Chapter III - In domo Gracchus

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 201
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© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 201
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At the conclusion of the sale, Markos was handed over to the 'mystery buyer'.
He was a young man, in his twenties, wearing a dark red tunic, embroidered with gold bullion, and over that a dark cloak.
The cloak was secured by a gold chain, and where the chain was attached to the cloak there were two gold medallions, sewn into the cloth.
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Each medallion was in the form of an ornate laurel wreath, within which were two intertwined initials of the letter 'G'.
The young man wore no slave collar, so he was probably a freedman, but was presumably not the buyer, who appeared to be far too grand to inconvenience himself by attending a slave sale - even a high class one, as Arion'a certainly was.
Markos was sorry to leave Arion.
Even although he was a slave trader, he had been considerate and polite, and had helped Markos to cope with his new position as a slave.
The freedman gave Markos and identical dark red cloak, with the same gold chain and medallions, to wear for his journey - for he was still completely naked, as he had been all during the slave sale.

Arion then said goodbye, stiffly and formally, to young Markos, and then Markos and the freedman made their way to the street, where a large, enclosed carriage awaited them.
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Usually a slave would be required to walk behind a wagon or litter on the journey to his master, no matter how long the journey may have been, but Markos was now so valuable that he would not only have to be guarded, (and prevented from possibly running away), but also carefully looked after, so that he would arrive in the best possible condition.
The freedman had a muscular young slave with him - presumably a bodyguard - who rode beside the carriage during the journey.

Unknown to Markos, the destination to which he would be travelling was Baiae, (from which is derived the English word 'bay', as the town was situated on the Bay of  Neapolis)
Baiae was on the west coast of Italy - a considerable distance from Brundisium, which was on the east coast - and so they travelled all that afternoon, stopping once in the early evening for a light meal, and then travelling on into the night.

The journey was long, and Markos was tired.
Gradually, as the carriage swayed from side to side, he drifted off to sleep - but his dreams were disturbed by the visions and sounds of the death of his parents, and his sleeping did little to rest of refresh him.
Eventually the noises of a busy market-place woke him up.
It was early morning, and the carriage had arrived.
As if to answer his unsaid question, his companion, (the young man who had bought him) announced, rather formally, 
"This is Baiae."


“The last age, sung of by the Cumaean Sibyl, is coming - and the great cycle of ages is beginning again  - from the beginning…” 
Vergil - 'Eclogue'
Baiae was a mineral springs and coastal resort on the northwest shore of the Gulf of Naples.
Baiae was very fashionable, and popular with the Roman 'super-rich', and was reckoned as superior to Pompeii, Herculaneum, both close by, and also Capri - famous , or maybe that should be 'infamous', for the 'Villa Jovis' (Villa of Jupiter), once owned by the Emperor Tiberius.
for more information and images about Tiberius and the 'Villa Jovis' go to    
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Baiae was notorious for its hedonistic offerings, and the attendant rumors of corruption and scandal. Desirable for its healing thermal baths, mild climate and luxurious surroundings, Baia was conveniently situated in Campania of Southern Italy near the western corner of the Bay of Naples. The very essence of Baia inspired a spirit of idleness and pleasure among the nobility, the rich, and the famous in the Roman Empire. Some of the most notable Roman historical events happened in Baia. The Emperor Nero had his mother, Agrippina, murdered just outside the resort. Caligula built his famous bridge extending from Baia to Pozzuoli. Much later Hadrian died in Baiae in 138 AD, and it is said that Cleopatra was staying in Baia when Julius Caesar died in 44 BC. Baiae was said to have been named after Baius (Βαῖος), the helmsman of Odysseus's ship in Homer's 'Odyssey', who was supposedly buried nearby.

The adjacent "Baian Gulf" (Sinus Baianus) was named after the town. The volcanic area of 'The Phlegraean Fields' was the site of classic Greek and Roman legends, in Roman times well known by anyone of culture. Homer’s 'Odyssey' and Vergil’s 'Aeneid' both involved a descent to the underworld somewhere in this region. Cumae, the seat of the prophet of the God Apollo, known as the Cumaen Sibyl, is very near Baiae - (go to the Sibylline Books for more information) - and in Baiae itself is the Oracle of the Dead - one of the entrances to Hades. Later, in 'The Story of Gracchus', Gnaeus Gracchus consults the Cumaen Sibyl, and receives a remarkable prophecy, which is........ well you will have to read a lot more of the story ....
And so, back to the story.......
The young freedman continued - "And now we are approaching the house of my lord, the Villa Auri" (in domum domini mei), and my name is Terentius".
All Markos could do was blink in the bright sunlight.
He had no idea how he should address this young man, or whether the many question that he wanted to ask would be acceptable - so he simply lowered his eyes, and remained silent for the moment.
"Is there anything that you want to ask me !", Terentius suggested, rather unnerved by the boy's silence.
"Are you Greek or Roman ?", Markos mumbled.
"I am a Greek. I originally came from Corinth.
As a abandoned child I was taken into slavery. It was my very good fortune, when I became a youth, to be bought by my lord.
He had me educated, with the intention of making me one of his close helpers.
Later, when I became a man, he offered me my freedom, but on the understanding that I would still serve him.
He gave me a Latin name, as he does with most of his slaves and freedmen.
Now I manage his estate, here in Baiae."
"So you are, like, my master ?", Markos interrupted.
"No ! In the Villa Auri, and all the other villas, houses and lands that my lord owns there is only one lord and master.
I simply follow my lord's instructions which, in my turn, I will give to you.
So you shall obey me as you would obey him."
note - in Latin the word for 'master' and 'lord' are the same - 'Dominus'
"And who is your lord ?", Markos asked, growing a little more confident.
"Your lord - and my lord - will tell you himself, when he thinks the time is auspicious."

And with that the conversation came to an abrupt end, as the carriage drew up in from of the entrance to a magnificent villa.
Gracchus' Villa - Baiae
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Terentius got out of the carriage first, went up the the huge bronze double doors, and using one of the large bronze rings, knocked.
The sound of bronze on bronze echoed with dull reverberations, - a sound as if coming from lofty halls and long marble corridors - which, of course, it was.
Meanwhile, Markos got out or the carriage, all the while looking entranced at the dazzling marble facade of what he had been told was the Villa Auri.
Slowly the door opened, and a young, smiling slave appeared.
"Good morning, Sir !", came the cheery greeting.
"I see you were most successful in your quest !", the young slave continued, as he looked with obvious approval at Markos, still only wearing his dark red cloak, who was standing behind Terentius,
Glykon - the Door Keeper
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"Yes, Glykon.", Terentius replied, as he gently guided an obviously overawed Markos through the magnificent entrance portico.
Once inside the vast entrance hall, Terentius spoke in a quite serious tone to Markos.
"Here, in the Villa Auri, is where you will be staying for the present.
Now I want you to see the chief slave, Nerva, who will show you your quarters, get you fed and bathed, and the get you fitted with a slave-collar, and proper clothing.
You will then report back to the entrance hall - where I will inspect you, and give you your duties."
Terentius then called Nerva over, and had a few quiet words with him, while Markos waited.
Marcus noticed that Nerva was shaking his head as Terentius spoke to him.
Nerva then led the way, taking Markos through a small side door, and into a corridor.
At the end of the corridor was a flight of marble steps, leading to a landing, and another corridor.
There were numerous elegantly paneled, wooden doors leading off from this corridor.
On each door, at eye level, was a small bronze plaque with a name or number inscribed in neat Roman lettering.
Nerva took Markos to the only door without a plaque.
"When my lord has decided on a fitting name for you, a plaque will be attached to your door, and will be suitably inscribed," Nerva told Marcos.
Nerva then opened the door and invited Marcos into the room.
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Cubicula were small rooms used for a number of different purposes; on the upper story and in the interior of the house they often functioned as bedrooms, while the small rooms off the atrium may have been used for private meetings, libraries, etc. While the bedroom here, from the Villa Auri, has wonderfully fine wall paintings, many cubicula were decorated more simply. Bedrooms were often furnished with no more than a sleeping couch and a small chest; 
"Remember always that you may not invite any one else into your room.
Terentius, or myself, may enter to inspect the room, and of course my lord may enter any room in the villa - invited or not.
Here you will keep your clothing in the chest, and any other items provided for your work, and here you may sleep. You may not bring food or drink into this room.
Do you understand what you have been told ?"
"Yes sir." Marcus replied respectfully, rather surprised by the spaciousness of the room, and the fine quality of the furnishings.
People in the Roman Empire was obsessed by status. Even among slaves there were various classes. Lowest of all were slaves who worked in the mines or rowed the galleys. Then after them came agricultural workers. There were also slaves who worked on the many building projects and public utilities who were of low status. Household slaves' status depended first on the status of their master, and then on the work that they were required to perform for their master. The same applied to slaves in the Imperial Household. As a result even a slave in the Imperial Household could be of low status if his task was the wash out the latrines. If he was the curator of his master's library, and helped to manage his master's financial affairs, then he would be of very high status, and treated accordingly, with excellent food, clothing and housing. It was therefore possible for some slaves to have a better life-style than even affluent plebeians. Markos' situation, at this point in his career was highly unusual, and noticed by other members of the household, because his task appeared to be an .assistant doorkeeper., and yet he was accorded a very high status - and a very fine cubiculum.
"My lord obviously already values you very highly, for reasons of which I have no knowledge - having given you such a fine room, and right at the start of your service with him, without even having met you.
You are fortunate.
Make sure that you live up to my lord's high opinion of you." Nerva told the boy, seemingly puzzled by the favor being shown to Markos.
"So now," said Nerva, "give me the traveling cloak, and I will take you to the bath."
They returned down the staircase, with Markos now stark naked, and turned into another corridor, and through a door.
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The bath - even the bath for the high ranking slaves -  in the Villa Auri was as palatial as the rest of the building, and Markos wondered what the bath used by the owner of the villa would be like.
So Markos relaxed in the bath, and after about half an hour Nerva returned and took him to another room, where a young slave gave him a massage.
Then he was taken down a narrow passage-way.
Unlike the other passages and corridors, this passage-way was not sheathed in marble veneers or decorated, but instead it was just plastered.
Coming up the passage-way was the smell of smoke, and as they came to the end of the passage they came out onto what appeared to be a metal working shop.
There were swords, spears and pieces of armour lent against, and hanging from the walls.
There was a fire, with bellows for heating metal, and an anvil, and a big muscular slave, stripped to the waist, and bearded.
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"Our lord has deigned to call our blacksmith Vulcan - which, you will probably realize, being an educated boy, was the name of the master craftsman of the gods." Nerva told Markos, with a broad grin on his face.
"For reasons I can't go into now, Vulcan cannot talk."
Then Nerva spoke to Vulcan.
"Use one of your finest silver slave-collars. Make sure it's a good fit, and rivet it well. We don't want this young stallion running off."
Vulcan nodded.
While he went off to select a collar, Nerva spoke in a serious manner to Markos.
"This collar, which is very valuable, will be riveted round your neck.
If you were ever so foolish as to try and run away, you would find it very hard to get it removed.
Vulcan has a very special skill in these matters, and anyone else trying to remove the rivet would probably seriously injure, or even kill you - it's not worth the risk.
If my lord ever deigns to free you, then Vulcan - or if Vulcan is no longer here, then his apprentice, will remove it safely, and it will be a gift to you.
And just to remove any thoughts from your mind about leaving my lord's service - after you have had the collar put on, I will show you something that will make it clear to you what would happen if you decided to leave us without my master's permission."
Vulcan then set to work.
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"Now come with me, boy, and I will show you a disobedient slave."
Nerva led Markos through a doorway at the back of the workshop, which led to an enclosed square courtyard.
It was quite large, but the walls were windowless and high.
There was, however, a door in each wall - including the one that Markos and Nerva used.
The walls were of rough, unfinished stone that had been badly whit-washed.
"This is the punishment area.", Nerva announced, solemnly.
And it was quite obvious to young Marcus, because, in one corner a naked young slave was tied to a cross-beam, and impaled through his anus.
He was groaning pitifully, jerking up and down, literally 'fucking' himself, in a hopeless attempt to lift himself off the thick wooden post which was, by then, deep in his guts.
To add to his humiliation, the poor lad was horribly sexually excited, with a large erection which was dribbling semen, as a result of being forcibly penetrated.
Nerva explained, "He tried to run away.
Went to Neápolis, but no one there would remove his slave collar.
They all knew where he had come from, because the collar was thick silver, and he was soon reported, found, and sent back here.
My lord had no other choice but to subject him to this punishment.
If slaves are not punished then why should they obey their lord ?"
Markos was shocked, but tried not to show it.
"So how long has he got ?", he asked, trying to be somewhat nonchalant.
"He's struggling so hard that he will tire soon and sink right down on the post, which will mangle his guts completely, and he will bleed to death - probably by the morning."
The 'sedile' a  structure protruding from the upright of the execution frame that allowed the condemned man to take some of the weight off of his shoulders and arms, which drew out the death process and prolonged his suffering. Using a sedile could more than double the time it would take for the man to die. Probably the most common sedile was a simple rod, or plank, that jutted straight out of the upright post, and went between the victim's legs. To increase the suffering of the condemned individual, sometimes the sedile was made out of a flat piece of wood, that had been sharpened to a fine edge, and there is evidence that some sediles were even made of a triangular shaped piece of iron. It is therefore likely that prisoners crucified in that matter slowly castrated themselves as they struggled. There was also a more humiliating type of sedile that was used, mainly for the punishment of the most serious crimes.
Instead of a plank or post that went between the legs, a fairly stout rod was used, made of wood or metal, with a large round bulb at the end, that was greased and positioned into the condemned man's rectum so that it was forced into him, positioned actually inside him. This type of sedile would significantly increase his suffering and humiliation. The condemned man would then be forced to 'rape' himself as he struggled up and down. This usually produced a very strong penile erection, accompanied by one or more ejaculations of semen before the unfortunate victim died.
Nerva and Markos turned to go.
"Help me !", the boy grunted, as he pulled himself up, and then, unable to hold his position, dropped even further down on the post, squealing as he fucked himself, and forced more spunk from his obscenely jerking, stiff  penis.
Nerva closed the door on the repulsive sight, and he and Marcos turned into another corridor, where Markos would be fitted out with some clothing.

