Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Claudia: The Christians and the Burning of Rome – A Novel by Alexia Stewart (coming soon)

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Claudia: The Christians and the Burning of Rome – A Novel by Alexia Stewart (coming soon)

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"Perfect for any fan of ancient history, those who delight in the Biblical, and lovers of sweet stories." -India Johnson, author of the Freedom Through Fire Saga

Claudia: The Christians and the Burning of Rome is the story of a young girl named Claudia who lives in first-century Rome. While vacationing in Baiae during the summer of A.D. 64, she becomes acquainted with a new group of people called Christians and learns some of their teachings. She also visits Emperor Nero and his wife, Poppaea, at their villa in Antium.

Tragedy strikes, however, when the “Great Fire of Rome” ravages the city, completely destroying her home. And when she learns that her friends are in danger, can she save the day without also endangering the lives of her family? Find out in this heartfelt historical fiction epic, which is also Alexia Stewart’s debut novel.

Introducing Alexia Stewart

Alexia Stewart is an aspiring author and a graduate of HomeLife Academy. She enjoys combining her two greatest passions – ancient history and writing – to craft inspiring and meaningful works of historical fiction. Since childhood, she’s written numerous short stories, songs and three novels, including Claudia: The Christians and the Burning of Rome. Alexia resides in Deltona, Florida with her parents and six younger siblings.

Dramatis Persona

Claudia: the main character; lives in first-century Rome with her father and mother - Antonius and Livonia - and her uncle and aunt - Lucilius and Lucretia; adventurous and brave, sweet and caring, she is loyal to her friends and family.

Lucretia: Claudia’s sweet and gentle aunt; younger sister of Livonia, Claudia’s mother; married to Lucilius, younger brother of Antonius, Claudia’s father.

Lucilius: Claudia’s uncle; younger brother of Antonius, Claudia’s father; married to Lucretia; often unpleasant, a man in need of a change of heart.

Livonia: Claudia’s mother; older sister of Lucretia, motherly to her in some ways; married to Antonius.

Antonius: Claudia’s father; older brother of Lucilius; married to Livonia; loves his family and cares deeply for his young sister-in-law Lucretia.

Cornelia: Claudia’s best friend and a year older than her; visits her in Baiae in the summer of A.D. 64; lives in Rome.

Cinna: Cornelia’s father; friend of Antonius and Lucilius.

Verginia: Cornelia’s young stepmother and Cinna’s second wife; she’s like an older sister to Cornelia; sweet and gentle; a Christian woman.

Marcus: A friend of Cinna; a Christian; vacationing with his family in Baiae in the summer of A.D. 64; lives in Rome.

Aurelia: Marcus’ sweet and beautiful wife; a Christian woman.

Marius: The oldest son of Marcus and Aurelia.

Assinius: The second son of Marcus and Aurelia.

Saturninus: The youngest son of Marcus and Aurelia.

Priscilla: The little adopted daughter of Marcus and Aurelia (half Roman and half Jew); extremely shy and sweet; dearly loved by her adoptive parents; adored by her brothers, but especially so by Saturninus.

Decius: Priscilla’s uncle; the younger stepbrother of Priscilla’s father Servius; went to live in Alexandria, Egypt the year before Priscilla was born; from her father, Priscilla knew him as a selfish, arrogant, jealous, and cruel man.

Nero: Fifth Roman Emperor; great-great grandson of Augustus Caesar - Rome’s first Emperor; a very young man; born A.D. 37, became Emperor A.D. 54, and died A.D. 68; sometimes influenced in a negative way by Poppaea, his wife, and Tigellinus, his friend and advisor.

Poppaea (full name: Poppaea Sabina): Emperor Nero’s second wife; born A.D. 30, became Empress (married Nero) A.D. 62, and died A.D. 65; an extremely beautiful woman; Livonia’s dear friend; absolutely adores Claudia.

Tigellinus: Emperor Nero’s friend and advisor; born A.D. 10, and died A.D. 69; sinister and evil in appearance.

Paetus: Former general; famous in Rome; a Christian and a good and kind man; like a father to Antonius and Lucilius, and loved by their families; fiercely hated by Tigellinus.

Aulus Plautius: Mentioned by Paetus in the book, along with Pomponia Graecina, Aulus Plautius’ wife, was a Roman politician and general in the mid-first century A.D., who began the Roman conquest of Britain and became the first governor of the new province. He served from A.D. 43-46.

Pomponia Graecina: Married to Aulus Plautius, and was a noble and beautiful woman, also known to be a Christian.

Servilia: Paetus’ gentle and beautiful wife; a Christian woman; fiercely hated by Poppaea; greatly loved by Claudia and her family.

Locations Featured in the Book

Rome: The home of Claudia and her family, it is the capital of Italy, and often referred to as “The Eternal City.” It was allegedly founded April 22, 753 B.C. by Romulus, supposedly Rome’s first king. Rome started out as small village, but grew until she eventually became “The Ruler of the World.” At first only “The Mistress of Italy,” she became “The Mistress of the Mediterranean,” and then finally “The Mistress of the World.” She had kings from 753-509 B.C. From 509 to the last century B.C., she was a Republic. Augustus Caesar then became the first Emperor of Rome in 27 B.C., and from then on until her fall in the 400’s A.D., Rome was a great and mighty Empire, the largest and greatest that the world had ever known.

Baiae: Where Claudia often vacations with her family and friends during the summer, it was an ancient Roman town situated on the northwest shore of the Gulf of Naples, and was an extremely fashionable resort, particularly towards the latter end of the Roman Republic. Many Roman Emperors built homes in Baiae, and they and their courts often stayed there. The views and architecture of Baiae were magnificent. The distance between Rome and Baiae was approximately 151 miles.

Alexandria: Alexandria is the home of Priscilla’s uncle Decius. It was a port city located on the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt, and was founded 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great. The most vital cultural center of the ancient world, it rivaled even Athens, Greece. Alexandria was home to one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”- the great “Pharos Lighthouse”- and also the “Library of Alexandria.” The name “Alexandria” was derived from “Alexander,” which means “Defender of Mankind.” Alexandria was a very important city in the ancient world as the largest city in Egypt for over two thousand years, and its capital for nearly half that time. It was also an important trading post between Europe and Asia.

Antium: Where Claudia visits Poppaea and Emperor Nero in the summer of A.D. 64. It was the birthplace of Caligula (the third Roman Emperor from A.D. 37-41) and also of Nero. Magnificent seaside villas were built there by the Romans, the most famous being the imperial villa known as “Domus Neroniana” (“Villa of Nero”). Used by previous Emperors, Nero rebuilt the villa on a more massive scale and according to imperial style. He also built a new harbor there. Baiae and Antium were approximately 50 miles apart from each other.

Ephesus: Lucilius and Lucretia visited the city in July of A.D. 64. It was an ancient port city located in modern-day Turkey, and founded in the 10th century B.C.. The city had been important since ancient Greek times. It was home to one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”- the “Temple of Artemis”- and for centuries served as a crossroads between the East and West. It is often considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the region of the Mediterranean in its time.

Cumae: Another town where Claudia often vacations with her family and friends during the summer, it was the first ancient Greek colony on the mainland of Italy, founded in the 8th century B.C. Later becoming a rich Roman city, it greatly prospered along with all of the cities of Campania and especially the bay of Naples. It was a desirable area for wealthy Romans to build large and beautiful villas along the coast.

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