Review Blog

Jun 10 2011

Roman diary: journal of a young slave by Richard Platt

cover image

Ill. by David Parkins, Bloomsbury Books, 2011. ISBN 9781 4063 25478.
(Ages 10+) Recommended. Picture book. On their way to Egypt to see their holdings there, the Greek ship is attacked by pirates, and Iliona and her brother, Oliver are sold as slaves to the Roman market. The time is AD 107, with the Roman Empire at its height and the diary of Iliona's life in Rome reveals a huge bustling city, easily comparable with modern cities today. Sold to a family where she must look after a baby, Iliona soon learns that her owners are kinder than others she could have been sold to. Through her eyes we see the Roman city, its streets and houses, baths and market places, clothing, hairstyles, water system, and arenas. We see a triumph where the prisoners of a battle are brought in to be slaughtered, a fight to the death with lions, gladiators fighting, and a banquet. All flavours of the life of a Roman citizen are shown through the slave's eyes. When her master dies and she is unexpectedly freed, she opts to stay on with her former mistress.
As with Pirate diary, pages at the end of the book reveal other information, maps and a sound usable index.
Fran Knight

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