Chapter XLII - Servi - Liberorum et Deos

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
'Slaves, the Free and the Gods'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

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SERVI
  
'The Slaves' - The corpses of the four dead slaves - executed during the Supplicia, were swiftly transported to Marcus' country villa at Tibur.
Country Villa at Tibur
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The reason for this was that the disposal of bodies was not permitted within the boundaries of the city of Rome.
Villa at Baiae
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Once they had arrived at Tibur, the bodies were cremated and placed in modest marble cinerary urns to await transport to the 'columbarium' at the villa at Baiea.
A columbarium is building or underground chamber, which the Romans used for preserving the ashes of the dead. During the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, hundreds of columbaria lined the consular highways leading out of Rome, although now only some two dozen are extant. Carefully organised, with neatly stuccoed ceilings, frescoed walls, and mosaic floors, columbaria are not to be confused with catacombs - long rambling underground galleries with crude recesses, which have been gouged out of tufa rock and used for inhumation (burial). The mass construction of  columbaria seems associated with Augustus’ (Octavian) reforms of Roman archaic burial laws. These reforms called for a new method of disposal of the dead. Columbaria represent an acceptable economic means of serving the needs of an ever-growing population of slaves and freed slaves. Columbaria were not used by the wealthy.
Marcus was always very punctilious with regard to funeral rites for slaves whom he felt deserved a proper entry into the next world.
That, of course, was an easy problem fo Marcus to solve.
With regard to the slaves who had caused problems on the night of Titus' visit, the further question was why such punishments, (Supplicia), had been required in the first place, and it weighed on Marcus' mind that the late Dominus, (Gnaeus Octavian), to the best of his knowledge, had never had any serious problem with his slaves during all the time that he had been Paterfamilias of the House of Gracchus (except for the problem of Cleon, Glykon and Petram)
So Marcus was beset with the question regarding where he had gone wrong with regard to his management of his slaves.
And it was not acceptable to blame the incident on an untried, untested and newly appointed steward - Nicander - after all, Marcus was honest enough to accept that he himself had been partly responsible for undermining the young man's status - right from the time when they first met at the the funeral of the late Dominus.
And then there was the matter of buying slaves, intended to fight in the arena at Baiea, only to then expect them to fight, a matter of days after being purchased, and with little or no training, in the Domus in Rome.
And why ?
Well Marcus new that the purchase was ill advised, and the slaves were required to fight only to satisfy his desire to impress Titus - and through Titus, Titus' father Vespasian.
Marcus discussed all these thoughts with Petronius - and Marcus had made it very clear that he believed that Petronius was in no way to blame for what had happened.
Petronius view was  that it was 'just one of those things', and there had been no serious repercussions arising from the event.
(Petronius, as far as Marcus was concerned, often seemed to lack empathy, and to be remote, even 'Olympian', in his attitude to other slaves - even when he had been a slave himself.)
Marcus however, was not so sure that the 'revolt' was 'just one of those things' - after all, four slaves had been brutally punished - executed in fact - for something that may well have not been their fault - and for those executed slaves that was serious !
Marcus had been sitting on a bench in the roof-garden, reflecting on recent events.
He was getting nowhere, so he decide to go down to his apartments, have a little wine and a snack, and then go to speak to Novius.
'Novius will have some good suggestions.', Marcus thought, trying to cheer himself up.
Elatos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
When Marcus reached the atrium of his apartments he found Aurarius regaling Elatos with a detailed account of Epitomes chasing a stark naked Sophos, and slapping the boy's backside and balls, before fucking the lad.
Both Aurarius and Elatos were in fits of laughter.
When Aurarius then got to the part where Sophos was impaled with his own wooden gladius, and then started wanking and 'cumming', Elatos could hardly control himself.
"Enough !", Marcus commanded,
Instantly Elatos stopped giggling, and Aurarius stopped telling his tale.
The two boy looked up at Marcus, fearfully - not daring to speak.
"The boy that you were talking about was only a little older than you, Aurarius, and was killed by being pushed onto an iron spike.
He was only 'punished' because he drew a 'short straw' - and he probably had done nothing wrong to deserve such a humiliating, agonising death.
Iron Frame Torture
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Bound Slave
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
So - it's not a matter for you two silly boys to make jokes about !"
"Yes Dominus - I'm very sorry.", Aurarius said, very close to tears.
Elatos was shaking.
"Please don't have me flogged, Dominus !", he stuttered.
"Not this time.", Marcus said coldly, obviously still extremely angry.
"Now go to your rooms, and I will deal with your both later - and not another sound from either of you.".
Marcus then called in a domus-guard, and instructed him that neither slave was to leave their room, or to speak, until he returned.
Marcus then made his way to the library, determined to get some advice from Novius.

EX  NOVIO  CONCILIVM

As usual, Novius was working away on his vast, comprehensive history of Etruscan magic and mythology.
"Sorry to disturb you.", Marcus said, poking his head round the door.
"Not at all. Come in my boy !", Novius said, rising from his seat.
"I just need someone to talk to...."Marcus said lamely.
"Well that's odd, because I wanted a little chat with you.", Novius replied.
"So what did you want to talk to me about.", Marcus said politely, letting Novius go first.
"No.... You are my Dominus so you have the first word.", Novius responded.
"Well I'm not really happy about what happened this morning." Marcus admitted.
"You mean the slaves being punished for causing problems in the basement ?", Novius said, sighing.
"Yes.... Do you think that Petronius went too far. ?", Marcus asked.
Novius thought for a moment.
"No.", he then answered firmly.
"I think it was prudent, as it is important to deter slaves from ever disobeying their masters.
The boys who were killed were unlucky - but then many people are unlucky.
The world is not a fair place, Marcus - as you should well know." Novius explained gently.
Marcus listened intently and nodded.
The old man words were wise.
"So I shouldn't feel guilty ?", Marcus asked.
"Not really.....
I know that the punishments were cruel and humiliating for the boys in question, and obviously ended in execution, but that was the point of the Supplicia.
It was meant to be a deterrent - to ensure that there will be no more trouble." Novius said, elaborating on what he had already said.
"Well that helps,", Marcus said, obviously relieved.
"Now what was it that you wanted to talk to me about ?".
"Now Dominus, I have been thinking long and hard bout the conversation that we had in the carriage on our journey here to Rome.....
If you recall we were talking about the possibility of Aurarius being the younger brother of Petronius.
Unfortunately the matter never seemed to get any further, apart from you and Petronius swapping boys.", Novius paused and looked at Marcus questioningly.
"And ?", Marcus shrugged.
"Well doesn't it seem odd that Petronius and Auarius, since then, have not really behaved like long lost brothers ?".Novius queried.
Marcus thought for a moment.
"Well yes - perhaps it does seem odd." Marcus tentatively agreed.
"So what are you suggesting we do ?" Marcus asked, sensing that Novius already had some devious plan.
"I think that we should question young Aurarius, with the aid of some of my Etruscan magic, and try to prise out some memories about this long lost older brother - and see if it really is Petronius, after all, it has a bearing on the prophecy of the Sibyl.", Novius proposed.
Marcus nodded thoughtfully.
"Indeed.....that might be a good idea.", he concurred.


