"My name is Gaius Maximus. I'm the governor of Londinium, capital of the Imperial Province of Britannia. My city is growing in size and power, as people flock to it in search of a better life – a Roman life.
Since I've been in charge, my people have felt the benefits of civilisation. I've built them an aqueduct to supply fresh water, a marketplace for trading, a forum for meeting, a basilica for debating, temples to worship in and public baths to wash in. There's a colosseum for gladiatorial displays and a hippodrome for chariot racing. I've even built an amphitheatre. What more could these people want?
Well, the people always want more. You learn that when you're a governor. Give them iron, they want bronze. Bring them stone, they demand pottery. Cut down a wood, they call for a forest! But all this economic activity means money. Gold for me, gold for the people and gold for Caesar.
If my tenure here continues to go well, I might be offered a governorship somewhere more important. Somewhere warmer would be nice. I'm sick of this British weather. I'm sick of having to import wine to keep my citizens happy too. What sort of Roman city can't make its own wine, I ask you? Greece would be nice. Yes, a nice city in Greece with plenty of wine and olives...
Landing a job in Greece will mean keeping Caesar happy. Satisfying Caesar is a dark art but, luckily for me, I know how that fellow ticks. I'll bet my sandals on Caesar wanting more grain this year, to feed his armies. And he'll want more cattle, too, for meat and leather. He's also after timber to build ships, I'm sure of it. Timber's going to be a problem because I need timber to expand my city. I don't know how I'm going to sort that one out...
All this grain and leather – I think Caesar is planning to launch a new campaign against the Gauls next year. I'll be ready to offer my finest troops if he does. My legionnaires are cracking soldiers, the best in northern Europe. They're battle-hardened after years of wiping out barbarian tribes. When they're not pummelling barbarians, I've got them hard at it in their barracks, training every day. And they're well-fed. You won't find a fuller belly in any of Caesar's legions.
I do worry about the future, though. There are some very strange portents doing the rounds. The soothsayers are saying amazing things. They say this Roman Empire we're living in isn't the only one! They say this Roman Empire is just one of countless Roman Empires, all existing side by side in an enormous machine created by the Gods.
Other Romes? How can this be? Surely there can only be one Rome? Can't there?"