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While Rome burns...
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The Flames of Rome is a historical novel written by Paul L. Maier.

It follow the lives of two Roman families, the Plautii and the Flavii, in the years AD 47-69 as they witness the twilight of Emperor Claudius' reign, the emergence of Christianity onto the Roman stage, and the tumultuous reign of Nero.


This book contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Nero, at the end. Sabinus is left pitying him.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Claudius falls victim to this twice, leading to his death when he spills to much to Agrippina.
  • Asshole Victim: Agrippina
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Most Romans go out with a noble suicide rather than face execution.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nero is dead and the Christian have a measure of peace, but Sabinus will die securing Rome for his brother Vespasian.
  • Canon Character All Along: Titus Flavius Sabinus is the Theophilus that Luke addresses his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to.
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  • Continuity Nod: Pontius Pilate is mentioned as living in retirement at Antium, where Maier's previous novel left him.
  • Defiant to the End: Peter on his cross calls out Nero for his crimes and tells him that he and the other Christians forgive him.
  • Evil Matriarch: Agrippina
  • Face Death with Dignity: A ton of characters exhibit this when faced with certain death: Gaius Silius, St. Peter, Paul of Tarsus, Seneca, Petronius, Thrasea Paetus
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Agrippina at her worst.
  • The Good Chancellor: Narcissus for Claudius, Sabinus for Nero.
  • Historical Domain Character: Pretty much the whole cast, with Maier noting he had to omit certain individuals to slim down the text.
  • Morality Chain: Seneca and Burrus to Nero. Once they go, Nero goes downhill.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Peter asks to be crucified upside down since he believes he's not worthy to be crucified the same way Jesus was
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  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Claudius is very shrewd, if sprone to vice
  • Shown Their Work: Maier is a history professor and cites the specific sources he drew on at the end of the books.
  • Token Good Teammate: Sabinus winds up as this to Nero's regime.
  • While Rome Burns: The Trope Namer. A grieving Nero sings an epic on the fall of Troy while they city burns in front of him.
  • Young Future Famous People: The future Emperor Vespasian, is Sabinus' brother and plays a supporting role.
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