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In the Name of Jupiter

Jupiter is the god of the sky and thunder, the king of the gods. The Romans regarded him as the equivalent of the Greek god Zeus, the brother of Neptune and Pluto, the Roman equivalents of Poseidon and Hades respectively. So, of course, his name would be invoked when someone spoke emphatically.

In “Revenge”, a story in The Deadliest Deceptions, Miriam approaches a hooked-nosed woman with fish-like eyes who’d lived next door to the women she was trying to locate:

“Is your name Legeia?” I asked astride the gutter that trickled past her stoop.

“What’s it to you? Can’t you see I’m busy?” She croaked in a voice scarred by misery and rotgut. The slur in her words told me she’d been drinking most of the day.

“I was hoping to chat with you for a few minutes.”

“Oh, yeah? Holy Jupiter! I got nothin’ to say, not to you, not to nobody.”

“I wanted to ask you about Korinna and her mother. I know you were friends.” I might have been stretching the truth, but if they weren’t friends, I might learn even more. Then with some ceremony, I dug out a bronze coin from the draw-string purse tied to my belt. Holding it up, I climbed the steps and offered it to her.

“Well, what do you want?” Her voice softened as she took the coin. Then she scrutinized it with narrow eyes and tucked it under her sash. “Yeah, I knew ’em. I still see the girl. Mother’s dead. Father died first though. Folks say she nagged him to death.”

Legeia turns out to have been a big help to Miriam. But, if you need help navigating the claustrophobic alleys of first-century CE Alexandria, especially Pharos Island, you don’t need to invoke Jupiter. All you have to do is click here.


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