The story, as I said, would need some plot twists, but here's what I've got so far. In brief, Emperor Julian reversed Theodosius' declaration that Christianity would be the official religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, Julian went so far as to restore the Roman pantheon (the deities, not the building) and to launch a new persecution of Christians. This was an ugly time for anyone with real religious convictions, especially difficult since no one could pretend they had not been Christians before.
Apronianus, Julian's appointment as Prefect of Rome, put his predecessor Flavianus on the spot. Flavianus refused to deny his faith, and so was severely scourged and then exiled from Rome. He died somewhere on the road, injured, in despair for the fate of his wife and two daughters. [He died in Acquapendente, but I think a roadside death is more cinematic.] Flavianus' wife, Dafrosa, intended to maintain the household, but was beheaded soon after. The two daughters remained at the family home, but their father's wealth was denied to them. You can imagine the slaves becoming recalcitrant, disobedient, perhaps even menacing. It must have been a relief when Roman officers arrived to confiscate them for resale, proceeds to fill the state coffers. The two girls were left on their own, hungry and hopeless. Their lives were crumbling around them, but as Rome was gripped in the terror of a new persecution, there would be no kindly neighbors to offer help.
|Saint Bibiana's execution|
Too long to be a short film? Some one call Mr. Coppola and see what he's working on these days.