"Remember, Markos, the villa is well guarded, so it would be foolish ever to try to leave without the permission of my lord or Terentius." Nerva stated, as a final warning.
Terentius and Glykon
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Villa Slave-Guard
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Having been fully 'kitted out', allocated a room, and shown the consequences of disobedience, Markos was ready, despite the fact that it was his first day, to start working.
He was taken back to the entrance hall by Nerva, where they found Terentius chatting to Glykon.
"Everything has been done according to your instructions, sir," Nerva deferentially said to Terentius.
"Excellent !", Terentius beamed, scrutinizing Markos appearance carefully, and approvingly.
"What should I do with the boy's 'bulla ?" Nerva asked.
Terentius look puzzled.
Nerva was referring to the gold 'locket' that Markos wore on a leather strap round his neck.
It had been removed by Vulcan, when the silver slave-collar had been fitted.
"The boy has a bulla ? ... Strange, I never noticed it at Arion's, or on the journey here."
"Why would a young Greek slave-boy have a bulla ? - This is a serious matter that needs to be sorted out....
I must give it the the Dominus - as it is a sacred amulet - and leave him to deal with it." Terentius mused quietly to himself.
Terentius, however, was privately worried.
He had been stupid not to notice the 'bulla', and if it indicated that the boy Markos was not a slave, then there could be serious legal repercussions for both Terentius and his master, if the matter was ever discovered by the authorities.
Freeborn Roman citizens, by law, could not be bought as slaves.
"Thank you Nerva - you may go." Terentius said to his chief slave, being careful not to communicate his concern.
Marcus' Bulla
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A Bulla, is an amulet worn like a locket, was given to male freeborn boys in Ancient Rome nine days after birth.  A bulla was worn around the neck as a locket to protect against evil spirits and forces. A bulla was made of differing substances depending upon the wealth of the family. Before the age of manhood, Roman boys wore a bulla, a neckchain and round pouch containing protective amulets (usually phallic symbols), and the bulla of an upper-class boy would be made of gold. Other materials included leather and cloth. A boy would wear a bulla until he became a Roman adult. His bulla was carefully saved, and on some important occasions, like his becoming a general and commanding a parade, the bulla was taken out. He would wear the bulla during the ceremony to safeguard against evil forces, like the jealousy of others.
Then turning to Markos: "Now. Markos, you will be on duty here with Glycon", Terentius continued.
"Glykon is our most trusted door-keeper, and he has knowledge of the identities of all who call here at the Villa Auri."

