinicius.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Chilon after seeing people he sold out crucified. The fact that they forgive him leads to his Heel-Faith Turn.
- Noble Savage: Ursus.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Nero's court.
- Redemption Equals Death: Chilon.
- Saintly Church
- Stalker with a Crush: Vincius, but he gets better.
- Take That: Petronius' suicide note is an enormous one to Nero. To the point of stating that his wanton slaughter and destruction of Rome is still way less abhorrent than his art.
- These Hands Have Killed: Ursus racks up quite the body count (using just his bare hands) but he regrets every single death.
- Wicked Cultured: For all his faults, Nero does love poetry and music.
The movies also have examples of: