The Viney Agency


EMMASOUTHONEmma Southon has a PhD in Ancient History and researches sex, the family, gender and religion. She holds a long running obsession with the bad guys of the Roman emperor and weirds people out by going on about Caligula a lot.

She has a cat called Livia, blogs at and tweets at @NuclearTeeth.

Oneworld published her critically acclaimed  A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in the UK in 2020. Abrams published in the US in 2021.


Two further books on women in the Roman Empire will be published by Oneworld, Abrams and Yale University Press in 2023.


Praise for Emma Southon


‘A brilliant idea, brilliantly executed.’

-- Tom Holland

‘Southon brings some great and little-known murder stories to light, revelling in the bizarre and the macabre.’

-- BBC History Magazine

'Blood, guts, murder, emperors and a sprinkling of uplifting Latin. A wonderful book on the Roman way of death. Mirabile dictu!'

-- Harry Mount

‘Her lively and intermittently potty-mouthed biography of Nero’s remarkable mother contains fascinating vignettes of Roman life (what to expect on your wedding day) and explores why Roman authors wrote about women in the way that they did.’

-- New Statesman, Best Books of the Year, on Agrippina


An entertaining and informative look at the unique culture of crime, punishment, and killing in Ancient Rome

In Ancient Rome, all the best stories have one thing in common—murder. Romulus killed Remus to found the city, Caesar was assassinated to save the Republic. Caligula was butchered in the theater, Claudius was poisoned at dinner, and Galba was beheaded in the Forum. In one 50-year period, 26 emperors were murdered.

But what did killing mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? In A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Emma Southon examines a trove of real-life homicides from Roman history to explore Roman culture, including how perpetrator, victim, and the act itself were regarded by ordinary people. Inside Ancient Rome's darkly fascinating history, we see how the Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Oneworld, UK, 2020; Abrams, USA, 2021); Agrippina (Unbound, 2018).