Read Furies Online

Authors: D. L. Johnstone

Tags: #Thriller

Furies (2 page)


Panthea – brothel keeper at the Blue Bird


Tyche – porne at the Blue Bird


Petras – cousin of Neaera


Philomena – street porne


Sophists at the Museion


Zeanthes of Araethyrea – friend of Calisto’s


Epiphaneus of Cyrene – associate of Zeanthes


Hipparchus – guest at Ralla’s symposium


of Nicaea – associate of Epiphaneus




Xanthias – Aculeo’s slave


Gnaeus, Viator & Vibius – Gurculio’s freedman and slaves


Capito – Junior Magistrate of Alexandria, friend of Aculeo


Apollonios – a recluse


Harpalus – brother of Apollonios 


Idaia – ward of Calisto


Machon & Dryton – Public Order Officers


Avilius Flaccus– Roman Prefect of Egypt


Avilius Balbus – Son of the Roman Prefect


Callixenes – a freedman


Glossary of Terms


Objects & Places


– the city’s marketplace


– a brass coin worth ¼ of a sesterce (NB. Egypt, after falling under Roman rule, operated using Roman currency)


– a warehouse area used for storage and trade


– A causeway built to connect the Island of Pharos with the mainland; it was seven stades in length, hence the name (


Hermes posts
– wooden or stone mile-posts carved in the shape of erect penises (don’t ask)


– a horse-racing stadium on the eastern edge of the city


– the forerunner to our modern libraries, the Library of Alexandria was said to house every written work known to man. Lost to fire and the actions of religious zealots.


Mollosus dog
– a now-extinct breed of dog common in the Greek and Roman times, and an ancestor of today’s Mastiffs


– home to the scholars and those who came to Alexndria for academic pursuits


– City of the Dead, where the remains of citizens were mummified or cremated


– the Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world


– the main temple of Sarapis


– (may also be spelled sestertius) currency worth 4 asses. Higher denominations include denarii, aureii and talents; for simplicity sake, and based on readings of the time, I’ve used sesterces as the common measure


– mausoleum which housed the remains of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and their spouses, found in the centre of the city


– a unit of measure, approximately 100 yards in length (root of the modern word stadium, which is, of course, 100 yards long)


The Five Districts of Alexandria


– the Palace district, which housed the Ptolemeic palaces and assorted government buildings, said to house


– known to exist but unclear what part of the city it occupied; I too poetic license and placed it just below Alpha as a wealthy but non-aristocratic area


– as with Beta, it was known to exist but without more specific information I chose to place it beteen Beta district and the southern edge of the city on the shores of Lake Mareotis and the Canopic Canal


– the Jewish district, at the eastern section of the city. The Jews were believed to make up about 20% of the city’s population at their peak and, unlike most cities in the Roman Empire, were permitted to be citizens of Alexandria with all the rights and prviliges that went along with it (partly courtesy of a substantial head-tax they paid every eyar)


– otherwise known as Rhakotis, the original fishing village around which Alexandria was founded; home of the substantial native Egyptian population




– Egyptian god of the dead (the jackal-headed god)


The Furies
– Greek/Roman goddesses of the Underworld, responsible for avenging murder victims


Hades (Pluto)
– Greek (Roman) god of the Underworld


– the Egyptian hawk-headed god, and child of Isis and Osiris


– the Egyptian goddess of fertility; Isis Pharia is the status of Isis on the island of Pharos


– the two-faced god, god of gateways and root of the month Januarius (looking forward to year ahead and back to prior year)


Poseidon (Neptune)
– god of the Sea


– Alexandria’s patron god of the city, created by the Ptolemies to centralize the citizens’ worship; very popular god at the time so it looks like it worked


Zeus (Jupiter)
– Greek (Roman) god, led the other gods; Zeus-Soter is the name of the statue of Zeus at the top of the lighthouse as it was commissioned by Ptolemy-Soter




– the native Egyptian population; typically treated as second class citizens, somewhere between slaves and Romans; over the centuries, intermarriage made such divisions harder to distinguish


– high-class courtesans


– a type of gladiator, typically matched vs a retarius


– a middle-man who would represent the business interests of investor, either locally or from elewhere in the Empire


– a prostitute; of a lower ‘rank’ than hetarii


– a clown who would be used to entertain the audiences between gladiatorial contests; often they were dwarves


The Ptolemies
– the Royal dynasty that ruled Egypt, from (Alexander the Great’s general) Ptolemy-Soter in 331 BCE to Cleopatra VII Philopater in 30 BC. The last true Ptolemy would have been Caesarion, son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, who murdered by Augustus Caesar after Rome’s victory in Egypt, thus consolidating any would-be claims to the throne


– a derogatory term for a bar maid – means ‘of Thrace’




Decimus Tarquitius Aculeo gazed bleakly about his stylish multi-level villa. It looked so desolate now with the crates and chests filled with every last stitch and stick of the family’s fine belongings, now stacked up in the vestibulum and along the main hallway like vegetables heading off to market. Most of the furniture was already gone while that which remained was covered in sheets of canvas, ready to be taken. The moneylender’s slaves walked back into the house, marching right through the front gate bold as could be, their sandals caked with dust from the street, ready to heft the next load into the wagon. Aculeo clenched his jaw as he watched them, wanting for all the world to kick them out into the street, but holding his tongue. Gnaeus, the toad-like little freedman, strutted about the villa, chest puffed out, touching everything with his grubby hands, barking out orders on what should be taken next.

Titiana watched from the edge of the tablinum, her lovely face expressionless, a plain woollen travelling cloak wrapped tightly around her graceful shoulders. Her hair, gleaming and black, an elegant contrast to her alabaster skin, was tied back in a simple Cypriot braid beneath her veil. Her hands lay on the shoulders of little Atellus who sat at her side on a pretty couch, the one with the ivory legs and mother-of-pearl inlaid like flower petals along the arms, which they had bought only last summer. So long ago, last summer. Back when the world itself seemed to lay at their feet.

“Titiana …” Aculeo started.

She turned away, gazing out the window, her perfect lips pressed tight together, the very picture of decorum. Titiana would never have risked saying something that would embarrass the family, even in front of slaves. Not even now. He couldn’t help but recall the way her eyes had shined with delight the first day they’d wandered through the atrium, when? Only two years ago? Was that possible? The way she’d clutched his arm in excitement as they’d strolled for the first time through its Aswan marble halls to the garden colonnade with its fine statuary, elegant box hedges and sparkling fish ponds. Oh, and the exceptional view of the city from the rear atrium – she’d actually gasped at the sight. Truly it was the finest home in all Alexandria. Now to be auctioned off to the highest bidder like some wretched old fellahin shack. It was all too much!

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