Chapter XLI - Noctem Stellas - II


Please note that this chapter contains sexually explicit and violent images and text. If you strongly object to any of these images please contact the blog author at vittoriocarvelli1997@gmail.com and the offending material can be removed. Equally please do not view this chapter if such material may offend.
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the Chapter 'Noctem Stellas' is long - so it has been divided into two parts - with the second part including the aftermath of the day after.

 MARCVS  ET  TITVS

There was a lot of clearing up to do, so the curtain (now a deep shade of blue) was raised, while Domus-slaves removed Glaucus' corpse, shovelled up the sand that he had fouled in his final moments, along with most of the remaining sand.
What had been the combat area was then quickly and efficiently covered with boards, stained dark blue - to provide a firm surface for the slave-boys to 'perform' on.
Roof Gardens Colonnade
Meanwhile, Petronius had been dispatched to the basement in order for him to ensure that there were no more problems with the now wet and sodden slaves.
In the pavilion, Marcus invited Titus to 'stretch his legs', while the preparations for the second part of the evening were made.
As they slowly strolled round the finely proportioned Ionic colonnade that surround the 'entertainment' area, the soft sound of music - along with the scent of sandalwood wafting from marble and gilt bronze burners, filled the warm evening air.
"I see you have a ὕδραυλις.", Titus commented, showing off his Greek.
ὕδραυλις - hydraulis
ὕδραυλις - hydraulis - water organ was invented by Ctesibius (the first head of the Library of Alexandria) in the 3rd century BC. The hydraulis was the world's first keyboard instrument. Ctesibius devised several different kinds of pumps, and used one to pump air at a constant pressure through the organ. Air is pumped (by an assistant) into the box on the bottom, then released through the pipes when the player presses a key. The water portion of the organ is used to regulate the pressure, so that the organ produces a consistent tone and volume.
"Yes - I have one here, that I brought from Baiae, and I also have had one installed in the amphitheatre in Baiae.
I like the sound very much - I find it very soothing.", Marcus explained.
"You see .... it's those dammed Greeks - so clever !", Titus said, obviously now relaxing after the excitement of the combats.
"I do hope that you were not too disappointed by the wrestlers and gladiators, such as they were.", Marcus said apologetically.
"Not at all, Marcus.
You know you get so bored by these professional chaps, coming out with the same repeatedly rehearsed moves - and then one 'takes a dive', and because the fighting looks so good, you have to let him be spared.
The problem is, it's not real fighting - and I should know.", Titus replied.
"Indeed....", Marcus agreed, aware that Titus had years of experience of real fighting leading his legions.
"Now your boys had little or no training - but knew that they had to really fight as well as they were able - and the winners did really well - and even the boys who were killed managed to 'take it' - without too much pleading and crying -  very good.....
No - I enjoyed the entertainment you put on ..... excellent !",Titus said enthusiastically, slapping Marcus on the back.
It had been a long time since anyone had slapped Marcus on the back with boyish enthusiasm.
The last time had been when he had been with his young Greek friends in Athens.
Now that he was Dominus, he was effectively 'untouchable' - except when he was having sex with a slave, and then the touching was 'mannered' and deferential, even if it was intimate and sexual.
But then perhaps it was only a person of Titus' status who could relate at a level of 'equality' with Marcus, as his friends in Athens had done.
Marcus and Titus then returned to the pavilion.
By then Terentius and Novius and Demetrius had tactfully withdrawn - allowing Marcus and Titus to engage in private discussion.
Terentius and Novius stayed close by, in case Marcus required their advice on any matter arising from his talks with Titus
Demetrius had been provided with an elaborately decorated Hellenic style chair and small table by slaves, so that he could take refreshments while watching the dancing troupe, and Aelius stood nearby, ready to provide any service that his young master might require.
Echelaos, the boys' dancing master, also stood, unobtrusively, nearby - making discreet, and apparently pre-arranged hand gestures, which he used to guide his troupe in their steps and 'activities'.
Echelaos - Choros Magister - Dance Master
The dancing style common in Rome was based on Greek dance (χορός) -  which was referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian. The dance that had taught to the boys by Echelaos, for this occasion, was the Κόρδαξ 'cordax', which was a provocative, licentious, and often (by modern standards) 'obscene' dance. In his play  Νεφέλαι - (The Clouds),  Ἀριστοφάνης - (Aristophanes) complains that other playwrights of his time try to hide the feebleness of their plays by bringing dancers onto the stage to dance the 'cordax'. He notes with pride that his patrons will not find such 'gimmicks' in his plays. Petronius (the Roman author- and not the character in this story) in his Roman novel the 'Satyricon' has Trimalchio boast to his dinner guests that no one dances the 'cordax' better than his wife, Fortunata (?). The nature of this dance is described in the satires of Decimus Iūnius Iuvenālis - (Juvenal), who says 'the dancers, encouraged by applause, sink to the ground with tremulous buttocks.' The Roman poet Horace, and the Roman playwright Plautus refer to the same dance as 'iconici motus' (iconic movement). Not surprisingly it was a very popular dance - but only ever watched by patricians, and never danced by them - patricians did not dance - only slaves - or debauched women like Trimalchio's wife - hence the joke.
Boy Dancer
Kithara
By this time Petronius had returned from the basement, and was standing with  Adonios, who had Glaux on his shoulder (Glaux, wide awake, was twittering along with the music).
Petronius was watching the boys, and Echelaos intently - considering how he could use them in the Amphitheatre in  Baiae.
The entertainment began with just a single boy dancer, completely naked and with his slim young body gilded.
His movements were slow and sinuous, matching perfectly the rhythmic notes of the kithara (the instrument of the God Apollo), which was now leading the gentle accompaniment of the (now muffled) hydraulis.
"So......", Marcus began, trying to sound casual, "how is your father finding it being emperor ?".
Titus took his eyes of the gilded boy, and turned to Marcus and smiled.
"Difficult !", Titus replied.
"You see, he never wanted to be emperor.
He had seen what being emperor had done to Nero - and so did I - and it was not good.
Nero was not too bad in the beginning - like Caligula - but the the power went to his head.", Titus replied.
"But your father - so I have been led to believe - is a very different kind of man.
You said yourself he's 'hands on', and he's a reputation for being 'down to earth'", Marcus countered.
"That's true - but the problem is that Nero almost bankrupted the empire - and the fire in Rome and the Civil War didn't help - so now there's no money - but much needs doing.
It will mean heavier taxes - and many in the Senate are opposed to that."
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus - Rome
The Fire of Rome was an urban fire that started on the night between 18 and 19 July in the year 64 AD. It caused widespread devastation, before being brought under control after six days. Differing accounts either blame Emperor Nero for initiating the fire or credit him with organizing measures to contain it and provide relief for refugees. The Civil War - during the Year of the Four Emperors - also caused a lot of damage, particularly to the building on the Capitol - including the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus - which, because of its importance, Vespasian nee to rebuild almost immediately.
Then, strangely, Marcus felt as if Gnaeus Octavianus was guiding his words.
"So that's where I come in.", Marcus said, remarkably bluntly.
"Well - you certainly come to the point." Titus said, obviously flustered and embarrassed.
"Look, Titus - I'm no politician, and I don't have time for lots of 'delicate' chat.
I'm no tough general like you - but I have - with Gnaeus, dealt with tough generals, and Praetorian Prefects - and I understand what is going on here."
Titus shifted uneasily in his chair.
"I can help you - and I will help you - if Terentius thinks it is possible and advisable - and if your father makes me a senator, I will support him in the Senate - but I will do this only because I believe that the Flavians are the best chance that the Empire has.
And before I do this - I must first meet your father - in order to assure myself that I am making the right decision." Marcus concluded, sitting back and waiting for a reply.
"Well...Marcus - that's what I wanted to hear - and so much like my father - straight to the point." Titus replied.
"So I'm sorry if I may seem rude or blunt, but that's  the way I am.......
Probably still an Athenian street-boy."
Marcus, as he spoke, glanced over to where Petronius was standing.
Petronius was looking directly at Marcus, and smiling broadly, but Marcus was sure that Petronius couldn't have heard what he was saying to Titus - so perhaps it was something Adonios had said, or maybe the fact that Glaux was twittering.
"That's good !", Titus said firmly - "and I will send a message to you tomorrow letting you know when my father can see you."
Marcus then rose from his seat, and called over a slave - and whispered an instruction into the slave's ear.
"And now, my honourable Titus, I have a gift for you, to thank you for gracing us this evening with your presence.", Marcus announced formally, gesturing to the other guests to come forward.
And so Petronius, Terentius, Novius, and Demetrius all stepped forward to see two burly slaves carry the most elaborate and costly looking tripod over to the pavilion to present to Titus.
Titus, rising from his seat, couldn't hide the look of surprise.
Tripod for Titus
"But it's magnificent !" he said, gazing in awe at the priceless gift.
"So....just an Athenian street-boy ?
Well - when anyone asks me who gave this to me, I will reply, with a grin, 'Just Athenian street-boy' !.