MARCUS  ET  ELATOS

Novius' suggestion was helpful in more than one way.
It would help to have a better understanding of the origins of Aurarius - and also Petronius, for that matter.
Also however, it would divert Marcus from his preoccupation with problems relating to his newly acquired slaves.
Novius then gave Marcus a tiny flask of 'kykeon' (from κυκάω, 'to stir, to mix').
"See that Aurarius drinks this a short time before you bring him to me - I shall be in the library.", Novius explained.
So late in the afternoon, Marcus returned to his apartments.
As he entered the atrium he noticed that it was completely silent.
He immediately dismissed the domus-guard who had been supervising Aurarius and Elatos.
"Aurarius !", Marcus called.
The door to the atrium slowly opened, and Aurarius, looking very chastened and sorry for himself entered.
"You wish to see me, Dominus ?", Aurarius asked hesitantly.
"Yes - but first I want us to share some refreshments.", Marcus replied casually.
Aurarius went into the culina - and then returned a few moments later with cheese, fruit and some wine, which  he set down before Marcus.
Marcus tasted the wine.
"Aurarius I think that this wine taste a little stale, bring me a new flagon.".
"Of course, Dominus.", Aurarius said, as he took the original flagon from the table, and returned it to the culina.
While Aurarius was gone, Marcus poured the kykeon from the tiny flask that he had secreted in his toga into  Aurarius' goblet.
Unknown to Marcus, however, Elatos had been watching from the partially opened door of his cubiculum (bedroom).
Elatos quickly ran into the atrium.
"What are you doing, Dominus ? - trying to poison him ?", Elatos hissed.
Marcus instantly rose from his couch.
"Shut up !", Marcus said, quietly and coldly, and moved with sudden swiftness, grabbing, and gagging young Elatos, and bundling him out of the atrium.
(remember that Marcus had been trained as a gladiator by Servius and then Petronius, and could move and act with great strength and speed)
Once they were in the corridor, Marcus passed Elatos to one of the Domus-guards.
"Take him down to the slave-pens in the basement - keep him isolated until I send for him.", Marcus ordered.
Immediately Elatos was taken away.
Marcus then quickly slipped through the doors to the atrium, resuming his place on the couch as if nothing had happened.
Moments later Aurarius returned with a new flagon of wine.
"I thought I heard someone come in ?", Aurarius asked casually.
"Yes, it was just a message from Terentius - nothing really.", Marcus explained.
"The wine -", Marcus continued.
"I think I was mistaken - it seems all right - so drink up.", Marcus said, raising his half full goblet and drinking deeply.
"Well at least we have a new full flagon.", Aurarius said, puzzled about all the fuss over the wine.
"So, Dominus, - have you been able to forgive me ?", Aurarius asked, looking contrite - as he drunk up his wine - thinking that Marcus had been right in the first place, and the wine was a little stale.
"You mean, about all that silly talk about the slaves being punished ?", Marcus replied and Aurarius nodded.
"Well not really.", Marcus continued, settling back on his couch.
"I want you to understand that you are a slave - although most of the time you may not feel that you are - and for much of the time you do not act as if you were.
And I was also a slave, and so was Petronius and Terentius.
You see, Aurarius,", and Marcus was gazing intently at his slave-boy, looking for signs that the kykeon was working, "slaves are people, with brothers, sisters, parents and friends - even if we think of them as just possessions and objects.
Even if we treat them harshly and even humiliate them, we have no right to make them the subject of our jokes, and just 'things' to be sniggered at and laughed at.
We must leave them with just a shred of dignity.", Marcus explained - knowing that many patricians would not agree with what he was saying.
"You mean like when you made sure that the executed slaves were given the proper rites so that they could go to the next world ?", Aurarius questioned - but Marcus noticed that his young slave's words were just a little slurred.
"Exactly....So come 'Boy', let's go and see Novius ", Marcus said gently - taking Aurarius' arm, and guiding him to the atrium door.
"Yes Marcus,", Aurarius replied dreamily, as Glaux, (oddly wide awake so early in the afternoon), fluttered down onto Marcus' shoulder.

