It has been five years since Constantine was proclaimed Augustus by his father's legions in Britannia. Now he is locked in a savage war with Maxentius, son of Maximian. After a series of hard-fought battles in northern Italia, Constantine is marching on Roma, the ancient capital of the empire. Constantine is given a vision in his dreams. He sees a strange symbol and hears a voice telling him that it is a sign of victory and triumph. It is the Chi-Rho, used by Christians to secretly identify themselves to one another. Christianity has been proscribed since the days of the Emperor Diocletian and many thousands of Christians have been brutally tortured and executed without mercy. Nevertheless, Constantine instructs his soldiers to paint the prohibited symbol on the fronts of their shields as a mark of invincibility. Fourteen legions march toward Roma, proudly bearing the Chi-Rho emblazoned shields. Constantine's army meets the enemy at the Milvian Bridge, just outside the city. The fate of the empire hangs in the balance. The course of history is about to change.
This is the story of a Roman Legion – the famed Twelfth Fulminata. Proconsul Iulius Caesar has been authorized by the Senate to raise a new legion for the conquest of Gaul, to be numbered the Twelfth. He fills the cohorts with raw recruits and transfers tried and proven officers from his veteran legions to lead them into war. Each chapter describes a pivotal battle of Caesar’s conquests as seen through the eyes of the commander of the legion, the Primus Pilus Centurion. March with the Lightning Legion through the campaigns in Gaul, Belgica, Germania and Britannia. Follow Caesar as he relentlessly pursues his archenemy, Pompey the Great, down the Italian peninsula, across the Adriatic and on to the climactic Battle of Pharsalus.
Caesar has seized control of all Italia, but Pompey the Great still has many allies elsewhere. Pompey’s main force has taken refuge in Dyrrachium, where he will soon be joined by the legions of Syria and unlimited auxiliaries from the kingdoms of the east. Pompey can also rely on loyal legions stationed in Africa and Hispania. The Pompeian legions in Hispania pose the most immediate threat to Caesar. They must be dealt with first. Two cohorts of the Twelfth Fulminata are detached to confront the enemy on his own ground. Centurions-Major Milotorus and Eurasto lead their legionaries across the sea and into battle on distant shores.
Ships with purple sails have arrived in the harbor of Nicomedia, bringing strife and turmoil to two Roman maidens. Clarissa's father is falsely accused of accepting bribes, forcing Clarissa and her mother into exile. When Barbara refuses to marry the arrogant tribune Lucius Caetullus, her own life is placed in danger.
Miriam, a Christian slave in the kitchens of a wealthy Roman nobleman, meets a crippled stable slave and transforms his life. They are married in the church of Viminacium and form a Christian family as they struggle to gain their freedom. The lives of Miriam and Lazarus, and their two daughters Susannah and Joanna, are plunged into turmoil when the noble Aemilianus is summoned to Nicomedia to serve as Consul under the Emperor Diocletian. The Augustus Diocletian, convinced of his own divinity and demanding to be venerated by his subjects, is determined to rid the empire of all Christians and their treasonous beliefs. Purges and proscriptions are initiated in every province and city. Many of the faithful are tortured and executed without mercy. It is a dark time for the nascent Christian Church. A time of danger and sacrifice. A time of martyrs and saints.
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