Chapter XVII - Anno Quattuor Imperatorum - Part I

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
The Year of the Four Emperors - Part I

warning: this section features nudity and explicit sexuality - do not view if you may be offended

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© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

It was the morning after the day at the Games.
While Markos was helping Glykon at the doors to the palatial villa, one of Gracchus' messenge boys came running up.
"The Dominus wants to see you !", he panted.
The call seemed urgent, if the slave-boy's manner was anything to go by.
"I wonder what he wants this time !", Glykon said with a touch or resignation, and possibly even envy in his voice.
"I've no idea !", Markos replied - truthfully.
No matter how many times Markos spoke to Gracchus, he was always nervous.
This was a man who, at the worst, had the power of life of death over all his slaves, and while he was in Gracchus' favour at the moment, he always felt the if he made the slightest mistake, and in particular, said the wrong thing to the wrong person, things could go very badly.
Once again Markos entered the 'inner sanctum'.
Quintus was there, in the corner, ready to start scribbling on his 'cerae' (wax tablets), so this was obviously going to be a serious conversation.
Gracchus
Gracchus, as usual, was sat comfortably behind his marble topped desk, surrounded by scrolls.
"Well Markos ! What did you think of my amphitheater and the Games yesterday ?".
"Wonderful ! Dominus !".
There was an awkward silence.
"I'm not just saying that !", Markos stammered.
"I'm not just trying to be polite !".
"I'm glad to hear it, my boy." Gracchus replied, easily, with a slight smile playing on his lips.
Quintus looked up, startled.
The phrase 'My boy', had surprised him.
He had never heard Gracchus use such an expression to any of his slaves before.
"Would you like to go there again ?", Gracchus continued.
"Very much, Dominus !", Markos answered, eagerly.
"And I think that you like young Petronius." Gracchus suggested.
"Very much, Dominus !", Markos replied.
"Well, I have an idea - and you may like it." Gracchus said, rising from his desk, and going over to inspect what Quintus had been writing.
"How would you feel... if your duties as a door-keeper ended.... and instead, before your studies with your tutors, you went with Petronius to help at the Amphitheatre ?", Gracchus suggested.
"I would like that very much." Markos replied, smiling broadly.
"Now, as you have seen, our Petronius is no ordinary slave.
He is, to a great extent, responsible for the program of events in the arena.
Because of your developing knowledge of history and mythology, I feel that you can assist him in staging interesting new 'tableaux' which would present our actors, musicians, dancers, gladiators and wrestlers to our patrons in various new, and exciting ways.
The 'Rape of Ganymede', which you saw yesterday, is an example of what I want presented.
Petronius is aware of what I require, but I think that he would appreciate your assistance."
There was a brief pause while Markos took in what Gracchus was telling him - while Gracchus returned to his desk.
"So what do you say ?", Gracchus concluded - with a very 'loaded' question.
"I am honoured, Dominus, that you have so much faith in my abilities, and I will try my very best to assist Petronius in every way that I can !", Markos replied, trying to give as dignified and 'grown -up' an answer as possible.
"Then it is settled !", Grachus replied, beaming,
"And you shall start tomorrow !
And one more thing.....
If you are to be supervising gladiators, wrestlers and boxer - young though you are - you will have my authority - but you must know what you are talking about.
So I will tell Servius to alter your physical training so that you may learn some arena skills."
"Thank you, Dominus !", Markos replied, a little worried as to what Gracchus actually meant by 'arena skills'.
"So remember, my boy, if you need any advice concerning your new duties, don't hesitate to come and see me !".
That was Gracchus' parting shot, and Quintus once again looked startled at the informal manner that Gracchus showed to the young 'slave'.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The following morning there was another of those ominous knocks on the door of Markos' 'cubicula' (for more information about this word - go to: Chapter III - and then come back.).
Still groggy from sleep, Markos got out of bed and answered the insistent summons.
And there was the slave-boy messenger, smiling brightly, as he handed Markos a bulky package wrapped in fine white cloth, and tied securely with gold cords.
"A delivery from the Dominus to you !", the young lad said, remarkably respectfully.
Markos thanked the boy, took the package, closed the door, and placed the package on his bed.
Markos then sat on his bed, yawning, and untied the cord, and opened the package.
Within he founds a gladiator's leather, studded cross-belts, leather, studded wrist guards, anklets, studded, leather gloves, a very skimpy pale blue loincloth, and a beautiful pair of leather braccae.
Braccae is the Latin term for trousers. The Romans encountered this style of clothing among peoples whom they called Galli. This is often assumed to mean speakers of Celtic languages, though many scholars doubt that the term Galli was primarily based on linguistic affiliation. When the Romans first encountered the braccae, they thought them to be effeminate (Roman men typically wore tunics, which were one-piece outfits terminating at or above the knee). The word is cognate with the English breeches. Arena slaves and some other officials wore braccae to distinguish them from the gladiators and other performers. The braccae were worn mainly because such individuals spent most of their time standing around being inactive. Costly leather braccae were worn by arena slaves to avoid blood (and other efluent) from coming into contact with the legs.
This, presumably was to be Markos' 'get up' for his lessons in arena skills, and presumably the braccae were to be worn for his trips to the Amphitheater to help Petronius.
And then there was another knock on the door.
It was, of all people, Petronius - and very early, as the sun was only just rising.
Petronius himself was dressed in black leather braccae, leather cross-belts and leather, studded wrist guards, almost identical to those that Markos had just unwrapped.
"Good morning Markos !", Petronius said, striding into the room.
Markos was alarmed, as Nerva had told him that no one was allowed to enter his room - but then he settled himself, rationalising that Petronius was there on Gracchus instructions.
"Come now - we must be off. !
Work in the amphitheatre starts early.
Get those braccae, cross-belts and wrist guards on, and lets go !
We'll have a bite to eat on the way."
Markos quickly got dressed, and the pair, practically identically dressed, and looking very formidable, all in black leather, made their way to the main entrance.
Glykon looked very surprised when he saw Markos in his new outfit, but did not pass any comment (he was, like most slaves at the villa, careful about what he said, and to whom) and simply greeted Markos and Petronius with a cheery 'Good morning'.
Much to Markos surprise, there was a small carriage waiting at the entrance to the villa - he had imagined they would have a long walk to the amphitheater.
They rode into Baiae town, which was relatively quiet, as it was still very early, and Petronius ordered the carriage driver to stop at a convenient thermopolium.
In the ancient Roman world, a thermopolium (plural thermopolia), from Greek θερμοπώλιον, i.e. cook-shop, literally "a place where (something) hot is sold", was a commercial establishment where it was possible to purchase ready-to-eat food. The forerunner of today's restaurant, the items served at the thermopolia are sometimes compared to modern fast food. A typical thermopolium would consist of a small room with a distinctive masonry counter in the front. Embedded in this counter were earthenware jars (called dolia) used to store dried food like nuts (hot food would have required the dolia to be cleaned out after use, and because they are embedded in the counter, they were not used to store hot food, but rather dried food where cleaning wouldn't be necessary). Fancier thermopolia (like the ones in Baiae) were decorated with tasteful frescoes, often of mythological scenes
"I thought we could have something to eat before we start work.", Petronius said as thy got out of the carriage."
They entered the thermopolium, and sat down to ientaculum, (breakfast).
Petronius ordered some cheese, bread, olives, fish and wine.
(Although both Petronius and Markos were officially slaves, they were dressed, and were now eating in a manner far above that of most plebeians [plebs]. Petronius was given, each day by Gracchus, a purse containing an average Roman workers' weekly wage, for his expenses so, by Roman standards, Petronius was relatively well off. Now that Petronius was responsible for Markos for part of the day, Gracchus would add to Petronius' purse a sufficient amount to cover Markos' possible expenses also.)
While they waited for the food to arrive, Petronius opened the conversation.
"So Marcus, how do you feel about helping at the arena ?", Petronius asked.
"Well, when the Dominus makes a suggestion, you do not have much choice.", Markos answered, carefully.
 At this Petronius grinned.
Petronius had known Gracchus since he was very young, and knew the truth of Markos last remark.
"But, truthfully, I like the idea - and it's a great deal better than greeting old men, at the door of the villa, who come to see the Dominus !". Markos continued.
"Now Markos, the Dominus has great plans for the amphitheater, and if we can come up with some interesting ways of showing off the Dominus' gladiators, then things will look very good for us.
So I am relying on you, with all your studying with those fusty old tutors, to come up with some really exciting, sexy stories."
Petronius was looking intently at Markos.
"Think carefully about this Markos - this is our big chance to make a mark, and really get on !"