ETRVSCIS  MAGIA
Greek and Etruscan priests developed a great understanding of the human mind and the possibility of using suggestibility to obtain otherwise hidden problems and memories, and used various methods for this purpose. As time passed, they started to move away from the sole use of dream interpretation and suggestion therapy, using their growing knowledge of herbs; they developed unguents, tinctures and medicines. The Kykeon (Gr. κυκεών, from κυκάω, "to stir, to mix") the Novius used, was a Greek drink. It was made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. Kykeon was a psychoactive compounded used in   the Eleusinian Mysteries.
'Etruscan Magic' - Marcus and Aurarius arrived at the Library, and Novius led them to a separate study-room, furnished with chairs and couches, along with marble topped tables where scrolls were sorted.
On one of the tables there was a curious looking Etruscan bronze incense burner - which gave the study-room an exotic, musty scent.
"Please - Dominus and Aurarius - sit down and be comfortable.", Novius said invitingly.
Novius - Master of Magic
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
When they were all seated, Novius began.
"It's a long time since we had a proper conversation, Aurarius, and the Dominus and I thought that today - as we have time - we could make up for that just have a nice little chat,
and remember - there is no need to be concerned.
Nobody is going to hurt you - so just relax."
There was a small leather pouch on the table next to Novius, and he slowly and gently opened it up, and emptied the contents onto the table.
As the 'charm' fell onto the table Novius began his explanation.
Etruscan Pendant
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
He picked the charm up by its chain, and held it quite close to Aurarius face.
"I have something here - rather special - that I would like you to look at."
The glint of gold instantly caught  Aurarius' eye.
"It's very old - from the time when Rome was founded.
Very....very...... very old.", and as Novius said this, he began to swing the pendant in front of  Aurarius' eyes.
"Very.... very .....very old.", and each time he said 'very' he swung the pendant.
As Aurarius became fixated on the swinging pendant, Novius gestured Marcus to look away.
Then Aurarius' eyelids fluttered, and in a matter of moments Aurarius' eyes had glazed over and, it seemed, he was seeing nothing.
Novius then read, in Oscan, a short invocation from a scroll that had lain on the table beside the leather pouch.
By then Aurarius' chin had dropped down, and his mouth was open, and his eyes had slowly closed, although the lids still trembled.
"That's good, Aurarius.", Novius said, as he looked to Marcus and smiled.
"Now tell me, where were you born ?", Novius began - conducting all his questioning in Greek.
"Outside a small town near Athens.",  Aurarius replied - also in Greek - with an Athenian accent.
"And the town's name ?", Novius probed.
"It was called Eleusis.
Farmhouse near Eleusis
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
My father had a small farm near the town."
Eleusis was a deme of Athens, and most famous for its annual festival of the Mysteries in honour of Demeter and Persephone. The site was also an important fortress protecting Attica, and held several other important festivals, notably the 'Thesmophoria', the subject and title of a comedy play by Aristophanes. The site continued to be an important religious centre through Hellenistic and Roman times, when the site was significantly expanded with monumental architecture being added by several Roman emperors.
"And what is your name ?", Novius asked.
Novius knew that Aurarius had been sold into slavery as a young boy, and had forgotten his original name - later being simply referred to by his elderly master as Αγόρι - 'Boy'.
"My name is Φιλων - Philon.", Aurarius  replied, much to the surprise of Marcus and Novius.
"And may I call you Philon ?", Novius asked, trying to establish the validity of the information.
"Of course - it's my name." Φιλων - Philon (Latinized as Philo) is Greek for 'lover' or 'friend'.
"And did you have any brothers, Philon ?", Novius asked.
"Yes, I had one older brother - Πάτροκλος - Patroklos.", Aurarius replied, apparently not realizing the significance of the name - Πάτροκλος - Patroklos in Greek, means 'the glory of the father'.
"So, tell me about this older brother.", Novius continued.
"Well .....he was a few years older than me, and never wanted to be a farmer, like our father, but instead an athlete - and there were Games held in Eleusis  - and I think that's where he got the idea from.", Aurarius explained.
Patroklos Throws the Discus
adapted from an image by
Zac Sawyer & reproduced
with permission
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
"So did Patroklos become an athlete ?", Novius queried.
"No, that's where it all went wrong.", Aurarius replied.
"You see, he often used to practice discus - in one of my father's fields.
On that day, he went to fetch the discus that he'd just thrown, but his friend wasn't paying attention and didn't see him.
The friend made his throw, and his discus hit Patroklos' head.
When we got to my brother, he was unconscious.
Father got a  physician from Athens, although he couldn't afford it - and got into debt.
Days went by, and my brother did't wake up, and the physician gave up."
"So go on." Novius said, encouragingly.
Well in the end he appeared to have stopped breathing, so we began to prepare his funeral pyre.
But then something very strange happened.
He woke up, or 'came round' or something - opened his eyes, and asked for food, and a drink.
To begin with we thought it was a 'miracle' - a dream come true - but then we realized that he had completely lost his memory.
He didn't know his own name, he didn't remember his mother and father, or me, or where he was, or his friends or anything.
But he could still speak, read and write.
He knew the days, and the names of the gods, but in all other ways, my brother seemed to be lost to me.
Novius looked puzzled.
"So did things just slowly go back to normal ?", he asked.
Well no....
You see the rich landowner wanted the loan he had made to my father paid back - but it was a bad harvest, and father had no money - so there was only one way out.
Aurariu is Bought by Terentius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Both Patroklos and myself were sold into slavery.
Unfortunately we were sold to different owners, so I never saw my brother again ..... until I saw someone very like him, when I was taken to this very big villa by the sea - but he didn't recognise me, and had a different name, so I thought it was just a coincidence that he looked similar.
Aurarius paused, looking puzzled and somewhat disturbed.
"But I don't know if it matters because, after the accident, Patroklos wasn't really my brother.
The accident made him ... well ... someone else - but I don't know who....", and Aurarius' words trailed off into sadness and disappointment - and even little Glaux, who had been 'listening' all the time, looked sad.
"And did you like your brother - that is before the accident ?", Novius asked, somewhat pointedly.
"Yes - very, very much....." Aurarius replied, his voice breaking as he spoke.
"He was.......", Aurarius hesitated for a moment.
"He was my hero......my  Patroklos.",  Aurarius said quietly, as tears began to roll down his cheeks.
"What do you think, Dominus ?", Novius asked, turning to Marcus.
"I think that's enough for this session.
It gives us a lot to think about, - and discus.", Marcus replied.
"Yes I agree.",Novius said, and then returned his attention, and his gaze to Aurarius.
"That is all very interesting.", Novius said to Aurarius
"Now, when I click my fingers you will forget everything that has happened since you sat down in that chair.
Is that clear ?", Novius said firmly.
"Yes, sir.", Aurarius answered mechanically.
Novius then clicked his fingers, and Aurarius opened his eyes, and looked round the study-room, obviously dazed and tired.
"So what were you going to talk to me about, sir ?", Aurarius asked.
"Oh - nothing really !", Novius answered, casually and looking at Marcus, smiling
Aurarius looked very confused, and looked to Marcus.
"Nothing to worry about, Aurarius - Novius' little talk with you is over - so lets go back to our apartments."
"Of course, Dominus.", Aurarius replied, getting up from his seat a little unsteadily.
"I'm sorry Dominus - I think I must have had too much wine.", Aurarius said, looking embarrassed and even more confused.
"That's no problem, but we should go, as Novius needs to get on with his book - or he'll never finish it.", Marcus said, winking at Novius.
"Of course,", Novius said, "And thank you for visiting me in my little 'cavea' - (den)", Novius said, opening the door of the study-room.
"Little !", Marcus said in mock consternation.
"Why it's one of the largest libraries in Rome !" (Bibliotheca - in Latin)
And with that, Marcus and Aurarius left the Library, and returned to Marcus' apartments.
"I think that it would be a good idea if you went down to the ground floor, had a good swim, and then got one of the slaves to give you a good thorough massage", Marcus suggested to Aurarius, once they arrived back in the apartment.
"And you won't need me, Dominus .", Aurarius asked, seemingly concerned.
"Not until later when I want you to come to the city with me.", Marcus said, - "and then, in the evening, you can bathe again, you will be fresh from the pool - your skin will be smooth - and I will enjoy being with you.", Marcus replied, his eyes twinkling.
"I understand Dominus.", Aurarius replied, giving a knowing smile.


