A marketplace fable set in the Romano-Greco-Phoenician city of Tyre during the reign of the Emperor Nerva The other day in the marketplace who should I come across but Iphiclus the priest. “Iphiclus! The proverbial bolt from the blue!” I exclaimed, as his togaed form and silver-haired face appeared at the top of the harbour-stairs, and we fell into each other’s arms. “Welcome, old friend! What brings you to Tyre?” “You, Tyrius,” he replied. “We’re going to Babylon. I’m providing the ship.” He pointed down to the wharf, to a small Italian vessel whose men were still furling the sails.…

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