The Beggar of Volubilis

Number in series


Told Through

Flavia Gemina


March 81 AD


Ostia, Sabratha and Volubilis (Italy, Libya and Morocco)

First published

4 October 2007

Number of pages



The Slave-girl from Jerusalem


The Scribes from Alexandria

The Beggar of Volubilis is the fourteenth book in Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries. It is published by Orion Books.


Plot SynopsisEdit

Flavia Gemina takes a vow to the goddess Diana to renounce men, and almost immediately her vow is tested by a proposal of marriage from Flaccus. Her father Marcus is furious at her refusal and orders Flavia and Nubia to stay inside the house while he goes to Alexandria.

Nevertheless, Flavia disobeys her father's orders and sets out with Nubia, Lupus and Jonathan on a mission from the emperor Titus to find a lost gem, an unusual emerald which is the subject of a prophecy. She is particularly keen to do so because the emperor wants them to start looking in North Africa, which is where she believes her uncle Gaius has gone, despite the general opinion that he has committed suicide by drowning. She and her three companions take a boat to Sabratha, but there lose all their money and possessions.

Narcissus, a pantomime performer, hires them as musicians and they join a caravan to cross the Sahara desert. In the weeks of travel they become accomplished performers, learn to handle camels and discover the dangers as well as the beauties of the desert.

In Volubilis they find both Gaius and the emerald, but it is not as easy to take them back to Italy as they had supposed.

During the adventure, they meet a woman who claims to be descended from Cleopatra and a man who could be the late emperor Nero.