Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (reading activities)

Compare two characters

Marcus Flavius Aquila is just nineteen, a thin, dark, arrogant citizen of the city of Rome. His forehead is branded between the brows, showing the mark of the Raven degree of Mithras. 

Marcus is the son of a soldier. As a boy, he lived quietly on the family farm near Clusium while his father served with legions in Judea, Egypt and Britain. 

His father had planned to retire in Britain, but instead marched out with the ill-fated Ninth Legion, the Hispania, never to be heard of again.

After Marcus's mother's death, Marcus was raised by his Roman uncle, a greedy official, who sold the family farm.

The auxiliary Cohort of the Second Roman Legion is Marcus's first command.

 Esca is a defeated gladiator that Marcus purchases to be his personal slave. Their relationship quickly becomes much more than just a master and his slave. In fact, Esca and Marcus are almost mirror reflections of each other. 

Esca is from the Brigantes tribe, from Northern Britain. His father, like Marcus's, was a commander, a clan's chieftain. 

In the battle against the legions, Esca was injured, taken prisoner and enslaved to fight as a gladiator. But, Esca describes how ten years earlier he watched a legion marching north never to come marching back, 'I had never seen such a site before. Like a shining serpent of men winding across the hills, a grey serpent hackled with the scarlet cloaks and crests of the officers.'

Ferenc Fekete, VIII5, May 2012

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