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Bestsellers: from 600 BC to AD 1990

Then: When it was day, Calpurnia implored Caesar not to go out and begged him to postpone the meeting of the Senate; or if, she said, he had no confidence in her dreams, then he ought to inquire about the future by sacrifices and other methods of divination.

Julius Caesar: Plutarch (fl. c AD100)

Now: Reagan had lined up a daily five-minute syndicated radio show, a newspaper column and lucrative speaking engagements to keep him in the political forefront, but he questioned the timing.

So Nancy consulted the stars.

Nancy Reagan: Kitty Kelley (fl. AD18.58.50s)

Then: Our guide then took us to the spot where the burning bush actually was . . . and from there we crossed the head of the valley and made our way to the mountain of God - the very summit where God's glory came down (as it is written) and revealed itself to all. . . .

Travels: Egeria (fl. c AD38.50)

Now: So Sir Francis Beekman wanted us to get out and look at a tower where he said that quite a famous queen had had her head cut off one morning, and Dorothy said, 'What a fool she was to get up that morning' and that is really the only sensible thing that Dorothy has said in London.

Gentleman Prefer Blondes: Anita Loos (fl. c AD18.520s)

Then: The bailiff had remembered his instructions and turned me loose for a while with the horses at pasture. Free at last, I frisked joyfully about and ambled up to the mares, reviewing them carefully to see which would be the most voluptuous. But the stallions, more than a match for a poor ass like me, grew alarmed at the prospect of my tainting the purity of their stock.

The Golden Ass: Apuleius (fl. AD150)

Now: Back at the Mill Jake turned his horses out for a rest. It pleased him to see them really enjoying their grass, even Revenge dropping his belly like an old hunter.

Riders: Jilly Cooper (fl. 18.58.50s)