Gladiator A Hero Will Rise
Chapter 1 Farmer and Soldier
At the height of its power, the great Roman Empire stretched from the deserts of Africa to the borders of northern England. Over one quarter of the world’s population lived and died under the rule of the Caesars.* In the winter of A.D.† 180, Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s twelve year war against the people of Germania was coming to an end. There was one last battle to win. Then there would be peace across the Roman Empire.
The man walked through the sun-warmed Spanish field, his hand touching the wheat. He looked past apple trees to a farmhouse. He heard a child laughing somewhere near. A bird flew onto the
branch of a tree close to him and they looked at each other. The man smiled. Suddenly, the sound of shouts and horses frightened the bird and it flew up into the air. The noise broke through the man’s daydream and he came back to the real world with a crash.