not entirely unanimous in asserting that cherries were unknown in Rome prior to Lucullus's return from the Black Sea region, and so there is a slight chance that Gordianus's musing was not anachronistic after all; but a more significant result of my research was a growing fascination with Lucullus and his amazing career. (Plutarch's biography makes splendid reading.) Never having touched upon him in the course of the novels, I decided to do so with a short story-and at the same time, to confront head-on that business about cherries and exorcise it from my psyche once and for all. Thus 'The Cherries of Lucullus' was conceived. The inci-dent of the gardener Motho is fictional, but the members of Lucullus's circle, including the philosopher Antiochus, Arcesislaus the sculptor, and the poet Aulus Archias, were actual persons, and all the pertinent details of Lucullus's remarkable rise and sad decline are based on fact.

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