"I can't thank you enough.", Titus continued, obviously moved.
A sacrificial 'tripod' is a three-legged piece of religious furniture used for offerings or other ritual procedures. As a seat or stand, the tripod is the most stable furniture construction for uneven ground, hence its use is universal and ancient. It is particularly associated with (well - who else ?) Apollo and the Delphic oracle in ancient Greece, and the word τρίποδο (tripod) comes from the Greek meaning "three-footed". Tripods are frequently mentioned by Homer as prizes in athletic games, and as complimentary gifts; in later times, highly decorated and bearing inscriptions, they served the same purpose. They appear also to be precious gifts for guests, (as in the case of the Phaeakes, who offered a cauldron and tripod to Odysseus). In the ancient world the tripod was considered to be the 'ultimate' gift.
"You don't have to thank me - you're a friend !", Marcus replied
"So be seated, and lets watch the boys, and drink some more wine.", Marcus said, making it clear that the evening was far from over.
And while Marcus and Titus had been negotiating, and while Marcus had been presenting Titus with gilded bronze tripos, the slave-boys had continued to dance - but quietly and modestly - in order not to create any distraction.
Dancing Boy
Once Echelaos had seen that Marcus and Titus had resumed their seats, and were once more concentrating on the 'entertainment', he gave a subtle signal to the lead dancer and the musicians.
Another boy then joined the first lad, and then two others, and the pace of the music quickened.
More wine flowed, along with jokes and ribald comments, as the five original guests, plus Petronius gathered in the pavilion to watch the performance.
The dancing then gradually speeded up, and became more animated - and even frenetic.
After a fast yet, highly erotic dance, eventually the naked boys, very skilfully, but as part of the performance, feigned tiredness - sunk to the floor and slowly melted into each other's arms - entwined and exploring one another, as the music, which had one again slowed, invited a sensual and overtly sexual display.


Marcus turned to Terentius.
"You know these boys were Aurarius' idea.....
We were in the 'Graecostadium', and Aurarius spotted these boys, and suggested buying them, and luckily we had Novius with us - who got them at a good price - but not as low as you could get - obviously.
But seeing them perform I would say that they were worth their weight in gold.", and Marcus grinned at his own joke - (not only was Aurarius' name derived from the Latin for gold - but the boys had also been 'gilded' for the performance)


While the erotic dalliance on the part of the gilded boys continued, finger food was passed round by dutiful young slave boys, and the wine flowed, and the conversation became relaxed.
Marcus found that Titus, once he had let his guard down, was good company, and he hoped that Titus' father would be equally agreeable, when he eventually met him.
Glaux had cleaned up any leftovers on the plates, and was looking decidedly full - a good indication that the evening should be brought to an end.
Equally, the gilded dancing boys had run out of interesting variations with which to amuse and titillate their guests.
In order to drop a gentle hint to Titus, Marcus gave instructions for Nicander to provide Echelaos with a purse of coin for himself, and another purse to be distributed equally to the boys, on behalf of Titus.
Echelaos and the boys then obediently lined up to bow to their Dominus, and his honoured guest.
"So Marcus - a fine evening !", Titus said, rising from his ornate seat.
At the same time Demetrius, Terentius, Novius and Petronius all rose respectfully.
Nicander quickly gestured to slaves to prepare to transport the gold tripod, by way of the elevator, to the main entrance of the Domus.
At the same time tables and chairs were moved away to make suitable passage for a 'stately' exit.
Slave-boys with torches also lined up at the portico to the roof gardens, ready to escort the guests down the wide, white marble staircase to the grand atrium, while Titus' tall Praetorian Tribunes clanked into position alongside their master.
On reaching the grand atrium Titus made his farewells.
"I must thank you Marcus, for your wonderful gift, and a superb evening's entertainment.
In a few days I am sure that my father will invite you to visit him.
Unfortunately we are simple 'country folk', and will not be able to accommodate, or entertain you on the lavish scale that you have provided tonight, but I'm sue that the evening shall be to your advantage.", Titus explained, knowingly.
Marcus grinned at Titus' attempt to paint a picture of 'rough' provincials.
Although Vespasian came from very ordinary stock, well away from Rome, he was far from being a 'country yokel', but he liked to present himself as a 'man of the people'.
"Now Titus - you know that all this (Marcus gestured to the vast marble and gold atrium), is not of my doing - but I am stuck with it - and it is now expected of me.", Marcus declared innocently.
"I know, Marcus - but I cannot help but joke when I find you living in a better palace than Nero's Domus Aurea !".
Marcus shook his head.
"So - I will write - giving you the date - and many thanks !", Titus said, waving grandly to Demetrius, Terentius, Novius and Petronius, as his Tribunes led him out of the huge gilded bronze doorway.
Marcus then turned to his associates.
"So - many thanks to you all.
It all went well - apart from those cursed new slaves, but we can deal with them tomorrow.
So let's all get to bed.
It's been a long night !....."
AD MANE

