It is 128AD. Emperor Hadrian announces a major festival to celebrate his first ten years as Roman emperor. The main attraction is a chariot race spanning the entire empire from Rome to Germania.
Famous charioteers from across the vast Roman empire including Greece, Egypt, Judea, Carthage, Hispania, Gaul, Macedonia and Britannia have assembled in the Eternal City. Spectators in their thousands are streaming into the Eternal City for the inaugural race in the Circus Maximus.
The air is tense with excitement and anticipation.
The night before the first race, one of the charioteers from Judea is found murdered in his quarters. The charioteer had been tortured and crucified to the room's window. An unknown woman's body is also found on the floor. The woman's body had also been laid out on the floor in a mock crucifixion with outstretched arms.