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Longinus: Vampire Emperor


Longinus in
Herculean garb
During the early days of the Roman Empire, vampires were hunted and destroyed by an elite squad of the Legion. The Roman ability to control vampires was widely respected and made it easier for them to colonize farflung nations. Captured vampires were brought to the the Coliseum in Rome, where they fought lions, tigers and Christians in nighttime battles.
A frequent spectator at these contests was the young Emperor Longinus, who began his reign in AD 68 at the age of 17. Longinus' favorite was Brittanicus, who was captured in England in AD 65 and had developed a formidable record as a vampire-gladiator. Against the advice of his Praetorian bodyguards, Longinus had Brittanicus installed in a lavish suite inside the palace. One night, Longinus paid his guest a visit and the inevitable happened: Longinus was bitten and became Rome's first vampire emperor.


Frieze (detail): The
Slaughter of the Vampires
The vampire emperor's short reign over Rome was disastrous. The Praetorian Guards who had defended Longinus were expelled from the Palace, and vampires became protected throughout the Empire. Longinus and Brittanicus led other vampires on nightly hunting parties through the streets of Rome. Vampirism, which had previously been contained within Rome, exploded.

Facing a dire future, the expelled Praetorian Guards took it upon themselves to save the Empire. On a warm summer morning in AD 69, about a dozen Praetorians burst into the palace. The vampires, drowsy and bloated from the previous night's feast, were easy pickings and the Praetorians methodically dispatched them, saving Longinus for last. He was decapitated, and his head was stuck on a pole outside the city gates as a warning to any vampires who might want to venture into Rome.

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