   
RECENSVS
   
'Review' - Marcus arrived at the doors of the Bibliotheca, and told the Domus-guard to announce him.
"Ah.... I thought you'd be back - and soon. ", Novius said, and Marcus entered.
"Of course - I really want to hear what you think about the 'chat' you had with young  Aurarius.", Marcus said, as Novius busied himself putting away some rather tatty looking scrolls.
"Well....your beautiful boy certainly had some interesting things to say- and my mind's in a bit after a whirl after it - but lets go and sit down, and perhaps if we go through it slowly we might make some sense of it.", Novius explained, as he deposited the tatty scrolls on a shelf marked 'Etruscis Fabulae' - (Etuscan Legends).
They sat down, and Novius called a slave boy and ordered some refreshments.
"So what did you make of it all ?", Marcus asked.
"Well...Dominus - I think is poses more questions than answers- but that is what tends to happen if you probe into anything.", Marcus nodded.
"And do you believe what he told us ?", Marcus queried.
"Undoubtedly !", Novius replied.
"The kykeon, the pendant and the invocation always elicit the complete truth - however difficult or disturbing we may find it.", Novius declared.
"Think of the questioning of the conspirators back in Baiea - it told us everything.", Novius continued.
"Yes - you're right.", Marcus conceded.
"And now ?", Marcus asked.
"Well we know now - for sure - where Aurarius originally came from - and we know his real name, that he believed that he had forgotten - but you see, Dominus, it was there all the time, just waiting for our 'Etruscan magic' to free it." Novius explained.
"Yes - I see", Marcus said, admiringly.
"And will he remember it now ?", Marcus asked intrigued.
"No - but we can bring it back to his memory permanently, if we use the 'magic' again, and command him to remember it." Novius said.
"And what if I just tell him his real name, when he comes back from his swim and his massage later ?", Marcus asked, pursuing the matter.
"Then he will refuse to believe you, and probably think that you are crazy." Novius said.
"Well that's not surprising......
When he first came to us he thought we were all crazy - and he was not far wrong." Marcus said wryly.
"So we have this farmer's boy, who is called Φιλων - Philon - very appropriately, from your point of view, Dominus, as I think I'm right in believing that he is your 'lover'.", Marcus nodded, accepting that there were no secrets between himself and Novius.
"And this 'farm-boy' lives near Athens, and he has an older brother who, strangely, is called Πάτροκλος - Patroklos - which is not a very common Greek name.
But so far there is nothing remarkable in that.", Novius said.
"True.", Marcus agreed.
Apollo and Hyacinth
Todd Yeager
"And then we come to the part about this much admired older brother wanting to be an athlete - but having athletic ambitions is not unusual with Greek boys.
But then things become strange.
This aspiring boy athlete has an apparently 'fatal' accident involving a discus.
And what does that make you think of - Dominus ?", Novius asked.
"Well - Aristarchos taught me much about Greek mythology, and to me. it brings to mind the story of  Ὑάκινθος - Huákinthos." Marcus replied.
"Exactly !", Novius agreed.
"And who is the main protagonist in that story, apart, of course,  from  Huákinthos ?", Novius asked.
"Apollo - and here we go again - always Apollo.", Marcus answered.
Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by Zephyrus, the West Wind. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. When Hyacinth died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid's account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower's petals with the sign of his grief. And so Apollo remains associated with the boy in the epithet of Apollon Hyakinthios.
"But there is a puzzle here, because we don't know who the 'friend' was who threw the discus.
And if I had 'caught on' fast enough, I might have asked Aurarius.", Novius said regretfully.
"Well we can always ask him during another session - as I'm sure that this matter will throw up more questions that need to be answered." Marcus said, trying to be helpful.
"True....",Novius replied.
"Now the next part of the story might have some resonance for you, Dominus - the period of unconsciousness - the sleep from which none one can rouse Patroklos.", Novius continued.
"Indeed it has.
It is oddly like the 'coma' that I experienced after the attack by Glykon.", Marcus confirmed.
"Except that when you came back to us, you were the same old Marcus that you had always been - with no memory loss or any other symptoms.", Novius said.
"Well that is true - but I must confide in you that I did not feel the same.
Something happened to me that changed me during that time I was away." Marcus explained.
"Yes.....
And where were you during that time, Dominus ?", Novius asked.
"Well I know it sounds foolish to say now - but I though I was on Mount Parnassus, with Apollo and the Muses".
Mount Parnassus plays a prominent role in Greek mythology because on its southern slope, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, lies Delphi, site of the famous oracle. There were many oracles in ancient Greece, but only the one at Delphi achieved a record of reliability. According to tradition, Parnassus was the site of the fountain Castalia, and the home of the Muses. As the home of the Muses, Parnassus was sacred to the God Apollo, and became known as the home of poetry, music, and learning.
Marcus' Dream of Apollo
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
"And you said - if I remember rightly - that 'Apollon Mousagetēs' looked just like the statue of Petronius - who is of course our discus throwing 'farm-boy' Patroklos." Novius exclaimed.
"Yes.", Marcus said, looking perturbed.
"So here we have a very complex puzzle, and we must be careful as to what significance we give to each of its parts, or how we interpret those parts........
But to return to what Aurarius told us, we have confirmation of why Aurarius and Petronius became slaves - which was the debt that was incurred by trying to have Patroklos cured.
And then we have the remarkable recovery of the boy.
But..... and here is a very significant point, when Patroklos awakens, he seems to have lost most of his memories - including who he was.
So perhaps he wasn't Patroklos any more.....", Novius concluded - and a dramatic silence seem to fall over the proceedings.
Marcus looked puzzled.
"Let me try to understand what you are saying - and perhaps I've got this completely wrong, but then I'm no philosopher.", Marcus said, rising from his chair and walking round the room.
"You seem to be implying that this boy - Patroklos - may have really died - and his body (σώμα - soma) was 'taken over' by someone or something else ?", Marcus said questioningly.
"Well that may be a possibility, Dominus.
It could explain why his memories of himself, his family and presumably, therefore, his past, had disappeared, while his memories of how to speak and write, and everyday things, like the names of the days, or the names of the gods were unaffected.", Novius said tentatively.
"So whose ψυχή (psyche or soul) are you suggesting was then inhabiting the body of young  Patroklos ?", Marcus asked.
"Ah...well, that is the big question....", Novius replied.
Plato considered the psyche to be the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. Socrates says that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. He believed that as bodies die, the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies and Plato believed this as well.
"Yes - and I think I know who you might be suggesting - but it's impossible - ridiculous !", Marcus said angrily.
"I know - and I will not dare enunciate my thoughts on that possibility until we have put a lot more thought into the matter.
But I have long had my suspicions.", Novius said warily.
"Well that is enough for now - and in a way I wish we had not had this conversation.", Marcus said, turning to go.
"I agree - but fantastic though it may be we would be unwise to dismiss what Aurarius has told us simply because we find it difficult to believe or frightening - after all - it explains many of the strange events that have occurred since you - 'the golden boy from the sea' arrived among us. ", Novius said, as he rose to escort Marcus from the Bibliotheca.

   
SERVORUM  ET  TERENTIOS

'Ternetius and Slaves' - Marcus left the Bibliotheca and made his way to Terentius' officium.
At least with Terentius everything was 'cut and dried' and 'normal' - at least that was what Marcus was hoping.
Terentius rose from his chair.
"Salve Dominus !", he said, cheerfully.
"Salve !", Marcus said, slumping down in one of the chairs opposite the huge marble table Terentius used as his desk.
"I've just been having a session with Novius, trying to prise out more information about Aurarius."
Terentius raised an eyebrow - "Oh".
"And for your records you can put Aurarius' original name down as Philon, and Pretonius' original name as Patroklos, and their place of origin as Eleusis, near Athens, in Achaea.", Marcus said, almost mechanically.
"And any more information ?", Terentius queried.
"Just don't ask !", Marcus said wearily.
"Oh - it was like that, was it.", Terentius commiserated.
"Yes !".Marcus said.
"Now what about these slaves who were going to be gladiators ?......
I think we have lost eight boys at the last count ?" Marcus asked.
"Yes Dominus.", Terentius replied.
"But no matter - they are cheap to buy, and cheap to replace.", Terentius said brightly
"Yes... Just as well !", Marcus commented.
"But I think that we need another ten - but not to use here.
We will send them straight back to Baiea - with Petronius in attendance.", Marcus instructed.
"And is that Patroklos or Petronius ?", Terentius said, being purposefully awkward , and he imagined amusing. 
"Enough, Terentius ! - leave it as Petronius
I really can't take all this name changing." Marcus said, sounding exasperated.
"Now I need a new slave for myself and Aurarius", Marcus continued.
"You and Aurarius ?", Terentius questioned.
"Yes.", Marcus said tetchily.
"In case you haven't noticed, Aurarius has reached the age where he needs someone to fuck."
"Yes, of course, Dominus.
But what about that nice little lad, Elatos ?" Terentius asked.
"That nice little lad, as you put it, is in big trouble.
I have decide to make an example of him", Marcus explained.
"Not another execution, and then a replacement I hope." Terentius said wearily.
"No - I just plan to humiliate him, then I will get the boy properly castrated by Agathon - and use him as an attendant in the pool - and then later, after he had served as an appropriate deterrent to the other slaves, you can sell him off to a 'boy-brothel', hopefully at a good price."
"So I see you are really determined to ensure that there are no further problems with the slaves.", Terentius commented.
"Yes !", Marcus replied firmly.
"Well that's good, Dominus !", Terentius added, seeing that Marcus was in one of his 'dominant' moods.
"So later today we will take Aurarius to choose a really 'nice' boy, and we can also get some slaves suitable for the arena." Marcus said.
"Of course Dominus.
And may I ask how young Aelius is getting on.", Terentius responded.
"Well - so far, he's one of the exceptions.
He's doing very well.", Marcus replied.
"And may I ask, returning to this Elatos boy - what did he actually do that attracts such an unusual punishment.", Terentius asked.
"Two things, actually.
First - he was making dirty jokes about the sufferings of the slaves who were being punished on the roof-gardens.
But far more seriously, he accused me of trying to 'poison' Aurarius.", Marcus explained.
"Well the first is possibly excusable with young boys of his age, but accusing you of trying to 'poison' Aurarius - well that is unforgivable.
And I can understand why you are so upset, knowing your feelings for Aurarius.", Terentius said.
"So you see it's the same old problem - jealousy between slaves." Marcus said resignedly.
"So I am going to see Agathon now, and when I am finished, I would like you to come with me to buy these new slaves.", Marcus explained.
"Of course, Dominus.'

  
OCCVRENS CVM MEDICVS

'A Meeting with the Physician' - Marcus left Terentius' officium, and went down to the 'slave-pens' in the basement - where the domus-guards were very surprised to see him
"You have a slave here called Elatos I believe ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes, Dominus.", the guard replied smartly.
"Good, then I want an escort to bring the slave with me to the officium of Agathon."
"Of course, Dominus." the guard replied, calling to another guard to go and fetch the boy.
It should be pointed out here that 'normal' Roman houses, even of wealthy patricians, rarely had secure accommodation for prisoners, and guards to supervise them. It was only because of the abnormally large number of slaves accommodated in the Domus Gracchii that such facilities were available. It should also be noted that the paterfamilias had the right, under Roman law, to detain all and any members of his 'familia', and this included slaves, freemen and blood relations.
A guard quickly returned with Elatos and the three - Marcus, the guard and Elatos, then made their way upstairs to the officium of Agathon.
The domus-guard waited outside, in the corridor.
"Salve Dominus !", Agathon said, greeting Marcos.
"And how can I be of service to my Dominus."
Marcus pushed Elatos forward.
"I want this boy castrated.", Marcus said bluntly.
Agathon looked surprised and a little shocked.
"This is and unusual request, Dominus.
May I be so bold as to ask the reason for this drastic action ?", Agathon said quietly, as Elatos looked up pleadingly at Marcus, wordlessly begging him, with his eyes, to reconsider.
"It is a punishment, intended to deter other slaves from disrespecting their Dominus.", Marcus coldly explained.
"I see.", Agathon said calmly.
"But you must understand that with an procedure like this there is always a certain amount of risk.", Agathon continued.
"I know, but you are skilled - and I need this to be done as painlessly as possible, and as neatly as possible - with the very minimum of scarring." Marcus said.
"That I can do, although there will be some pain during the days after the procedure.
Let me see the boy naked.", Agathon asked.
One of Agathon's young assistants approached Elatos, and carefully pulled off the boy's tunic, and unlaced the boy's thong.
Agathon gentltly lifted up Elatos' limp little penis, to expose his scrotum
"So - I can make an incision in the scrotum here, - and remove both testicles.", Agathon indicated with a stylus on the exposed scrotum where he would cut, while Elatos stood trembling, obviously terrified at what Agathon was proposing.
"Then I can cut away the unwanted extra scrotal skin, and then sew together two halves of the scrotum, - and it will look as if he had never had any testicles, and there will be no bulge, and the penis will lie flat.", Agathon explained.
"That's excellent.", Marcus commented.
"And this boy, in consideration of his age, will then be unable to have an erection, masturbate, have penetrative sex, or produce any seed.
He will be virtually sexless.", Agathon added.
"And when do you require this procedure to take place ?", Agthon asked.
"Not for a few days.", Marcus replied.
But before we go I have one more request." and Marcus paused for a moment.
"I know from Petronius,(and my own experience, from some time ago), that you can fit a 'cock-cage', in order to prevent any sexual activity ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes - that is correct.", Agathon replied with a knowing smile.
(Petronius regularly had the boys who were to perform in the arena fitted with a cock-cage so that they would be excessively 'horny' when they appeared in public)
"Well I would like you to fit one on this boy before we go.", Marcus said.
The cage was quickly fitted, and Agathon's assistant helped a concerned young Elatos to dress.
As Elatos was led away, he looked back tearfully - but Marcos had his back to him, and did not notice.


SERVOS  DOMINVS  AQVIRENDI

Graecostadium Slave Market
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
'Purchasing Slaves' (again) - Marcus went down the the main atrium, found some slave-boys, and sent one up to collect Terentius, one to the baths to collect Aurarius, and one to the gymnasion to collect Petronius and Adonios.
When they had all finally gathered, they set off to the 'Graecostadium' - the large slave-market near the forum Romanum.
As they made their way, Marcus tried to put to the back of his mind the speculations that he and Novius and entertained regarding Petronius - but he found it difficult being in the company of his closest friend.
Aurarius, of course, was completely unaffected by the morning's events, having had his memory effectively wiped by Novius.
Once at the Graecostadium, Terentius sought out the venalicius (dealer), called Faustus ('Lucky'), a close friend of Terentius, (and actually a 'client' of the 'late Dominus' and therefore now a 'client' of Marcus).
This was the venalicius that Terentius regularly used, and together they had a very profitable association, however, on this occasion a minor argument broke out, with Terentius accusing Felix of offloading onto him some obstreperous slaves - who had caused no end of trouble.
Eventually the matter was settled with Felix promising - to provide some first class slaves, and also to offer them at a reduced price  in consideration of the previous problems.
Terentius then brought in Petronius, whom Felix had met on their previous visit to the Graecostadium, in order to check out the slaves, and ensure that they were suitable for use in the arena.
Eventually ten slaves were purchased - to be delivered to the Domus at the end of the trading day.


