Illustrated Synopsis of the Story of Gracchus

a short illustrated explanation of a complicated, but fascinating, story
for the full text and many more explicit images follow the Chapter links

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Marcus Agrippa Aelius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
 Emperor Nero

'The Story of Gracchus' is not about one individual called Gracchus, but is rather the story of the 'House of Gracchus' during a period starting towards the end of the reign of the Emperor Nero.
The story itself, however, does not begin with the House of Gracchus, but rather with events that befall a young teenage boy, Marcus Agrippa Aelius.


Roman Athens
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Marcus is a Roman citizen, and is on his way from Athens to Rome, via Brundisium.
Marcus Gaius Aelius, we subsequently find out, is considered, particularly by his strict and ambitious father, to be a 'bad boy',
Although he is a Roman citizen (but not yet come of age'), he hangs around the gymnasion in Athens, showing off his youthful, lithe physique, and consorting with other 'street boys' - who are, by and large, Greek.

Gaius Agrippa Aelius
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He is poor at his studies, and his Latin is spoken ungrammatically, and with a distinct Greek accent.
His father, Gaius Agrippa Aelius, who is a minor Roman official, is deeply concerned for his only son, and is relieved when he is recalled to Rome, as he believes that this can provide a new - and truly Roman - start for the wayward boy.
Cilician Pirates.
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His relief is misplaced, however, as the ship on which they are sailing his attacked by Cilician pirates.
The ship is captured, and the boy's mother and father are killed, along with most of the crew.


Marcus is Sold as a Slave
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Marcus and a slave troupe of  dancing boys are taken to Crete, and from there to Brundisium (which was Marcus' original destination, on his way to Rome).
In Brundisium the pirates sell Marcus and the dancing boys to a high class Greek slave trader called Arion.
Marcus is subsequently put into an auction, and described as 'Markos' a Greek bilingual, attractive and educated slave-boy.
Many bids are made for him until one young man makes a phenomenally high bid (in gold), that no one else in the auction room can match.


Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus
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Gracchus' Villa at  Baiae
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 Markos is then whisked away in a luxurious carriage, across country, to the exclusive sea-side resort of  Baiae, on what is now called the Gulf of  Naples, to a huge, magnificent villa.

There Markos eventually meets the owner of the villa, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus


Gracchus is a childless, middle aged man, separated from his wife.
He is, however, fabulously wealthy, being reputed to be one of the richest men in the Empire.
Where his wealth comes from is not clear, although his freedmen are involved in numerous financial affairs, including the importation of fine art, building materials, wine and olive oil, food stuffs, and most importantly - slaves (Gracchus, being a Senator, is not permitted, by law, to be involved in any economic activity, and his Freedmen perform this function on his behalf.).
Markos (as he is now known) believes the loss of his family, and his subsequent his servitude to be a judgement by the Gods because he was a 'bad son', not respecting the traditional Roman ideals of his father, or caring about his education.
He therefore accepts his new situation.
On meeting his master (always referred to as Dominus - Latin for master or lord), Markos discovers that his servitude is to be far easier than he imagined.


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In the mornings he will be expected to assist a Greek slave-boy called Glykon.

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Markos and Glykon become good friends initially, but subsequently the friendship sours, ending in a far reaching tragedy.
In the afternoons Gracchus expects Markos to take lessons in Greek and Latin with two tutors that he has bought specifically for the purpose, ('bought' because they are slaves - most teachers at this time were slaves).
Marcus is also expected to undertake physical training with a young centurion - Servius -  that Gracchus has managed to second from the famous Thirteenth Legion, through the offices of one of his 'cliens', Tribune (and later Legatus) Marcellus.
All goes well for a while, and Markos, rather than living the unpleasant life of a slave, finds that he has a well appointed, beautifully decorated room, with fine furnishings, good food, bathing facilities, personal tutors, the attentions of Gracchus' own Greek doctor, and the use of a gymnasion and indoor pool - along with a 'coach'.

Marcus'  Cubiculum (Bedroom)
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 Marcus Bathing
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He is, in fact, far better off than many free plebeian boys of his age, and treated as well as many sons of wealthy patricians.
The only problem for Markos is that he never leaves the villa - and is not allowed to even use the extensive grounds and gardens, or the private beach - so he is not free.


He also has one other advantage, which is usual for a rich man's son, but not a slave.
Gracchus arranges, through his Chief Steward Terentius, (the freedman who originally bought Markos), for Markos to have a regular visitor to his room - a young Greek slave-boy called Cleon.
This boy is provided as a companion, but more importantly as a provider of sex for Markos.
In accordance with Roman custom, Cleon, being somewhat younger, is to be penetrated by Markos (but never the other way round).

Servius and Markos in the Indoor Pool
 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
This is a custom in wealthy Roman households, in order to ensure that young sons always take the dominant role, and do not indulge in masturbation, which is considered unmanly.
To begin with Markos and Cleon become firm friends, but before Markos can become emotionally and romantically attached to Cleon, another individual appears on the scene.


Servius & Marcus on the Beach
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Servius, the young Centurion, who is responsible for Markos' physical training, obtains permission to take Markos to the private beach, belonging to the villa, for swimming lessons.
While on the beach, Servius finds what he believes to be a secluded area, and manages to sexually seduce Markos.
Servius, being much older than Markos, takes the dominant role, so for Markos it is a different experience to his sexual encounters with Cleon.
What they do not realise is that they are observed by Gracchus' guards, who regularly patrol the beach.

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Terentius (Gracchus' Senior Steward and Freedman) becomes concerned about Markos.
Not only is the boy unlike all the other slaves that he has come across, but he is also puzzled about Gracchus' strange treatment of the boy - and he voices his concerns to his master.
Gracchus can give no rational explanation - but realising that Terentius is also puzzled by the boy, he decides to give Markos a further interview.
Gracchus compliments Markos on his studies, and his physical development, as a result of the work of Servius - and gives no hint of knowing about the sexual relationship existing between Markos and the young Centurion.
Gracchus then explains that he is a 'Philhellene' - a lover of all things Greeks, making reference to the Emperor Tiberius, and justifies the fact that there are only slave-boys at the villa on this basis.

Performing Nude
 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
 © Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Gracchus then explains that there will be a party ('Convivium') at the villa, which will feature boys performing nude gymnastics and dancing and wrestling.
He suggests that Markos should be his 'cup-bearer' (special servant at the party), and compares this task to that of the mythical figure Ganymede, (boy lover of the Greek God Zeus [Jupiter]).
Markos considers that Gracchus is grooming him for a subsequent sexual encounter.
On his return to his room (cublicum), a very worried Markos is visited by young Cleon, and to calm his thoughts he indulges in a very vigorous and boisterous session of sex - followed by a lurid description, by Cleon, of gladiator fights at 'convivia' (parties) in the villa.

(Imperator Cæsar Divi Filius Augustus)
CHAPTER IX - As it happens, there was a Convivium arranged at the time, about which Gracchus had spoken to Markos - a 'Convivium' to celebrate the birth date of Octavian - the 'Divine Augustus'  (Imperator Cæsar Divi Filius Augustus) one of Gracchus' favourite heros.
In addition to the Convivium, Gracchus was to hold an indoor Munera.
Such Munera, which were rarely held at the time of this story, were commemorations and sacrifices to the dead, in which young swordsmen fought, 'ad mortem', (to the death) - the losing gladiator being considered as a form of 'human sacrifice'.

Death during the Munera
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This was an ancient Etruscan custom, from which developed the concept of gladiatorial combat, and the whole culture of the arena and the amphitheater.
Gracchus was deeply interested in ancient Roman and Etruscan traditions, along with his old friend, Novius, and Gracchus even had a private amphiteater in the nearby town of Baiae.

Cremation at the Villa
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All through the Convivium, and the Munera, Markos stood beside Gracchus as his 'cupbearer' - but he was shocked by the overtly sexual exhibition put on by the slave-boy dancers, and the boy gymnasts, and the extreme violence of the fighting, and the brutal deaths of the combatants.
After the Munera and the Convivium, Petronius, one of Gracchus' favourite slaves, invited Markos to the cremation of the slain young fighters.


Markos later learned that the fights which comprised the munera had been 'fixed' on the orders of Gracchus - and this, it appeared, was not unusual for such contests.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
However, one of the fighters, a boy called Atticus, had killed his opponent, Ferox.
Ferox should have won the fight, on Gracchus' instructions, and Atticus should have been emasculated and killed - and the result was that Gracchus was furious - and planned to take his revenge on Atticus during the next public Games (Ludi) in the 'Amphitheatro Gracchi', in Baiae.
As a result of Markos' appearance at the 'convivium' as Gracchus' cupbearer, there were many rumours circulating among the slaves in the villa regarding Markos' relationship with the Dominus, Gracchus.
Gracchus himself, was increasingly worried himself about the future.
His marriage had been childless and he no longer lived with his wife, who was ensconced in Gracchus luxurious villa at Tibur, near Rome.

Nerō Claudius Caesar 
Roman Priest
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He was, therefore, concerned about the future of the 'House of Gracchus', particularly as the political situation in Rome was becoming increasingly unstable as the senate and the army were concerned about the policies and behaviour of the incumbent Emperor, Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.
Gracchus, like most Romans - even those who were from the upper class and well educated was, by modern standards, very superstitious, and was not averse to using the services  of astrologers and priests and Augurs, who would take the auspices - supernatural signs.

