Thursday, August 11, 2011

To Err is Human....


A trusted colleague pointed out a small error in the author’s note section of my novel Cleopatra’s Moon.

Fortunately, the error didn’t affect the novel itself (the error was in a factoid about something that happened nearly 15 years after my story ended). 

But still. Ack.

Here’s the error: on the last page of bullets, I wrote that Julia divorced Agrippa in order to marry Tiberius, when it was actually Tiberius who was forced to divorce his wife in order to marry Julia (got that?).  Julia’s husband, Agrippa, had died the year before.

Now, I knew that—it’s one of the more interesting tales of Augustus’s rule—how he made Tiberius divorce his beloved wife, Vipsania, against his will (Roman fathers could do this). Suetonius claims that, later, when Augustus heard that Tiberius had stared piteously at his ex-wife after running into her on the street, he gave the order to make sure that Tiberius never “run into” her again.

I likely over-focused on the larger point of the bullet—on the irony of the fact that while Augustus and Romans acted all outraged and “disturbed” by the heritage of brother-sister royal marriages in Egypt, here Augustus was forcing his stepson to marry his own daughter!

Augustus was brilliant in the way he took on Egyptian royal habits (ruling as a virtual monarch, creating a royal line of succession, and all but calling himself divine to name a few) while, at the same time, convincing everyone that he was a traditional, pious, conservative Roman. 

In any case, mea culpa. I apologize for the error. We are working on getting the mix-up corrected in future printings and in the e-book edition.

On a similar note, a lovely Latin teacher I met at the national convention of the Junior Classical League pointed out that we should have used the vocative case of a Latin word in the text. I probably should have explained that the Latin teacher who vetted the Latin for us recommended that we “keep it simple,” which was why most of the Latin was kept in nominative case.

As always, I am very grateful for such careful readers!

5 comments:

Amalia T. said...

I think it's a rule that no matter how carefully we go over these kinds of things and check our facts, ONE error is bound to slip through. Better in the Author's note than in the novel! :)

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Wow - a mistake on that level is so far beyond me. It's amazing a reader caught that. Obviously they are just as passionate about the subject as you are! e

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

@ Amalia--I agree, it could've been worse.

@e--that's the thing, historians are sticklers (as they should be), which is why I wanted to make public note of it.

Gabriele C. said...

Elizabeth, it depends what period a reader specialises in. I'd have found that one, too, but I've been living with that dysfunctional family for some time - and glad to escape to Germania most of the time. :)

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Gabriele, I knew readers like you would catch it, which is why I wanted to explain that it was getting fixed!