Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys

The Xena Scrolls
Janis Covington 01.jpg
Janice Covington
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 2
Antagonist John Smythe, Ares
Setting Macedonia
In-Universe Date 1942, 1996
Production # V0208
Filming Dates 28 June to 4 July 1996
Original Air-Date 13 January 1997
Story By Robert Sidney Mellette
Written By Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Directed By Charlie Haskell
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 34 of 134
Order in Season 10 of 22
Order in Franchise 86 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "A Solstice Carol"
Next Episode in Series "Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Lady and the Dragon"
Next Episode in Franchise "Long Live the King"
Title Image
Xena Scrolls TITLE.jpg

In 1942 Macedonia, a determined archaeologist and a visitor to her excavation site stumble upon the Xena Scrolls - ancient manuscripts that chronicle the Warrior Princess's adventures, written by Gabrielle herself almost 2000 years ago.


Melinda Pappas, the daughter of an Earth renowned archeologist

The year is 1940. Dr. Janice Covington, a tough and determined young archeologist, is supervising work on a Macedonian dig. She and her men are searching for the key to unlock a tomb containing the ancient Xena Scrolls, the most important archeological find of the century, when Melinda Pappas, the daughter of a world-renowned archeologist and a student in the field herself, arrives unexpectedly. Immediately set upon by armed thugs, Melinda is quickly rescued by Covington, who drives the trespassers off with her gatling gun.

Melinda and Janice find a scroll.

Mel explains that whilst sorting through her deceased father's records, she found a telegram from Janice asking for help in translating ancient writings and has come to offer her services. Sure that the stylish, long-legged Mel will be useless in the trenches, Covington tries to persuade her to leave just as Nikos, one of the diggers, staggers towards them with a knife in his back and dies. Janice reveals that a ruthless thug, John Smythe, is also determined to find the tablet which is the key to opening the tomb, and that Smythe's men probably attacked Mel thinking the tablet was in her briefcase.

The Ancient Tomb...

Much to Covington's surprise, Mel begins to prove her usefulness when she corrects Janice's translation of a scroll fragment describing an epic battle between Xena and Callisto. As Janice talks about her own father, an archeologist driven by a life-long quest to find the Xena Scrolls, Jacques S'er arrives on the scene. Introducing himself as a lieutenant in the Free French Army, he offers his protection, explaining that the government cannot allow the Xena Scrolls, which may unlock the secrets to long lost mystical powers, to fall into the hands of the Nazis. They are soon interrupted by the arrival of Smythe and his thugs, who show up with the tablet stolen from the murdered Nikos, which is the key to unlocking the tomb.

Ares is free from his Tomb.

Smythe offers to pay Janice handsomely for her help in deciphering its text and Janice pretends to accept his proposition, deliberately misreading the words and declaring the tablet a fake. When Mel naively corrects her translation and opens the door of the tomb, a furious Janice and her cohorts are pushed inside by the gleeful Smythe. Their entrance, however, triggers a sudden rock slide, trapping Covington, Pappas and Jacques inside what turns out to be the tomb of Ares, the god of war. Unbeknownst to them, Smythe and his thugs are also trapped.

Xena's soul take control of Melinda to fight Ares.

As they negotiate their way through a series of booby traps, Mel finds the Xena Scrolls and begins to read stories of Xena's adventures. She then pries out a shiny object embedded in stone, which proves to be half of Xena's chakram. When Smythe shows up with the other half, brandishing a gun and demanding her piece of the chakram and the Scrolls, Mel and her companions flee and wind up in Ares' inner sanctum. There, as Mel charges Smythe, the two halves of the chakram are joined. A jolt of energy knocks them off their feet and Ares himself springs to life, stepping out of the sarcophagus which has encased him for centuries.

The day is saved by the descendants of Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer.

