The Roman

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First UK edition
(publ. Hodder & Stoughton, 1966)

The Roman (original title Ihmiskunnan viholliset, which translates to Mankind's Enemies) is a fiction novel by Mika Waltari published in 1964. Set in Rome, the book is a sequel to The Secret of the Kingdom, a novel about the early days of Christianity. The protagonist and narrator is Minutus, the son of Marcus, the main character of the previous novel. Minutus is a Roman citizen striving to survive without political entanglements.

In the novel, Minutus travels from Corinth to Britain, to Rome and then to Jerusalem. Through a boyhood friendship with Nero, he becomes a sometimes advisor, sometimes a tool, and sometimes a fool of the capricious emperor. A cruel fate makes him the commander of the menagerie that supplied the wild animals that tore his father and son to pieces, and the book was ostensibly written as a guide for his son, great-grandson of the Emperor Claudius.

Plagiarism of the novel[edit]

In July 2008, news emerged that the novel had been plagiarized by TV-producer Colin Slater in his novel Lindum Colonia, published in 2003.[1]


  1. ^ "''Waltari-roman plagierades i USA'' (24.7.2008)" (in Swedish). 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2012-08-04.