'In the Morning' - It was an early start, although it seemed that no one was keen on getting up and getting to work.
The life of a wealthy patrician, like Marcus, was not all relaxation and play.
A Roman patrician - particularly if he was a 'paterfamilias', (the male head of a Roman family or household), was required to fulfil numerous onerous tasks and obligations on a daily basis.
In fact, Marcus, on becoming Dominus, discovered that he was required to work much harder than when he had been 'Markos the slave-boy'.
Marcus first task was to check with Nicander regarding the general running of the Domus, and review the times for deliveries from various suppliers, and lists of expected guests.
Nicander would also raise any problems with regard to matters relating to slaves.
(On the morning after the visit of Titus there were obviously some serious matters regarding the minor revolt in the evening by some of the recently acquired slaves.
At such a meeting Aurarius would always be in attendance, as it was probable that at some time in the future he would hold a similar position to Nicander (if not in the Domus, then in one of Marcus, other properties).
It was in such a manner that slaves were instructed in duties that they may be expected to undertake on their possible promotion.
After his meeting with Nicander, Marcus would then hold discussions with Terentius, mainly relating to financial matters, and this would precede the 'Salutatio', where Marcus would briefly meet with some of his local clients.
If a particular client had a serious matter to discuss, this could involve a separate discussion with either Terentius or Novius - and would usually require a final decision from Marcus.


TEMPELUM APOLLONIS ULTORIS

'The Temple of Apollo the Avenger' - On this particular morning Marcus was scheduled to have a meeting with Severus, Marcus' 'in-house' and rather eccentric architect.
Proposed Temple of Apollo Ultor - Baiae
Having executed all those conspirators associated with the attempt on his own life, and the murder of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, Marcus had vowed to construct and dedicate a temple to the God Apollo Ultor (Apollo the Avenger).
Obviously Severus had been given the commission, on the understanding that the building was to be a very pure, Greek style, Ionic Amphiprostyle hexastyle temple - built of white pentelic marble, and surmounted by a gilded bronze quadriga (four horse chariot) carrying an image of Apollo.
This was not Severus' usual style, as he favoured concrete domes, vaults and arches, (veneered in marble).
Apelles had created the initial drawings - and Severus would then be expected to work them up into practical form capable of being satisfactorily constructed.
On completion the Temple would be the largest temple in Baiae, and probably the largest temple in southern Italy.
"So Marcus, - first a huge mausoleum, and now a Temple to Apollo.
It's just as well that Octavian Augustus is not still around....
You're really stepping on his toes !"
Severus chuckled, as he slapped Marcus playfully on the back, (something that no one else - except perhaps Petronius or Aurarius, in private, would ever dream of doing.)
"Yes, but do you like it ?", Marcus asked, deferentially.
"It's looks superb - but I think that Terentius will baulk at the price !
And by the way - when you're finished with Apelles, he can always come and work for me - he's really good !".
Marcus was pleased.
He had carefully instructed Apelles as to the style and appearance of the design, and Severus' approval indicated that Marcus had chosen well - and he had no intention of letting Apelles work for anyone else.
After meeting with Severus, Marcus was taken down to the main atrium by Terentius.
There Diodoros was waiting nervously, after he had been retained by Nicander.
Diodoros had by this time recovered from his recent illness - (you may remember that Adonios had convinced himself that he was responsible for Diodoros' illness because he had threatened Diodoros with a curse from Apollo for disrespecting Glaux - and Adonios had only been brought to his senses by Petronius).
"You wished to speak to me, Dominus ?",  Diodoros asked fearfully.
"Yes - but there is no need to be alarmed.....",Marcus replied, trying to be as friendly as possible.
(Still it seemed that Marcus had not realised that gossip and rumour, not only here in Rome, but from the towns on the coast were portraying him as a vengeful and powerful individual, of whom people should be wary - maybe even fearful.)
"I have, for you, a new and very profitable commission."
Marcus asked for a copy of the drawing that Apelles had made, which Terentius was holding.
"I intend to build a Temple in Baiae - as you can see, it is surmounted by a quadriga, driven by the God Apollo - and you will create the quadriga, horses, and the statue of the God.", Marcus explained.
"But Dominus..... !", Diodoros stuttered.
"I do not have the skill...!"
Marcus put both his hands on Diodoros' shoulders.
"Yes you do !..... and this work will make you one of the greatest sculptors in the Empire !", Marcus insisted forcefully.
Diodoros smiled weakly.
"If you say it is so... then it will be so.
Nothing, it seems is impossible once you have made a decision!", Diodoros answered.
"Good.... now you begin to understand.
Remember, we are favoured by the God."
"Indeed...." Petronius added, having just arrived in the atrium with Adonios, and a suspiciously alert Glaux.
Marcus looked at Glaux intently.
"That bird worries me when he's so frisky this early in the morning."
"That's no 'bird', Dominus.... that's Glaux !", Adonios piped up.
Marcus ignored  Adonios' interruption.
"Now Diodoros, later today I will send you Apelles, who will make more detailed drawing for you, and I have sent for some Greek experts in bronze casting from Neapolis, who will arrive in two days to help you with the casting techniques.
And don't worry - there's plenty of time - the foundations haven't even been laid."
With that, Nicander escorted Diodoros to one of the smaller atria to make suitable arangements with him for the commencement of the work.

