DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
In late April of 175 A.D, Marcus Aurelius is camped at Sirmium in the province of Pannonia, poised to bring the barbarous tribes of the Marcomanni and Quadi under the control of the Empire and push its borders further northwards than ever before. But unbeknownst to Marcus, a single line of delicate text is about to threaten to throw the Empire into Civil War.
For 2,500 kilometres away in Syria, Avidius Cassius, the beloved general of III Gallica would soon proclaim himself Emperor, believing that Marcus Aurelius was dead. Avidius moves quickly and secures the support of the eastern legions, including the vital province of Egypt, without which Rome could not hope to feed its bulging populous. All but the legions of Martius Verus in Anatolia submit to Avidius.
With Avidius marching towards Alexandria and its grain, his victory seems certain. And if not for Avidius’s jaded camp commander Marcrinus, who now finds himself forced to fight for an ideal of Rome that he no longer believes in, Avidius may have succeeded. That is if Marcus Aurelius was dead.
But Marcus Aurelius was not dead, and Rome is now alert to the danger. Marcus’s Prefect, Taruttienus Paternus, is dispatched to Alexandria to try and reason with Avidius, but Avidius, fuelled by megalomania and ego, will not listen to reason. Taruttienus, believing he has no other choice, conspires to have Avidius assassinated.
But the attempted uprising had done more than simply threaten Civil War. It had left an indelible mark on the psyche of the ailing Marcus Aurelius, who now more than ever would look to his son, Commodus as his successor. And in doing so, set the Roman Empire on course for one the most destructive reigns in its history. The very catastrophe the revolt had been orchestrated to avert.