Patroclus and Achilles
"Well, Petronius..... I have been studying the Illiad, with old Aristarchos, and there is the part about Patroclus and Achilles."
"'Sounds good, but how would we show that in the arena ?", Petronius asked, starting to look interested.
"Well, if you give me a minute, I will try to work something out." Markos replied, somewhat flustered by Petronius' instant demand.
Petronius reached into the leather pouch hanging from his belt, and brought out a cerae, and a small stylus.
Markos noticed, and was surprised, as he hadn't realized that Petronius could read or write.
"So, it's like this.", Markos began, talking, as he usually did with Petronius, and any other slaves that he needed to talk to, in Greek.
"Although Homer doesn't say it directly, it's generally believed that Achilles and Patroclus were lovers.
Patroclus was the 'eromenos', or 'pais', and  Achilles was  the 'erastēs'.
Patroclus was the 'scabard' and Achilles was the 'sword'.
The word erômenos, or "beloved" (ἐρώμενος, plural eromenoi), is the masculine form of the present passive participle from erô, - the passive or subordinate partner. An erômenos can also be called pais, "boy". Both art and other literary references show that the erômenos was at least a teen, with modern age estimates ranging from 13 to 20. Most evidence indicates that to be an eligible erômenos, a youth would be of an age when an aristocrat began his formal military training, that is, from fifteen to seventeen. The erastês himself might only be in his early twenties, and thus the age difference between the two lovers might be negligible.
This gives us the chance to have a scene in the arena where we have a young slave-boy, playing Patroclus, being fucked - but he must also be 'expendable', as he will be killed later on.
Markos looked to Petronius to see if he reacted to the slang term 'fuck' - a word he had used often with the Athenian street boys - but a word he was uncertain of using in the new environment of Baiae and the villa.
Petronius, however, did not react, but just kept listening intently - so markos continued.
Patroclus and Achilles were Greeks, fighting the Trojans.
Achilles has an argument with the leader of the Greeks, and refuses to fight the Trojans any more, - but that's not important - the important bit is that Patroclus borrows Achilles' armour, - in this case probably only his helmet - Corinthian style, that covers his face - and greaves - we'll have him fighting more or less naked - and he gets killed by the Trojans, who think he's Achilles.
Corinthian Helmet
Greaves
A greave (from the greve "shin, shin armour" ) is a piece of armour that protects the leg. During Greek antiquity, greaves were mentioned in many texts, including Homer’s 'Iliad'. 
The Corinthian helmet originated in ancient Greece. It was a helmet made of bronze which covered the entire head and neck, with slits for the eyes and mouth. A large curved projection protected the nape of the neck.
The Trojans then strip the boy completely naked, and the Greeks and Trojans fight over his body."
"That's excellent.
A naked dead boy, and gladiators fighting as Greeks and Trojans !", Petronius  interjected, obliviously getting interested, and furiously scribbling on his cerae.
"The Greeks finally get possession of  Patroclus' body, and a funeral takes place.", Markos continued.
"Like a Munera !", Petronius added, enthusiastically.
"Exactly ! And then - and this is the good part - twelve Trojan captives and stripped naked and sacrificed, as Patroclus' body is burnt on the funeral pyre - while funeral games are held."
"So.... we will need one good looking slave-boy to be fucked and killed, and twelve slaves to be executed, and maybe ten gladiators, five of which will probably be killed.", Petronius said, writing down the numbers on his cerae.
"That's quite a lot.
I will have to speak to the Dominus to get permission for that to go ahead - but it sounds very good !".
Petronius sat back, looking satisfied, as he continued with his breakfast.
