Somewhere on the Edge of the Empire...
It is the middle of the First Century, and Judea is in crisis. A group calling themselves the Christians are spreading revolutionary ideas, adding confusion to a Roman province already on the brink of revolt. Religious zealots, led by a passionate young man named Paul of Tarsus, use any means necessary to stamp out this new cult.
Meanwhile in Rome a new emperor is crowned. Nero has an unshakeable sense of destiny, a huge appetite for every type of worldly pleasure, and the clear signs of a very unstable mind. Nero declares himself a god, and starts to plan a new religion based around himself. Meanwhile, something is occurring in a forgotten corner of his empire that will change his own destiny and alter the course of history.
On his way to arrest a cluster of Christians in Damascus, Paul of Tarsus has an other-worldly experience. For the cynical young Pharisee it is as terrifying as it is inexplicable, but when he emerges from the vision he is absolutely convinced that his declared enemy - Jesus of Nazareth - is actually the son of God.
It is a revelation that will cost Paul everything. He finds himself an outcast from the Jews, the Romans are now hunting for him, and the Christians are too suspicious to trust him. Alone and uncertain, Paul takes his message to anyone who will listen. Amazingly, he finds a receptive audience among the non-Jews, and slowly but surely groups of believers all around the empire start to follow his teachings.
Just as people start turning towards Paul's message, they are also turning against Nero: his drunken excesses have gone too far even for the licentious Romans. When Rome itself burns to the ground someone must be held responsible, and in desperation Nero blames this new religious cult. Christians all across the empire are put to death, and Paul is brought for trial before Nero himself.
It is hard to imagine that history ever brought together two such opposing characters. Seeing the emperor in his shiny new Golden Palace is an impressive sight: the god-king on his throne, surrounded by all the power the world has to offer. Yet the ragged preacher standing before him has a strange power of his own, and despite Nero's best efforts Paul has an innate authority that catches Nero off-guard.
The confrontation humiliates the Roman emperor publicly, and although he takes his revenge by sentencing the apostle to death it is apparent to everyone present that Nero has been fatally weakened. After years of exhausting travels the execution is, for Paul, a final release, but within a few months Nero will also be dead - forced to take his own life when the people rise up against him. While Nero's self-delusions die with him, Paul's message continues to spread, and Christianity would soon become the official religion of the Roman Empire itself.