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The Square Agora

In “The Black Pearl,” the third story in The Deadliest Returns, Miriam and her husband Judah sail to Ephesus to return the black pearl donated to the city by Emperor Augustus and then brought to Alexandria by a trio of thieves.

Upon their arrival, Miriam describes the city for us:

Ephesus is in the saddle between two mountains, the craggy peaks of Mount Pion and Mount Koressos, and of course, it’s smaller than Alexandria. Otherwise, its colonnades and galleries, fountains and monuments, statues and temples looked familiar to me. Emblazoned by the afternoon sun, their warm stones radiated sparks of color.

Passing the Theater Plaza, Judah and I continued down Marble Street to the Square Agora’s South Gate, which Augustus had rebuilt as a triumphal arch. Eager for the shade of  the two-aisled, two-story buildings behind the surrounding pillars, we caught a glimpse of an equestrian statue of Claudius with his unyielding eyeless gaze and found a promising cookshop. We lunched on salted fish, cheese, and dried figs served with an indifferent pomegranate wine under the watchful eyes of Priapus. Frescoed on the back wall, he fended off evil with the bells dangling from his extended member.

Unfortunately, shortly after Miriam and Judah were honored for returning the pearl, the city’s prized possession vanished from its treasury, and the man responsible for its security was found dead. Were the two tragedies connected? Find out more by clicking here.


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