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The year is 430 BC. The Spartan army has just invaded Attica, which is the area around Athens. The Athenians know that the Spartan army is too strong for them and have locked themselves inside the city instead of fighting. They hope the Spartans will just give up and go away. But a terrible plague has broken out in Athens and many people are dying ... try as they might, the Spartans cannot get into Athens. The Athenians can get supplies of food into the city through the port of Piraeus as the Spartans do not have warships to stop them!!

The family of Sparcus the Elder are in Sparta. Sparcus the Younger is ready to start school, Polonia, his twin sister is ready to go too. Patronus and Sparcus the elder are making ready to join the Spartan Army in its siege of Athens. Trepula is resigned to seeing her family go its different ways. She is just thankful that her children turned out 'perfect' after all. Zeus, the dog, just can't see the point of it all.

Meanwhile in Athens school days are here for Poliphus the Younger ... a very different type of schooling. Carintha would love to go to school too, but that is not the Athenian way. Women do not have much freedom in Athens. Appala and Messupa are completely bowled over by the news that Pericles himeself is to visit. Poliphus the Elder took his side when it came to voting in the Assembly on how the war should be fought. Grampus on the other hand just wanted a fight!! Pericles has dyed his hair blonde and both he and Polyphus the Elder have got colds. 

Have they got the plague?

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