Act 1, Scene 1

A Tragedy


A harbour in Sicily. An Egyptian ship lies at port, tended by African slaves. Enter MERCURIUS, accompanied by a beautiful FEMALE SLAVE.

MERCURIUS: What ship is that?

FEMALE SLAVE: That is the ship which will take you to Rome, Domitor, the place of your birth and rebirth. Some Egyptian scholar owns it.

MERCURIUS: Hail Caesar! Mercurius Caupo would speak to you!

(Enter ZUBERI, the Egyptian scholar)

ZUBERI, aside: What? A servant of the Gods, here? Do mine eyes betray me? I must speak with him! (to MERCURIUS:) Blessings upon you. I am Zuberi Manu-Atsu Chatuluka Waset, a servant of Horus.

MERCURIUS: Blessings upon you. I did not realize a formal introduction was appropriate; my name is Lucius Mercurius Vitericus Amicus Caupo, a Merchant and member of House Vitericus. I wish to travel with you to Rome, the Eternal City, and I come not empty-handed. Here are two fine barrels of liquid bread, for your slaves.

ZUBERI: Come, we shall speak on the ship, in my quarters.

(They enter the Ship).

MERCURIUS, aside, whilst walking: This is one curious fellow! A servant of Horus? The name rankles mine Brain, but I cannot remember it. Yes! A pagan God of Egypt, a minor one, of fertility. How curious; he has the look of a Brute, but the garment and manners of a Priest. Yet clearly he is a man of wealth; it is best I flatter him. (To ZUBERI:) You must be a man of great importance, to serve the mighty Horus! Your ship has all the fineries of a powerful man – nay, of a holy man! Pray, tell me more about Aegyptus, that most ancient and venerable province. What coinage have you?

ZUBERI, aside: He seems a Fool to me, but he is well-mannered. This shall not be an unpleasant trip.

(The Ship departs. Exeunt ZUBERI, MERCURIUS and the FEMALE SLAVE).

Act 1, Scene 1

Rome Riklurt Riklurt