As remarkable as these women must have been, no ancient historian saw fit to leave us a biography of any of them; to write the life story of a woman was beyond Plutarch's imagination. The reader who wishes to know more about them will find only scattered crumbs, not the rich banquet afforded to anyone with an appetite for Pompey, Caesar, or any number of other men of antiquity. For the modern historian working from such sources, the task of bringing these women to life is problematic to the point of being insurmountable; so it seems fitting that they should find a prominent place in the Roma Sub Rosa, a secret history of Rome, or a history of Rome's secrets, as seen through the eyes of Gordianus.

Thanks are due to my editor at St. Martin's Press, Keith Kahla, for his attentiveness and patience; to my agent, Alan Nevins, for keeping me too busy to get into any trouble; to Penni Kimmel and Rick Solomon for their comments on the first draft; and to my good neighbors at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, whose splendid production in the spring of 2001 of the complete Oresteia by Aeschylus inspired the creation of Gordianus's Cassandra.

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