"So, my young masters, are you enjoying your breakfast ?", the owner of the thermopolium asked, in an obsequious manner.
He knew that they were slaves, but they were Gracchus' slaves - he could tell that by the expensive silver collars that they were wearing - and Gracchus' senior slaves could provide him with good custom.
"Very good !", Petronius replied, scattering some coins on the table.
He used this thermopolium quite regularly on his way to the amphitheater, and always paid 'over the odds' for his food, and so always got the best food, and the best service.
"Let's go and work out this idea of yours more carefully." Petronius then said, gathering up his cerae and stylus, and rising from the table.
Petronius made for the door, and Markos followed him, into the bright sunshine.
By then the streets were filling up.
The two boys climbed back into the carriage, and the driver, without being told, continued the journey to the amphitheater.
"Oh, in case I forget, - the Dominus told me to make sure that you take off your slave collar before you go into the amphitheater.
If you give it to me I will put it in my pouch and look after it for you." Petronius said, holding out his hand.
"And while we are in the amphitheater I am supposed to address you as 'Iuvenes Dominum'".
When they arrived, they were greeted with much ceremony by the junior slaves.
They immediately went out onto the 'harenam' (arena sand).
Petronius then spoke to one of the junior slaves, who hurried off.
"I've told him to bring out some suitable boys who might play the part of Patroclus.", Petronius said quietly to Markos.
The slave soon came back with five attractive looking slave boys, aged from about fifteen to nineteen.
They were all stark naked, and stood in a row facing Petronius and Markos.
"These are the boys, Iuvenes Dominum !", Petronius said, deferentially to Markos.
All the boys, who were slaves, were either 'runaways', persistent thieves or were guilty of some sexual crime, and were from the local area.
They had, because of the seriousness of their crimes, been given the sentence of  'damnatus ad arenam' (condemned to the arena) by the local magistrates, and consigned to Gracchus' arena.
Such a sentence meant that they would - eventually - be killed in the arena.
The manner of their death would be in the hands of the arena owner or his agents - in this case Petronius.
One of the boys stood out immediately as he was blond, and very attractive, and about sixteen.
"I think he'll do." Markos said to Petronius, pointing to the lad.
"And we'll need an understudy, Iuvenes Dominum.", Petronius added. "In case anything goes wrong."
"Alright !", Markos said. "The boy at the end of the line, on the right.
And now we need our twelve Trojan prisoners.
Do we have twelve slaves - 'damnatus ad arenam' ?
And we don't want any old, fat or bald slaves !", Markos continued, warming to his new task.
"Iuvenes Dominum.", Petronius said gently, "There are no old, fat or bald slaves here.
The Dominus only has young attractive slaves....
But we shall see if we have twelve young men - 'damnatus ad arenam' ."
Petronius turned to one of the junior slaves, and sent him off to find the appropriate number of slaves.
After a few minutes there were twelve naked, musular young men, all between seventeen and twenty-five, lined up for Markos to inspect.
"That's very good  !" Makoss said, walking down the line.
"I never realized that we had so many criminals.", he said with a smirk.
Of course, Markoss was only too aware that he too could have ended up in the same situation as the naked young men paraded for his benefit, and he also realized that Fate could still overturn his present fortunate position, and he might end up condemned to the arena - it could happen to any slave.
But he wanted to be a true Roman, and above all he must be seen to be 'vir' -  a man - (see the Preface) so his smirk was expected and acceptable.
He could not feel sorry for these men.
It was not he, or Petronius, who had condemned them to death - and in using them in an arena presentation, they were only carrying out the legitimate demands of the Roman state.

Aftermath to the Death of Atticus

Despite the show of nonchalance that Markos had displayed, howsoever, secretly had been troubled by the previous death of Atticus.
On the one hand the boy had been responsible for the mutilation and death of Ferox, even making fun of the boy when he personally castrated the lad.
However, Ferox had taken part in the Munera freely, and knew that, in the normal course of events, he might have not survive.
Regardless, Atticus had deliberately switch swords, thus ensuring that he would survive at the expense of young Ferox.
Atticus' eventual death in the arena, however, had been in front of a large audience, and had been deeply humiliating, not to say excruciatingly painful, for the boy.

Atticus - Impaled and Pinned to the Arena Floor
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Atticus - Anal Impaling
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Anal impaling - an extreme form of rape - and complete emasculation (removal of the penis and the testicles), were the ultimate in humiliating punishments as practised in the arena.
And even more humiliating for Atticus was the fact that during his time in the arena, while he had been naked, he had been fully erect, with his foreskin pulled back, and his prominent glans exposed, (something unacceptable for a Roman male to have happen in public)
Perhaps the worst part of the execution - for it was an execution, simply made to appear like a gladiatorial contest - was the length of time that Atticus was left to suffer while naked and obscenely aroused.
When Marcus asked Petronius about the matter Petronius explained that it had been necessary to deter other slaves from acting in a contrary manner to the master's wishes, and he also pointed out that Atticus had been guilty of many sexual misdemeanour, even before the Munera - which, in most cases, Gracchus had overlooked.
Petronius then took Marcus to the 'Spoliarium',  in the 'Ludus Gracchii', and showed Marcus Atticus' corpse.
The Spoliarium is an area in the 'Ludus Gracchii', (the gladiator school and accomodation near the Amphitheater), where the dead bodies of those killed in the arena were taken and laid out on marble slabs to have their bodies stripped and washed, prior to their disposal. If the corpse was wearing armour, or undamaged clothing, these valuable items were returned to to the Armamentarium (the store of weapons and equipment in the Ludus Gracchii). In addition, students of medicine, specifically anatomy, were able to visit the Spoliarium to purchase dead bodies as a way of furthering their studies. Depending on their status, some corpses would be then prepared for a modest funeral, (normally cremation - such as occurred for Durus, Valentius and Ferox - but normally not quite so lavish), while low status individuals (like Atticus) or 'noxii' (condemned criminals) would be disposed of by having their naked corpse  weighted with stones, and thrown into the sea.
Since the previous day, the mutilated corpse of Atticus had been completely stripped, - wrist-guards, greaves and of course, the silver slave collar (returned to Gracchus) had been removed.

The Naked Corpse of Atticus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The naked body of the young, emasculated fighter, however, had been treated quite decently and respectfully, (the arena-slaves were a little uncertain of Atticus' status), and the body had been washed, and carefully laid out on one of the marble slabs in the 'Spoliarium'.
The only signs of bloodshed on the pale corpse were relatively moderate - the bloody stump where Atticus' genitals had been sliced off, and the wound in the boy's throat, where Petronius had 'finished him off'.
Atticus' head, however, lolled off the marble slab, his mouth gaped, and his eyes were still open, gazing vacantly and sightless, at the coffered ceiling.
"So what happens to his 'bits' ?", Marcus asked, referring to the dead boy's severed genitals, which were lying on the slab beside the naked corpse
Atticus' penis and testicles, had been sliced off by Petronius with one deft cut, and now the once large, and stiff cock had become small, wrinkled and  flaccid .
"They will be fed to one of the Amphitheater guard-dogs - it's what we usually do with them. - The dogs have a taste for suck bits", Petronius replied, nonchalantly.
"And what happens to him ?", Marcus asked.
"The slaves will tie some stones to the ankles, and the body will be thrown off the cliff, in the grounds of the villa, into the sea - food for the fishes - and good riddance to him  !",
Petronius added, obviously still upset by the death of his friend Ferox.
And so they left Atticus - and that night slaves disposed of the young slave-gladiator's mutilated , naked body.

