2014 A to Z Challenge: G is for Gaul

Tuesday's here and so is the A to Z Challenge. Primer: During April over 2,000 bloggers are posting daily on topics that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. My posts will revolve around the research elements that have informed my new historical fantasy, Famine.

G Today's letter: G is for Gaul

One of the most complicated aspects of writing Famine was deciding when and where Bartholomew spent his boyhood. A character with 1,500 years of history presents a vast array of possibilities, and that much openness is difficult to maneuver through. Where to start? Where to end? I knew I wanted him to be connected to Rome, but not be Roman. So, based upon his physical characteristics, I narrowed his background down to Northern European--Germanic, Celtic, Gallic, or Frankish--and ultimately decided that the Gauls were the best fit. Technically, Bartholomew would have been Gallo-Roman as the Gauls slowly were assimilated into Roman culture after falling to Julius Caeser around 50 BC. He would have lived in Gallia Belgica, a Gallo-Roman province located (roughly) in areas that now are parts of northern France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands (below the Rhine), and Germany (Rhineland).

Truthfully, when I came across this observation of the Gauls by Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, I knew that Bartholomew belonged among them: "Nearly all the Gauls are of a lofty stature, fair and ruddy complexion: terrible from the sternness of their eyes, very quarrelsome, and of great pride and insolence. A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his assistance who is usually very strong and with blue eyes..."

A Gaul and His Daughter (Felix Joseph Barrias)

“Come, moechae. Your graves await.” He took a last drag then flicked his cigarette at the cadavers as they charged across the street. He ducked into the house, crossed a front room that had been demolished by a fallen chimney, and wrenched the radiator from the wall. Bartholomew’s strength grew as the traces of the Catcher’s fiery spirit surged through his nerves and muscles.

The radiator stopped the first cadaver as it crushed his skull and torso. His equally foolish friend met an equally abrupt ending when he leaped over the first cadaver’s twitching body and had his head sliced from his spine by Bartholomew’s gladius.

Too easy.

Vladimir watched the swift demise of his companions from the crooked doorway. He shrugged. “Idiots.” Brains and blood covered the floor.

“Famine’s become less discriminate, I see.” Bartholomew picked up his bowler and placed it upon a chair.

“You have a way, Bartholomeus. It’s most admirable when you kill.”

“Keep your compliments.”

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