Murena (by Dufaux & Delaby)
by: Ti. Dionysius Draco
Authors: Dufaux and Delaby
Part I: "Purple and Gold"
Part II: "Sand and Blood"
Part III: "A Perfect Mother"
Part IV: "For Those About to Die"
Murena is a comic book about the Roman Empire in the time when Nero seized power (around 54 B.C.). The emphasis is mostly on the intrigues between Nero and his mother Agrippina. This is very well executed and the comic book really feels “Roman”. The clothes, the locations and the people are fairly historically accurate although some of the events should not be taken too literally. But it is a rare gift for a comic book (or anything else) to at least try to be historically accurate and it succeeds quite well in doing so.
Lucius Murena is said to be a friend of Nero and is the son of Lollia Paulina, who is murdered by Agrippina. She ordered this because Claudius (the emperor at that time) wanted to marry Lollia and this would mean that Agrippina’s son, Nero, wouldn’t become emperor. After the murder of his mother Murena wants to take revenge.
The entire story of Nero, Murena and Agrippina is spread across four comic books and starts when Nero becomes emperor and ends with the murder of his own mother. These four make “The Cycle of the Mother”. The next cycle will be called “The Cycle of the Wife”.
Many reviews of these comic books were very positive and some of them hailed Murena for being the best historical comic book around. Because these reviews were in Dutch or in French, I do not know if they are available in English or other languages.
The comic book is well written and illustrated and even though there are some minor historical mistakes it doesn’t spoil the fun of reading. This certainly is a must for anybody who is interested in Ancient Rome and what it looked like.
Historical Accuracy: 15/20