The Cave of the Cumaean Sibyl
The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices, that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"
Gracchus decides to consult the Cumaean Sibyl - the most renowned oracle in Italy.
Cumaean Sibyl was the oracle of the God Apollo, referred to in Virgil's 'Aeneid'.

Vespasiānus Caesar Augustus
Gracchus receives his oracle from the Sibyl, which consists of an outline of the political upheavals of the 'Year of the Four Emperors', along with a prophecy of the rise of Vespasian (who subsequently becomes the Emperor Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus - founding the Flavian Dynasty).

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There is also a personal aspect to the oracle, where reference is made to a 'aurea puer ad mare' (golden boy from the sea), and a prophecy relating to Gracchus' death.
The 'golden boy from the sea' is later interpreted as a reference to Markos.

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At this point in the story we first meet Novius - an old friend of Gracchus.
The two men share an interest in Roman and Etruscan mythology and religion.
Cumaean Sibyl
Novius is well versed in the skills of the Augurs, having been tutored by some of the last Etruscan priests, and is fluent in Oscan, the ancient language of many of the Italian tribes.
He is able to assist Gracchus in interpreting the scroll provided by the priests of Apollo, which contains the prophecies of the Sibyl.
It is at this point that Gracchus realises that Markos is to play a significant part in the development of the 'House of Gracchus', and that the boy needs to be prepared for his future role as the possible next Dominus.


At this point Gracchus reveals the true nature of the prophecy, and its implications to his senior Freedman and advisor, Terentius.
Terentius is not happy with the possible future position of Markos, and is unsettled by the prophecy of the possibility of civil war in the Empire.
Regardless, Terentius is dispatched to Brundisium to try to get some more information from Arion about Markos, and meanwhile Gracchus has a further interview with Markos in order to try and discover the true identity of the boy.
Under Gracchus' intensive questioning Markos reveals that he is the son of Gaius Agrippa Aelius, and that he is a Roman citizen.
Gracchus, carefully leaves the matter there, and encourages Markos to work hard at his studies, and be patient - explaining that the Gods have revealed an important future for the boy.
Marcus is then dismissed.


Gracchus 'hobby' is running a small, but lavishly equipped amphitheatre in the town of Baiae.

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Gracchus takes Markos to the Amphitheater
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His next step with Markos is to take the boy to the amphitheater, as he has the vague intention of allowing the boy to assist the senior slave, Petronius' who runs the amphitheater for Gracchus.
Gracchus now plays a little 'game', passing off Markos to the arena staff (who are completely separate from the villa staff), as his 'nephew'.
Petronius, who is undoubtedly a favourite of Gracchus, is let in on the ruse.
In this chapter we are given a considerable amount of detailed background information about the origins and development of the Roman Games (Ludi).


'Ganymede' Raped by 'Zeus'
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Markos and Gracchus at the Games
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Gracchus takes Markos to the Editor's Box (later renamed the 'Pulvinar' when the amphitheater is renovated and enlarged).
From there he has the finest view of the events in the arena, and his first experience of the the Games.
While watching the Games, Markos sees a mythological re-enactment of the legend of Ganymede (to which Gracchus had referred to in Chapter VIII, prior to the Convivium).
During this balletic re-enactment, a young slave-boy, playing the part of Ganymede, is raped by a slightly older slave, playing the part of Zeus.

Greek Style Nude Wrestling
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This is followed by Greek style, nude wrestling, and some gladiator fights.
The climax of the Games, however, is undoubtedly the 'fight' between Atticus and Petronius, which is, in reality, the execution of Atticus.
Atticus was able to kill Ferox by ensuring that he had a blunted gladius, and Petronius (with Gracchus permission) plays the same trick on Atticus.
Atticus quickly admits defeat, realising that his weapon is useless.

Atticus Abuses himself in the Arena
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Petronius offers Atticus a quick 'clean' death if he agrees to humiliate himself in front of the crowd by publicly masturbating to orgasm.
Atticus who is infamous at the Ludus for sexually abusing the younger fighters and slaves, and is pathologically 'over-sexed' agrees - as Petronius though he would.

Atticus Impaled in the Arena
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After amusing the audience with a lurid display of self-stimulation, arena slaves grab Atticus and fold him over, and Petronius inserts a spear into the helpless boy's anus.
The spear is forced through Atticus' body, and embedded into the floor of the arena.
Atticus is then left to squirm and scream for the remainder of the Games, while other fights take place.
Finally Petronius completely emasculates the impaled boy, and then cuts his throat, and Atticus slowly drowns in his own blood.

Markos Views the Mutilated Body of Atticus
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With the death of Atticus, the Games ended, and Petronius went to speak to Gracchus,
Gracchus congratulated Petronius on a well run Games, and both he and Petronius were surprised when Markos expressed his complete approval at the manner of Atticus' death.
This fact made Gracchus believe that one day Markos could perhaps be entrusted with more that just the running of the amphitheatre.
The day after the Games - in order to further Markos' understanding of the running of the amphitheatre, Petronius took Markos to view the body of Atticus, which was still in the 'Spoliarium', awaiting disposal.


There then follows a detailed and lavishly illustrated aside to the action of the story, in order to give a full and accurate account of the nature and origins of the Roman Games - as these Games will form an important aspect of much of the continuing story.


The plot resumes in this chapter, which opens as the first part of the 'Year of the Four Emperors' - a year of civil war and political instability.
We see, in the opening action of this chapter, the first signs of Glykon's disenchantment with his young friend, Markos, which will prove to have extremely serious consequences in the future.

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Markos is called to yet another interview with Gracchus, and he notices that Gracchus has started to take warmer and more avuncular tone with him.
As a result of this interview, Markos is taken off door duty, and is put into the care of Petronius, to assist him in preparing programs for the Games to be held in the arena.
Markos' academic studies are to continue, but Servius has been instructed to include weapons training in Markos schedule, (leaving less time for Servius to misbehave on the beach - of which Gracchus is fully, and disapprovingly aware).
The day after the interview Markos receives a package from Gracchus containing new clothing suited to his new position in the amphitheater.
This early morning consignment is followed by Petronius arriving to take Markos to the amphitheater.
Glykon, of course, noticed Markos absence as doorkeeper and, as Markos left the villa, also his fine set of new, and very expensive clothes.

Scene from the Iliad - Homer
John Flaxman
For this first morning Petronius and Markos rode to the amphitheater (which was in the centre of the town of  Baiae) by carriage, but they first stopped off at a 'thermopolium', (a kind of Roman cafe), for a morning meal, and a talk.
It was there that Markos first came up with the idea of mounting a mythological tableaux in the arena, depicting scenes about Patroclus and Achilles from Homer's 'Iliad'.

Servius and Petronius at the Pool
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This was an excellent idea that, for numerous unforeseen reasons, took a very long time to come to fruition, much to Markos' annoyance.
Markos and Petronius then left the 'thermopolium' and continued in their carriage to the amphitheater.
Petronius then sent for some boys who could possibly play parts in the tableaux that Markos had suggested.

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This was the first occasion that Markos was addressed as 'Iuvenes Dominum' (Young Master), despite the fact that he was still, technically, a slave.

Cleon and Markos
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As the days passed, Markos continued to work hard at his studies with his tutors, and his physical training with Servius - although his relationship with Servius had 'cooled' considerably - and each morning Markos slowly learned all the intricacies of running an amphitheatre under the skilled guidance of Petronius.
In his brief moments of 'private time', in the evenings, Markos was still regularly visited by young Cleon, and so Markos was able to maintain what Gracchus considered to be a legitimate outlet for Markos' sexual needs.
At this point in the story, the outside world breaks in, as Gracchus starts receiving visits from Senators and Legati (Generals), as the crisis in Rome comes to a head.

Death of Nero

This chapter opens with the death (probably suicide) of the Emperor Nero.
To set the scene there is a review of the rise of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, originating with Julius Caesar and Octavian Augustus, and ending with Nero.
As the crisis developed, Gracchus, through his complex business and financial interests, has a huge web of 'clientes' (who can act as 'informers') and the villa becomes the hub of much intrigue in the following months.

First Scroll of the Cumean Sibyl
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It was at this point that much of the prophecy received from the Cumean Sibyl started to make sense.
Gracchus, therefore decided to speak directly to Markos, regarding the nature of the prophecy, received from the God Apollo, through the Sibyl.
Gracchus gives Markos the scroll, prepared by the priests of Apollo at Cumae, to read.
Markos can make little sense of it, as it is written in a curious mixture of Latin and Oscan, but Gracchus gives Markos Novius' interpretation of the scroll.
This interpretation identifies Markos as the 'aurea puer ad mare'  - (golden boy from the sea), and singles him out as Gracchus' heir, (and by definition his adopted son), on Gracchus' death, which is also prophesied to be not far distant.
Markos is horrified by both prophecies - feeling totally inadequate to take Gracchus' position as Dominus, and appalled at the prospect of losing his guide and protector - and a person  for whom he only now realises that he has the greatest affection.
Marcus refuses to believe what he is being told - questioning why he should be 'chosen', but Gracchus makes it clear that what will happen is the will of the God (Apollo), and must be accepted.