AURARIUS  PUER  SERVUS

'A Slave-Boy for Aurarius' - Marcus and his companions then returned to the high class slave dealer, situated a short walk from the Graecostadium.
Terentius led the way - knowing, to some extent, the proprietor of the establishment.
"Salvete vera Domine ! (Greetings , esteemed sir)", the proprietor said, as Terentius entered.
"Salve !", Terentius replied.
"We are pleased to serve you once again.", the proprietor said, ushering the group into the main entrance.
Petronius, however, excused himself, taking Adonios with him to a nearby thermopolium.
For Marcus, Terentius, and Aurarius refreshments were served.
"And may I ask how the boy that you purchased previously is getting on ?
Is he coming up to your expectations ?", the proprietor asked.
"Yes - very much so.",Terentius replied.
"And what, exactly, are you looking for on this visit.?", the proprietor asked, as slave-boys served wine and delicacies.
"A boy very similar to the lad we bought previously.
The boy is to be a concubinus for this young lad, Terentius said, indicating Aurarius - and so slightly shorter in stature - and, of curse, no older."
"And how old is this fine young 'virum' (gentleman)." the proprietor asked.
"Well that's a slight problem - we don't actually know precisely.", Ternetius explained.
"No matter - it's a common problem - we can just ensure that the slave-boy we offer you looks a little younger."
(as Aurarius was a slave - and the boy being bought was also a slave, the age difference was not crucial, as it was acceptable for slaves to have both passive and penetrative  roles during various aspects of sexual activity, regardless of age (within limits).
"And build and colour ?", the proprietor inquired.
Terentius looked to Aurarius.
Aurarius shrugged his shoulders - not being that concerned (after all - he only wanted a good fuck).
"Like me....",  Aurarius answered, "Well, not a black boy - and any hair colour, except like those Celts  - with their 'red' hair. "
"Of course, iuvenis domine."
This reply greatly pleased Aurarius - as 'iuvenis domine', (young sir), was not a form of address normaly given to slaves, but then Aurarius was wearing his gold collar, gold studded wrist braces, and wearing a gold seal ring and carrying a pugio (normally illegal in the environs of Rome - but allowed to members of the House of Gracchus by a special dispensation of Titus Vespsianus - Preatroian Prefect), so the proprietor, being unsure of Aurarius' exact status was 'playing it safe'.
This, of course, was what Marcus had intended, when he had 'kitted out' Aurarius and Adonios with various items that intentionally blurred the distinction between 'free' and 'slave'.
It should be noted here that there were actually laws that prescribed the form of dress that could be worn by various classes (this is related to the Roman obsession with hierarchy, precedence and social class). Most of those laws were based on ancient tradition, but had been given legal status by the reforms of the Princeps Augustus (Octavian). Marcus was careful (with his slaves) not to infringe on those laws, but he took advantage of certain vague areas, so that few people could actually distinguish the exact social position of slaves such as Aurarius and Adonios.
"So if you could just wait a moment, I will have some boys ready for you to inspect.", the proprietor said, as he then turned to whisper some instructions the a young slave.
Venalicius Room
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The proprietor then led Marcus, Aurarius and Terentius into a room to view the slaves.
Aurarius recognised it as the same room where Demetrius had chosen young 'Mikkos' - now known as Aelius.
It was small, yet opulent, with cream stucco walls and tasteful mouldings.
At one end was an alcove, the ceiling of which was supported by Ionic columns of creamy veined marble, with white marble capitals.
At the rear of this alcove was curtaining of a rich, dark red material, and there was obviously a room, or corridor, behind the curtain, as the boys made their entrance through the curtaining.
They didn't have long to wait, and four naked boys - all conforming - more or less - to Aurarius' requirements entered.
Aurarius could hardly believe what was happening.
Here he was, a poor slave boy, having been neglected for years, and living in squalor with a sick old man in a tumble-down villa, and now he was able to pick a slave-boy who was being bought for him - at some fabulous price - by one of the richest men in the empire - and that man was not old, fat and bald, like most very rich men were, but young, slim, handsome, athletic and virile.
He was sure he would wake up soon, but before that happened, he had to choose a boy.
The first four boys were 'nice' - much more attractive than most of the young domus-slaves, and far more attractive than any of the slave-boys usually found in the Graecostadium, but Aurarius was determined to find a boy who really appealed to him.
The next four lads were better - but still not what he was really looking for, but by then he was worried, hoping that Marcus would not loose patience with him.
'Second from the Right'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Already Terentius was looking peeved, but when the next four appeared Aurarius saw exactly the kind of boy that he was looking for.
"That one there, Dominus - second from the right !", Aurarius whispered excitedly to Marcus.
"Very good 'Boy' - you have good taste.", Marcus whispered back.
And Marcus turned to Terentius, speaking out loud:
"Terentius....what do you think about the one - second from the right ?".
"Excellent choice, Dominus." Terentius replied.
Marcus then turned to Aurarius.
"Lets go and have a talk to him.....", and Aurarius nodded.
Marcus then turned to the proprietor.
"Dismiss the other boys - I want to speak to the one second from the right."
One of the proprietor's assistants shepherded the other three boys back through the curtains, leaving just the one boy that Aurarius had selected.
The boy looked nervous and embarrassed - which pleased Marcus.
Elatos had been far too 'forward' (and was soon to suffer horribly for it), and even Aelius was a little too confident for Marcus' liking.
"So, iuvenis, (young man) - where do you come from ?", Marcus asked, trying not to be too intimidating.
The boy looked a little confused.
Worried that Marcus might be put off the purchase, the proprietor intervened.
"Domine, his Latin is not very good, but his Greek is excellent, and refined, and he can read and write to a very high standard."
"That's good." ,Marcus replied, and continued in 'refined' Greek.
"Από πού κατάγεστε" - (where do you come from ?), Marcus repeated.
"Απολλωνία (Apollonia) - in Ελλάδα (Greece), Domine.", the boy replied quietly.
"Ah...that's near Θεσσαλονικη (Thessaloniki) ?", Marcus replied.
"Yes, you know it ?", the boy replied, his face lighting up at the thought that someone actually knew where he came from.
"I know of it." Marcus said, unnerved by the fact that the town was named after Apollo - considering the session he had with Novius and Aurarius.
"Right, boy - turn around, slowly.", The boy turned.
"And your name, boy - and don't say it's 'Boy'.", Marcus asked, as Aurarius grinned.
"My name, domine, is Aniketos.", the boy replied.
"Anicetus - (Latinised form) - 'unconquerable' - very appropriate for a gladiator.", Markos said, smiling.
The boy looked alarmed.
"And would you like to be a gladiator, Aniketos ?
I have many gladiators, and an amphitheatre in Baiae.", Marcus continued - 'playing' with the boy.
"No, Domine - I cannot fight, and I am too young." Aniketos said, by then panicking as he imagined that he was to be sold to a lanista.
"Don't worry, young man - I am only joking, although I do have have many gladiators, and an amphitheatre - but you are far too costly to be used in the arena."
"So how did you become a slave ?", Marcus asked, being careful with this purchase, as he did not want any more strange surprises regarding members of his 'familia'.
"I was 'verna' (born as a slave).", Aniketos replied.
"So how did you come to be being sold here ?", Marcus asked, puzzled.
Aniketos shrugged his shoulders.
"May I can be of help here ?", the proprietor said, intervening.
"When the boy matured a little, his owner, a Roman citizen with a small estate in northern Greece, recognised that the boy was unusually handsome and intelligent - but having no inclination towards boys - if you take my meaning - he saw that selling the boy on, in Rome, would give him a very good return, after all, he could buy many more useful slaves from the profit he made from just this one boy.", the proprietor explained.
"And you speak truthfully ?
Remember Titus Vespasianus is a close friend to me, and if you lie about his boy, the consequences for you could be very grave.", Marcus said.
"I know, Dominus.
Your name is now well known here in Rome - and I would be a fool to lie to you.", the proprietor said nervously.
"Good !", Marcus said smiling.
"And now, young lad.", Marcus said, turning to Aniketos, "Let us talk bluntly, as man to man.", Marcus said.
I have been told that your previous master did not care for boys - so am I right in thinking that he never fucked you ?", Marcus asked.
Aniketos looked a little surprised at how 'blunt' Marcus was being.
"No - he never used me in that way. But not because there was anything wrong with me.... he just didn't 'fancy' boys.", Aniketos explained.
"But it wouldn't be a problem for you - being fucked I mean ?", Marcus asked, pointedly.
"If it was what my master wished,  then it would be no problem.", Aniketos answered carefully.
(Aniketos was no fool. He had quickly realised that Marcus seemed a reasonable master, and he would probably be fortunate to have such a master, so regardless of what he might like or prefer, it was wise to acquiesce to any of his possibly new master's wishes.)
And Marcus then turned to  Aurarius.
"And you like this boy ?, Marcus asked, with a smile.
"Yes... very much, Dominus !",  Aurarius replied enthusiastically.
"Good.", Marcus said, and turned to Terentius.
"Terentius - could you arrange a price, and we will take the boy with us - if some clothing can be provided."
Aniketos looked pleased and relieved, as Terentius and the proprietor went off to do some serious bargaining.
Once Aniketos had been provided with a tunic and sandals, and Terentius had paid the agreed sum, Marcus, Terentius, Aurarius and Aniketos left the slave dealers, and went across the street to collect Petronius and Adonios from the thermopolium.
"And who is this Dominus ?", Petronius asked, and he took a good look at the new slave-boy.
"This is Aniketos.", Marcus replied, "and he is to replace Elatos."
"I see - and what is going to happen to Elatos ?", Petronius asked.
"Well, that is something that we must discuss, but at the moment I think we should get back to Domus, and get Aniketos settled in."  Marcus replied.


REVERTERE  AD  DOMUS

On returning to the Domus, Marcus was met in the main atrium by Nicander, who had a letter from Titus.
"This Nicander, is Aniketos - and he is to replace Elatos as a slave in my apartments.", Marcus stated as he received the letter..
"I see Dominus.", Nicander replied, trying to be as businesslike as possible.
"Later, provide him with a silver slave, and sort out some good quality spare clothing for him - and order some new items, if necessary." Marcus ordered.
"Of course, Dominus. ", Nicander replied.
"Now Petronius, I would like to meet with you later in my apartments this evening, if you are not busy.", Marcus requested.
"No problem, Dominus - and can I bring Adonios and Glaux - I think that Glaux would like to meet the new boy.", Petronius replied.
"Of course." Marcus answered, and he smiled as he noted that Petronius seemed more relaxed.
Marcus and Aurarius then guided Aniketos up the marble stairs to Marcus' apartments.

