"Well, Manaheem, dear, any luck?"
"Claressa, dear, you know we don't believe in luck. What do you mean?"
"O', of course, Manaheem. It was just an expression. I mean how did things go with your visit to Herod? Were you able to get through to him at all about Jesus?"
"I’m afraid there really wasn't much time this time. You see, his nephew Agrippa came in just as I was getting started and stole the scene so to speak. They argued and Agrippa announced that he is going to Rome and plans to report Herod to his friend Caligula, who is set to be the next emperor."
"Well that certainly does make for an interesting state of affairs, doesn't it?"
The birds were chirping wildly, as Blastus brought the horse and carriage and they headed toward the docks. His mind was racing with plans and ideas. He was going to Rome to support his friend Gius Caligula in his bid for the throne. Surely, he thought, if he could get Caligula to see how terrible his uncle, Antipas, is, he himself would have a good chance of taking over his uncle's territory.
He was a bit tired from staying up late last night, but he kept awake long enough to tell Blastus to keep the horses moving as he did not wish to miss his boat. Since this was to be a fairly short stay, he would leave Blastus, his manservant in Beersheba to look after the house. He had told him to pack only the bare necessities needed for a short trip. If it became necessary, he could always send for Blastus later.
The docks we crowded with people coming and going like so many ants in an anthill. Blastus pulled the reins, stopping the carriage. He lifted the fairly light satchel which he had strapped to the interior of the carriage and handed it to his master. Then he bid him farewell and turned the carriage back toward the house.
Agrippa perused the many ships lined up along the waterway and found the one going to Rome. There were many others also trying to board and he had to worm his way into the ongoing line. Once on board, he set his burden down and breathed a sigh of relief. He was headed back to Rome at last. He had missed the fair city with its ornate columns and statuary. He also missed his friends including Caligula who some said was crazy. He thought him to simply be a bit different. He had written Caligula months ago of his intention to return to Rome on this date.
The sea was unusually calm and there was very little breeze. That meant that the trip to Rome would take longer than usual. He greatly resented that. He was impatient to see the shore of Rome once more. Actually, it was the shore of Capri, for that island just off the coast was still considered to be part of Rome and was now the temporary headquarters of the emperor and his entourage. And it was here that the ship would stop first before continuing on to the mainland. He would ask his friend if there was room for him to stay there with him on Capri. He was certain Caligula would say yes.
Finally, the day came and they approached the beautiful shoreline of Capri. They landed and he disembarked. He shouldered his fairly light luggage once more and walked the dock. Looking around, he spied his friend.
"Well, well! If it isn't Herod Agrippa, as I live and breathe."
"Greetings Gius Caligula. How is everything here in Rome?"
"Couldn’t be better. But we'll talk on the way. My carriage is over here."
It was a fancy carriage, black with gold trim. As they rode, Caligula continued the conversation.
"Yes, everything is fine--aside from the fact that Tiberius doesn't like me, that is. He's mounted a campaign against me, but I’m not worried. I shall still have the throne, despite his efforts."
“And I shall help, my friend."
Gius Caligula laughed a big hearty laugh, while slapping Agrippa on the back, and said, "You don't know how glad I am to hear you say that, my friend. I have already planned for a sort of informal dinner for my friends and potential backers for tomorrow night. I invited only those whom I know are at least leaning toward my side. I want you to be there and help to get the ball rolling, so to speak."
"You can count on it."
As they arrived at the palace and were dismounting, a messenger from Tiberius was there waiting for them. "Herod Agrippa," the messenger said, "the emperor has heard of your arrival, and would see you at once."
"Wow, news travels fast around here. Tell him I will be right there."
The royal throne room was more lavish than any he had seen, with indoor columns and statuary everywhere. He bowed politely to the emperor.
Tiberius looked foreboding with his huge ornate crown and purple robe. He smiled broadly and said, "Well, well Herod Agrippa. It's good to see you again. Welcome back to Rome."
"Thank you, Your Excellency."
“I hope you enjoy your stay here and I hope I can count on your continued support."
"Anything you wish me to do, sir--"
"As a matter of fact, I thought you might teach my grandson, Tiberius Jr."
He started to say that he did not plan to be there long enough, but thought better of it and instead said: “I would be delighted to do so, Your Excellency." He bowed. "Will that be all?"
"That will be all for now. I shall get in touch with you regarding the dates and times."
"Very well, Your Excellency," he said, trying hard to conceal the trace of sarcasm which wanted to spring up in his voice. He bowed and left.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish