Diverted to Jerusalem

Three days after passing Corsica, the Seneca dropped anchor at Ostia. Men and supplies were moved up the Tiber River twenty miles to Rome. Justinís century was housed in the Basilica Julia in the center of Rome. The primary mission would be to protect Tiberius from the rebels. The legionaries had just taken up position in the Basilica when General Cornelius arrived. Justin called his men to formation. Cornelius walked back and forth looking over the troops before stopping in the center to speak in a loud, clear voice, "The rebellion has begun. One third of you, in rotation, are to remain on the grounds of Tiberiusí palace."

While the men held rank, Justin talked in a low voice to Cornelius, "I have brought along my son Malchus to see the sights of Rome. How much time will he and Captain Lucius have before the Seneca returns to Spain?"

"Conditions have worsened, so I must divert the Seneca to Palestine to get more troops to protect our positions in Rome. Therefore Lucius and Malchus will need to leave immediately for the trip back down the river. Supplies are being loaded on the Seneca as we speak."

When the general was finished instructing the soldiers, Justin called out for a salute. The men saluted in unison. General Cornelius returned the salute, turned, and departed the staging area.

Justin left a sergeant in charge and motioned Malchus aside. "Malchus, the Seneca is being diverted to Palestine before its return to Spain, and youíll need to be aboard. You will be fourteen in a few days, and you are as much of a man as any of my soldiers. Remember well the lessons in survival that I have taught you. I have complete confidence that you can take care of yourself under any circumstances."

Then in front of his men, Justin grasped his son in strong arms one last time then released him so he could gather his things to board the small boat for the return to the ship. As Malchus turned to leave, his father began to give the men their orders for the coming days. Malchus, hearing his fatherís commanding voice, thought, "I am so proud of my father. Iíll make him proud of me." Once he stepped past the last soldier, he turned around to take one last look at his father, and as he did, his father nodded as if to say, "Go forward. Everything is going to be all right."

Though disappointed in not seeing Rome, Malchus held his head high as he returned with Lucius to the small boat that would retrace the twenty miles to the port at Ostia. They reached the Seneca as the sun was setting. Malchus was glad that Lucius had become such a good friend. He knew his mother would be worried wondering where he was, but he was confident he could care for himself. In fact, Malchus felt an excitement about the journey to the eastern edge of the Mediterranean.

At dawn the next day the Seneca set sail. Malchus was constantly at Luciusí side as the captain charted the shipís progress across the water. Both the student and the teacher were eager. In the chart house Lucius showed Malchus his planned route to Palestine. If they stayed on the southeasterly course, the Seneca would never be far out of the sight of land until reaching Sicily. After sailing between Italy and Sicily, the route was east-southeast on the open sea toward Crete, a distance of 500 miles. From Crete the easterly course continued to Cyprus, another 500 miles. Here the direction would change to the south-southeast for the port at Caesarea Maritima, 60 miles from Jerusalem.

The unseasonable west wind that had quickened the trip from Spain to Rome gave way to the more common etesian summer winds from the north. This meant regular tacking to make progress to the east. After passing Crete, Captain Lucius talked with Malchus while studying his charts, "Malchus, you can see that Cyprus is almost due east of Crete. Since these north winds are holding I plan a course change to the southeast."

"That means you will be far from any land."

"True, but we can stay on a starboard tack most of the way to Palestine. Too much to the south would bring us to Egypt. But I think we can hold a route almost directly to the Palestinian port of Caesarea. What do you think Malchus?"

"I would say--a good choice."

Lucius mused, "I like the young manís courage. Most of my sailors do not like to get so far from land."

The north breeze held. Malchus observed that the Seneca was on a starboard tack most of the time. Every day at noon Lucius would measure the angle of the sun.

Malchus asked, "How do you use your measurements?"

"The shadow is longer in northern latitudes. A chart for each day of the year lists the latitudes for the angle of the sun."

"So the latitude tells how you are doing on your planned course?"

"Exactly, and so far we are on course to make Caesarea."

Three weeks after leaving Rome the shipís lookout sounded, "Land Ahoy." In unison the crew gave a cheer. Malchus joined Lucius on the forecastle where the captain was studying the shoreline and the outlines of a city.

"Do you recognize the city?"

"Iíll know for sure when we get a little closer, but I believe it is Gaza. If so we are about 75 miles south of Caesarea."

