Jonathan Miller was never willing to accept that the Roman Empire had declined. How could this happen, he asked himself at breakfast, at lunch, during the night, when he could not sleep. How could such a military and organizational power such as the Romans have been beaten by savage Teutons and pre-Muslim sand soldiers from the North and East? So he went deeper into the matter, being sure that something must have been overseen by generations of historians, classicists, and archaeologists.

Jonathan’s interest for ancient times emerged during his childhood when he received as a gift from his mother an illustrated book about the Roman army. He showed it to his female Latin teacher, an old bat. All pupils trembled with her.

»Well,« said the bat, »that’s an interesting book, see here, the battle of Cannae.«

»Yes«, said Jonathan shivering, »50.000 Romans killed during one afternoon by Hannibal.«

»What if you give us a talk about that battle during one of the next lessons?« asked the bat. She exposed her vampire teeth.

»Ok«, said Jonathan, with a mouth dryer than a desert.

From that lesson on, Jonathan was called ›field marshal‹ by his classmates. They had no idea what »50,000 Romans killed during one afternoon« meant. But they also had no idea about the beauty of the fourth declension.

But the disastrous battle of Cannae, fought in 216 B.C., couldn’t be the reason for the decline of the Roman Empire 600 years later, Jonathan concluded. The Romans finally won the war against the Carthaginian Hannibal. They cut of his supplies, so that he didn’t have well-equipped troops anymore to fight additional genius battles. The reasons why the Romans lost against the Teutons 600 years later had to be hidden somewhere deeper in the history, and Jonathan, now being an adult, was determined to figure it out.