Set at the height of the Roman Empire, in the last half of the first century AD - about the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, when Christianity was still an unimportant Jewish sect - these stories chronicle the cases of one of the few actual crimesolvers that we know of in ancient Rome. The stories are fictional, but the character of Quintilian is based on a real Roman barrister whose writings on rhetoric and on the education of the young are still read today.
Quintilian - Marcus Fabius Quintilianus - was certainly among the noblest Romans of them all. Honored in his lifetime (roughly 35 to 100 AD) as a teacher, rhetorician, and jurist, he also seems to have been something of a detective. He was put in charge of devising a course of instruction for the youth of Rome by the emperor Vespasian, and made a consul with a salary from the Imperial Treasury. The first story about him, Blind Justice, is based on an actual case that he is reputed to have solved while acting as defense counsel for the accused.