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Quo Vadis

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  27,975 ratings  ·  1,159 reviews
This glorious saga unfolds against the backdrop of ancient Rome--from the Forum to the Coliseum, from banquet halls to summer retreats in Naples, from the luxurious houses of the nobility to the hovels of the poor, Quo Vadis richly depicts a place and time still captivating to the modern imagination. This radiant translation by W.S. Kuniczak restores the original glory and ...more
Paperback, 589 pages
Published 2006 by Hippocrene Books (first published 1894)
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Nenče If you're OK with Wikipedia:

"Quo vadis is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?""

And here's the page:…more
If you're OK with Wikipedia:

"Quo vadis is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?""

And here's the page:
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Ahmad Sharabiani
(795 From 1001 Books) - Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero = Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz

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?" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and appears in Chapter 69 of the novel in a retelling of a story from the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says,
Henry Avila
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Roman Emperor Nero is a singer of beautiful songs his first love, he himself composes if you don't like them better keep your opinions unsaid, you'll live a longer life. Nero has killed his mother, wife, brother all his family, and many former friends. Only unlimited praise the mighty Caesar enjoys ( but though he is terrible his voice and music, are a small sacrifice for his friendship and the vast benefits, he showers) ... Petronius the "Arbiter of Elegance" and close friend of the vicious rul ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You must have read this novel.
Gripping and full steam to the heart.
A wonderfull book, dont miss it.
I love it so much, I cant say accuratetly how I enyoyed it.
Czarny Pies
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone provided that they have first read the Satyricon by Petronius Arbiter
Recommended to Czarny by: Moja zona
Quo Vadis
Henry Sienkiewicz`s "Quo Vadis" is a truly great book. Unfortunately, I know best how to explain its greatness to those who like me were young in thehe 60s and 70s. If you are not part of this group, this review may not be terribly helpful.
To those of you of my generation, I will say that Quo Vadis is a wonderful novel about the Roman Empire in the First Century of the modern era when Rome was entering its decadent era. It is better than anything written by Robert Graves who still must
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great book for a retreat! Spiritually invigorating, makes one excited about the Catholic faith. It is fiction with references to standard Catholic tradition, and is set in the time of the Christian persecutions in Rome during the reign of Nero. The focus of the novel is a love story between a Roman centurion and a beautiful Christian princess-in-exile. The story's central conflict takes place in the person of the centurion's friend, who also happens to be a cultural lackey in the court of Nero. ...more
James Henderson
Near the end of Quo Vadis Petronius (Arbiter) writes a letter in reply to his nephew Vicinius who has fled Rome with his bride, Ligia. In the letter Petronius discusses his philosophy and his fate contrasting it with the Christian belief that Vicinius has accepted. He says:

"There are only two philosophers that I care about, Pyrrho and Anacreon. You know what they stand for. The rest, along with the new Greek schools and all the Roman Stoics, you can have for the price of beans. Truth lives somew
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is actually my second time reading this awesome timeless masterpice!!!
Here you have a great lovestory, then also a historic novel and also a political thriller ..
Let me put it this way: "Quo Vadis" will blow you away!!!
Also it's not a cliche that I say: I coud not put it down..
This novel simple is indeed so good that I had to get on reading even although with itching eyes and tired!!!

"Quo Vadis" will enhance and inspire your faith as a christian, but even if you are not yet a christian you
‘Why does crime, even when as powerful as Cæsar, and assured of being beyond punishment, strive always for the appearances of truth, justice, and virtue? Why does it take the trouble? ... Why is this? What a marvelous, involuntary homage paid to virtue by evil! And know what strikes me? This, that it is done because transgression is ugly and virtue is beautiful.’

Usually stories about extremes of beauty and ugliness, great good and terrible evil tend to make us roll our eyes and squirm in our cha
Sep 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Erica by: Amber Crafton
Clearly capturing the depravity of man while outlining the persecution of the early church, Quo Vadis vividly depicts first century life in the Roman Empire for slave, centurion, and emperor.

As Sienkiewicz's final display of descriptive prowess, at the climax he floods his readers' senses with the evidence of a smoldering Rome. I've never been so tantalized by antiquity than after reading this historical fiction.

