Tag Archives: Italy

Gladiators Didn’t Always Fight to the Death

I guess this would be considered the boy’s locker room by today’s standard. While researching the Colosseum in Rome, I discovered plenty of things that I took for granted about gladiator fights.  And then I realized how we’ve been duped by Hollywood.

Contrary to what the movies always show, not all gladiators were slaves nor did they always fight to the death. It’s too expensive to have a dead gladiator, especially after training and investing in these guys. It made no economical sense to exterminate the guy.

The “thumbs down” probably didn’t mean death even. Interestingly, there were also women gladiators.

These guys were even celebrities and icons.

Now we know…

 

 

Incognito

Escape from Syria

During the early days of the Syrian war I was monitoring a family friend who smuggled himself out of the country. I didn’t say anything to anyone because his safety was paramount.
In the course of his journey he was swindled, robbed, almost killed but he made it to Egypt then to Libya before reaching Italy. Some money was transferred to him.
He kept in touch with that “someone” I know through a cell phone at various stops. He’s safe now somewhere in Europe. His wife and family are with him.

Maybe it was Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Maybe it was David Seltzer’s The Omen. All I know I had to have my own monastery. So I created one.
The small scene in Incognito took me quite a while to construct. I was not only writing the story, I was playing medieval architect.
Photo shows the Monte Cassino monastery in Italy. Reminds you of one of those virtual combat games like Counter Strike and Assassin’s Creed and whatever else that I am too old fashion to know.
Many of you know this, but I’ll just mention it anyway.They didn’t built monasteries thousands of feet above ground not for mystical reasons or in their attempt to reach God.  They built them high to protect monks from marauders.

Saint Peter’s Square: Reworking it from the Author’s Eye

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Saint Peter’s square, Vatican City. Almost every religious thriller novel and movie about the Vatican will have an image of it. It has become the standard.

In fact, authors have covered almost every inch of the Vatican that’s its really tough to produce original scenes and ideas.

But I had a good creative director when I used to work a short while at an ad agency. I noticed how he saw things differently even if something had been overused. It took me a while to see how he sees things, and then an idea hit me.

I saw something at the square that jumped out at me. I realized how this could work for INCOGNITO. As with my first novel, Smokescreen, expect the unexpected.

The Italian “Al” and the Arabs

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Ever wondered why many Italians have “Al” in their surnames?

That’s because of Arab influence. In medieval times, an Emirate was established in Sicily, southern Italy with Palermo as its capital. This took place between the 9th and 10th century. Monumental remnants can still be found in the region.

The word “Al” in Arabic means “The” like Allah, which literally means The God. “Ilah” in Arabic is “God” and “Al” is “The.”