Page 154. " as a young magistrate, he had located in the overgrown municipal cemetery the one-hundred-and-thirty-year-old lost tomb of the mathematician Archimedes "

Cicero Discovers the Tomb of Archimedes, by Martin Knoller
Public DomainCicero Discovers the Tomb of Archimedes, by Martin Knoller - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
 Archimedes was a 3rd century BC Greek mathematician, inventor and astronomer from Syracuse. He was (and still is) considered one of the greatest mathematicians, and the Syracusans were very proud of their association with him. Cicero describes finding his tomb marked by a sphere inscribed within a cylinder; Archimedes had proven that the sphere has two thirds the volume and surface area of its circumscribing cylinder.

Page 157. " just before dawn on a major public holiday, Terminalia. "

Terminus was sometimes pictured as a bust on a boundary stone
Public DomainTerminus was sometimes pictured as a bust on a boundary stone - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Terminalia was the festival in honour of Terminus, god of boundaries. The festival included garlanding a local boundary stone and making offerings to the god at an altar; these might include crops, honeycombs, and wine. The blood of a sacrificed lamb or pig would be poured over the boundary marker itself.

Page 161. " From everywhere, senator. Asia. Syria. Tyre. Alexandria. "
Mercury, the Roman God of Trade. Gaulish Depiction on a Stele
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMercury, the Roman God of Trade. Gaulish Depiction on a Stele - Credit: Clio20/Wikimedia Commons

These are all important places on the Roman trade routes. Among the most important commodities bought by the Romans were olive oil, wine, and grain. Africa and Egypt were two main sources of grain. More exotic goods such as spices and incense came in from the east.

Ancient Syria marked on a map
Public DomainAncient Syria marked on a map - Credit: Nuno Tavares/Wikimedia Commons
 
The Roman province of Asia marked on a map
Public DomainThe Roman province of Asia marked on a map - Credit: Carlog3/Wikimedia Commons
 
Alexandria marked on a map
Public DomainAlexandria marked on a map - Credit: Lanternix/Wikimedia Commons

Page 163. " This vast dungeon, the work of Dionysius the Tyrant, was already more than three centuries old. "

Dionysius I of Syracuse
Public DomainDionysius I of Syracuse - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
 Dionysius was a tyrant of Syracuse in the late 5th and 4th centuries BC. He conquered several cities in Sicily and fought a war against Carthage. Stories and accounts of Dionysius tell of his cruel, vindictive and paranoid nature. He was considered an example of the worst kind of ruler.

Page 163. " truly this was a descent into Hades. "

The River Styx in the Underworld (Hades)
Public DomainThe River Styx in the Underworld (Hades) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Hades was one of the names for the underworld (the land of the dead), named after the Greek god of the dead, Hades. The Roman name for the ruler of the underworld was Pluto.

Page 169. " seated in his curule chair "

Aureus Macrinus Coin: Reverse (right) shows magistrate sitting on curule chair
GNU Free Documentation LicenseAureus Macrinus Coin: Reverse (right) shows magistrate sitting on curule chair - Credit: CNG Coins
The curule chair was a seat that marked the status of a magistrate with imperium. It was usually made of ivory, with no back and curved legs forming an X. It was foldable, designed to be easily transportable.

Drawing of a Curule Chair
Public DomainDrawing of a Curule Chair - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Page 171. " But fortune, as the noble Terence has it, favours the brave "

Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) was a playwright of the second century BC, famous for his comedies.