In this introductory chapter, Hutt provides a description of how this ancient romance was “excavated” from the Pseudo-Clementine literature. The author discusses the complicated and obscured origins of The Sorrows of Mattidia at length. The plot is compared to that found in other ancient romances. The author also outlines the romance’s influence in the centuries after its composition. The author argues, contrary to scholars before him, that the central character in this postulated source for the Pseudo-Clementine family narrative is neither Clement nor Peter, but an imperial woman named Mattidia who converts to a peculiar form of Christianity.