INTRODVCTIO

'Introductions' - Aniketos looked bewildered and amazed as he made his way up the vast marble staircase to Marcus' apartments.
The boy said nothing, but was obviously filled with questions about the huge building to which he had been brought.
Eventually they arrived at the huge gilded bronze double doors leading to Marcus' apartments which the domus-guards, bowing, opened silently as Marcus approached.
"This, Aniketos, is where you will be living for the moment.", Marcus said as they entered the atrium.
"Aurarius ! Show Aniketos the culina, and get him to help you to bring some wine.", Marcus ordered, as he flopped himself down on one of the couches.
Moments later the boys returned with a gold flagon and goblet, on a tray, for Marcus.
"Good ", Marcus said quietly
"Now Aurarius, you go and tidy up the scrolls and tabulae ceratae (wax tablets), and put away any clothes, while I have a talk with Aniketos."
Aurarius nodded, and quietly left the atrium.
Aniketos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Aniketos now stood nervously before Marcus, who was still holding the unopened scroll from Titus.
"So, iuvenis (young man), - you are now a member of the House of Gracchus - which I deem to be a great privilege for you." Marcus began, speaking in Koine Greek (ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος).
"It is - domine", Aniketos replied, not daring to look his new master in the face.
"And please - always call me Dominus.
You only call freedmen and guests domine." Marcus explained.
"I understand, Dominus.", Aniketos replied - looking puzzled.
Then Aniketos finally took the courage to look at Marcus.
"My I ask a question, Dominus ?" Aniketos asked.
"Yes...". Marcus said slowly - and somewhat apprehensively.
"Do you really have an amphitheatre and gladiators ?".
Marcus looked at the boy, and shook his head in puzzlement.
"Of course Aniketos.
Why would I have said that if it was not true ?". Marcus answered, refusing to be annoyed.
"But I thought only Emperors, and very rich men could afford to have an  amphitheatre and gladiators.", Aniketos innocently explained.
"Well, sometimes people who are not so rich save their money, and buy expensive things - things like you, for example.", Marcus said, with a broad grin.
Almost instantly a suppressed giggle sounded from the study.
"Enough Aurarius !....Get on with your work, and stop 'eaves dropping'....and shut the door properly !", Marcus said, feigning anger.
Mosaic- Naked Gladiators Fighting
Gladiator Oil Lamp
"So....you are interested in gladiators ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes Dominus.", Aniketos replied.
Marcus took a sip of wine and leaned back on his couch.
"And have you been to an amphitheatre, and seen a fight ?", Marcus continued.
"No, Dominus, but my master had lots of mosaics in the floors, showing gladiators fighting, and I had an oil lamp in my cubiculum (bedroom) with gladiators fighting on it.", Aniketos said enthusiastically.
"Well...my amphitheatre is not here, but in Baiae... Do you know where that is ?". Marcus said.
Aniketos shook his head.
"Baiae is on the west coast of Italia, in a beautiful bay - and there is a villa, right next to the sea.. and it's very beautiful...", Marcus said dreamily, and suddenly a longing overcame him, and he knew he would have to return there very soon.
Well...", Marcus said, snapping himself out of his reverie, "there I have a modest amphitheatre, and a Ludus - a school for gladiators, - and we regularly stage Ludi - games, for all the rich visitors to the town.", Marcus explained.
"So that's your job, Dominus, putting on games for rich people.", Aniketos said, as if finally working out who Marcus was , and what was going on.
Fortunately  Aurarius had closed the door to the atrium firmly, otherwise he would have been rolling round on the floor, laughing hysterically.
Marcus, though, was puzzled.
He couldn't decide if Aniketos was stupid, or just playing some weird game with him.
Marcus got up from his couch, and took a scroll from a nearby table.
"Read this", Marcus said.
Aniketos started reading:
"ὣς οἳ μὲν περὶ νηὸς ἐϋσσέλμοιο μάχοντο:
Πάτροκλος δ' Ἀχιλῆϊ παρίστατο ποιμένι λαῶν
δάκρυα θερμὰ χέων ὥς τε κρήνη μελάνυδρος,
ἥ τε κατ' αἰγίλιπος πέτρης δνοφερὸν χέει ὕδωρ.
τὸν δὲ ἰδὼν ᾤκτιρε ποδάρκης δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς,
καί μιν φωνήσας ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα:
τίπτε δεδάκρυσαι Πατρόκλεες, ἠύ̈τε κούρη
νηπίη, ἥ θ' ἅμα μητρὶ θέουσ' ἀνελέσθαι ἀνώγει
εἱανοῦ ἁπτομένη, καί τ' ἐσσυμένην κατερύκει,
δακρυόεσσα δέ μιν ποτιδέρκεται, ὄφρ' ἀνέληται"

"Enough !", Marcus said, even more puzzled.
"And what is it about ?", Marcus asked, taking the scroll from Aniketos.
"Dominus... it's Ὅμηρος (Hómēros) - the Ἰλιάς (the Iliad) - about the death of Πάτροκλος (Patroklos).", Aniketos explained.
"Well at least that shows that you're not stupid !", Marcus said, obviously exasperated.
"But tell me, boy, do you really think that I am a Lanista ?", Marcus asked, determined to get to the truth.
Aniketos looked frightened.
"I'm sorry, Dominus.
I don't know what a Linista is, and I don't mean to offend you.",  Aniketos said backing away from Marcus
"Sorry,  Aniketos, I forgot that your Latin is poor.
So I'll say again, in Greek... do you think that I am a γυμναστή ? (Greek form of - Lanista)", Marcus said, trying to clam down.
A Lanista was a free Roman citizen who purchased and looked after gladiators. They could gain considerable wealth in renting or selling gladiators, particularly to small, local games, but their social status was considered very low. For Aniketos to suggest that Marcus was a Lanista was a grave insult to his new master.
"I do't know - I'm confused.
I don't know what you are.",  Aniketos mumbled, seemingly near to tears.
Marcus sat down again.
"Tell me, Aniketos, what did you do for your previous master.", Marcus asked, thinking that he might have worked out what the explanation was regarding the boy's odd innocence and ignorance.
"Well... Dominus, I looked after his clothes, kept his private rooms tidy, served him his drinks and meals, read to him, accompanied him in the streets, when he went shopping, or to the baths and when he went to his little farm....and that's it.", Aniketos explained.
"Were there any other slaves  of your own age in your master's villa ?."
"No Dominus -  all the other slaves were older.", Aniketos replied.
"And did you make friends with them ?", Marcus asked.
"No - my master would not permit me.", Aniketos aid bleakly.
"So you were all alone ?", Marcus continued.
"Yes, Dominus - I only had the scrolls in my master's big library.", Aniketos admitted sadly.
"Ah....now I see .....so that explains a lot.", Marcus said, rising from his couch.
"Now listen....I am not a Lanista - but one of my freedmen acts as one - Terentius.
The amphitheatre is a χόμπι (hobby), not a job, as people like me do not have jobs.
I am a Roman citizen, and a ευγενής (Patrician), and this is one of my homes - the 'Το σπίτι της Γράκχος' (Domus Gracchii) - and I have other houses, and villas also - and you, if you prove your worth, are to be one of my special slaves.
Is that clear ?", Marcus said slowly, trying t explain things as simply as possible.
Aniketos' eyes widened, and he looked around the room.
"But....but....I didn't think that all this was yours....", he stuttered.
"I though that you just worked for whoever owned all this."
Aniketos looked down at the gleaming marble floor.
"You must think me very stupid.", he said quietly.
"No - your'e not stupid Aniketos, just inexperienced.", Marcus said gently.
Your previous master treated you badly, keeping you just to himself , and leaving you with just dusty old scrolls, instead of letting you see something of real life.
But that will change now - and I will give you a new life.", Marcus said, relieved that he had made contact with his handsome new slave.
"Aurarius !", Marcus called.
Aurarius arrived far too quickly, making it obvious that he had had his ear to the door of the atrium.
"Take Aniketos, and show him how to prepare the triclinium - Petronius is coming later - and remember how it was for you, on the first day that you arrived at the villa in Baiae."

