WHEN SIX SCROLLS OF POETRY WERE DISCOVERED in a sealed cavern in Cadiz, Spain, the world was introduced to a new Latin poet, Caius Herennius Felix. Herennius, a maritime clerk, wrote about Epicureanism, Eudoxus the explorer, his friend Glabbis, a variety of lovers, and his true love Paccia Glycera, one of the famous dancing girls of Gades. As translated by Clarence W. Hudson, the poems are a vivid portrait of the poet, his friends and lovers, and the Roman port of Gades in first century A.D.
It would be a stunning discovery, except that Herennius, Glabbis, Paccia, the scholars who studied the scrolls, and the translator never existed. Author Jim Levy has populated an authentic and historically accurate first century Roman port city with fictitious characters.
I said let’s meet later
on the mainland, in the tavern
that’s stealing water from the aqueduct
and she said “dancers don’t go there,
that’s for whores.”
Oh. I didn’t realize that
and I protested,
no, I meant south of the tavern,
by the rotting trireme,
the one with brass fittings.
“An original fabrication executed to perfection.”
—Harold Rothman, author of Hispania Baetica, Then and Now.
Author Bio: Throughout his life, author Jim Levy has written poetry, essays, stories, novels and memoirs. In 1971 and again in 1985, he destroyed four novels and almost everything else he had written, for not being a high enough quality. At the age of 74, he began publishing his books. He also published through The Porcupine Press, Joy to Come, a collection of literary and cultural essays. His other published works include Corazón (and Merkle), about his two dogs, and Cooler Than October Sunlight, selected poems.