Guest Post and Giveaway: Fun and Gross Stuff About Ancient Rome by Lisa Henry

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing / Lisa Henry blog tour for He Is Worthy, part of the Warriors of Rome collection now available. The collection is available for pre-order here, as a collection or individually, and all pre-orders enter you in a drawing to win a Nook Simple Touch.

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in the draw for a copy of my two previous eBooks—Tribute and The Island—and a $10 Riptide Publishing credit. Entries close at midnight, U.S. Eastern time, on November 18, and winners will be announced the next day. The contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Thanks for hosting me today on Joyfully Jay. It’s nice here. I like your bird.

Here is some fun (and gross) stuff you might not know about Ancient Rome:

  • Ancient Rome had over a million people living in it. A million. There is no other city in the ancient world that can hold a torch to that. It took until the 19th Century for any another city — London — to break the million mark. And the Romans did it all without having an Industrial Revolution first.
  • Many Roman houses had central heating and running water and electricity. Sorry, got carried away there. But wouldn’t that be awesome? I could start a new genre here. Move over Steampunk, I give you Electrome! (I was going to go Electroman, but that sounds like a lame superhero.)
  • In Ancient Rome, there are fast food joints all over the place. They’re called thermopolia, and you can either eat in or takeaway. You don’t get a toy with your McHappius Meal though.
  • There is graffiti everywhere. Some of it is advertising. A lot of it is political — there’s always an election coming up for something. And an awful lot of it is obscene. So people haven’t really changed much.
  • The Ancient Romans didn’t have toilet paper. They had sponges on sticks. TMI?  It gets worse: they shared them.
  • If you wanted to put a bet on the chariot races, you purchased a small ivory betting chip. If your charioteer didn’t crash into the wall and kill himself, and actually won the race, you then returned and exchanged your chip for your winnings. Just like a modern betting shop. Except for that part about going back and collecting your winnings. I’ve never done that.
  • Yes, the Ancient Romans had birth control. And no, after that thing about toilet paper you probably don’t want to know much about it. Let’s just say it was the woman’s responsibility, and it involved a barrier of wax. I’m guessing it was a real mood-killer as well.
  • Hey, want to know how to remove that stubborn stain from your toga? Or get your slave to do it? By bleaching it in urine, obviously. Want to know how to get the smell of stale urine out of your clean toga? History does not relate.

And here is some stuff you might not know (or even care to know) about me:

I live in North Queensland, Australia. At the time of writing, it’s 8 pm at night and 25 degrees Celsius. Google tells me that’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer seriously sucks here. By January it will be like a furnace. Every year I think I should move south. Then I remember that I have a gazillion pets, a job, a mortgage, and a partner who might not appreciate it if he comes home from a stint working in the mines to discover I’ve moved without telling him.

Whenever I say “working in the mines” I imagine my partner with a pickaxe and a canary in a cage. Whenever I tell him this, he looks at me like he’s thinking of breaking up with me. Then I can only assume he remembers how awesome I am and how lucky he is.

I work in a civilian job in a police station. Once, when I asked if I could have a go with some handcuffs, I accidentally handcuffed myself. To a chair. It is surprisingly easy to do, and police issue handcuffs are not at all like the handcuffs you get in adult shops. Of which, in case my mother’s reading this, I have absolutely no knowledge.

Nope, none at all.


Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house a long-suffering partner, too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa blogs over here. She is also on Twitter (whenever she remembers) as @LisaHenryOnline. She spends more time on Goodreads than on housework.


Rome, 68 A.D. Novius Senna is one of the most feared men in Rome. He’s part of the emperor’s inner circle at a time when being Nero’s friend is almost as dangerous as being his enemy. Senna knows that better men than he have been sacrificed to Nero’s madness—he’s the one who tells them to fall on their swords. He hates what he’s become to keep his family safe. He hates Nero more.

Aenor is a newly-enslaved Bructeri trader, brutalized and humiliated for Nero’s entertainment. He’s homesick and frightened, but not entirely cowed. He’s also exactly what Senna has been looking for: a slave strong enough to help him assassinate Nero.

It’s suicide, but it’s worth it. Senna yearns to rid Rome of a tyrant, and nothing short of death will bring him peace for his crimes. Aenor hungers for revenge, and dying is his only escape from Rome’s tyranny. They have nothing left to lose, except the one thing they never expected to find—each other.

You can buy He Is Worthy or read an excerpt here.


Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Tribute and The Island by Lisa Henry, along with a $10 Riptide Publishing credit.  Entries close at midnight, U.S. Eastern time, on November 18, and winners will be announced the next day. The contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.


  1. A Peterson says:

    Lisa is hilarious and I want to read her books!

  2. Ah, the height of Roman culture… 

  3. Thanks for commenting!
    And thanks Jay, for hosting me today! 

  4. That was great, and funny, and a little gross…hooray for loo roll! Thank you :)

  5. I always wondered why ancient Roman art was so odd (the Etruscan stuff looks like popsicle stick marionettes). Apparently, it’s because they were all nuts. Hey!

  6. No need to enter me in the giveaway, as I already have the Lisa Henry collection. Just want to say this post is awesome! And I’m kind of jealous you’ve gotten to try police issue handcuffs.

  7. Thanks for commenting everyone! 

    And JA: police handcuffs,  not sexy at all. And handcuffing yourself in front of your colleagues? I still haven’t lived that down. 

  8. Oh, I want Electrome stories please??? You are hilarious, thanks for a great post!

  9. Sounds great! PLease count me in. Thanks!

  10. This is one helluva entertaining post! 

    I vote ‘yay’ on Electrome stories, as well.  Tho, I must admit to having ancient e-stim fantasies involving James McAvoy the moment I read the word. That could have influenced my favor.

    Lisa’s books are some of my favorites. I have them all!

  11. Thanks for all the comments! 

    @ Rosemary, anything with James McAvoy in it…yes please!  

  12. This sounds really good.  Quite enjoyed your factoids and sense of humor.

  13. Michelle (MiMi) says:

    Electrome is a very cool word…I would like to read that genre myself :)
    Thank you, chellebee66(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. Thanks for all the comments everyone! 

  15. Kit Johnson says:

    Just put this book on my to-read list! I love stories about Ancient Rome :) Count me in for the giveaway, please!

  16. omg.. that toilet thing… just… *shivers* all kinds of nasty!!! lol…
    Enjoyed the post! :D


  17. Sounds good. Thanks for the opportunity

  18. Lol and eww to the sharing of sponges fact/comment. Thank you for sharing these interesting facts and the blurb.

  19. Thank you for hosting Riptide Publishing & Lisa Henry’s Blog Tour for “He Is Worthy”, part of the Warriors of Rome Collection.
    Thank you Lisa for taking time out of your busy Tour Schedule to stop & spend time with Us here at Jay’s Fan Club :)
    You’re a new Author to me & I really enjoyed your Interview & the Blurb for your new Book, “He Is Worthy”.
    I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous Giveaway. Thank You!
    Take Care & Stay Naughty,
    PaParanormalFan (Renee)
    paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

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