Return to the Villa

It was well past mid-morning, and time for Markos to attend to his lessons with his tutor.
Petronius escorted him to the waiting carriage.
They both got in, as in was Petronius' duty to see that Markos arrived safely back at the villa.
Once in the privacy of the carriage, Petronius handed Markos his slave collar.
"Don't forget to put this on !", he said with a grin - and so, the Iuvenes Dominum (Young Master) became Markos the slave-boy once again.
Back at the villa Glykon wanted to know what Markos had been 'up to'.
Markos explained (carefully) that he had been working with Petronius, - and as Petronius was a slave, and so far as Glykon knew, so was Markos, it seemed quite understandable.
Glykon, however, was secretly jealous that his one-time helper was now allowed out of the villa, and was working - even if only for part of the day - in the exciting environment of Gracchus' amphitheater.
Of course, sitting in his tutor's room, surrounded by dusty scrolls, seemd rather dull compared to striding around the 'harenam' (arena sand) as the Iuvenes Dominum, but Markos was smart enough to realize that without his education he was hardly likely to be chosen to help in running the Amphitheater, and that, instead, he would just end up spending all his time opening and closing doors for rich old men, (and occasionally being 'chatted up' by the same old men) like young Glykon.
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Markos now paid careful attention to the study sessions where he was taught about the myths and legends of both Rome and Greece, and in the evenings when he went back to his cubiculum, he would make copious notes about those stories which could possibly be used as the setting for various dramatic enactments in the arena.
Meanwhile, Petronius had provided Markos with two sets of 'fighting gear', suitable for use in the arena.
It seems that Gracchus had made it clear that Markos would not be allowed to take any responsibility for fights in the arena, unless he had some experience of such fighting.
Of course, Gracchus was adamant that Markos should not be put in any danger, but at the same time he was to learn the art of arena fighting.
Servius had already started some exercises with Markos in the gymnasion at the villa , to increase his strength and co-ordination.
On instructions from Gracchus, Petronius then provided Markos with leather studded wrist guards, gloves, various belts, a loincloth, a helmet a small shield and a gladius (with the cutting edges and point blunted so that Markos could not harm either himself, or anyone else for that matter), which he was allowed to keep at the villa, and use when training with Servius.
Once kitted out as a little gladiator, Markos would spend long afternoons in the gymnasion working with Servius, going through the endless drills that were an essential part of the training of a gladiator.
Not only did this strengthen Markos, physically, but it also improved his concentration, and developed his will-power - as training in such a way was a difficult and unrelenting strain.
As the time went by, Markos' relationship with Servius 'cooled'.
Servius and Cleon at the Pool
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Petronius
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That is not to say they were no longer friends - as the daily training, not only gladiatorial, but also in wrestling, boxing and swimming, made them very close, however, as far as any sexual encounters, Servius was obviously nervous - not wanting to cause a problem with Gracchus, as it was now obvious to the young centurion that Markos' status was changing quite dramatically.
Servius, however, was still strongly physically attracted to the handsome boy, and he sometimes found it difficult to resist a physical encounter, particularly when he was coaching the lad in swimming, wrestling and boxing, which all required Markos to be naked.
Markos realised this, but having become involved with Petronius in his work in the arena, Markos had become thoroughly infatuated with the young, handsome, and charming supervisor of the Amphitheatre.
Markos, though, was hesitant to make sexual advances towards Petronius, as he was unsure as to how Petronius would react, and he was not sure of the true nature of the boy's status, or of his own, for that matter.
Master Penetrating a Slave-Boy
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
It should be remembered here that sex between males in Roman society was strictly controlled by differences in age and in status. Male Roman citizens could have sex with slaves, and other 'infamia' - (literally - those who had no reputation), preferably if they were quite young.
In Roman culture, infamia (in-, "not," and fama, "reputation") was a loss of legal or social standing. As a technical term of Roman law, infamia was an official exclusion from the legal protections enjoyed by a Roman citizen, as imposed by a censor or praetor. More generally, especially during the Republic and Principate, infamia was informal damage to one's esteem or reputation. A person who suffered infamia was an infamis (plural infames).
Same Age Sexual Penetration
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Infamia was an "inescapable consequence" for certain professionals, including prostitutes and pimps, entertainers such as actors and dancers, and gladiators. Infames could not, for instance, provide testimony in a court of law. They were liable to corporal punishment, which was usually reserved for slaves. The infamia of entertainers did not exclude them from socializing among the Roman elite, and entertainers who were "stars", both men and women, sometimes became the lovers of such high-profile figures as the dictator Sulla and Mark Antony.
A passive homosexual who was "outed" might also be subject to social infamia.
Same age sex was generally not acceptable, and sex with individuals who were older that the citizen who was the 'penetrator' were questionable. It was completely unacceptable for a citizen to be 'penetrated' by either an 'infamia', or an individual who was older - regardless of status.
Cleon
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
With young Cleon, however, there was no problem for Markos.
In the first place, Cleon was about a year younger than Markos but, in addition, Gracchus had previously arranged for Cleon to be 'available' for Markos.
As a result, Markos and Cleon regularly had sex in Markos' cublicum - (with Markos always taking the dominant role - as he was expected to - being a little older.)
This arrangement was quite satisfactory for Markos, as it was definitely much preferable to solitary masturbation, and it did give him an acceptable, and regular outlet for his growing sexual drive.
And Markos had to admit that Cleon was 'cute', and also a very willing and accomplished sexual partner.




© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Every day (remember that Romans did not have weekends - Saturday and Sunday, as we know them, had not been invented), passed with Markos working at the Amphitheatre with Petronius, then going to either his Greek or Latin tutor, followed by a long session until dusk in the gymnasion and the pool with Servius. Every other day he had the company of young Cleon in the evening.
But what had happened to Marcus and Petronius' plan for an arena presentation of the story of Achilles and Patroclus.
Petronius had discussed the topic with Gracchus, and Gracchus had been very interested, especially when he understood that the idea had originated with Marcus.
The there had been a delay.
Whenever Petronius had been bold enough to raise the matter with Gracchus, his master had been preoccupied.
There was obviously something else on Gracchus' mind, but Petronius had no idea what it might be.
If it had been a problem about himself or Marcus, or the subject of the presentation he was sure that Gracchus would have discussed it with him.
He could not make any firther preparations for the presentation, however, as it would involve the deaths of a considerable number of slaves, and some considerable expenditure if it was to be presented in a suitably grand manner.
So Petronius waited, and Marcus 'sulked'.
Marcus was spending a lot of time learning about the finances of the arena; about buying slaves, about purchasing supplies, and all the equipment and props required for the smooth running of the Amphitheatre - including cleaning and refurbishment.
It was not, however, what Marcus was really interested in, and to make matters worse, the Amphitheatre had been temporarily closed for many months - leaving only the old, dilapidated arena at Cumae for the local residents, as the Amphitheatre at Ponpeii was closed by order of the magistrates (for ten years !).
But Gracchus was preoccupied.
Glykon had told Markos about new visitor to the villa - coming to speak to Gracchus.
Visitors from Rome - and some were senators, and some were legati !
Legatus
A legatus (legate) was a general in the Roman army, equivalent to a modern general officer. Being of senatorial rank, his immediate superior was the Proconsul (provincial governor), and he outranked all military tribunes. In order to command an army independently of the Proconsul, legates were required to be of praetorian rank or higher; a legate could be invested with propraetorian imperium (legatus pro praetore) in his own right. Legates received large shares of the army's booty at the end of a successful campaign, which made the position a lucrative one, so it could often attract even distinguished consuls.

Things in the wider world were coming to the villa - and Marcus little arena presentation was taking second or even third place.


 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
   
'and the story continues -  the Emperor - Nero - is dead.
He has no legitimate successor, and various powerful individuals struggle for the 'Imperium'.
The one thing that they all need is money - to pay the legions and the Senate - and Gracchus has money - lots of it !'
And Marcus recieves some amazing news from Gracchus

  go to the link below to continue the story
 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

(The Death of Nero)




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