Praetorian Tribune Nymphidius
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There is then a proposed visit by a very dangerous individual, Nymphidius, who is the Praetorian Prefect (head of the Roman Emperor's personal bodyguard).
Concerned by this visit, Gracchus instructs Terentius to draft a will, formally adopting Markos as his son - thereafter to be known as Marcus (Latin spelling) Octavianus Gracchus.

College of the Vestals - Rome
As Gracchus' wife is dead, and he has no children or other surviving relatives, with the exception of a few personal bequests, all of Gracchus financial assets, including all his properties and business in all parts of the Empire are to be inherited by Marcus as Dominus (Lord) of the House of Gracchus, making Marcus Octavianus Gracchus one of the richest men in the Empire.
Then, before any further disruptive political developments can take place, Terentius was sent to Rome, with an escort of villa guards, to deposit Gracchus' Will in the College of the Vestals in Rome.
Later, Gracchus spoke to Lucius and Aristarchos (Marcus' tutors), and Servius and Petronius.
These individuals were informed of Gracchus' decision regarding the adoption and inheritance of Marcus, and were told that from then on Marcus would be referred to as 'Iuvenes Dominum' (Young Master).

Tribune Servius
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Gracchus had a separate interview with Servius - who had previously been a Centurion on the Legio XIII (Thirteenth Legion).
Gracchus criticized Servius for his previous sexual encounters with Markos, informing him that such behaviour was no longer permissible.

'Iuvenes Dominum'
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In the circumstances of political and civil unrest, however, Gracchus required a Tribune (commanding officer), with some military experience, and therefore, and somewhat against his better judgement, he appointed Servius as Tribune.
Gracchus also had a separate interview with Petronius, during which he made clear his understanding of Marcus feelings towards Petronius, and warned Petronius not to do anything to upset or disappoint the boy.
Having spoken to all the senior staff who were involved, Gracchus then publicly announced that Marcus had been given his freedom and full Roman citizenship, and was officially Gracchus' heir and adopted son.


Marcus' Private Apartments
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Gracchus then gives Marcus a lavish suite of newly decorated and furnished private rooms in the villa, in keeping with his new position as 'Iuvenes Dominum', and some slave-boys - Adonios, and Cleon.
Marcus now began to join Gracchus at his numerous meetings with officials from Rome, where he was always introduced as Gracchus' nephew and heir.
The situation in Rome was very fluid, but eventually Galba was declared Emperor.
Meanwhile, for Marcus life had changed considerably.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
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He still had lessons from his tutors, and session of physical training with Servius, but most of his time was spent with Petronius at the amphitheater - and when he went to the amphitheater he usually travelled in his own carriage, with Adonios, Cleon and two grooms as outriders - (Petronius was also teaching Marcus how to ride a horse).
In the evenings Marcus almost always dined with Gracchus, in Gracchus' opulent, private triclinium (dining room).
Eventually the Praetorian Prefect, Nymphidius, arrived.
It was his intention to usurp Galba, and take the Imperium for himself.

In order to do this, however, Nymphidius needed vast quantities of money - to bribe the Praetorian Guards - and the only person that he knew who had that sort of money was Gracchus.
Gracchus - with Marcus in attendance- and Nymphidius met to agree a sum that would be agreeable to both men as the basis of a loan.

Roman Gold Ingots
As there were no real banks, or money transfers as such at the time of this story, the loan had to be made in gold ingots, which Nymphidius would take, in a cart drawn by oxen, back to Rome.
The gold that was required was hidden away in a secret vault in the countryside, near Neapolis, and Terentius would organise the transfer of the gold to the transport provided by Nymphidius.
This would take some time, and while Nymphidius was waiting, he would be entertained by a private series of gladiatorial fights in Gracchus' arena in Baiae.

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Nymphidius was an inveterate lover of boys, (he had already 'married' the late Nero's young, castrated slave-boy, Sporus), and so Petronius, having been forewarned, arranged fights between young and very attractive boys, to distract Nymphidius at the amphitheater. 
Without Nymphidius' knowledge, Gracchus had made an agreement with the Praetorian Tribunes, who accompanied him that, if they agreed to accept a reduced 'dōnātiō' (payment or bribe - reduced from the initial demand that Nymphidius had made), they could keep the gold for themselves, as long as they ensured that Galba remained Emperor, even if that meant killing Nymphidius.
Of course, for Gracchus, the gold was next to nothing, but for Nymphidius and the Praetorians it was an immense sum, and even Marcus was worried about Gracchus giving away so much of his (Marcus') inheritance, until Terentius explained to him that, compared to Gracchus total wealth, the wagon of gold was not worth worrying about.

Adamas Decapitates Terrenus
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So, with full boxes of gold stacked on empty boxes, the wagon was prepared, in the hope that Nymphidius would be too full of food and wine, and too taken with the naked boys in the arena, that he would not bother to check the wagon.
It was, of course, important that the Praetorian Tribunes could, on reaching Rome, acuse Nymphidius of not paying the guard enough gold, and then have an excuse for executing him, and getting the guard to support Galba.

Petram Emasculates and Kills Virga
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The Fights in the arena were suitably blood and explicit, with some of the boys only wearing what could be best described as the Roman equivalent of 'cock-cages'.
Young gladiators were decapitated, emasculated and raped for the amusement of Nymphidius.
One of the young gladiators particularly caught Nymphidius' attention.
This boy was Petram, who emasculated and killed Virga.
Nymphidius was more than pleased with what he had seen, and then surprised Gracchus by asking if he could 'borrow' Petram, and take him back to Rome for a while.
Gracchus had no option but to give his permission - and act that had the most profound and fateful repercussions for both Gracchus, Marcus, and a number of other players in this drama.
Fortunately, however, Nymphidius was so taken with his 'new' boy Petram, that when he returned to the villa he left for Rome without making any check of the contents of the wagon bearing the gold, much to the relief of Gracchus, Marcus, Terentius and Petronius.


After the return of Nymphidius to Rome, Gracchus makes arrangements for Terentius, on his next visit to the capital to rescue Petram - but the boy is not rescued quickly enough, as it turns out.

Galba as Emperor
News from Rome, however, soon arrives that Nymphidius has been murdered by his Tribunes (as Gracchus wanted), and Galba has been officially declared Emperor, which appeared to put an end to the possibility of a civil war.
Gracchus therefore decided to have a Celebratory Ludi (Games), to mark the accession of the new Emperor, and the establishment of peace.

Meanwhile, Terentius had arrived in Rome, and through his many contacts (Gracchus' 'cliens'), had managed to locate Petram at the Castra Praetoria, where his was being 'looked after' by the Praetorian Tribunes.
Back at the villa, Marcus was getting used to his position as 'Iuvenes Dominum', and his first real task was to prepare the 'Ludis Pro Galba' (Games for Galba).

The Rape of Germania
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With Petronius' expert assistance Marcus was able to present and excellent Ludis, and Gracchus was very pleased with the result.
The Games began with some Tableaux - 'the Rape of Germania' - supposedly representing Galba's military prowess.

Nude Pankratium Wrestling
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This was followed by a number of Hellenistic style contests - which were very much favoured by Gracchus - in the form of a series of Pancratium Wrestling bouts - all ending with the rape and killing of the defeated wrestler.
As with all Pancratium wrestling, the contestants fought completely naked.

Impaled Condemned Slave
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
There then followed a section of the Ludi entitled - 'Suppliciis' - (Punishments), where condemned criminals were tortured and executed - a section that was always very popular with the audience.
In this section a number of slaves were impaled, hung and crucified.

Condemned Slave Tortured
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Usually the torture and execution was preceded by rape, when the unfortunate victim was sexually assaulted by a number of arena slaves, and all criminals condemned to the arena appeared on the sand completely naked.

Disemboweled and Emasculated by an Eagle
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The period of executions and torture was then followed by a further tableaux.
It was a common practice in higher class amphitheatres for combats and execution to be presented in the form of scenes from history, mythology or legend.

Naked Gladiator is Killed
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The most spectacular of these tableaux  was a recreation of a mythological scene which had been devised by Marcus - which featured two of Gracchus' pet eagles, and an unfortunate slave playing the part of 'Prometheus' (see above).
The Games then ended with a series of gladiatorial contests, some of which, on this occasion, Petronius had arranged to be fought by naked fighters - in the style of Greek sculpture and vase paintings.

The date was now what we would call January 69 AD - (the Romans had a very different and cumbersome way of dating), and some Praetorian Tribunes arrived at the villa, demanding to see Gracchus.

Marcus Salvius Otho
Seal Ring of the House of Gracchus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The Praetorians represented Marcus Salvius Otho - an aristocratic patrician, who had been close to Nero.
Galba had proved to be very unpopular, and Otho thought that he could oust the somewhat old and decrepit ruler, and become Emperor himself.
All he needed in order to do this was money - and lots of it - as he was completely broke.
Gracchus, through his informers in Rome and elsewhere, knew this.
Gracchus, however, was called away as the deal was finalised, and gave his seal ring to Marcus.
Marcus then sealed the document that Terentius presented to him, authorising the loan to the Praetorians - and so, effectively, Marcus, by impressing the seal of the 'House of Gracchus' on document was responsible, eventually, for creating a Roman Emperor.


© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After the Praetorian left for Rome Gracchus decided to explain to Marcus the complexities of high Roman politics from the time of Nero.

Marcus' Pugio
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Much of the conversation centred on Sporus, the castrated slave-boy (eunuch) whom Nero had 'married', to be followed by Nymphidius.
Now it seemed that Otho was 'after' Sporus, and Gracchus suggested that, in some way, although the boy was technically a slave - he possibly had some 'blood-link ' with the Julio-Claudian' dynasty.
During the conversation Gracchus gave Marcus a fabulously expensive and beautiful 'pugio' (dagger) - as he felt that Marcus might be in some sort of danger as the political situation seemed to be deteriorating.
In addition, Servius had been instructed to train Marcus in the use of the dagger.
This dagger, however, subsequently proved to be 'ill-fated' - and apparently offered Marcus no protection.
The Augustan Temple of Apollo - Rome
On January 15th.(by our dating) Otho went with Galba to sacrifice at the Augustan Temple of Apollo in Rome.
Twenty-three Praetorians, paid by Gracchus, under the seal that Marcus had given, killed Glaba in the Forum, and Otho was immediately declared Emperor by the remainder of the Praetorian Guards.
That news quickly came to the villa.
Initially Gracchus had decided, after receiving the oracle, not to become involved in the political maneuvering which would inevitably be involved in the process of four individuals attempting to gain the Imperium.
Despite his best intentions, however, that is precisely what had happened.
Fearing civil unrest, Gracchus (somewhat against his better judgement) then re-confirmed Servius as Tribune to the House of Gracchus.
At the same time, Gracchus transferred the ownership of Petronius to Marcus, so that Marcus could have Petronius as his constant bodyguard.
At the same time, Gracchus allocated a new set of rooms, next to Marcus' private apartments, so that Petronius would always be 'on hand' for Marcus.
Gracchus also informed Marcus and Petronius that there would be no celebratory Games for the accession of Otho, as Gracchus was convinced that the reign of this new emperor would probably be even shorter than that of Galba.
At this point a new character emerges onto the scene - number three in the list of patricians aspiring to the imperium, as the oracle foretold.
Aulus Vitellius 
This was Vitellius who, with his legions, opposed Otho.
The civil war - as it now really was - came very close to Baiae, involving the city of Capua, which sided with Vitellius.
Otho killed himself - following the example of Nero, - and the Senate in Rome proclaimed Vitellius as Emperor, (Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus), however, even as that was happening the fourth and final claimant to the imperium emerged from the East, just as the oracle had predicted - and that claimant was Titus Flavius Vespasianus - 'Vespasian'.
Vitellius was yet another ambitious individual who 'took up' with young Sporus (see above).
Vitellius planned for Sporus to play the title role in a tableaux depicting the Rape of Persephone (the same theme as the finger-ring Sporus gave to Nero at the Calendas), for the viewing enjoyment of the crowds during one of the Ludi he was planning to stage in Rome.
Not surprisingly, young Sporus, in order to avoid being stripped naked and raped in public, committed suicide before the performance.
When Vespasian's troops entered Rome they found Vitellius and killed him, along with his brother and son, and Vitellius' head was paraded round the streets of Rome.

 Titus Flāvius Caesar
Vespasiānus Augustus

So now there was yet another Emperor, but when Gracchus received the news at the villa he was not perturbed, as he knew Vespasian, (slightly) and believed him to be a 'safe pair of hands' for the Empire and, if the oracle was to be believed, Vespasian would survive for some considerable time as Emperor, giving the Empire a period of peace and stability.

'Domus Gracchi'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Gracchus was keen, at this point, to travel to Rome and greet the new emperor, and take the opportunity to introduce his adopted 'son', Marcus to the Emperor.
Preparations were made at the palatial 'Domus Gracchi' (House of Gracchus) in Rome, and also at Gracchus' huge villa in Tibur.
Titus Flavius Domitianus
as Emperor
This, however, was not to be, as Vespasian, unaccountably, lingered in Alexandria (in Egypt), like an ageing Mark Anthony (without a Cleopatra), or Alexander (without his Hephaestion).
In the interim, Gracchus spent much more time talking to Marcus, and giving him 'fatherly' advice.
One person, who was mentioned in these discussions was Titus (Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus) the eldest son of Vespasian.

The Serapeum - Alexandria - Egypt
Vespasian did have a younger son, Titus Flavius Domitianus, who had been very much sidelined, and was, not surprisingly, resentful, and possibly sufficiently resentful to murder his elder brother Titus, when Titus became Emperor after their father's death.
Titus is important as he appears later in this story.
While he was in Egypt, Vespasian claimed to have a number of supernatural, mystical experiences - and these experience subsequently led him, later in this story to favour Marcus.


So now that the threat of civil and social unrest seemed to have passed, Gracchus gave permission for a Ludi to be organised to celebrate the accession of Vespasian.
As the 'young master', and with the full authority of Gracchus, Marcus undertakes a renovation of the Amphitheater at Baiae.

Gilded Bronze Imperial Eagle
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Re-Decorated Arena Wall
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The arena is not particularly large (smaller than the very old arena at Pompeii), but Marcus wanted to make it the most magnificent amphitheatre in Italy with regard to its design and decoration (remember, the 'Amphitheatrum Flavium' [Colosseum] has not been built yet - that's a job for Vespasian and Titus).
Marcus began by replacing the grey stone panels on the inside wall of the arena with slabs of 'imperial porphyry', and also setting up a row of porphyry obelisks on white Parian marble bases round the circumference of the arena.
These features were imported from Rome with the help of a client that Terentius knew in the capital.
New  Main Gate Added by Gracchus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Porphyry Perfume Burners
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In addition the facing of the lower balcony was replaced with grey marble, and gilded bronze decorative features, including a large gilded bronze Imperial Eagle in the centre of the balcony of the Editor's Box - designed and made in Neapolis, were added.

When Gracchus comes to inspect the work, he was more than pleased, and proposed a pair of porphyry and gilded bronze perfume burners either side of the Editors' Box.
Rehearsal of the Pompa
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Just before the Ludi was to take place, Gracchus then decided to replace the wooden doors, giving entrance and exit to the arena, with sculpted, gilded bronze doors, and these were hurriedly produced in Neapolis, and fitted - only just in time.

Petronius - 'de harena, Dominus'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus then had a bust made in Neapolis of the new Emperor Vespasian - which would be mounted on a palanquin, to be carried into the arena during the 'pompa'.
The bust would later be positioned in a place of honour in the Arena, below the Editor's box.
Petronius rehearsed those who were to take part in the grand 'Pompa' relentlessly, and when the day of the Ludi arrived all went well.

left to right Cleon, Marcus, Servius Gracchus,  Adonios
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Before the Luudi itself there was one unpropitious event when one of the participants, (somewhat like Sporus), who was cast as the 'Minotaur' in a tableaux, killed himself just before the Ludi, rather than allowing himself to be decapitated in the arena.
For the Games Petronius had been promoted by Marcus to 'de harena, Dominus' (Master of the Arena).

Nude Pancratius Wrestlers
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Naked Boy-Wrestlers
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
The Games were the first occasion when Marcus wore the armour of a Legatus, (at Gracchus insistence), and was accompanied by his slave-boys Adonios and Cleon, and Tribune Servius.
The Ludi were particularly memorable for the fine exhibition of Greek style Pancratium Wrestling - which included boy-fights.
The 'Suppliciis' - (Punishments), were particularly interesting, as Petronius had devised a new system of using elegant iron frames (with decorative finials made in Neapolis), which were designed to make the victims struggles clearly visible to the audience.

Crucified, Impaled, Emasculated
and Dead
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Crucifixion and Ball-Torture
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Most of those who were executed were raped and then dispatched, stark naked, with a combination of crucifixion, impaling, emasculation and disembowelling.
There followed a number of Tableaux depicting Vespasian's victory over the Jews, with naked circumcised Jewish captives displayed, prior to emasculation, for the amusement of the Audience.

Fanfare at the Amphitheater
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

Gracchus was more than pleased with the 'Ludi Honorem in Vespasiani', and the whole town of Baiae was en fête for the Ludi, and the establishment of peace that had come with the accession of Vespasian.
As everything seemed to have settled down, after a year of crisis, Gracchus considered it time to have a public celebration of Marcus' 'coming of age' - a Roman custom when patrician boys in their late teens stopped wearing the 'bulla', donned the toga, and took on the responsibilities of manhood.
Gracchus had decided that the ceremony, and the attendant 'convivium' would be a surprise and so, when Gracchus and Marcus left the Amphitheater to a triumphant fanfare, and arrived back at the villa, after the Ludi, they found the guests waiting to welcome them.