All the while reading a bit like a best seller and not an epic novel from the 1800'
Gisela Pérez
Marvellously written , Quo Vadis is an epic from the times of the first Christians and the fall of Nero's Rome. A stark contrast between Rome's way of life among decadent celebrations, pan et circenses, orgies and sycophantic adepts to Nero's madness, slavery and class distinction and that of the first Christians practicing austerity, compassion and aiming at a classless society. Vitinius transformation due to the redeeming power of love leads him to embrace Christ and reject the life he had pre ...more
Josephine (Jo)
I have just read this book for the third time in my life and still enjoyed it just as much as I did on first reading it in the late 1960s. It is a novel that is set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. And tells the story of the patrician Vinitius and the Christian girl Ligia. The new 'sect' of Christianity is blamed for the burning of Rome and the Christians become convenient scapegoats for the mad Nero who sets out on a campaign of the most horrific torture and murder of anyone who dares ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was pretty terrible. As a classicist, I am deeply offended by the wooden, stereotypical rendering of Romans, even Romans during Nero's time. As a reader, I am deeply offended by the fact that very little actually happens. Sienkiewicz tells us about plenty of things, but he shows us very little. For instance, in the last third of the book, Petronius, who has been watching his nephew's slow conversion to Christianity with ironic detachment, writes him a letter talking about how much thes ...more
Jeannette Nikolova
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Technically, the rating I would give Quo Vadis is 3.5, but I feel like 4 full stars would be misleading.

I've been living in Poland for a year now, and Quo Vadis is certainly the most famous piece of literature that came out of this country. Despite being written in 1894, this book is as much in line with the Polish mindset, as it was 124 years ago. That is to say, Quo Vadis, in its essence is a praise to Christianity in its most basic and purest form.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
"Nero fiddled while Rome Burned"-Quo Vadis builds on one of the more horrifying rumours of the tale behind this famous expression, in this story of love and faith in Nero's Rome. More horrifying are his descriptions of the gladiator games and "punishments" that Nero devised which are perhaps closer to the truth- and many shades worse than their modern interpretation in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games. But amidst the excesses and horrors of life in Rome, there is also faith and love that brings to ...more
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I still think I was too young when I read this.. I think I was about eleven, and this is surely not a lecture for a kid. Still, after all these years, the expression Quo vadis, Domine? remains embroidered into my brain, with no way of escaping. I don't know why it made such a great impression on me, but I do believe that this is must-read for everyone, a great classic in world literature. ...more
Oct 13, 2017 marked it as to-read
Emperor,Ancient Rome,Nobles and Slaves and above all a Latin title.Deus librorum audivit mea supplicia!
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I know this should be obvious, but the "Da Vinci Code" fury requires that I do mention this: these kinds of books ought to be read for what they are, novels, works of fiction, and not narrative-style histories. If books are read according to their genre, they'll be far more enjoyable and less likely to stir stupid controversy.

"Quo Vadis" isn't a history, then, but a work of historical fiction. If you're familiar with the 1951 film starring Deborah Kerr, Robert Taylor and Peter Ustinov, you shoul
Kay Robart
Jun 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
I was frankly uninterested in either Vinicius or Ligia, who are cardboard characters, and I couldn’t care less about whether they got together. I know that Quo Vadis was extremely popular in its time (it was published in 1896) and contributed toward Sienkiewicz winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I also know that Sienkiewicz was capable of creating more interesting characters and writing more exciting scenes. Perhaps the times have just changed too much since this book was written for it to ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 or 2010 versions)
Shelves: nobel, 1001-core
Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, AD 64. The Polish author, Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), went to Rome to observed for a couple of years during the writing of this book (published as a book in 1896). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905.

Quo vadis is Latin for "Where are you going?" and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The verse, in the King James Version, reads as follows, "Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou ca
Shala Howell
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Note: glancing at the reviews below, the translation you read really seems to matter here. The Version I read was by Jeremiah Curtin.

I thought it was fascinating. Very much enjoyed the tensions between the decadence of Nero, the aestheticism of Petronius, and the early schisms in the interpretations of Christian faith as represented by the Apostle Peter, the bishop Crispus, and Paul of Tarsus.

