Mika Waltari
Publication date
Format info
774 pages

The Roman

Ihmiskunnan viholliset

Exploring the early days of Christianity, this is the searing sequel to The Secret of the Kingdom

The Roman is narrated by Minitus Launsus Manilianus, a Roman living during rhe time of Emporers Claudius and Nero and the son of Marcus from The Secret of the Kingdom. The novel follows Minitus as he travels from Corinth to Jerusalem, via Britain and Rome in the pursuit of fame, whilst trying to avoid getting caught up in any political entanglements. Things go wrong for Minuitus when he befriends the capricious emperor Nero and becomes his advisor. Minitus’s true colours shine through when he watches the killing of his own son and does nothing to help, even seeking to justify his lack of action retrospectively.

Alternating between being laugh-out-loud funny, gut-wrenchingly tragic, and philosophical, The Roman is a fascinating story about the Roman empire and the beginning of Christianity. Like many of Waltari’s historical novels, it has been praised for its historical accuracy.

Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


The Secret of the Kingdom, 1959
The Roman, 1964


Finnish edition
English synopsis
English sample translation
French sample translation

Rights sold

Croatian (A3Data 1997)*
Czech (Simon & Simon 1997 /Ceský Klub 2002, 2007, 2012 / Vysehrad 2021)
Dutch (Van Holkema & Waerendorf 1967)*
English, UK (Hodder & Stoughton 1968)*
English, USA (G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1964 / Buccaneer 2000)*
Estonian (Varrak 2012)*
Farsi (Neron 1990 / Intishārāt-i Dursā 1997)*
French (Olivier Orban 1981 / Le Jardin des Livres 2004)*
German (Paul Neff 1965 / Bastei Lübbe 1975-1996  / Kuebler 2012)
Greek (Kaktos 1989)*
Hebrew (Am Hassefer 1968)*
Hungarian (Európa 1982 / Fatum Ars 1994 / Európa 2000, 2007)*
Italian (Rizzoli 1967)*
Lithuanian (Tyto Alba 2001)*
Polish (Książnica 1994, 1997, 2006, 2012)*
Portuguese, Brazilian (Itaita 1967, 2019)
Romanian (Polirom 2011, 2019)
Russian (Eskmo 1996)*
Slovakian (Slovenský spisovatel 1972 / Petrus approx. 2024)
Slovenian (A3DATA 1997)*
Spanish (Edhasa 1966, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007 , 2016, 2021)
Swedish (Wahlsröm & Widstrand, 1964 / Schildts 1965)*


The Roman contains so much freshness and vigour it seems to explore new territory.” – The New York Post