Senior Guests at the Banquet
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Marcus' Bulla
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During the 'coming of age ceremony Marcus was dressed in a rather voluminous, ill fitting toga - the first time that he had worn a toga, and Gracchus also removed his bulla, which he gave into Terentius safe keeping.
After a very successful banquet, Gracchus and Marcus accompanied a large group of guests to the main entrance, to say their farewells,
In the confusion of the moment, an unidentified figure stepped forward and stabbed Marcus with a knife.
Marcus falls, but is subsequently found not to have been badly injured.
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The perpetrator of the deed, strangely, is Glykon, the young 'door keeper'.
This was the boy who Markos worked with when he first came to the villa as a slave.
Marcus' Pugio
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Glykon is immediately captured by Servius and Petronius.
Agathon (the medicus) is then called, and Marcus is taken to his apartments.
Although Marcus wound is quickly staunched and controlled, Marcus appears to enter into a semi-coma.
Agathon has no explanation, and Novius considers that it may be a form of 'enchantment', emanating from the weapon used - which, strangely, is Marcus' own pugio - recently given to him by Gracchus.
A more likely explanation is that the blade has been poisoned, but not strongly enough to kill Marcus outright - this possibility is not considered, however, as Romans of this period are excessively superstitious. That is not to say, however, that some form of magic may have been used to make the attempt on Marcus' life effective.
Petram is Raped and Tortured
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Glykon is Raped and Tortured
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Glykon is then taken to the Ludus, which is equipped with cells, and  equipment for punishing slaves, and Glykon undergoes continuing sessions repeated rape and torture.
While Glykon is being tortured, Gracchus and Novius come to the conclusion that the attempt on Marcus' life may be associated with Galba, and possibly Nymphidius.
Petronius is then sent to arrest the young gladiators Petram, who spent time with Nymphidius in Rome.
Petram is then subjected to the same treatment as Glykon.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Cleon - Dead in the Woods
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Meanwhile, it is noticed that young Cleon - Marcus' boy-friend, is missing.
After a thorough search of the villa, the villa grounds and the Amphitheater, Gracchus sends Terentius, along with a number of villa-guards, who ride out, with the intention of searching the local area.
Eventually, Petronius and the guards catch up with Cleon, who appears to be running off the Neapolis.
Cleon is taken into the woods, near the road, stripped naked, raped and tortured.
When he refuses to give any information he is tied between two trees and impaled.
Still refusing to give any information the boy is then emasculated.
Very soon afterwards Cleon dies of his torture and injuries - and his corpse is left in the woods.

Regardless of Marcus' strange condition, and the distinct possibility of there being a serious plot against the House of Gracchus, it was necessary for life to continue.
Gracchus, therefore, sent Terentius off to Brundisium, to receive shipments from Piraeus.
Tribune Servius
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Servius and Petronius, early in the morning, took a break from interrogating Glykon and Petram, and returned to the villa.
Petronius went to see Marcus - who was showing no signs of improvement, while Servius went to speak to Gracchus - and offer his resignation, in the light of the previous night's events (an offer that was probably not genuine).
Gracchus refused Servius' resignation - as he needed the ex-centurion's apparent expertise if there was a genuine plot against the House of Gracchus.
That refusal, however, proved subsequently to be a grievous mistake.
After Gracchus had received a report from Servius, Petronius came to speak to him.
After making his report about the interrogation, Gracchus told Petronius that a visit was planned to Cumae.
Gracchus and Novius would be riding in a carriage, and Servius and Petronius would be outriders, and bodyguards.
Before the visit, however, Gracchus went to Marcus' apartments to see the boy.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Adonios, Marcus' personal slave-boy, was caring for Marcus, and had managed to get Marcus to swallow some soup, despite the fact that Marcus appeared to be continually 'sleeping'.
Agathon was at a loss to explain the condition.
A little later Novius arrived, and he and Gracchus set off for Cumae.
The Sea at Cumae
On arriving at Cumae, Gracchus, unusually, decided to have a meal, 'al fresco', at a local thermopolium.
It was during the meal that Gracchus told Servius and Petronius that they were visiting Cumae to obtain further advice for the Sibyl, although neither Servius or Petronius had any knowledge of the previous oracle.
After the meal, they went to the Temple of Apollo.

Temple of Apollo
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Petronius Models Apollo
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
There, Gracchus and Novius were met by the temple priests, while Servius and Petronius waited outside.
Gracchus and Novius were then taken to see the statue of Apollo (modeled after Petronius), which Gracchus had recently gifted to the Temple.
Sacrifices were then made, and the resulting good auspices allowed the consultation with the Sibyl to go ahead.
Having asked the Sibyl for guidance, the priests translated the Sibyl's message and presented it in the form of a scroll to Gracchus.
Without telling Petronius or Servius anything about the scroll, Gracchus immediately ordered the carriage to return to the villa at full speed, so that he and Novius could consult the document - which was in a mixture of very ancient Latin and Oscan.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Once in Gracchus' study, he and Novius had an opportunity to study the scroll.
The scroll seemed to suggest that the pugio (dagger) was cursed, and that the curse had originated in Rome.
The solution to the spell, the Sibyl's message suggested was simple - 'To remove the spell - touch the boy and all will be well'.
First, however, it was necessary to remove the spell from the pugio - and so far they did not know how to do that.
The final part of the prophecy was strange, as it mentioned a 'nova aureus puer' - a new 'golden boy' - who is to be called Aurarius.

Terentius and 'Boy'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
And at the end of the prophecy were the words: 'Gracchus - Deus veniet cito' -
'Gracchus - the God will come soon !' - which Gracchus took to be a further warning that his time was running out.
Meanwhile, Terentius was busy in Brundisium, receiving various shipments at the port, and looking for new slaves.
Aurarius - 'They're all crazy.'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
As Gracchus wanted some good quality slaves to sell, Terentius went back to Arion, the Greek slave dealer who had sold him Markos, some considerable time before.
Among a number of slaves that Terentius was intending to buy, one boy stood out.
He was blonde and very attractive - and reminded Terentius of Petronius when he had arrived at the villa as a young boy.

Pueri Delicati
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Somewhat against his better judgement, Terentius bought the boy (and that was his name - 'Boy'), as a possible replacement for Cleon - (a Pueri Delicati).
'Boy', who is very forthright, thinks the 'top people' in the villa are all a bit crazy - but realizes that he has landed on his feet, after his bad time with his previous, decrepit master.
To begin with 'Boy', who has been given the name  Aurarius, is lodged in the cubiculum that was previously used by Markos (Marcus) when he was a slave, and given a silver slave-collar.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Aurarius is interviewed by Gracchus.
Gracchus realizes that the boy has been badly treated by his previous master, and has not been educated to any extent.
Gracchus decides to place Aurarius with Adonios, Marcus' personal slave, and help him look after Marcus - who still appears to be partially comatose.
Later, Gracchus speaks to his tribune, Servius, who has been interrogating Petram and Glykon under torture.
Servius, strangely, reports no progress in obtaining information.
Gracchus' main concern with Servius, however, is to warn him off any attempt to seduce Aurarius, as Servius has a reputation for going after attractive young boys, and has even had sex with Marcus (when he was a slave), although at the time Marcus was strictly off limits.
The next interview that Gracchus undertakes is with his favorite, Petronius.
As with Servius, Gracchus tells Petronius to leave Aurarius alone, although he does not feel that it will be a problem, as he knows that Petronius secretly only has eyes for Marcus, but is not prepared to express his affection physically.
Gracchus also reveals to Petronius part of the second oracle from the Sibyl  - the part that Novius thinks refers to Petronius.
Petronius is disturbed by the information, but is flattered that Gracchus would reveal information that is only known to Novius and Terentius.
Novius - Master of Magic
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Gracchus's final, and most significant interview is with his old friend Novius - who had previously accompanied him to Cumae, and had aided him in interpreting the prophecies.
Novius suggest an ancient, Etruscan means of gaining information about the attempt on Marcus' life, using drugs, magic and what we would now call hypnotism.
Gracchus agrees to Novius' suggestion.
'Tabella Defixionis'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016

Meanwhile, Gracchus receives intelligence from his spies in Rome that a senator called Marcus Sabinus is almost certainly the individual who was the instigator of the plot.
That night, using his knowledge of drugs and hypnotism, Novius successfully questioned Petram and Glykon.

As a result of the questioning, it emerged that Glykon was given a 'Tabella Defixionis' (lead curse tablet), which was still under his mattress in the slave quarters.
Servius was then called for to explain why this had not been found.
Mount Vesuvius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Servius had no explanation for his error, and so Gracchus then instructed him to go to Rome to question Marcus Sabinus about the Tabella Defixionis.
Dii Inferi
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Having discovered the source of the curse on Marcus, Novius advised that the Tabella Defixionis should be melted down by Vulcan, and the cursed Pugio (dagger) should be disposed of down a fissure in Mount Vesuvius (a nearby volcano).
The chapter end with the performance of a ritual - devised by Novius - involving the sacrifice of a pair of black dogs to the infernal gods, followed by the destruction of the Tabella Defixionis in the fire of Vulcan's furnace.
Immediately Gracchus, Novius and Petronius go to Marcus' apartment, and to their delight they find Marcus already sitting up in bed, demanding food.

