Augustus’ house on the Palatine Hill, at the heart of Rome, makes a couple of appearances in The Emperor’s Servant so I read T.P.Wiseman’s The House of Augustus the moment I saw that it was published. Now I’m having to go back and rewrite my descriptions of the house, the approach, the Temple of Apollo… Prof Wiseman is enthusiastically championing the theory that we have had that part of the Palatine wrong all along: buildings are being turned around 180 degrees and the House itself isn’t anywhere near where I put it… That isn’t to say that everyone agrees of course, but he writes so entertainingly as well as with such authority. Thoroughly recommended!
Prof Wiseman also taught J.K Rowling at Exeter university, and there has been speculation that he bears a resemblance to a certain Albus Dumbledore… Sadly, he has denied this in a letter to The Guardian:
So JK Rowling “is rumoured to have based Dumbledore on the splendidly bearded Peter Wiseman, Exeter’s classics professor emeritus” (Stoics, cynics and the meaning of life, G2, October 1). If only! I’m afraid the rumour is no more than a journalist’s invention. My beard makes no pretensions to splendour – and it was black (Snape’s colouring, not Dumbledore’s) when JKR was a student at Exeter in 1983-85.