ASPERA IUSTITAE

'Rough Justice' - Marcus then turned to Petronius - who was smiling - alarmingly, and so early in the morning.
"So now, Petronius, we have to deal with those stupid slaves.", Marcus said wearily.
"And how do you wish me to deal with the matter ?", Petronius queried.
On sensing a confidential discussion, Adonios wandered off and busied himself fluffing and arranging Glaux's beautiful feathers - which was exactly what Glaux wanted.
Petronius thought for a moment - but he was only acting a part (putting on a puzzled expression) - he had, of course, already worked out a scenario of which he knew Marcus would approve.
"I think it would be appropriate for the victors in last nights' combats to 'punish' an equal number of recalcitrant slaves." Petronius suggested.
"That sound reasonable.", Marcus replied - almost being non-committal.
"And how should we select the slaves to be 'punished' ?". Marcus added,
"After all - if we execute all of them Terentius will complain about us wasting money - and they did cost money.....".
"Best if we select them by lots - short straws.", Petronius replied.
"Fine..... I leave it up to you.
Just let me know when you are ready and we can arrange the punishment session while the sanded area on the roof garden is still in place - and get Nicander to organise an audience of slaves to be present - to ensure that this has some deterrent value."
Leaving Petronius to get things organised, Marcus called Aurarius to his side, and they made their way up the wide marble steps to Marcus' private apartments.
STUDIUM

'Studies' - Marcus, of course, was well aware that he was still young - in fact many had commented on the fact that as time passed he seemed to retain his very youthful good looks.
Being young, Marcus was well aware that he was inexperienced, and that his education was far from complete.
Much to the surprise of many, Marcus still retained his tutors, both in Latin and Greek, - and not only for his favourite slaves, and for Demetrius, - but also in order to further his own education.
Daily he would put aside time for lessons, not only in grammar and public speaking, but also in the 'classics' of Greek and Roman literature, and also in instruction in philosophy and the sciences.
In addition, Novius had acquired, in consideration of the fact that Marcus would soon be a senator, the services of a respected, retired Senator, in order to acquaint Marcus with the history of the Republic, and the customs and traditions of the Roman Senate.
All of this obviously took time, and so Marcus would only be able to spend a token period of time attending the 'punishments' that were to take place on the roof   gardens in the afternoon - however, Marcus would ensure that he would be available to give short, but suitably forceful speech to the assembled slaves in order to deter any further occurrences of non-compliance on the part of his slaves.
Fortunately Petronius was, as always, available, and would ensure that the 'punishments', which were, in effect, executions, would effectively and efficiently conducted.

SUPPLICIUM

'Punishments' - The punishments took place on the roof gardens.

The boarded area - where the slaves-boys had danced so seductively the previous evening, had been re-sanded, and iron frames - used to restrain those to be punished - had been bolted securely to the wooden framework.
At the same time a large group of slaves had been sent up to the roof gardens in the elevators in order to witness the 'punishments'.
The slaves to be 'punished' had been selected by 'drawing lots' - short straws - and four unfortunate slaves had been selected.
They were held by domus-guards in the porticoes of the roof garden colonnade behind temporary screens.
This was so that they would be unable to witness the 'punishments' of their companions.
And so Marcus arrived, along with Petronius, Adonios (with a very sleepy Glaux) and Aurarius,  and gave his short impromptu speech to the assembled and very subdued and now obedient slaves.
First Slave to be 'Punished'
Basically Marcus said that any slave who disobeyed orders would receive the same kind of 'punishment' as the four slaves who were now about to be executed - and with that Marcus turned on his heel and left, long with Aurarius.

PRIMUS SERVUS

'The First Condemned Slave - Part II' - The first slave to be 'punished' was then brought out into the circular sanded area.
Had he been prepared to fight the previous night he would have made a good contestant.
First Slave Stripped and Bound
Young, slim, well muscled and obviously 'well-endowed' (which showed even although he was still wearing a tiny white linen thong), he stood with his arms pinioned to a wooden rod, awaiting his fate, as the watching slaves murmured.
Of course, although the slave was well endowed, by the time he was finally executed he would not be 'endowed' at all, as the domus-guards had been quickly, but thoroughly trained by Petronius to ensure that death would be preceded by the most humiliating and painful mutilation.
The guards then prepared the terrified slave for his 'punishment', removing the wooden rod holding his arms, and tying him by his wrists to a horizontal member of one of the iron frames.
The slave's thong was then cut away, and rope was securely tied round the root of the lad's genitals, behind his well filled scrotum.
Almost immediately the slave's penis became noticeably engorged, and his foreskin slipped back, revealing his dribbling glans.
It was not a full erection, but it was a significant embarrassment for the young slave.
Nicon
Once the recalcitrant slave was bound and naked, Nicon was sent out into the circular sanded area.
Nicon was one of the slaves who, on the previous night, had obeyed the call to fight in the presence of Marcus' guest, Titus.
Nicon had beaten his opponent, Glaucus, after a 'messy' fight with pugii (knives), emasculating his opponent, and finishing him by slitting his throat.
Now - the following day - Nicon had been kitted out in his gladiator's gear, and had been carefully instructed by Petronius on how to 'punish' and execute the condemned slave who was now naked and strung up on the sands of the roof garden.
Nicon, of course, couldn't believe his luck.
Not only was he to be allowed to 'beat-up' a naked, helpless prisoner, but in addition he had been instructed to rape the boy before 'finishing' him - and as his so called 'opponent' was bound and unarmed, there was no possibility of Nicon being injured, or worse.
As on the previous night, Nicon was wearing leather cross-belts, arm-guards and a small red thong.
It was obvious, however, that Nicon was thinking ahead - to the conclusion of the 'punishment' - as there was a massive bulge in the pouch of his thong where his penis was straining in anticipation of penetrating his naked opponent.
Nicon had been firmly told not to cut his victim, but to slap the slave with the flat of his gladius, and this he did.
Most of Nicon's slaps were aimed at the young slave's well-developed, muscular buttocks, and some to his sides and back.
After a few minutes, the howling slave's buttocks were an angry red, and there were welts and weals on his back, thighs and sides.
The slaps on the buttocks, however, had a predictable effect, with the young lad's penis becoming extremely swollen and erect.
Nicon was also obviously becoming even more sexually excited, and looked to Petronius for permission to take the next step, and rape the helpless boy.
Petronius gave his consent, and relieved, Nicon dropped his gladius, and pulled out his huge, stiff penis.
Nicon was a proud boy.
Proud of his good looks, his well developed physique, and proud of his exceptional sexual endowment.
As a slave, he felt no shame at 'performing' sexually in public, particularly as he knew he could put on an excellent 'performance'.
In addition he felt no shame as he was to be 'dominant', and the 'penetrator'.
Cloaca Maxima
For the unfortunate slave-boy, however, to be penetrated in front of many of the other slaves of the domus was an ultimate humiliation - not that he would have to live with that humiliation for long, as he would soon be just another nameless naked corpse consigned to the Cloaca Maxima (Roman Sewer).
Seeing that Nicon was ready to rape the slave-boy, two domus-guards loosened the rope which was pulling the boy upright, and then forced him to bend forward.
Next the guards kick the helpless slave's legs apart, forcing him to reveal his tight, twitching anus, which was the focus of Nicon's attention.
Nicon then spat on his right had, lubricated his exposed glans and rammed his tool into his victim.
With a loud yelp the young slave jerked forward as the swollen shaft of Nicon's penis dissapeared into his anus in one vicious thrust.
Nicon was all the way in - right up to the hilt - with his balls squashed against the slave's incredibly tensed buttocks.
"Oh fuck !....", the slave-boy squealed, as his eyes glazed over.
"Shit !....", Nicon groaned, savouring the pleasure of feeling his prick deep in the trembling boy's hot twitching arse.
LOQUERIS  AD  TERENTIUM

