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AD 72. Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known as Vespasian, is Emperor of Rome, but his grip on power grows increasingly fragile as economic disaster threatens. The enormous riches from his Judaean campaigns are all but spent, legions go unpaid, and the yields from Rome’s vital Spanish goldfields have fallen dramatically since the civil war. Gaius Valerius Verrens is recently married and building a new home when the summons arrives from the Emperor. Vespasian needs a man with the combined skills of a lawyer and a soldier to investigate what is happening in remote, mountainous Asturica Augusta where the authorities claim a bandit called The Ghost is ravaging the gold convoys. But when Valerius arrives in Asturica he faces a much more complex situation. Stalked from the shadows he cannot tell ally from enemy, the exploited native tribes are a growing threat, and the tortured landscape itself seems capable of swallowing him up. Gradually he finds himself drawn into a much wider conspiracy, one that could plunge the Empire into a new conflict and that will place him on a deadly collision course with his old friend and most dangerous adversary, the former gladiator Serpentius.
AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius – devious, fearless – is burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Soon Tullus finds himself in a cauldron of bloodshed, treachery and danger. His mission to retrieve his legion’s eagle will be his most perilous yet...
70AD. Disgraced, dishonoured and banished into exile on pain of execution if he ever returns to Rome, the former military tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens makes his way East through the death and destruction of the savage Judaean rebellion. Valerius knows his only hope of long term survival and a restoration of his family’s fortunes lie with his friend Titus, commander of the Army of Judaea and son of the newly crowned Emperor Vespasian. But when he reaches the ring of legionary camps around the seemingly impregnable city of Jerusalem he finds Titus a changed man. Gone is the cheerful young officer he knew, replaced by a tough, ruthless soldier under pressure from his father to end the insurrection at any cost. Soon, Valerius finds himself at the centre of a web of intrigue spun by Titus’s lover, Queen Berenice of Cilicia, and her sometime ally, the general’s turncoat adviser, Flavius Josephus, who have an ulterior motive for ending the siege quickly. Yet the laurels that will regain his honour cannot be won in the negotiations in the murky tunnels beneath Jerusalem. Only amid the fire and blood of battle will he equal the glory that brought him the title Hero of Rome.
The third century AD in the Roman Empire began and ended with Emperors who are recognised today as being strong and dynamic - Septimius Severus, Diocletian and Constantine. Yet the intervening years have traditionally been seen as a period of crisis. The 260s saw the nadir of Imperial fortunes, with every frontier threatened or overrun, the senior emperor imprisoned by the Persians, and Gaul and Palmyra breaking away from central control. It might have been thought that the empire should have collapsed - yet it did not. Pat Southern shows how this was possible by providing a chronological history of the Empire from the end of the second century to the beginning of the fourth; the emergence and devastating activities of the Germanic tribes and the Persian Empire are analysed, and a conclusion details the economic, military and social aspects of the third century 'crisis'.
This second volume William Heitland's masterpiece examines Rome as an Imperial Republic from 201 BC until the death of Sulla in 78 BC.

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