The Enemies of Jupiter

Number in series


Told Through



February 80 AD


Ostia & Rome in Italy

First published

6 November 2003

Number of pages



The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina


The Gladiators from Capua


The Enemies of Jupiter is the seventh book in Caroline Lawrence's The Roman Mysteries. It is published by Orion Books.


February, 80 AD

Rome is devastated by disease and fire.
Amidst the grief and chaos, Jonathan ben Mordecai attempts to reconcile his parents, Mordecai and Susannah, but falls foul of the Emperor Titus.

His actions may end up costing thousands their lives.

Plot SynopsisEdit

Jonathan is still depressed about his mother's decision to remain in Rome with the Emperor Titus, but has decided it is time to act. Soon an imperial messenger arrives to summon his father, Mordecai, in his capacity as a doctor, to the capital, where the fever which swept through Ostia in December has reached epidemic proportions. Apparently Titus also has a mystery for the four detectives to solve, as Jonathan, Lupus, Flavia and Nubia are included in the imperial request.

As they arrive at Rome they witness some horrible sights: crucified slaves, burning bodies, bloated corpses and Lupercalian wolf-boys capering in the streets sprinkling people with blood.

At the Imperial Palace the Emperor asks the children to look into a prophecy foretelling devastation when "Prometheus opens a Pandora's box". He assigns the astrologer Ascletario to act as a guide for the children (and the reader) to the sights and customs of Rome.

Flavia, Nubia and Lupus all develop theories about the prophecy - one rather spectacularly connected with the Ark of the Covenant which they find in the quarters of Berenice, the exiled mistress of the Emperor. Jonathan, however, is only interested in engineering a meeting between his parents - but when he does so, Titus intervenes and declares his love for Susannah. This upsets everyone, but especially Berenice who returns from exile just in time to hear it.

Distressed by the failure of his plans and the wrath of the Emperor, Jonathan runs blindly out into the city. Some boys beat and rob him, and he is rescued by Agathus who turns out to be Berenice's agent at the Golden House. He persuades Jonathan that his problems can be solved by killing Titus, and Jonathan reluctantly agrees, only to find out later that Agathus's real plan is to start a fire and destroy Rome.

At the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill Jonathan accidentally starts the fire while trying to stop Agathus. It causes widespread destruction, burning many temples and other buildings, and many lives are lost.

Jonathan survives, but feels guilty, believing that he is the Prometheus who opened the Pandora's Box as predicted in the prophecy. When he hears that his mother is also dead he gives up hope and signs on as a gladiator, expecting a quick death in the amphitheatre.

However, the report of his mother Susannah's death was a ruse to fool Berenice, and she arranges to go to Ostia with Mordecai. They all believe Jonathan to be dead in the fire, especially when his stolen rings are found on an unrecognizable body.