Apollo on Mount Parnassus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Having emerged from his apparent 'coma', Marcus recounts a dream he had while he was 'sleeping' where he was on Mount Parnassus with the god Apollo and the nine Μοῦσαι (Muses).
'Porta Pompam'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Marcus' recovery continued, and Gracchus decided to send Servius and Petronius on a mission - firstly to dispose of Marcus's pugio, on Mount Vesuvius, and then to go to Rome to pay off some of Gracchus' clients, and to arrange for the assassination of Marcus Sabinus.
While in Rome, they are also to collect the new pugio that Gracchus has ordered to be made for Marcus.
In Rome Servius and Petronius would be staying at the fabled 'Domus Gracchi' (Gracchus' palatial residence in Rome).
After Servius and Petronius had left for Rome, Gracchus started work on the renovations and new building of his amphitheater by approving drawings presented to him by Terentius of the new 'Porta Pompam'.
Servius and Rufus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
Mount Vesuvius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
When Servius and Petonius reached Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, they lodged at an inn owned by one of Gracchus' clients.
That afternoon Petronius climbed Mount Versuvius, and deposited Marcus' 'bewitched' pugio into one of the many smoking vents.
Having accomplished the first part of their mission, and being dirty from their grueling journey, they spent the latter part of the afternoon at local 'balneum' - 'private baths'.
Servius found a good-looking young man called Rufus at the baths, and took him back to the Inn for a session of energetic sex - but Petronius was tired, after his strenuous climb of Vesuvius, and simply had an evening meal and went to bed.
Finally the pair reach Rome, and following Terentius' instructions they take a meal at a 'taberna', and then go to a local high-class brothel, recommended by the 'taberna' owner.

Domus Gracchi
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Brothel Boys in Rome
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
There, Servius and Petronius spend the afternoon with four cute brothel-boys in the pool attached to the brothel.
After their session at the brothel, Servius and Petronius made their way to the 'Domus Gracchi' on the Esquiline Hill.
There they met the freedman Menelaus, the 'dominus domus' of Gracchus' properties in Rome.

Cloaca Maxima - Roman Sewer
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
That evening Menelaus - who has been well informed of the situation by Terentius - discusses with Servius and Petronius the means by which Sabinus is to be 'eliminated'.
Menelaus offers to arrange the murder by using some of his 'underworld' contacts, so that Servius and Petronius (and therefore Gracchus) will in no way be implicated.
Sabinus will be killed by a local 'hit-man', and his body disposed of in the Roman sewers.
Demetrios at the Thermopolium
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The following morning, at breakfast, Menelaus introduced Servius and Petronius to a handsome young slave-boy, Demetrios, who would take them on a tour of Rome, and also take them to the shop where they could pick up the new pugio that Gracchus had ordered for Marcus.
Marcus' New Pugio
After Demetrios had shown them some of the sites of Rome, he took them to a Thermopolium for a meal, and then on to the shop where they would collect the new pugio.
They arrived at the workshop of Timotheus - one of Gracchus many 'clients', who was to provide the new pugio.
Suprisingly, Timotheus, on behalf of Gracchus' 'clients' in Rome, offered the fabulously costly pugio as a gift to his 'patron', so Servius did not have to part with the gold that he had been given in order to pay for the dagger.
In addition Timotheus gave Servius and Petronius some 'parade armour', which Gracchus 
had previously ordered.
On returning to the Domus Gracchi, Servius began to have some doubts about Servius - later amplified by the fact that in the evening Demetrios appeared in Servius' apartment, where the Tribune and the slave-boy indulged in some noisy sex, which Petronius overheard.
That evening Menelaus gave Servius the 'seal-ring' that he claimed belonged to Sabinus, as proof of Sabinus' death. 
After Petronius had retired, Servius asked Menelaus for permission to take Demetrios back to Baiae, where he would ask Gracchus to sell him the boy.

Menelaus, however, refused the request.


Demetrios  Waits for Servius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Servius and Petronius left the Domus Gracchi early in the morning.
On reaching the Forum Romanum, Petronius was surprised to find the slave-boy Demetrios waiting for them on a street corner.
Even more surprising, Servius hoisted Demetrios up onto his saddle, and proceeded to take him to Baiae, despite Petronius' warnings that Gracchus would not approve.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
When they arrived at the villa at Baiae, Terentius was incredulous and angry that Demetrios had been brought to the villa, and immediately had the young slave-boy sent to his room.
Servius and Petronius, of course, were puzzled that Demetrios had his own room at the villa.
When Terentius turned his anger on Petronius, Petronius made it clear that the boy had nothing to do with him, reminding Terentius that Marcus was his master, and not Terentius or Gracchus.
Terentius then ordered Servius not to have any contact with the boy, until Gracchus had interviewed Servius.
Petronius then went to the amphitheater with Marcus' slave-boy, Adonios.
At the amphitheater Marcus, with his new slave-boy Aurarius, was busy supervising the building work on the enlarged Pulvinar.
After greeting and speaking with Marcus, Petronius then left the amphitheater and returned to the villa to speak the Terentius.
Terentius was apologetic, realizing that he had been angry with Petronius without reason.
Petronius then started questioning Terentius about his strange reaction to the appearance of Demetrios.
Terentius explanation was long and involved, but basically it came down to the fact that Demetrios was the natural son of Gracchus, whom he had hidden away, as if he were a slave, in the Domus Gracchi.
The boy's mother had been a slave-girl in the Domus - but was now dead, and Menelaus had been given the task of supervising the boy's upbringing, as Gracchus could not bear to see him.
Gracchus' problem was that his only son was a bastard, and the child of a slave-girl, and the boy would therefore bring shame on the House of Gracchus.
What Terentius could not understand was why Menelaus had chosen Demetrios, of all the slaves, to be the guide for Servius and Petronius, and how Demetrios had managed to leave the villa in order to escape with Servius.
Petronius then returned to spend time with Marcus, and discovered that Marcus knew very little of what had transpired during the time that he was in a 'coma'.
Later Marcus' dined with Gracchus.
The next morning Terentius had to give Gracchus the news about Demetrios.
In addition financial problems had been discovered, as Servius appeared to have retained the gold that he had been given to pay for Marcu's new pugio, (note that Timotheus had gifted the pugio to Gracchus - so Servius should have immediately returned the allocated gold to Terentius).
The Coming Storm
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In addition the gold to be used to cover the costs for the murder of Sabinus appeared to have been shared between Servius and Menelaus.
Because of this, Gracchus immediately ordered documents prepared for the dismissal of Servius, and the lease on Servius' Villa in Baiae to be terminated.
While Gracchus, (unknown to all but Terentius and Quintus), was preparing to dismiss Servius (who was sulking in his villa in Baiae with Demetrios), Marcus and Petronius were busy renovating the amphitheatre and preparing for the next Ludi.
As the day wore on the sky darkened, and a storm approached, so the workers were dismissed and Marcus and Petronius returned to the villa.
At the same time, Gracchus sent a messenger to Servius ordering him to the villa for an interview.
Meanwhile, Marcus was in his apartments, and when the storm suddenly stopped, and the skies cleared, Marcus went out into his private Peristyle garden.
There he met a figure he first took to be Petronius - but carrying a bow.
Thanatos - God of Death
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
A strange conversation took place, and then the young man (who subsequently mysteriously disappeared) fired an arrow over to the main building of the villa.
Sensing that something was wrong, Marcus quickly returned to his apartments, calling for Petronius.
At the same time Gracchus was interviewing Servius.
When the matter of Demetrios was mentioned, voices were raised, and Servius tussled with Gracchus (who happened, previously, to have been examining Marcus' new pugio).
In the tussle Gracchus was fatally stabbed.
Servius immediately left Gracchus' study and went to the room where Demetrios was being held.
Servius then released the boy, and rode with him back to his villa in Baiae.


Back in Marcus' apartments Petronius arrived, and Marcus told him of the strange meeting in the garden, and his fear that something terrible has happened.
Meanwhile, Adonios had discovered the body of Gracchus.
The Seal Ring of the House of Gracchus
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When Marcus and Petronius arrived in Gracchus' study they found Terentius already there.
Immediately Terentius removed the ring of the House of Gracchus from Gracchus' finger, and placed it on the finger of Marcus, ensuring that from that moment he had the power of the Dominus (Master).
Immediately Marcus took command, and sent for Novius.
Marcus then ordered a group of villa guards to ride out to the villa of Servius, in Baiae, to arrest Servius, and also bring back Demetrios.
Novius then arrived, and Marcus appointed him as Consiliarius to the House of Gracchus.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
At this point 'Glaux' enters the story - a beautiful young owl, sent as a guide and protector for Marcus by the God Apollo.
Marcus, Novius, Terentius and Petronius then have an emergency conference in order to decide what to do next.
Terentius, in the course of the discussion explained who Demetrios was, and therefore why Servius murdered Gracchus.
The implication is that Servius had been plotting with Menelaus and Sabinus to remove Gracchus, and then usurp Marcus' position, and install Demetrios (whom they could control) as heir to the vast fortune and influence of the House of Gracchus.
It was then decided to send guards to Rome, to arrest Menelaus, (making Nicander 'Dominus Domus' in Rome), and have the guards kill the 'Magister Equitum' in Rome who had also been involved in the plot.
Novius then suggested using the unique method (previously used on Petram and Glykon) by which they may obtain the truth from the two new conspirators - to which Marcus agreed.
Finally they discussed what they should do with Demetrios.
Marcus had no desire to have the boy killed, as he was the natural son of Gracchus, but he did not want the boy to be a threat to his own legitimacy as Dominus.
Marcus therefore ordered Novius to probe the boy's mind to ascertain if the lad had any understanding of who he really was.
Marcus and Glaux
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Finally Marcus ordered Terentius to have Quintus draw up documents granting Petronius his Roman Citizenship and his freedom.
Funeral Decoration in the Renovated Amphitheater
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The following morning Marcus rode out to the Amphitheater to show himself as the new Dominus to his numerous slaves and workers as he supervised the decorations in the amphitheater for the funeral of Gracchus.
Meanwhile, Petronius was interviewing Demetrios.
Before the interview Petronius received the document granting his freedom and citizenship - but also his appointment as Tribune and Master of the Amphitheater - making him second only to Terentius.
It appeared from the answers that Demetrios gave, that Menelaus had physically and sexually abused the boy, and that Demetrios had no idea who he really was.
The 'Enchantment' of Servius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Servius Tortured in the Ludus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Petronius then reported back to Terentius - who informed Petronius that he now had ownership of Servius' villa (which he was free to sell), and also a substantial salary.
That evening Novius uses his ancient Etruscan potion and hypnotic skill to discover the truth bout the conspiracy against the late Gracchus and Marcus from Servius.

