The British author Robert Harris has written three novels about Cicero, told by his slave and secretary Tiro (who invented the ‘&’ sign). Before reading Dictator, which has just come out, I have been rereading Imperium and Lustrum. Harris’ style is flat, which maybe suits the story he is telling; the story is absorbing in the way of Gore Vidal’s American history novels.
(Nürtingen, Baden-Würtemberg, autumn 2012)
Tiro: It seemed to me at the time – and still does now, only even more so – an act of madness for a man to pursue power when he could be sitting in the sunshine and reading a book. But then, even if I had been born into freedom, I know I would not have possessed that overweening force of ambition without which no city is created, no city destroyed.