Roman citizen I might be – indeed I was born a nobleman in my own tribe – but I was also an ex-slave and a tradesman, and the gulf between myself and Marcus was as great as that between me and the bath-house attendant himself. Without the most explicit instructions I would never have dared to come seek my patron here.
In late second-century Glevum (modern Gloucester), a body is discovered in a shrine to the Emperor Commodus, living embodiment of Hercules. The mere fact of the crime is shocking enough, but complicating matters are the facts that the emperor is not one to take sacrilege of his divine person lightly and that the victim appears to be an ambassador from Rome.
Then the body disappears, and there are reports of unearthly wailing and phantom bloodstains. Continue reading