When Smythe tries to kill Ares, the god of war instantly destroys him and his thugs. Ares explains that only a descendant of Xena can release him back into the world to wreak havoc once again. Covington, who assumes that she's that descendant, is surprised when Mel turns out to be Xena's descendant. She discovers that she is descended from Gabrielle and that Jacques is really Jack, a New Jersey brush salesman only posing as a French army lieutenant, who is a descendant of Joxer. In the end, Mel is possessed by the spirit of Xena, who returns to wage a fierce battle against Ares, trapping him back inside the tomb. The chakram breaks in half and Xena turns back into Mel.

..and the legend is born by a pitch in 1996.

The scene changes to an office in 1996, where Ted Kleinman is pitching story ideas to an executive ("Xena" executive producer Rob Tapert). Ted reaches for a bag, takes out a few Xena scrolls and begins a new pitch as an intrigued Tapert begins to listen...


No Hollywood Producers were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • On later airings of the episode, the date was changed to 1942. This was corrected in the DVD release.
  • Three posters are shown in Rob Tapert's office – Timecop, The Mummy (1932) and Darkman. Tapert helped produce the first and third movies listed.
  • The first pitch Ted Kleinman is giving Rob Tapert is a description of a climatic scene in Evil Dead II. Tapert even responds, "Done it."
  • Although this episode is a clip show (where clips from previous episodes are woven into the story to save money), it gained attention both at the time of airing and in years since for having an unusually well designed and engrossing frame story.
  • During the flashback where Xena fought Callisto in the ladder fight, Callisto fell, and a different bomb whistle sound effect was used than was used in the original episode

Key Events[]

  • This is the only episode to indicate that Gabrielle had children besides Hope - she presumably had them after Xena's death. It also implies that both Joxer and Xena had children, which would eventually be confirmed in the fifth season. Xena had previously had Solan who was still alive when the episode originally aired, although his early death in "Maternal Instincts" ruled out the possibility of Xena's line continuing through him.
  • This was the first episode set in the future, or outside of ancient times.
  • This episode prompted the beginning of the Uberfic.
  • This is the third time the Chakram has been mistaken for an accessory or decoration. Coincidentally, the previous time was in the previous episode. The first time was in "Warrior... Princess".
  • The Dark Chakram being found in pieces correlates with the original plan for Season 4 as the final season. This would explain why it is in halves as it was broken at the end of The Ides Of March and subsequently preserved in that state. However, since the series went on for two more seasons, the broken chakram was repaired and "upgraded" to the balanced chakram, which in turn breaks continuity for this episode. (See goofs below)
  • This is the only episode of Xena: Warrior Princess to not feature the "Executive Producers" title, before the closing credits.
  • "The Xena Scrolls" was the third-highest rating episode of the second season in 1997, according to Neilsen's National rating scale.
  • The battle that trapped Ares in the tomb was never explained or shown, but the tomb and the events from this episode were mentioned in "Deja Vu All Over Again" and "Send in the Clones". 


  • The Chakram that was found in the tomb should have been the Balanced Chakram, not the Dark Chakram, as it was fused with the Chakram of Light in "Chakram". In reality, the idea of the Balanced Chakram hadn't been conceived, so it was impossible to write that in.
  • The episode appears to ignore the fact that Xena: Warrior Princess was a spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which is not mentioned. However, if the events of Yes, Virginia, There is a Hercules and For Those of You Just Joining Us are to be taken into account, it is possible that Hercules, as "Kevin Sorbo" encouraged the use of the Xena Scrolls to make a spin-off, wanting Xena's story to be told.


  • The episode was based on characters created on the official website, which makes it the first intellectual property to go from the web to television.

Chakram Count: 2

  1. To strike the Eye of Hephaestus that holds Ares in his tomb and release him and then release Janice and Jack.
  2. To cut the spiked metal ball and subdue Ares, before hitting the Eye of Hephaestus once again and trapping Ares, as well as breaking the Chakram in half.

Links and References[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]





  • Macedonia
  • New Jersey (Mentioned)
  • South Carolina (Mentioned)


Season Navigation[]