Eric Mayer

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Our detective John is, as many of you know, a Mithran despite working for the emperor of an officially Christian empire. Being a secret pagan puts him a bit of an awkward, although hardly unique, position.

For example, following the Nika riots in 532 the patrician Phocas was temporarily appointed by Justinian to head the powerful Praetorian Prefecture despite having been charged, but cleared, of paganism a few years before. The fact he had been cleared did not, apparently, allay suspicions because around 545 he was charged again and committed suicide rather than submit to execution.

During the sixth century it was sometimes difficult to discern where a learned man's laudable fascination with pagan antiquity left off and heretical pagan worship began.

John's particular form of paganism, Mithraism, was a soldier's religion and bore some ethical similarities to Christianity. Mary has written an essay about the Mithras religion for Jessica Williams' Novel Reaction blog.

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