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Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis, Domine?. Quo Vadis book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Rome during the reign of Nero was a glorious place for the emperor and h. download Quo Vadis New Ed by Henryk Sinkiewicz (ISBN: ) from site's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

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Quo Vadis Book

Quo Vadis – a historical novel about the persecution of the first Christians under Nero – is undoubtedly the most well-known among all the. 'Quo Vadis will rouse more attention than anything I have written Nevertheless, even the author himself did not suspect that the novel will. Many people have read and enjoyed Quo Vadis, but very few know its author. Henryk Sienkiewicz has much more to offer than just one novel.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.

However, the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ shakes the young patrician.

And he realizes that Christian Ligia would never be his concubine. When he saw Ligia in a crowd, Vinicius is admiring the beauty of the girl and realizes that his strength and courage against her faith is nothing. In the poor closet of Ligia Glaucus is looking after Vinicius. Ligia herself tenderly cares for him. He is happy; not wanting to stay with his beloved, he decides to stay with the Christians, and sends for Chilo - the only one who knows where he is.

After seeing Chilo, Glaucus recognizes him as the villain who had destroyed his whole family, and Ursus the old man who incited him on Glaucus. Chilo is howling with terror, but there appears the apostle Peter and lets the Greek go, Glaucus and Ursus forgive their enemy.

Shaken Vinicius is pondering over kindness and charity of Christians. Then he falls into oblivion, and he fancies that Ligia leads him to the place where the sun shines. A few days later Vinicius feels that his deep passion is replaced by true love. But torn Ligia, not daring to love a pagan Roman with wolf heart, decides to leave the boy.

Vinicius returns home, but everything seems to be empty.

Quo Vadis?

He yearns for Ligia, and often reminisces about the wonderful man he met the Christians, - of Paul from Tarsus. His soul is changing. He considers debauchery of the Roman nobility disgusting, and at a luxury feast he rejects harassment of Empress Poppaea. She disappears laughing sinisterly. Vinicius dreams of Ligia. Suddenly ragged Chilo comes to him and says that once again tracked the Christians.

Enraged by meanness of the Greek Vinicius orders to whip him; then moaning Chilo leads young man to the new home of the apostles. Delighted Peter blesses the lovers. The maddened Nero is dreaming about the great fire - and soon the Emperor's henchmen set fire to Rome.

Looking for Ligia, Vinicius, in despair rushes by the city in flames. With difficulty clambered into smoldering tunic from the sea the boy stumbles on Chilo, who advises him to seek Ligia and Peter in one of underground chapels of Christians. Vinicius hurries back and sees a lot of desperate people being calmed down by the tender words of the Apostle Peter.

Noticing weakened from the horrors Vinicius, Peter leads him to Ligia. Falling to his knees, the young man warmly thanks the Lord, and Peter, who loved Vinicius with all his heart, baptizes a young patrician in a poor hut of a digger. People are overfilled with anger. To save the Emperor and themselves the patricians rumor that the Christians had set fire to the city.

Punishing the "evildoers" Nero was going to arrange spectacle that would be remembered for centuries. Poppaea secretly leads Chilo to the emperor; he is ready to give up all the Christians - and especially Ligia and Vinicius.

Chilo takes his revenge for being spanked. Petronius warns his nephew that the persecution of Christians is being prepared.

But Vinicius does not have time to save Ligia: she is taken away to prison. Petronius understood: this is revenge of Poppaea, whom Vinicius rejected for Ligia.

Vinicius is a Roman tribune who falls in love with a beautiful young woman who is the ward of a general. Her name is Callina, though she goes by Ligea throughout most of the book because her people were known as Ligeans.

Book Review: Quo Vadis | Stray Thoughts

They were conquered by Rome, and technically she is a hostage. Somehow she came to the house of Aulus Plautius and his wife, Pomponia Graecina, but she has become like a daughter to them.