SERVUS  TORQVIS
   
'Slave Collar' - There was a soft tap on the door.
"Enter !", Marcus said, looking round.
It was Nicander.
"Excuse me, Dominus, the armourer will fit a slave collar on Aniketos, if that is convenient for you."
Marcus stood up
"Good -  Aniketos - go and wait in the corridor for a moment.
And Nicander - I would like to have a word."
Nicander entered, and stood before Marcus.
"This new boy - he's had a very sheltered life.
He may seem, on first acquaintance, a bit slow, maybe even stupid - but don't be fooled, he's very smart, and I think he will make a very good slave, in time - so be careful with him.
Also...make sure that none of the other boys bully him.
If there is any problem that way, inform me straight away - and I will deal with it, very severely.
Is that understood ?" Marcus said.
"Yes Dominus - I shall take special care with this boy. ", Nicander assured Marcus.
While Marcus was waiting for Aniketos' slave collar to be fitted, he went into his study and broke the seal on the scroll from Titus.
It was as he expected - and invitation to visit Vespasian.
Titus stressed that it would be informal, as thy had already agreed on most matters, and it was only a matter of their 'principals' (those freedmen and other officials acting on their behalf) meeting a little later, in order to agree the various details.
Titus had suggested that Marcus visit in three day's time.
Marcus closed the scroll, put it in his secure document chest, left the study, and went to inspect the triclinium, while he waited for Aniketos' return.


OCCVRRENS  APVD  GLAUX
    
'Meeting with Glaux' - Some time later Aniketos was brought back to the apartment by a slave-boy after being fitted with one of the magnificent silver slave collars - and shortly after a domus-slave announced the arrival of Petronius, Adonios and Glaux.
They all met in the atrium.
Aniketos seemed very retiring, and rather overwhelmed by the seeming boisterousness of Adonios and Aurarius.
What greatly surprised Aniketos was Glaux, balancing deftly on Adonios' shoulder.
"Glaux," Adonios explained to Aniketos, "really belongs to the Dominus, but because I looked after him, from the time he first came to us, he spends most of his time on my shoulder."
"But why does he stay in the Domus ?", Aniketos asked.
Marcus then intervened, a he didn't want  Adonios  getting too excitable about Glaux.
"He is, according to my Etruscan Arguer, Novius, a gift from Apollo, and Apollo was given Glaux by Athena.
His task is to look after, and guide us.", Marcus explained.
"Really ? ", a wide eyed Aniketos 
"Yes really.", Marcus replied , and everyone stood round looking at Glaux.
Glaux tried to look shy, blinking demurely, but everyone knew he was simply basking in all the attention.
"Let's see if he likes you.", Adonios said, and lifted Glaux up to Aniketos' shoulder.
Glaux stepped daintily onto Aniketos, looked at the new boy carefully, blinked, and then snuggled up to Aniketos' neck, and nibbled at his ear.
 Adonios looked to Aurarius.
"I think you made a good choice with our new friend."
Marcus was relieved, and then put his hand on Petronius' shoulder, and took him to one side.
"Come into the study with me - I want to have a little talk.", Marcus said.
Meanwhile the boys, Adonios, Aurarius, and Aniketos, settled down to a chat, while they fluffed and ruffled Glaux, who drunk up all the attention.

IN TABLINO - MARCVS  ET  PETRONIVS

'In the Study - Marcus and Petronius' - Once in the study Petronius and Marcus sat down.
"There are a couple of things I want to discuss with you.
First I'm interested to know about these new slaves for the arena.", Marcus began.
"Well this time I think we have a better batch than before.
Six of them have had previous gladiatorial experience - so there is no need for a delay in using them, and they all seem keen to fight - but of course they were a bit more expensive - but I got Terentius to pay - in the end.", Petronius explained.
"The remaining four I am sure will not cause the same sort of problems as the previous batch.
Anyway, to be on the safe-side, I've given them all separate accommodation.", Petronius continued.
"That sounds excellent.", Marcus enthused.
"This time I thought that I had to be extra careful in my selection, as the last time I felt that I had let you down.", Petronius admitted.
Marcus shook his head - "Not at all !", he insisted.
"So, do you want to take them back to Baiae now, or do you think it's safe to keep them here for the moment ?", Marcus asked.
"I think it's fine to keep them here.
I can spend a bit of time training them, and if we need to put on another show - then they will be ready, and should be no trouble.", Petronius replied.
Marcus then changed the subject.
"So....you have seen the new boy.
What do you think ?", Marcus asked.
"He's beautiful - but seems a little shy and nervous - but that may well be a good thing.", Petronius opined.
"Well - there is a reason for that.
As I have already explained to Nicander, he was very much isolated by his previous master, and seems to know very little about the world, apart from what he's read in the many scrolls in his master's library.", Marcus explained.
"I see -", Petronius said thoughtfully.
"Well I think he'll soon grow out of his shyness once he's spent some time with Adonios, Aurarius.", Petronius added, smiling.
"Another matter I wanted to discuss was what I wanted to do with Elatos.", Marcus then said, launching into a new subject
Elatos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
"Elatos has not proved satisfactory, and in fact made a vicious accusation against me - so he must be punished.", Marcus continued.
"I see, and what was this accusation?", Petronius asked.
"He accused me of trying to poison Aurarius, when I was only adding some medicine that Novius had given me to the boy's drink.", Marcus explained.
"So.....Novius has been trying to extract information from Aurarius...", Petronius said, looking annoyed.
Marcus looked embarrassed - as he had obviously been 'caught out'.
"And do you think that is wise, Dominus ?", Petronius asked.
"Well...that's neither here nor there.", Marcus blustered.
"But in addition I found Elatos making lewd jokes with Aurarius about the punishments given to the condemned slaves - and I feel that the boy is leading Aurarius down the wrong path.", Marcus continued, attempting to guide the conversation to a different, but related topic.
"So I want you to arrange a 'private' little 'punishment, session for Elatos - but only witnessed by Demetrius, Aurarius, Adonios and the new boy, Aniketos.
I want it based on the punishment of the boy Sophos, but I don't want Elatos killed, but just made to think he will be killed.
We'll let him live, but I've arranged for Agathon to castrate him safely, (in private), and later Terentius will sell him to a boy-brothel here in Rome.", Marcus explained.
Petronius looked puzzled.
"And Terentius has agreed to this, Dominus ?", Petronius asked.
Marcus nodded.
"Then it will be done, Dominus.", Petronius said.
"When can you arrange it ?", Marcus asked.
"Tomorrow - late afternoon, Dominus.", Petronius said.
"And now - just one more thing.....
Does the name 'Philon' mean anything to you ?", Marcus asked.
"Ah....!", Petronius said, "this is from you and Novius questioning Aurarius, isn't it ?". Petronius replied wearily.
"Well ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes, Dominus....it's the name Aurarius had before his previous master, and then the 'late Dominus' changed it.", Petronius admitted.
"I see...",Marcus replied, suddenly feeling very light headed.
"But I think that you should leave matters there.", Petronius said very slowly, as the study door, even although it was made of heavy gilded bronze, blew open, and Glaux fluttered in, and came to rest on Petronius' shoulder.
"Yes .... perhaps you're right.", Marcus said -
Let's go and join the boys.........", and he rose unsteadily, and left the study.


'and the story continues -
Elatos is punished - and Marcus meets Vespasian
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

CHAPTER XLIII
('Meeting With Vespasian)
THIS CHAPTER IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

warning: this section features nudity, explicit sexuality and extreme violence in language, images and text - do not view if you may be offended
  
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more images for Chapter XLII to be uploaded soon.......




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