Rutilius Gallicus was chief of police, poet and courtier of the Roman Emperor Domitian. He is a unique figure in that he can be studied in detail through both text and inscription, thereby fusing literature with history, and linking poetry with epigraphy. His recovery from a critical illness was celebrated in a sparkling poem by Statius, the poet laureate whose work is currently being read with new interest. As well as taking the reader on a tour across the city of Rome and the provinces, and through Flavian history and culture, Gallicus is by turns a sternly formal public servant, a delicate amateur poet and speaker, a workaholic chasing an early grave, the darling of his people, the strong-man of his tyrant Emperor, the miraculously resurrected patient of Apollo and a soldier-hero of the empire. How long could his luck last?
A Roman Life