The city was Gaza. The sailors manned the oars to speed the trip north. Malchus figured that the rowers were energetic because of the prospect of time ashore. Malchus had listened to a group of men talking about wine and women in Caesarea. Malchus remembered well his fatherís teachings that a man is not to be with a woman until marriage and could hear Justinís words, "Feeling good about life is more than feeling good for the moment."

Despite the enthusiasm of the crew, it was well into the next afternoon when the Seneca approached Caesarea Maritima. After passing through the outer harbor protected by a massive sea-wall, the Seneca tied up to a dock in the rectangular inner harbor. Malchus asked Lucius, "When do we go ashore?"

"Soon Iíll let half the crew have an overnight. In the morning Iíll leave the first mate in charge of the ship, and Iíll take you on a tour of the city. I have been here many times."

Malchusí sleep was restless, so as soon as dawn broke, he arose to get ready for the day ahead. After a bite of breakfast, he joined Lucius on deck.

Lucius gave instructions to the first mate, then turned to Malchus, "Are you ready to see the sights?"

"Aye, aye, captain!"

Malchus walked stride for stride with Lucius along the dock past many ships that appeared to have come from all parts of the Roman Empire. Just beyond the last berth, Malchus could see a grand staircase leading up to an expansive stone structure. As he followed in the long climb, he asked, "What is that building?"

"Herod the Great built this temple for the worship of Augustus Caesar. Inside are gold statues of Augustus and the Roman goddess Roma."

Leaving the temple area, Malchus and Lucius walked south beside a large arena. Malchus asked, "What is this called?"

"The hippodrome. It is used for horse and chariot races and for other games."

The two sightseers walked south about a quarter of a mile where they reached a large stone building at the other end of the hippodrome. Malchus asked, "What is this?"

"It is a palace built by Herod."

After going around the palace, Malchus and Lucius went southeast a short distance to view an open-air theater. A half circle stadium with stone seats overlooked a stage. Next, they turned north and walked along a colonnaded street. Even though this was Malchusí first visit to Caesarea, he had his bearings from the location of the sun. He could see from their crossings that the east-west streets were parallel to each other and equally spaced.

As Malchus and Lucius approached the center of the city, the streets became more congested with people of every color and shade. Malchus could overhear conversations in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Up ahead, he could see a series of stone arches topped with more stone. Pointing, Malchus asked, "Is that an aqueduct?"

"Yes, the aqueduct brings water from Mount Carmel to the city for drinking and for the public bath. Mount Carmel is 1,700 feet higher than the city, so the water flows along the top of the aqueduct for fifteen miles by the force of gravity."

Malchusí searching eyes could see that the aqueduct used gothic arches to gain height with less stone. The openings let people and animals pass through. The wall, wide at the bottom, narrowed at the top where the cross section had been designed for the flow of water.

Malchus and Lucius turned east and continued their walk across the city. After crossing several streets, Malchus observed that parallel north-south streets intersected the east-west streets to form uniform rectangular blocks. The blocks were filled with close fitting houses. Malchus said, "There are so many houses. I wonder how many people live in Caesarea?"

"I have been told over 50,000."

Malchus had been so excited about the sights of the Roman city that he had not thought about eating. When they passed a shop selling bread, Malchus said, "All of a sudden, Iím hungry. May we eat?"

Lucius answered, "We are near one of the city gates. Letís walk outside and find a Jewish inn where we can enjoy a comfortable meal at a better price than in the city."

Lucius led the way outside the gate to a small, but neat, building with a sign out front that marked it as an inn. Inside the innkeeper offered them a corner table and announced that todayís menu was mutton stew. The tired tourists agreed that sounded good. For two such weary travelers, any food would suffice. They leisurely ate stew and bread and drank wine. The food and drink, along with the good rest, revived Malchus and Lucius so they were ready for the walk back to the ship.

By this time, the sun was well out to sea. Malchusí muscles could feel the effects of the all-day excursion and the long trek back. The sight of the Seneca looked good as the ship was beginning to feel like home.

Once on the deck, the first mate spoke to Lucius and Malchus. "The contingency of troops assigned to the Seneca is going to overfill our space, so the area commander has given us orders to leave all other passengers for passage on later ships."

Malchusí good feelings as he boarded the Seneca changed to feelings of fear, as he wondered, "What happens now?"

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