The 'Enchantment' of Demetrios
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Servius's information confirmed his guilt, and he was returned to the Ludus dungeon, where he was cruelly tortured by the villa guards for the entire time before his eventual public execution.
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After Servius, Novius uses the same methods on Demetrios, in order to determine what the boy really knew.
It was clear from what Demetrios said that he had no idea who he really was, but also much of what he said implicated Servius and Menelaus in the plot against the House of Gracchus.
Later Menelaus is brought to the villa at Baiae and questioned, and is later subjected to Novius 'Etruscan enchantment'.
Once it was clear that Menelaus was a key member of the plot against Marcus he was consigned to the dungeon of the Ludus to await execution.


After consigning Menelaus to the dungeons, Marcus, late at night consulted with Novius, who was staying in a guest suite in the villa.
Marcus was concerned about the boy Demetrios - and Novius reassured Marcus that Demetrios had no idea who his real father was.
During this discussion, Marcus first lays out his tentative plans to prepare Demetrios for the position of 'Dominus', in the possible case of Marcus' demise - and Novius agrees to such plans.
Meanwhile, the following morning, Petronius made preparations for the funeral of his beloved, and late Dominus.
That same morning, Novius, once again, worked his 'enchantment' on young Demetrios.
Having satisfied himself that everything that Demetrios had said previously was true, Novius then gently explained to Demetrios that his previous Dominus (master) was dead, having been murdered by Servius.
Novius continued to explain that the son, (Marcus), of the man who had been murdered was now the new Dominus, and that Marcus would now be 'looking after' Demetrios.
Although shocked, Demetrios seemed to accept Novius' explanation.
Novius then took Demetrios, by carriage, to Baiae, to buy some suitable mourning clothes.
Demetrios had never seen the sea, and was captivated by the beautiful town of Baiae, where he was fitted out with lavish mourning clothes, and given an excellent meal.
On the return to the villa, Demetrios was taken to meet Marcus.
Demetrios, when asked who he was, replied in Greek - and Marcus continued the conversation in colloquial Greek.
Marcus then officially changed 'Demetrios' name to the Roman version - Demetrius.
Marcus then summoned Terentius, and explained to Demetrius that the reason that 
Petronius & Demetrius on
Marcus' Private Beach
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Terentius had seemed unfriendly in Rome was because he was under instructions not to speak to Demetrius.
Marcus then passed Demetrius into the care of Petronius - and appointed Greek and Latin tutors for the boy.
Petronius was also charged with the physical training of Demetrios (including teaching him to swim).
Finally Petronius was instructed to have Demetrius' silver slave-collar removed by Vulcan, and Terentius was instructed to give Demetrius Marcus' bulla.
(so - informally, but legally  - Demetrius was given his freedom).
Demetrius in Mourning
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After the meeting, Marcus returned to his apartment, and explained (without going into any real detail) to Adonios and Aurarius that a new boy would be living at the villa.
Marcus also warned then sternly that there was to be no jealousy - and pointed out the appalling consequence of the jealousy of Glykon and Cleon.
Shortly afterwards, Petronius brought Demetrius to Marcus' apartments so that Marcus could inspect the boy's new mourning clothes - which met with Marcus' approval, and also impressed Adonios and Aurarius.
Suicide of Ariston
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The following morning was the day of the funeral.
Before the funeral could begin, however, there was another disaster, as Gracchus' personal slave-boy, Ariston, was found hanged in his cubiculum - undoubtedly a case of suicide.
Regardless, the funeral had to go on, and Marcus, accompanied by Adonios, proceeded to the reception hall to greet the guests and accept their condolences.
Among the guests was young Nicander - who was to take over the work of Menelaus.
In addition, Quintus had accidentally sent an invitation to (the now deceased) Nymphidius - the Praefectus Praetorio (Praetorian Prefect).
As Titus Flavius Vespasianus, (son of the Emperor Vespasian), was now  Praetorian Prefect, he had received the invitation, and had come to the funeral - much to everyone's' surprise.

Funeral Pompa for Gracchus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Gracchus' Immolation
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After their first meeting, Marcus and Titus were taken by carriage to the Amphitheatre, followed by numerous other guests.
The funeral cortège then entered the arena, through the  massive gilded doors of the new Propylaeum, where the funeral pyre had been constructed.
Marcus then gave a eulogy, (remarkably brief by Roman standards).
Finally Marcus took Demetrius down from the Pulvinar to the arena, where they jointly thrust a torch into the huge pyre.
Once the pyre was well alight, Marcus and the other honoured guests left the Pulvinar, and returned to the villa.

Terentius and Nicander
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Nero's Golden House - Rome
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

On his return to the villa Marcus left Titus talking to Petronius, while he interviewed the new Magister Domus of his Roman properties, Nicander, making it plain to the young man that he should not follow Menelaus' example - otherwise he would end up tortured and executed like his predecessor.
In addition Marcus asked some searching questions about Demetrius.
After dismissing Nicander, Petronius reported to Marcus that Titus had been very impressed with the amphitheatre, and that his father (Emperor Vespasian) was planning to build a large amphitheatre on the site of Nero's Golden House, in Rome.
And so the chapter ends with Marcus - now alone - and Dominus - master of all he surveys.


On the evening of the funeral, a caencenatio (small dinner-party) was held at the villa for the most distinguished guests.
Marcus' Peristyle Garden
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
During the dinner party, Titus took Marcus aside, in the Peristyle Garden attached to Marcus' apartments.
There Titus offered Marcus the highly unusual privilege, (considering Marcus' youth), of becoming a senator in Rome.
The following morning, Marcus held a meeting with his close advisers, and explained that soon they would be required to spend some time at the Domus Gracchi, (Marcus' huge 'palace'), in Rome.
Mausoleum domus de Gracchus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
At the same time tentative plans were being made for a grand mausoleum to house the ashes of Gracchus (and his descendants).
After the meeting, Marcus and Petronius visited the amphitheatre to supervise further preparations.
First Contest in the Munera
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In accordance with ancient custom, Marcus decided to hold a Munera in honour of the 'Genius' (departed spirit) of Gracchus.
Once all the preparations were complete, Marcus returned to the villa to collect Titus, (who had, strangely, made friends with 'Glaux'), and some of the other guests who had stayed to watch the Munera.
Second Contest in the Munera
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus had limited the Munera to just four contests (following the traditional pattern).
Prior to the fighting there were the sacrifices of black bullocks to the Manes.

Third Contest in the Munera
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After the Pompa, Lucius, (Marcus' Latin tutor), read out the eulogy for a second time (it had previously given by Marcus the day before, at the funeral).
All four of the contests were 'ad mortem' as this was a Munera, and the gladiators were only distinguished by different coloured plumes on their helmets.
The first contest ended with the loser being impaled on a spear.
Fourth Contest in the Munera
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The second contest ended with the loser having his right had cut off, and being disembowelled.
In the third contest the loser was partially emasculated with a trident, and then the same trident was rammed into his face - mangling the face-guard of his helmet.
In the final contest unfortunate loser was castrated and disembowelled.
After the Munera, the guests returned to the villa where an Epulum (formal banquet) was held.
The day after the Munera, Titus took his leave from Marcus, and returned to Rome.

The Funeral of Ariston
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The day after Titus departure to Rome, Marcus held a funeral for Ariston.
The funeral, (held in the evening), was remarkably lavish for a boy who was only a slave - and almost rivalled the funeral of Gracchus.
Marcus felt guilty that Ariston had been 'ignored' after Gracchus' death, and decide to send him into the afterlife to join his beloved master with as much pomp and magnificence as possible.
Ariston was cremated on a pyre in the Amphitheater (like Gracchus), and as the boy had no family, Marcus lit the pyre.
Even 'Glaux' made his contribution, soaring up from Adonios' shoulder to 'bathe' in the sweet smoke of the incense, before returning to Marcus - an 'omen', as Novius commented.
There then followed the obligatory Novem Dies Luctus (nine days of mourning).


Prayers and sacrifices were made over the Cinerary Urn containing the ashes of the 'late Dominus' at the 'Novendiālis' - (Feast of the Nine Days).
Once the period of mourning was over, Marcus and Petronius could begin preparations for the next Ludi.

