Maps from the forthcoming novel, Onesimus: A Novel of Christianity in the Roman Empire

Onesimus: A Novel of Christianity in the Roman Empire, is a work of historical fiction set in the first century AD. Based on the true story of a Roman slave, it takes place in a number of locations around the Roman Empire. Below are some of the diagrams and maps that will be included with the book.

This is the villa and lands belonging to Philemon, where Onesimus works as a slave. He is an educated slave: he can read and write in Latin and Greek, do arithmetic, and knows geography. His tasks involve helping Philemon run his business of importing and selling textiles (especially leather) to merchants.

Philemon owns over 20 slaves that help run the household, work on the farm, and tend to livestock. His vilici, Philippus, is the overseer of all the slaves.

This is the villa itself where Philemon and his wife, Apphia, live. Onesimus is not allowed in very many of the rooms, most of the time he enters through the slave door and meets with Philemon in his study—the tablinum, or a smaller library, the cubicula.

His lover, Turia, is a household slave, and helps Apphia, does the washing, cleaning, and other domestic duties for the family.

The house is a typical Roman house for someone of Philemon’s status: a large, open, central garden area (the peristyle), with dining rooms on one side and the family’s rooms on the other. Kitchens and storage are in the back, the working rooms and entry room (the atrium) are in the front.

The cities of Colossae, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome figure largely in the story. Here are maps of Corinth and Rome of the time.

The Roman Empire of the first century was massive, covering not only Italy, but modern-day Europe, Greece, the Middle East, Spain, and part of the British Isles. Divided into Provinces, it was run by a complex system of governors and other officials, from the town and city level up to the Emperor himself.

The map below shows the areas where the novel takes place

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