Meanwhile......

in the 'officium' of Terentius.....
As has been said before, Marcus was well aware that he was inexperienced, and that his education was far from complete, and much as he would have liked to stay and seen justice done on the roof garden, he had an appointment with Terentius.
Terentius was officially - and in Latin - Marcus' 'Excelsum Procuratoris' - High Steward.

'Fatale Conventum'

'Fateful Meeting' - Marcus had first met Terentius a long time before, in Brundisium.
At the time Marcus (or Markos as he was then known) was the property of a young Greek Slave dealer called Arion.
Terentius in Arion's Villa Domus 
The day after Marcus and Terentius met - in the atrium of Arion's 'villa domus' (town house) - Terentius bought Marcus for his master, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus.
Terentius was in fact visiting Brundisium in order to make numerous extremely important deals regarding the importation of various commodities, including slaves - which was why he was paying a call on Arion, who was probably the most prominent slave-dealer in Brundisiun, (which was the main centre of trading between Italia and the East).
Marcus, however, imagined that Terentius was simply a humble freedman sent to purchase a good-looking slave-boy for his master.
It was by sheer chance - or was it 'Fate' - that Terentius arrived at Arion's Villa Domus at the moment that Arion was interviewing Marcus.
Something - inspired Terentius to buy the handsome boy - and after the auction he took Marcus back to the Villa Auream in Baiae.
It was only on the death of his new master, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, that Marcus began to understand what Terentius' true position really was.
It was Terentius who placed the seal ring of the House of Gracchus on Marcus' finger, and ensured that he inherited the vast wealth and power that his adoptive father had intended for him, and it was Terentius who continued to manage the countless lands, properties and assets that the House of Gracchus (and therefore Marcus) possessed.
But who was Terentius ?
Originally he had been one of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus' Greek slave-boys - and rumour had it that he and the 'late Dominus' had a long-term on-going sexual relationship - but that was rumour.
Originally bought in Greece, Terentius had been given a Latin name, and educated in the Roman way by the 'late Dominus'.
Later, Terentius had been freed, and given Roman citizenship.
Although Marcus was hardly aware of the fact, Terentius was one of the wealthiest and most powerful freedmen in the Empire, have been left an enormous legacy by the 'late Dominus'.
That had seemingly had no effect on Terentius, and he continued to live in a simple suite in the Villa Auream, or the Domus Gracchii, or wherever his master might be residing.
Remarkably, he only had one slave - a Greek boy called Philipos - with who he had a deep and affectionate relationship.
Fortunately for Marcos, Terentius was an individual of remarkable integrity, steeped in Stoic philosophy - which he had learned from his master, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus.
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics which is informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others in a fair and just manner.
The whole of Terentius' life was dedicated to the welfare of the House of Gracchus, and on the death of his beloved master, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, he had transferred all his loyalty and affection to Gnaeus' designated heir - Marcus.
It would have been quite possible for Marcus to have had a 'Excelsum Procuratoris' like Menelaus - who would have cheated him, stolen his inheritance and maybe even killed him - but instead the Gods (or maybe one particular God) had favoured him with one of the most true and upright of men in the whole Empire.
And so - now that Marcus was beginning to take his place in Roman society, Terentius was assiduously coaching him, and educating him so that he could take his true place as the Dominus of the House of Gracchus - which meant that sometimes he needed to miss the more exciting and entertaining aspects of his life as Dominus - and study !

SUPPLICIUM - PARS II

'Punishments Part II' - Back on the roof garden practically no time had passed - because this is a story - and time works differently here.

