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Who do you think you are? Cleopatra?

Unlike today, fashions were slow to change in the Ancient World. Without steel needles, sewing was a difficult craft. The women had a few simple garments with little shape and passed them down from generation to generation. But their jewelry was elaborate, everything from fibulas (beautifully decorated and used like our safety pins today), other gold pins, earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, amulets, tiaras, coronets, diadems, and rings, many worn together.

Although her servant Phoebe is not with her in THE DEADLIEST SPORT when she dresses to go off to a sleazy waterfront inn, Miriam is still guided by her servant’s often unsolicited, unvarnished, and unflaggingly intrusive advice. Miriam explains:

Right off, Phoebe would have forbidden me to wear any jewelry whatsoever. She’d have stirred the air with her index finger while chiding me with, “Who do you think you are? Cleopatra? Remember, Miriam, not everyone plays by your rules. The beggars who line those streets prey on anything that glitters.”

Does Miriam’s simple, pale yellow, woolen tunic give her any protection from the pickpockets, beggars, and thieves? The only thing she manages to protect is her skirt by hiking up the hem so the tufts of dung, puddles of excrement, and medallions of phlegm that blotch the rutted streets don’t stain her skirt. How does she save herself when her meddling is discovered? You won’t find out until you get to Chapter 13 of THE DEADLIEST SPORT, coming soon in 2017.

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