Spreading the Knowledge!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Makings of A Romance Hero: Centurions (Plus Giveaway!)

As much as I would hate to admit it aloud, I have a weakness for alpha males.

One look at the man I married--the very same who never cries, is never wrong, rarely apologizes, stands ready to bash middle-aged bullies in Target store parking lots, and is a general all-around badass--and, well, you'll see I love uber males and naturally had to feature one in my first honest-to-goodness release.

It's a fact universally acknowledged that since the day "Gladiator" was released, I am a consumer of all things Ancient Rome, and it really didn't surprise anyone that my first series would center around the Roman Empire and those original bad boys of imperialism, the centurions.

But what is a centurion?

Well, friends and readers, let me enlighten you a little. And then let me give you a fantastic prize package just for stopping by. (And hopefully returning soon!)

Meet the Centurions

Bottom line, a centurion is a professional Roman officer, typically in command of a centuria (century) or about 80 to 100 men. It took most centurions 10 to 15 years to achieve the rank and these men were shipped to the far corners of Rome's massive empire to lead the dwindling troops throughout Rome's entire history.

Caesar himself relied heavily on his centurions and was said to have promoted men to the rank in appreciation of their performance in battle and displays of valor, beginning the prestige often associated with the rank.

Centurions led from the front. Found at the front right position of their formations, these brave men were often the first over an enemy wall or to push through an opposing army's breached formation. They were known to lead by example and often sought to showcase those very same attributes (strength, bravery, prowess) that got them promoted in the first place.

These men often suffered the heaviest casualties, leading from the front and bearing the trademark uniform that spotlighted them as battlefield leaders. They were also camp disciplinarians and were in charge of handing out punishment for poor behavior or cowardice in battle.

Centurions had to be literate, have connections (letters of recommendation), be at least 30 years of age, and had already served a few years in the military.

The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; Strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their arms constantly rubbed and bright. (Vegetius)

Sounds like the makings of a perfect romance hero, no? In The Centurion's Prize, Corvinus Aelius Martialis, a former centurion and now second in command of Aquitania, spent years chasing down the ambitious dreams under  emperor after emperor. When a beautiful Celt named Nara appears and challenges his long-held beliefs, Corvin finds himself believing in the power of love and finally having something worth fighting for.

The Centurion's Prize August Giveaway

To celebrate this month's release of  The Centurion's Prize, I'm incredibly happy to be hosting a giveaway. Interested? Here are the details!

Prize Package 1:
  • A copy of The Centurion's Copy 
  • Clive Owen! Ok, not the real Clive Owen, but one DVD copy of "King Arthur," where Clive plays a Roman Centurion so well!!
  • Nara's Jewels: A beautiful pair of yellow glass earrings and a handmade glass bracelet  that reminded me of what my character, Nara, might wear the night of the big celebration and well, you should read the book to find out what else happened that night!

The contest runs today through August 6, with winners announced on Sunday August 7.

How to enter

Enter the following ways:
  • Comment on any new blog post between now and August 6 (each comment counts as a separate chance to win)

So let's get this party kicked off...tell me about your ideal alpha male and earn some entries!

For more information about the release of The Centurion's Prize, visit my author page at  Beachwalk Press.


Nina Croft said...

I remember visiting Hadrian's wall when I was at school (a long long time ago)- that's the wall the Romans built to keep the Scottish out of England - and I've been fascinated by Roman history ever since.
Good luck with the book, Harper!

Rebecca WS said...

I got to walk on a Roman city wall in Spain a few years ago. It's amazing how much of their public structures are still standing!

Good luck with the book!