The love story was tangential for me. I was far more interested in the machinations at court and the ri
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the first book I ever read that upon finishing the last page I immediately wanted to start over again on page 1. A captivating story, well written, with a lot to think about. A fascinating look into Rome and the early Christians. My favorite aspect of the book was the conversion of the main character and the way he changes over the course of the book. I also found myself really loving the character of Petronius and wanting to stop and pray for his salvation! I don't want to say a ...more
This may be the worst book I have ever read that didn't have the words "Danielle Steele" somewhere on the cover . ..until you hit the description of Nero's burning of Rome. For about 30 pages it is terrific, and then reverts back to some of the worst prose and suppressed erotic perversity I have ever laid eyes upon. Those nutty early Christians spend a LOT of time looking at golden-haired maidens in diaphanous gowns, and there is a moment where Petronius has his slave Eunice whipped instead of d ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, mayhem
Christians! Lions! Romans! O r g i e s! Mayhem! Wow!
I can see why this book has been translated into more than 50 languages. Although it was originally published in 1895, it doesn't seem dated. The plot moves quickly (even frantically sometimes), and I thought the main characters were well developed.
Because this book is in the public domain, you can read it for free via Project Gutenberg ( or BookBot (
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: polish, religion, fiction
It is obvious that Henryk Sienkiewicz was an expert first century Rome. The city and the monarchy come alive in Quo Vadis in an amazingly tangible way. Even though not all the events are historically accurate, I don't see how a better job could be done of recreating the time and place. 

The description of the Roman circus with its gladiators and Christian massacres is the strongest section of the book. It is awful. I hadn't thought more than superficially about what went on in the ampitheatres bu
Adam Marischuk
This book won a nobel prize in literature back when nobel prizes in literature actually meant something. It initiated a style of historical epic novel that has been often imitated and never duplicated. To compare it to the movie Braveheart does the novel a disservice though both are epics of the first order.

Unfortunately for me, I had read Wilbur Smith's River God before reading Quo Vadis and after reading Quo Vadis, I felt like I had seen the movie before reading the book. River God must have b
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: italian-history
The title tips the ending--as the author intended. A great story told in too many words; written in 1895 -- the author won a Literature Nobel -- a modern editor would have cut a third while losing little. Still, the main thesis blazes through…which I won't spoil.

But most of the characters were cardboard: Petronius, Nero and St. Peter (perhaps) aside. The lead characters are young lovers; the promise of a detective story in the "fish symbol" she draws in the ground at their first meeting all too
Dec 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: waste, past
There is no history there, just cardboard fantasies based on preconceived stereotypes. All the personages in the book are flat, dull, predictable and overall not interesting. The Rome represented as a parody, comic-like setting populated with lascivious idiots. And everything completes maudlin heard-rending scene effused with pretentious cloyingness. This book is really competes for the worst literary fiction ever written.

Сколько же г-на я прочитал!
Marts  (Thinker)
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Themes include, war, wealth, hatred, romance, religion, paganism, death, poetry, slavery, anger, poverty, lies, embodying a colourful cast of both real and fictitious characters... The events occur during the emperorship of Nero...
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
read it in polish original
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fave-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz (also known as "Litwos"; May 5, 1846–November 15, 1916) was a Polish journalist and Nobel Prize-winning novelist. He was one of the most popular Polish writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer."

Born into an impoverished gentry family in the Podlasie vi

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“I know, 0 Caesar, that thou art awaiting my arrival with impatience, that thy true heart of a friend is yearning day and night for me. I know that thou art ready to cover me with gifts, make me prefect of the pretorian guards, and command Tigellinus to be that which the gods made him, a mule-driver in those lands which thou didst inherit after poisoning Domitius. Pardon me, however, for I swear to thee by Hades, and by the shades of thy mother, thy wife, thy brother, and Seneca, that I cannot go to thee. Life is a great treasure. I have taken the most precious jewels from that treasure, but in life there are many things which I cannot endure any longer. Do not suppose, I pray, that I am offended because thou didst kill thy mother, thy wife, and thy brother; that thou didst burn Eome and send to Erebus all the honest men in thy dominions. No, grandson of Chronos. Death is the inheritance of man; from thee other deeds could not have been expected. But to destroy one's ear for whole years with thy poetry, to see thy belly of a Domitius on slim legs whirled about in a Pyrrhic dance; to hear thy music, thy declamation, thy doggerel verses, wretched poet of the suburbs, — is a thing surpassing my power, and it has roused in me the wish to die. Eome stuffs its ears when it hears thee; the world reviles thee. I can blush for thee no longer, and I have no wish to do so. The howls of Cerberus, though resembling thy music, will be less offensive to me, for I have never been the friend of Cerberus, and I need not be ashamed of his howling. Farewell, but make no music; commit murder, but write no verses; poison people, but dance not; be an incendiary, but play not on a cithara. This is the wish and the last friendly counsel sent thee by the — Arbiter Elegantiae.” 18 likes
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