PRIMUS SERVUS - PARS II

Nicon Rapes a Slave-Boy
'First Condemned Slave - Part II' - So Nicon is still raping his helpless slave-boy, and the slave boy is still squealing, and getting more and more 'aroused' - and the watching slaves - very aware of the presence of Petronius - are pretending that they are not really enjoying the 'show' - because this is supposed to be a 'deterring' lesson, but really they are.
Nicon, who is a bright boy, has been told by Petronius that the slave boy he is to rape is not to have an orgasm, (why reward a lad who is supposed to be being punished ?), so Nico has to 'pull out' if he feels that the slave is about to 'cum', and finish off by masturbating over the boy's buttocks - to indicate his own virility, and further humiliate the slave-boy - and that is exactly what he does.
The first part of his work completed, Nicon stuffs his softening penis back into the tiny pouch of his thong, and prepares to take a short rest.
Meanwhile the domus-guards drag the humiliated slave-boy over to one of the iron frames, where he is to be tortured while the other slaves are 'punished'.
This first slave is the unlucky one, having drawn the first straw.
He will have an agonising and humiliating wait, while the other slaves are dealt with.
Hanging and Genital Torture
The frame is a fairly simple affair.
It is one of the devices that Vulcan, back at the Villa Auream in Baiae, has created for use in Marcus' amphitheatre, and has been transported here for just such an occasion.
In the form that it has been assembled it is used for a rather 'elegant form of crucifixion (although in fact the us of an actual cross is dispensed with).
The object is to painfully suspend the intended victim while, in this case, torturing the unfortunate slave's genitals with weights - sufficiently heavy to cause intense pain, but not heavy enough to cause emasculation).
The having the 'root' of his penis tightly bound, and the binding having weights attached, had the effect of giving the naked slave-boy a very strong erection.
Petronius then detailed one of the domus-guards (a boy from the Villa Auream in Baiae called 'Bellus') to, on occasions, masturbate the helpless and highly aroused slave, and bring him to the the edge of having an orgasm, without allowing the satisfaction of actually ejaculating.
This of course was an additional psychological torture, which was added to the boy's more mundane pain in his groin, testicles and belly.

SECUNDUM SERVUS

Second Slave
'The Second Condemned Slave' - While the first slave, strung up on the iron frame, was being tortured and abused, a second bound slave was brought forward from the colonnade, into the centre of the sanded area.
Almost immediately he was stripped of his tiny linen thong, and presented to the other watching slaves, stark naked.
This boy was to be made an example of in a more obvious way.
Επικτητος - Epitomes
Petronius had decided that if slaves were to refuse a 'fair fight' - then their 'punishment' could well be an 'unfair fight' - so this slave was to be forced to fight naked, with a wooden gladius (sword), and a tiny, flimsy shield, against a fully armed gladiator.
The gladiator that Petronius had chosen was Επικτητος (Epitomes), a newly bought slave who had fought the previous night, and had defeated and killed his opponent Λεοντιος (Leontios).
Once the naked slave was equipped with his virtually useless wooden gladius and shield, Petronius ordered the 'fight' to begin.
Immediately Epitomes started darting round his helpless opponent, slapping the lad's buttocks, thighs, ribs, back and chest with the flat side of his heavy, steel gladius.
Gamely the young slave tried to defend himself, but ended up simply trying to run away most of the time.
Other armed domus-slaves, however, prevented him from getting outside the sanded circle, and the terrified slave was repeatedly forced to face his implacable opponent.
The first slave, still struggling on the large iron frame, could easily view the humiliation of his companion - and well knew the terror that the lad must be feeling as he had just previously undergone such torment.
Unable to take any more humiliation, the second slave decided to 'make a stand', and face his opponent, regardless of how poorly he was equipped.
So - he stood face to face with Epitomes.
Epitomes' reaction was to clip the slave on the side of the head with the flat of his gladius (the slave, unlike Epitomes, was not wearing a helmet).
The naked slave was instantly stunned, and dropped his wooden gladius and shield.
As his weapons fell to the sand, Epitomes moved forward and kneed the confused young slave in the groin.
Epitomes Knees Leontios in the Groin
"Fuck ! My bollocks !", the naked slave groaned, as he doubled up, and grabbed at his crushed genitals.
This was a 're-run' of what Epitomes had done to Leontios the previous evening, and now Epitomes followed up his 'low blow' with a slap to the slave's jaw with the edge of his shield.
The badly injured slave dropped to the sand, moaning and still clutching at his groin.
Domus-slaves then pulled the groaning slave to his feet, and predictably bent the lad over, and spread his legs so that his naked buttocks were presented to Epitomes.
Epitomes lost no time in pulling out his already stiff 'tool' and penetrating his helpless opponent.
"Shit....No !", the Greek boy grunted as he was viciously raped.
Epitomes was not particularly interested in putting on a 'performance'....
He was aware that the Dominus was not watching, and there were no special guests, as there had been the previous night, so he just 'ploughed' the boy roughly in order to relieve himself of his 'load'.
Petronius, of course, was not bothered.
The slave had been suitably humiliated, and that was enough, and Petronius had no desire for this punishment session to last longer that it needed to.
When Epitomes was finished he simply pulled out, and stuffed his dribbling penis back into his tiny leather thong.
Second Slave Bound and Hung
By then the naked young slave had collapsed onto the sand, but he was quickly picked up by the domus-slaves, who dragged him over to the second frame, and started to tie him.
After being raped, he second slave was to be treated almost identically to the first slave.
He was hung naked from one of the iron frames by his arms, but with his legs shackled centrally to a lower horizontal bar.
The position itself was excruciatingly painful, but in addition his genitals were tightly bound with iron weights attached which gave the slave a massive and humiliating erection.
As with his companion, young Bellus was given the task of repeatedly bringing the naked young slave to the point of orgasm, without allowing him to ejaculate.
With two slaves being tortured on the iron frames, Petronius, not wanting to prolong the punishment session, as the watching slaves would be needed in the domus, had arranged for the two final slaves to be dealt with quite swiftly.


