Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Before the Mediterranean world had ever come under the dominance of Rome, a young adventurer from Africa landed on the shores of Sicily and was met by a distraught lady who begged him to assist her friend, who was being attacked by thieves. The young man, who gave his name as Archombrotus, sped to the rescue only to find that his help was not needed: the lady’s friend had dispatched the thieves single-handed. The three returned to the lady’s house where Archombrotus learned that the lady was Timoclea, a respected Sicilian matron, and that her friend was young Poliarchus, also a stranger to Sicily, who had distinguished himself in the service of King Meleander against a rebel army led by the traitorous noble Lycogenes. Poliarchus, having urged more forceful resistance to the rebellion, had been banished when the overcautious King declared a truce. Archombrotus learned that Meleander had a beautiful daughter, Argenis; Archombrotus concluded immediately that Poliarchus was in love with her.
While engaged in their discussion, they noticed signal fires blazing on the surrounding hilltops. Timoclea explained that these beacons were fired to warn the people that a traitor was at large. Presently, a servant entered with word that Poliarchus was the one accused of treachery; the “thieves” had been Lycogenes’ ambassadors, and the King had interpreted his defense as an attempt to break the truce. Timoclea, loyal to her guest, hid him immediately in a cave...
(The entire section is 1661 words.)
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