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"Yes, sir", Markos replied, obediently.
"Our lord is a great and an important man, and he is patron of numerous clients, who come to visit him regularly, particularly in the mornings.
There are some, however, who come on the off-chance, who are not recognized as our lord's clients, and such men may not be admitted.
Your task, at present, is simply to watch Glykon, and take note, remembering the faces and names of those who are to be admitted as clients of our lord.
Is that clear ?"
"Yes, sir." Markos replied.
"Good!" Terentius continued, "And I will speak to you again - soon..
And Glykon will arrange for you meals, and give you any further help that you may need."
Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in Roman society between the patronus ("patron") and his cliens (plural clientes, "client"). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium. Although, almost always, the client was of inferior social class, a patron and client might even hold the same social rank, but the former would possess greater wealth, power, or prestige that enabled him to help or do favors for the client. From the emperor at the top to the local municipal man at the bottom, the bonds between these groups found formal expression in legal definition of patrons' responsibilities to clients.
Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood. In return, the client was expected to offer his services to his patron as needed. A freedman became the client of his former master (as in the case of Terentius). The regulation of the patronage relationship was believed by the historians Dionysius and Plutarch to be one of the early concerns of Romulus; hence the relationship dated to the very founding of Rome. An important man demonstrated his prestige or 'dignitas' by the number of clients he had. The client and patron were not allowed to sue or to bear witness against each other, and had to abstain from any injury to each other.
And so the days passed, with Marcos watching as Glykon greeted a succession of obviously wealthy and influential individuals, attended by their slaves and freedmen.
While Markos tried to remember the name, Glykon would politely but firmly deny some access to the villa, while others he would direct to one of the three atria close to the main entrance hall.
Atria were a common feature in Ancient Roman dwellings, providing light and ventilation to the interior. Such a court was partly open to the sky, with an impluvium - a shallow pool sunken into the floor to catch the rainwater. In the Villa Auri the main Atrium, reserved for the most important guests, contained a little chapel to the ancestral spirits (lararium),  and a bust of the master of the house. Normally there would only be one atrium in a house or villa, but the Villa Auri was built on such a grand scale, and was required to cater to so many guests, that there were three atria - the main atria being where the lararium was situated.
But Markos was bored and lonely.
Each day began with bathing and a massage and attention to his hair - all performed by lowers status slaves.
He soon learned the names of the various 'clientes' who called at the Villa, usually in the morning, and who was permitted access, and to which atrium they should be sent, and other than that there was little to do.
Unlike slaves in small villas and domum (houses), who usually took their meals by snacking in the kitchen, in the Villa Auri there was a separate room where the high status slaves, (which included Markos), ate, while lower status slaves served them.
There Markos had the opportunity to talk occasionally to Glykon, but it was obvious that the other slaves were very wary about talking to him - being unsure as to why such a newly acquired slave should have gained, almost immediately, such high status.
They realized that Markos spoke both Greek and Latin, and it was rumored that he could read and write in both languages - and they were unsure of his real role or function in the villa.
Markos was expected to stay on duty in the main entrance hall every night until nearly midnight, and then had to rise just after dawn - and all the time Neva was watching and checking on him, and reporting to  Terentius
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'and the story continues - as young Marcus meets his new master for the first time - a fateful meeting, because many things change for Markos after his 'interview with Gracchus' ........'

follow the link below for the full story and more exciting images......

TEXT - © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

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