8/16/2010

Orange Triumphal Arch - Symbolic of Roman-Celtic struggle.


When a book is accepted for publication, it sets off an agonizing search, primarily by the author, for a cover idea. Sure, the publisher hires an artist, but nobody is really in a position to understand what the story is about and what images best convey the content of the book to the reader. The adage about judging a book by its cover may or may not be true, but the cover and a twenty-word blurb are about all you have to convince a prospect to purchase your story.


The other problem is that nobody wants to spend any money on stock photography or elaborate illustrations. I was really stumped on what to convey to the artist for "Cult of Camulos". As with most novels, there are a myriad of scenes and images that the author can chose to promote the work. By chance, I was looking through some old photos of a trip my wife and I had made to France several years ago. As I thumbed down the stack, I lingered on a photo of the Roman Triumphal Arch that sits in the city of Orange. I remembered how impressed I was with the structure and studying the freeze that depicted a great battle between the old Gallic residents of the area and Rome’s legions, a fitting image for a novel in which I tried to bring to life a great battle between Romans and Celts on the plain of Telemone, Italy.

I scanned the photo, zoomed into it, and there it was, three figures in pitched battle still clearly visible despite years of erosion and even bullet holes from WWII, not to mention the extreme magnification of the relief. It was a striking image that conveyed everything I wanted the reader to feel about novel.

The freeze and triumphal were created during the reign of Augustus Caesar(about 35 BC) to commemorate the victory of Julius Caesar over the Gallic tribes. The battle of Telemone happened about 200 years before this, but the freeze is symbolic of the struggle between Roman and Celtic culture.

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