At one time Ligea drew a fish in the sand, but Marcus did not know it had any special meaning. Ligea escapes the palace with her servant and the help of a number of other Christians. In trying to find her, Marcus learns that the fish is symbolic of Christianity. Marcus does find the Christian community, and as he spends time with them, he realizes that being a Christian is not just a side religion for them, but rather affects everything they do.

Quo vadis.

Furthermore, it is an obstacle between himself and Ligea, because, though he senses she loves him, she could not be his mistress, because it would violate her religion, and she could not marry him because he is not a believer. Thus he is in an agony. The context of their story plays out in the backdrop of the Roman civilization of the time.

Many of the major characters come to their own fork in the road and have to decide which way they are going. And all at once he saw before him a precipice, as it were without bottom. She commands Ursus her Lygian bodyguard, and also a convert to organize a band of Christians to waylay her chariot while she is being conveyed the following day from the Palatine to Vinicius' house; the plan succeeds, and Lygia disappears. Vinicius is now driven to distraction with the thwarting of his obsessive desire; Petronius, taking pity on him, secures him the services of the cadging Greek philosopher Chilo Chilonis; from the sign of a fish which Lygia had drawn Vinicius in the house of Plautius Chilo discovers that Lygia is Christian; and since a vigilant watch on the gates has revealed that she is still in the city, Chilo undertakes to disguise as a Christian to worm out the secret of her hiding-place.

Hope revives when Chilo recognizes Ursus in Urban, a common Christian laborer. When he learns that the entire Christian community in the city is to meet at night in Ostrienum outside the city walls, to hear Peter the Apostle lately arrived from Galilee , Vinicius insists on accompanying Chilo to the event in disguise, hoping to see Lygia; although momentarily impressed by Peter's recollections of Christ, Vinicius forgets all when he spots Lygia in the crowd; together with Chilo and the powerful athlete Croton, originally brought along in case of danger, he follows Lygia and Ursus from the meeting to a plebian insula in the trans-Tiber region of the city; he and Croton enter the building to retrieve Lygia, but Ursus strangles Croton to death and nearly kills Vinicius, sparing him only at Lygia's intercession; the cowardly Chilo flees.

Here Vinicius is magnanimously nursed to health by Lygia and her fellow Christians, who to his immense surprise, have forgiven him all; he is further shocked when, on his summoning Chilo by agreement with the Christians to communicate to his household that the cause of his disappearance is a sudden trip to Beneventum , it emerges that Glaucus, the Christian doctor who is attending Vinicius, had been betrayed by Chilo to bandits during a previous period of his unscrupulous adventures; whereupon with Peter's approval Glaucus forgives him all.

Meanwhile, when Lygia realizes, while acting as his nurse, that she is herself deeply in love with Vinicius, she confesses to Peter, who while affirming that her love is not sinful, says she cannot marry Vinicius as long as he is not a Christian.

Lygia changes her residence, vanishing a second time.

Quo Vadis?

A Vinicius restored to health returns to his role in society as a patrician and Augustian or courtier of Caesar.

Yet although he cannot bring himself to embrace Christianity, he is now disgusted with the profligacy of Nero's court, and begins to treat his slaves with more mercy; and even earns the enmity of the empress Poppaea Sabina by rejecting her advances. At this juncture Chilo reappears, with information of Lygia's new hideout, urging him to surround the house with troops and reclaim her; but Vinicius, changed by his contact with the Christians, rejects the temptation, and has Chilo scourged for his ingratitude before forcing him to promise never to spy on the Christians again; Chilo privately swears revenge.

Vinicius repairs unattended to the house indicated by Chilo, and lays before the apostles Paul and Peter his unchanging love for Lygia and his altered ways, promising to convert if Paul will undertake to instruct him in the faith; overjoyed, the apostles summon in Lygia, who confesses her love for him; with the apostles' blessings the two are engaged.

Soon after, Nero retires for recreation to Antium, where Vinicius, as his courtier, is forced to attend him, accompanied however with Paul; in Antium Nero, who is composing a song on the fall of Troy, repeatedly complains that he has never seen a real city burning; but even his degraded courtiers are shocked when messengers break into the banqueting hall one night with information that Rome is aflame.

