From the Arena to the Cross
AuthorHouse, 2004 - 640 pages
(1) The settings for my book. From the Arena to the Cross, is ancient Rome and Judaea from A.D. 12- A.D. 31. It's an epic saga of will, determination, and profound fortitude of a youth, Ephron Benjamin Gad, determined to seek vengeance.The story unfolds of the boy - at age twelve - of a Jewish father, Benjamin Gad, and a Roman mother Fulvina, manumitted from slavery in Eboli, south Italy. Shortly after their freedom Benjamin departed the town of Eboli and took his wife and only son to Rome. There Benjamin found work raking the sands and cleaning the arena after gladiatorial battles or chariot races. The boy witnessed his father's forceful entry by three men to battle to the death in the Circus Maximus. Benjamin, who had no gladiatorial training, was pitted against a seasoned gladiator. Without spent efforts the gladiator amputated Gad's right arm. About an hour later Gad died beneath the Circus. The manner of his father's death haunted the youth daily. Shortly before Benjamin expired, he insisted that his wife take their only son away from Rome's influences and to the town of Capua. Four years later Ephron returned to Rome. This time he renamed himself Eboli ben Levi so that the name Benjamin Gad will not chime in the ears of those who had his father killed. Thereafter, he trained as a gladiator and became a master gladiator. He destroyed one of the men, a mean and powerful gladiator, who had conspired in his father's death. With mortal fires burning within, he finally killed the other two men - one a charioteer, the other a foreman of an estate owned by a wealthy patrician. Severely maimed and broken, ben Levi left his last victim for dead, but the latter lived long enough to tell of the tormenter and murderer. When ben Levi saw grave dangers confronting him he fled the estate.The highborn master sent men and Roman soldiers to capture Eboli, but he was on his way to his father's country, Judaea, via Brundisium. While in Judaea he heard John the Baptist preaching of One whose shoes he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose. Sixteen years later, and present at the crucifixion of the Christ, ben Levi suddenly met at the cross his mother and his master's daughter from Capua. Thereafter, he married his master's daughter and mingled in fervent adoration with the fold of God, and helped those in spiritual darkness. (2) From the Arena to the Cross details the lowly, strenuous, and tasks-demanding life of plebeians and slaves. It also glimmers the gorgeous and contented lives and styles of aristocrats riding the winds of freedom and dwelling on or near the Seven Hills in Rome and the Janiculum Hills on the outskirt of the City. The book contrasts lifestyles and privileges of these dwelling upon the lap of wealth and those existing in the trough of penury.
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