Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fictional tiles: Boudica III Dreaming the Hound by Manda Scott

Boudica III: Dreaming the Hound by Manda Scott is set in 1st century Britannia. Golden or gilded tiles are mentioned as being on the roof of Claudius' Temple in Camulodunum. I haven't got the page reference - I passed the book on. However, shining tiles stuck in my tile-brain. Are they glazed, or painted, or supposed to be actual metal? Or are bronze or what? I am not aware of any gilded tiles found in Britain, though perhaps gilding may not survive deposition. That said, mica-dusted pottery does survive and that metallic-sheen coating is very fragile. The occasional tile with slip on has been found too, but it doesn't shine.

Judging by the rest of her descriptions of material culture, the author needs to hit the archaeological books so that she knows exactly what she's writing about. However, the emphasis here was showing how decadent the Romans were in contrast to the Britons. In general, it was overdone at the expense of archaeological rigour.

Tiles being mentioned at all verdict: wish she hadn't!

1 comment:

Sarah Cuthbertson said...

I couldn't find any reference to gilded tiles in the accounts of Boudica's rebellion in Tacitus and Dio Cassius. That doesn't surprise me for what seems more like a series of fantasy novels than proper historical fiction. As you say, the gilded tiles are probably there to show how jolly decadent those pesky Romans were.

I'm enjoying your series, btw. Hope there are plenty more to come!