TERTIUS SERVUS

Third Slave
'The Third Condemned Slave' - The penultimate slave arrived in the sanded area wearing a tiny white linen thong identical to those worn by the other slaves.
He was to fight - again with a wooden gladius and a small wooden shield.
Petronius, however, had once again given orders that the slave was not to be cut - at least initially.
After being thoroughly beaten the slave would then be raped, but instead of being bound on an iron frame, he would be 'finished off' in true gladiatorial style with a gladius.
In order to begin the well endowed young slave's humiliation he was almost immediately stripped completely naked, with the accompanying ribald comments from the domus guards who accompanied him.
While the mock combat got under way, with the third slave being repeatedly slapped with the flat of his opponent's gladius, the only other sound that could be heard was from the two suspended slave, undergoing the 'edging' torture administered by young Bellus, who were pathetically begging to be allowed to 'cum'.
This was torture at its most subtle and 'refined', with no broken bones, no bruises and no blood, but just an intolerable pain from being suspended in one very uncomfortable position, while being constantly sexually stimulated, but with no plausibility of 'relief', while the genitals were compressed and strained.
And added to that was the total humiliation of being sexually molested in the public gaze.
Vindex
To 'do the deed' with the third slave Petronius had chosen his newest acquisition, a young blond slave whom he had named 'Vindex'.
Vindex was a Celt, and Petronius had read and been told that being such, he would be a likely candidate for raping young slaves in the arena.
Petronius had discussed the matter with various slave dealers, and read about Celtic pederasty: Aristotle (Politics, II 6.6. Athen. XIII 603a.), Strabo (iv. 199), and Diodorus Siculus (v. 32) - all of whom Petronius could have read. At a date after our story  Athenaeus in the 'Deipnosophists' states that the Celts, 'despite the beauty of their women, preferred the love of boys'. Some would regularly bed down on their animal skins with a lover on each side.
Third Slave Stripped Naked
This 'contest' (such as it was) proceeded along the same lines as the previous contests - as by now it should be clear that this session on the roof gardens was not a 'gladiatorial display' in any way, but simply a means of humiliating, beating and torturing four slaves as a deterrent to the remainder of the slaves in the domus (it should be also be noted that some of the slaves required to witness the 'supplicia' - 'punishments' - were slaves who had accompanied Marcus to Rome from Baiae, and who would, on their return, spread the news of the punishments that had been given to the recalcitrant slaves).
The third young slave was not match at all for Petronius' new fighter, and was soon flopping about on the sand, begging for mercy and crying out that he was not guilty.
Petronius wanted the lad raped, so he gave an instruction for Vindex to disable the boy.
With the naked young slave lying on the sand, unable to defend himself, and with his legs spread, Vindex took the obvious action, and started kicking the unfortunate lad in the groin.
"No ! Don't kick me there !", the slave screamed as he saw the first blow coming.
"Fuck ! My balls !", the squirming slave screamed as the kick landed, and he grabbed at his hairy groin.
Since the third slave had come into the sanded area Adonios had been quietly talking to Glaux, and fluffing his feathers - (Adonios was a quiet boy, and not particularly taken with watching combats and punishments in the arena - see Chapter XVIII).
On hearing the boy's voice Adonios had instantly looked up, recognizing the voice, and realizing that it was Elatos.
Elatos was a young slave-boy who was assigned to Marcus to perform simple tasks while helping Aurarius.
Adonios, therefore, couldn't understand why Elatos was being punished in the arena.
Elatos Held in a Punishment Cell
Eltos
Elatos was a slave who performed general duties, and came into close contact with Marcus shortly after Marcus arrived at the Domus. Marcus took the boy as a personal slave to be an assistant (and also a sexual partner) for Aurarius (see Chapter XXXVII). As it turned out he was not particularly reliable, and would often go off and spend time with his companions in the Domus kitchens. On the night of Titus' visit Elatos had been 'socialising' down in the basement (when he should have been attending Marcus on the roof garden). He had therefore been grouped with the other slave refusing to take orders, and had been unlucky enough to draw a short straw, and be selected for punishment. Fearful of admitting that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was hopeful that he would be rescued once he was missed. In the confusion caused by the visit of Titus no one missed Elatos, and he found himself being held in the punishment cells in the Domus overnight, and then taken up to the roof-garden to be raped and executed.
As the slave boy, who Adonios believed was Elatos, screamed again, he received another kick in his already mangled genitals from Vindex, and  Adonios ran over to Petronius.
When Petronius heard the news he simply shook his head.
"Why didn't the boy say he wasn't one of the slaves required to fight, and was assigned to the Dominus.", he said seemingly helplessly.
"Can't we do something......stop it ?", Adonios spluttered, panicking.
Elatos Punished
Shit ! My fuckin' bollocks !.....No !..... I'm fuckin' cummin' !", Elatos squealed, as he was kicked in the balls again and desperately squirmed on the sand.
For some reason, possibly because the lad was masochistic, as he squirmed, he gripped his massively  stiff cock, and was by then squirting spunk.
"That's the third kick, Adonios.... I think it's too late to do anything for him.
He's almost certainly a eunuch by now." Petronus explained.
"Oh shit ! .... I'm fuckin' finished !", Elatos moaned, as he rolled over on the sand, and lay still -  as if to confirm what Petronius had just said.
And to make matters worse Vindex, not realizing there was a problem, kicked to poor lad's balls from the rear, really hard, one final time - but it only elicited a grunt.
Petronius held up his hand to stop Vindrex inflicting any more damage.
Adonios and Petronius then went over to where Elatos was lying.
Adonios gently turned the limp naked boy over onto his back.
Elatos' scrotum was almost black, and was horrifically swollen, although his penis was still fully erect, and was jerking spasmodically.
"My balls ?", Elatos croaked, questioningly, looking up at Adonios.
"Adonios !", Petronius said firmly.
"Go down to the Dominus - he's in Terentius' 'officium' - and tell him what's happened - and that there's nothing we can do - and it's best to 'finish off ' the lad".
And tell him I don't think it's a good idea for him to come up here."
Adonios walked away slowly and disconsolately, with Glaux on his shoulder.
Petronius, kneeling down, then spoke to Elatos.
"Elatos - it was a mistake - but there nothing we can do now.
Your'e too badly hurt.
So Vindex will finish you quickly, with little pain, and the Dominus will send you to the next life with sacrifices and prayers."
Elatos trembling with pain, tearfully grunted and nodded - and then looked away, despairing.
Petronius then got up and turned to Vindex.
"Don't bother to fuck him - just 'finish' him - and quick.", Petronius ordered.
Not surprisingly Vindex looked annoyed - having been denied the opportunity the rape the young slave.
Petronius stalked off to stand close to where the slaves who had been brought to witness the 'punishments' were gathered.
They obviously didn't understand what had transpired, and were simply puzzled as to why Vindex didn't get on with raping his completely disabled 'opponent'.
Vindex, obviously sulking, pulled Elatos up by his hair so that he was on his knees, facing the watching slaves.
At the same time a domus-slave came forward and tied Elatos' hands behind his back so that he couldn't interfere with the procedure.
"Please don't do this !", Elatos sobbed, looking up at Vindex, and then to Petronius.
Elatos is 'Finished Off''
Vindex was then handed his gladius by one of the domus-slaves, and the blond Celt lodged the tip of the blade in the hollow between Elatos' sternum and top rib - with the intention of forcing down into the naked boy's heart.
"Shit !... No !", Elatos pleaded tearfully.
Petronius nodded to Vindex, and the Celt began the execution, but he was far from happy, and so had no intention of making the naked slave's death quick and painless.
Very slowly he pushed down on the gladius.
Elatos eyes widened as he felt the blade slice through his muscle.
"Oh cunt !", Elatos squealed as the sword entered him.
At the same moment a fountain of urine sprayed from his now limp penis, and he helplessly and noisily emptied his bowels  onto the sand beneath him.
As the sword penetrated the naked lad's innards, blood dribbled down from his mouth and his nostrils  - the result of severe internal haemorrhaging.
"Fuck - help me !", Elatos finally spluttered in a spray of blood, toppling over to one side as Vindex withdrew his gladius.
Elatos, however, was not dead...... yet.
Death of Julius Caesar
And in case you are wondering - it should be remembered that it is not as easy to kill someone as it is shown on TV or movies - and just to prove a point Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times, and still managed to crawl to the base of Pompey's statue and cover himself with his toga before he died - and Elatos had been stabbed only once !
As naked Elatos squirmed on the sand dying, Marcus arrived on the roof garden, accompanied by a tearful Adonios, a very concerned looking Glaux, and Terentius.
Instantly assessing the situation, Marcus and Terentius remained hidden in the white marble, ionic colonnade, while Adonios was sent to fetch Petronius.
Petronius dismissed Vindex, and Elatos was left alone on the sand, gurgling horribly as he very slowly drowned in his own blood.
"How did this happen ?", Marcus asked Petronius, trying not to sound angry.
"He was in the wrong place - the basement - at the wrong time - last night during Titus visit - and got caught up in the 'mutiny' - and was too sacred to explain who he was.", Petronius replied very succinctly, as Marcus nodded.
"And is there any hope for him now ?", Marcus asked - looking over to where the boy was struggling.
"Well, Vindex didn't 'finish' him very expertly, but he won't survive longer than a few more minutes." Petronius explained.
"So it seems the boy himself was partly to blame - and you and Petronius weren't to know...
just the will of the Gods - so it seems...", Terentius suggested reasonably.
"Yes.... indeed." Marcus agreed.
"Just make sure that he doesn't suffer much longer.". Marcus said to Petronius,
"But don't decapitate him, just cut his throat if that's needed, and then give him a modest, but descent funeral.", Marcus continued.
"Of course Dominus.
I did promise him that he would be sent to the next life properly.", Petronius explained.
"That's good, Petronius.", Marcus concluded, and then he and Terentius made their way unobtrusively back down to Terentius 'officium.