Vinicius dashes madly on horseback to the city, in tortured anxiety for Lygia; the trans-Tiber region of the city where Lygia resides has not yet been reached by the fire; with the help of Chilo who now reappears having broken his promise not to spy on the Christians , he finds Lygia and Peter sheltering in a quarry-man's hut outside the city; here, with outraged multitudes rioting outside, and gladiators and escaped slaves killing and pillaging, Vinicius who has meanwhile been converted by Paul vows never to desert them, and Peter baptizes him on the spot.

Nero meantime returns to Rome, where he sings his poem before the outraged multitude, which believes him to be the author of the calamity; Petronius however restores the situation by riding into the crowd who idolize him for his reputed humanity , and promising them extraordinary gifts of "bread and circuses" in the name of Caesar. But as Nero remains unpopular, Tigellinus , Caesar's praetorian Prefect, advocates finding a scapegoat for the disaster; in the middle of the convocation, in which various candidates are suggested including Tigellinus himself, who rebuffs the suggestion with a vailed threat Tigellinus is called away, and returns to with the suggestion that the Christians fulfill that office; it emerges that Chilo, still furious from his flogging by Vinicius, has come forward to accuse them of the crime; Petronius, Tigellinus' longstanding rival for influence over Nero, protests, but is overridden by Poppaea, who hates Lygia for her beauty, and Vinicius for spurning her.

Petronius leaves with the certainty that he has irrecoverably lost his influence over Nero, and is therefore almost certainly doomed to death.

Immediately on returning home, Petronius warns Vinicius of Lygia's danger; but before he reaches her, she is seized by soldiers, informed of her hiding place by Chilo; with the latter's contrivance, multitudes of other Christians are imprisoned, and Nero plans a series of games in the arena featuring their deaths to divert unpopularity from himself. During a whole series of ghastly exhibitions, including devouring by wild beasts, butchery by gladiators, and finally burning them on crosses by nighttime to illuminate a luxurious banquet in Caesar's gardens open to all Rome, Vinicius attempts unsuccessfully to rescue Lygia from prison.

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Meanwhile, Chilo who since informing has been raised to the rank of an Augustinian suffers the pains of a tormented conscience while watching the undeserved sufferings of the Christians in the arena, though they had repeatedly pardoned him for the severest crimes; at the last show, when he encounters Glaucus yet alive on one of the crosses, who again forgives him, Chilo breaks down, and accuses Caesar before the crowd of being the incendiary; the court scatters, and Paul emerges from the confusion to promise him salvation if he perseveres in his repentance; this gives him the fortitude to later die unperjured in the arena when he refuses to retract his accusation of the emperor.

Meanwhile, the final games come around, in which Lygia and Ursus are exposed in the arena to an aurochs ; however, Ursus with his preternatural strength breaks the beast's neck; the crowd, glutted with the slaughter of innocents, demands of Caesar to spare the pair, and Nero acquiesces out of cowardice; Vinicius and Lygia marry and settle on his estates in Sicily, where they live unprosecuted as Christians.

Characters in Quo Vadis[ edit ] Marcus Vinicius fictitious son of the historical Marcus Vinicius , a military tribune and Roman patrician who recently returned to Rome.

On arrival, he meets and falls in love with Lygia. He seeks the counsel of his uncle Petronius to find a way to possess her. Calina fictitious , usually known as Lygia Ligia in some translations , the daughter of a deceased king of the Lugii , a barbarian tribe hence her nickname. Lygia is technically a hostage of the Senate and people of Rome , and was forgotten years ago by her own people.

A great beauty, she has converted to Christianity, but her religion is originally unknown to Marcus. Gaius Petronius historical , titled the "arbiter of elegance," former governor of Bithynia. Petronius is a member of Nero's court who uses his wit to flatter and mock him at the same time.

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