Marcus Didius Falco

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Marcus Didius Falco is the central character and narrator in a series of novels by Lindsey Davis. Using the concepts of modern detective stories (with Falco as the private investigator, roughly translated into the classical world as a 'private informer'), Davis portrays the world of the Roman Empire under Vespasian. The tone is arch and satirical, but the historical information provided is carefully accurate.


Falco's life history

Falco was born on 20 or 21 March 41 AD[1] to Marcus Didius Favonius (aka Geminus) and Junilla Tacita. His father was a (somewhat shady) auctioneer, and his family was of Plebeian rank. A veteran of the Roman army, he still grieves for his elder brother, Festus, who served in the legio XV Apollinaris and was posthumously awarded the mural crown after he was killed in 68 AD on active service during the First Jewish-Roman War in Judaea. Falco had also been a soldier, in the Legio II Augusta, but was 'invalided out' in 60 following the legion's disgrace in the Boudiccan Revolt. Falco's father left his mother for another woman. Falco and his father were eventually reconciled in the course of an investigation (Poseidon's Gold) and now see one another occasionally, but Falco's sympathies remain with his mother.

Falco met his wife, Helena Justina, the divorced and patrician daughter of a senator, while on an investigation in Britannia (The Silver Pigs), but their very different circumstances made their relationship difficult. After a series of successful missions for the emperor, Falco has risen to a certain level of respectability - he has achieved equestrian rank (One Virgin Too Many) - and he and Helena now live together with their two daughters, in an arrangement recognized by his in-laws. As of Saturnalia, they are expecting another child. Unfortunately Falco's son, Marcus Didius Justinianus, expected from Saturnalia, dies shortly after his birth in Nemesis coincidentaly on the same day that Geminus, Falco's father, dies. At the wake for his father's funeral Falco also discovers that he is to become brother yet again when Thalia, an old friend he meets in Last Act in Palmyra, reveals that she is expecting Geminus' child.

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