QUARTO SERVUS

'The Fourth Condemned Slave' - After the last of the condemned slaves was brought into the sanded area, Petronius went over to Elatos.
There was a lot of blood on the sand around the naked boy, and Elatos was barely concious as he coughed up even more blood.
"The Dominus says you will have your funeral, but now it must finish.
This is the best way." Petronius said gently.
Elatos nodded - his tear stained face shining.
Then, drawing his pugio, Petronius  swiftly and skilfully cut Elatos' throat.
Elatos grunted, as blood spurted briefly from the wound.
"Fuck !", Elatos finally spluttered.
His whole body trembled and then went limp.
The boy was dead.
The Fourth Slave
The fourth slave watched, obviously horrified.
Petronius had already told the domus-slaves and Vindex to 'speed things up', as it was by then late in the afternoon.
This was probably the best outcome for the first two slaves who were still hanging from the iron frames, and would probably be a good thing for the last slave, as at least his 'punishment' would not be too prolonged.
This last slave had been almost immediately stripped naked and had then forced to his knees.
Vindex was then instructed by Petronius to simply beat the lad, bare fisted and then rape him and decapitate him.
To prevent the slave from making any attempt to defend himself the slaves hand were tied behind his back.
Vindex then 'laid into' the unfortunate boy with is fists, beating him around the head.
In a matter of moments the naked slave was knocked to the sand, partly concussed, while Vindex continued the 'punishment', kicking the lad all over his upper body, and then finally going for the slave's unprotected groin.
Domus-slave then dragged the lad onto his hands and knees, and Vindex got to rape the lad, taking him brutally from the rear.
While the slave was still being held by the domus-slaves, Vindex then emasculated the lad, slicing off the boy's penis and bulky testicles with one cut, close to the 'root'.
At the same time other domus-slave had gone to the two, almost forgotten, slaves who were still hanging from the iron frames.
Both slaves pleaded not to be mutilated, but moments later both slaves were squealing horribly as their appallingly swollen genitals were cut from their writhing, naked bodies.
The squealing very quickly stopped, however, as each slave was effectively gagged by having his severed testicles and his penis stuffed into his mouth.
The horribly mutilated and humiliated slaves were then 'finished off' by having their  throats cut.
Meanwhile, the fourth slave, still on his hands and knees, and desperately coming to terms with having been completely 'unmanned', was summarily decapitated by Vindex, with his headless body ending up flopping down onto the sand, spraying blood from its severe neck, while Vindex held up the boy's startled looking head for the assembled slaves to witness.
Having quite swiftly concluded the 'punishment' session, Petronius dismissed the assembled slave with a firm warning that such 'punishment' would equally be meted out to them if anyone was again so foolish as to disobey the orders of the Dominus or those acting for him.

to be continued..........


'and the story continues -
Petronius explains to Adonios about the apparent cruelty of Fate, while Elatos is cremated, and Novius, wit Terentius, explores more deeply the strange possible relationship between Petronius and Aurarius, trying to allay or confirm his suspicions - meanwhile a quarrel ensues between Marcus and Aurarius.
CHAPTER XLI
'SERVI LIBERORUM ET DEOS'
('Of Slaves, the Free and the Gods')

Please note that this chapter contains sexually explicit and violent images and text. If you strongly object to any of these images please contact the blog author at vittoriocarvelli1997@gmail.com and the offending material can be removed. Equally please do not view this chapter if such material may offend.


2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to be AT LAST continued. We had happily reached Mark's visit to the emperor and what took place between him and the emperor's harlot. What about reaching AT LAST again there? Many kisses

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    1. Thanks for the comment.
      I'm still working on reconstructing the story - and we'll soon be there - and then off to Tibur.
      Maybe you're being a bit harsh on Antonia Caenis.
      She was Vespasain's 'mistress', (Vespasian's wife had died), and previously secretary to Antonia Minor - daughter of Mark Antony.
      In her time she was a very powerful and influential woman - but Vespasian was not legally allowed to marry her because she was a freed-woman - however she was treated as Empress.

      Vitto



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