I looked at Ephesus, a major center of commerce in Asia Minor, as a possible city of importance for THE DEADLIEST FEVER. Because Paul spent about three years there, probably arriving in late summer, 52 CE, I found rich descriptions of the city that would be contemporaneous with my story.
At that time, Ephesus was nearly at the height of its illustrious history. A period of extensive building beginning with Augustus [27 BCE to 14 CE] and lasting well into the 3rd century brought gymnasia, baths, a library, medical center, theater, and many temples to Ephesus, making it a prolific social, educational, and religious center.
But like all cities, Ephesus had an underbelly, and that was where three thieves happened to meet one night over a game of knucklebones [see my BLOG OF August 22, 2017 ] in the backroom of The Dionysus. “The tavern’s location was perfect,” one of the thieves tells us in THE DEADLIEST FEVER, “on the east side of the Square Agora between a brothel and the latrine. Over a long night of loose talk and hard drinking, we became fast friends, recognizing in each other the same wicked deeds we’d kept hidden from the rest of the world. Soon enough, we found ourselves meeting there regularly, hatching a plan to burglarize the treasury in the Temple of Artemis."
And that’s how an audacious heist in Ephesus became the seed of the story. Click here to find out more about THE DEADLIEST FEVER.