Cinerary Urn
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus planned to take his revenge on those who had conspired against the House of Gracchus.
Cleon had already been caught and disposed of in the forests between Baiae and Neapolis.
The others were incarcerated in the prison cells in the Ludus at the amphitheatre in Baiae.
There were many problems at this time as Marcus had to play the perfect host to Titus, who was still staying at the villa, while also being concerned about how Demetrius was coping with his experiences at the hands of Servius, and his now radically altered circumstances.
In order to help Demetrius, Marcus and Petronius take Demetrius to the Baiae amphitheatre.
Once there they inspect the gladiators selected to fight in the next Ludi, along with the wrestlers.
Demetriius, ,Marcus and Petroniius leave the Thermopolium
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Having checked that all was well in the amphitheatre the three then went to Marcus' favourite thermopolium for a snack and an opportunity for Marcus to have a chat with Demetrius.
It was during this meal that Marcus decided to call the next 'Games'  'Ludi ad Auspicari Novam Aetatem' - ('Games to Inaugurate a New Era') - to be dedicated to the Gods Janus and Apollo, and to celebrate Marcus becoming the new Dominus of the House of Gracchus.
Postedr for the 'Ludi ad Auspicari Novam Aetatem'
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
It was also decided that new equipment for the combatants would be required, and would have to bought in Neapolis, and Demetrius was eager to join Marcus and Petronius on the trip to the nearby town.
The trip to Neapolis the following day was largely uneventful, (except for Adonios and Aurarius staging an impromptu gladiatorial fight in the armourer's shop, and causing mayhem - for which Marcus summarily punished both lads with a smack round the head).
Having acquired all the equipment, and made arrangements for further deliveries and fittings the following day, Marcus, Petronius, Demetrius and the boys returned to the villa.
Petronius Chooses Varus to Play Patroclus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Once final preparation had been made, Titus and his suite returned to the villa, but spent three days sightseeing before the Ludi - sightseeing that included a visit to the temple of Apollo at Cumae.
While Titus was away, Marcus and Petronius chose the boy to take the part of Patroclus, who was to be the major character in the elaborate tableaux that Petronius had arranged - a long planned project inspired by Homer's 'Iliad'.

Glaux in the Peristyle Garden
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Cult Statue of Janus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The 'Ludi ad Auspicari Novam Aetatem' (Games for the Inauguration of the New Era) is divided into two chapters.
The first Chapter deals with the morning preparations - and an odd little altercation between Titus and Adonios over Glaux.
Titus, who has grown fond of Glaux, offers to purchase the little bird, and is given a strong rebuff by Adonios, who explains the 'supernatural origins and purpose of Glaux' - to the bemusement of Titus.
Marcus, and his suite, along with Titus, then processed in carriages from the villa to the amphitheatre - taking with them the recently delivered cult statue of Janus (the god of 'new beginnings).
After arriving at the Amphitheatre in Baiae and being greeted by Petronius, the party of 'special' guests made their way to the Pulvinar - to be greeted by the acclamation of the crowd, a fanfare and the entrance of the 'pompa', which included the carrying of a bust of marcus into the arena.
Sacrifices were then made to the cult statue of Janus - and the Games began.
Thibron's Neck is Broken
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Dislocated Shoulders
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The first item on the program was a number of 'Greek style' Pancratium wrestling bouts.
The first bout was between Proteas and Thibron.
Being based on the Greek Pankration, the wrestlers engaged in a unique, 'no holds barred' form of nude wrestling.
These wrestling matches, as performed in the Roman arena, were normally 'ad mortem' (to the death).
Thibron, highly 'aroused' throughout the match, had his shoulders dislocated and was then killed by Proteas - having his neck broken, and dying in a huge gush of semen, from his massively engorged penis.
Charon and Thibron
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In a respectful homage to the 'late Dminus', Marcus re-introduced the masked figure of Charon, who then smashed the skull and decapitated the lifeless, but still 'erect' body of Thibron, who emptied his bowels onto the sand as he died.
Dracon and Glaucus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Two others wrestlers who appeared in this section of the Ludi were Dracon and Glaucus - both young, slim wrestlers.
Dracon was the stronger, more experienced of the two, and soon was able to subject his younger opponent to the most appalling 'ball-torture'.
Glaucus was unable to signal his submission, (this was not a combat 'ad mortem), and when Dracon was finally ordered to release his opponent, too much damage had been done.
After the match it was discovered that Glaucus' testicles had been so badly crushed that he was effectively a eunuch.
Unfortunately for the boy, a eunuch was no use as a fighter, and he was scheduled to be executed in the arena at a later Ludi.
Victory Fuck
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Boy's Pancratium
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The final part of the wrestling was the 'Boy's Pancratium' - from the Greek Olympic tradition of boy's pankration.

These fights are not 'ad mortem' (to the death), as the Romans would only allow boys to be killed in the arena if they were condemned criminals.
The premier bout was between Aetolus and Ion - two slim Greek teenagers.
Ion, the more skilful of the two had a relatively easy win, and having overcome young  Aetolus was given permission by Marcus - from the Pulvianr - to perform a 'victory fuck'.
Having overcome and penetrated his opponent,  Ion helped Aetolus to his feet, and the two boys
left the arena - apparently still good friends.

Glykon Fucked
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Petram Impaled
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After the pancratium came the executions, when a number of condemned slaves were publicly garotted.

The 'Conspirators' - Servius, Petram, Glykon, and Menelaus were then tortured, before being executed.
Servius who it was generally believed had musdered Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, was hung from a column, Petram, a gladiator, was hung from an iron frame and impaled through his anus.
Young Glykon - the slave-boy who had attempted to murder Marcus, was repeatedly fucked with a mechanical device that had been invented by Vulcan, the armourer to Marcus.

Petram Castrated and Garotted
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Menelaus Emasculated and Drowned
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

Menelaus, who was involved in the plot in Rome, and was Steward of the Domus Gracchii, was the first to be executed by being bolted into a large stone cistern, which was slowly filled with water.
At the same time Menelaus was emasculated, and eventually drowned.
Petram, the young gladiator, was the second Conspirator to be executed - in his case by being castrated and garotted.


Glykon Castrated and Disembowelled
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The execution of the Conspirators continued with Glykon - the slave who had made the attempt on Marcus' life, being hung from an iron frame, and having a series of ever heavier weights attached to his testicles.
Servius Flayed Alive
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
After a long, agonizing torture, Glykon was eventually castrated, and then disembowelled while still hanging.
He was eventually 'finished-off' by having his throat cut.
The final Conspirator to be tortured and executed was Servius - the one-time Centurion and trainer for 'Marcus' who was believed to have actually murdered Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus.
After being cut down from the column where he had been hanging, he was chained to an iron stake and emasculated.
Then, with his severed genitals round his neck, he was flayed alive - finally having his throat cut in order to 'finish' him.
Achilles Fucks Patroclus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The Ludi then continued with the long planned and awaited 'tablaux' of the 'Death of Patroclus'.
The story is taken from the Greek epic story - the Iliad, by Homer.

Patroclus is Killed by Hetor
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The tablaux began with a scene where Achilles makes love to (fucks) young Patroclus while in the Greek camp.
Patroclus then goes to fight the 'Trojans' - dressed in Achilles' armour.
Hector kills Patroclus, who is dragged off, naked, by the Greeks, to be cremated.
A funeral games then takes place beside the burning funeral pyre of Patroclus, and numerous 'Trojan' captives are sacrificed as part of the funeral ritual.
Trojan Captives Sacrificed
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Four separate combats from the Funeral Games for Patroclus are presented in the Ludi.

Denatus Stabbed
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
The four combats feature - Denatus and Velox - Agili and Lentus - Levem and Versutus - and Laetitia and Occisor.

The fighters wear Greek style, Corinthian helmets - but not much else - having leather chest straps, wrist guards, and straps around their exposed genitals.

Agili - Decapitated
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
 Deantus is stabbed in the belly, and being unable to defend himself, is 'finished off' by having his own gladius rammed down between his clavicle and first rib - on his left side - piercing his heart - the traditional gladiatorial method for 'finishing-off' an opponent.
Levem Skewered
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

Agili is dispatched very quickly, but quite spectacularly, by being decapitated.

Levem is swiftly disembowelled, and then, in a humiliating more, bent over and impaled through his anus.
Still alive, the unfortunate fighter is then held by Versutus, and skewered through his back with a gladius, with the thrust penetrating his heart and killing him

Laetitia Decapitated
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Laetitia, a 'pretty' young fighter, much maligned by his colleagues in the Ludus for his effeminacy, is first completely emasculated, - this being considered a fitting way to humiliate him, and is then, subsequently decapitated.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

With the last fighter killed, there is a long and loud fanfare as the corpses are cleared from the arena, and rises Petronius makes his first public announcement Tribune and master of the Arena - declaring the Ludi ad Auspicari Novam Aetatem, dedicated to the God Apollo finally at an end - and so the most successful Ludi, up until that time, comcludes the chapter.


This chapter opens with the return to the Villa at Baiae on the conclusion of the 'Ludi ad Auspicari Novam Aetatem' and just prior to Marcus' first visit to his Domus (Town House) in Rome.
That evening there was a celebratory meal at the villa, made more memorable by the presence of Titus Vespasianus.
The celebration of the 'New Era' was marked by the fact that finally Marcus had taken his revenge on the Conspirators - and that the long held ambition of Marcus and Petronius to stage a tableaux from the Iliad had been achieved.
There were many opportunities to discuss past events and the possibilities for the future during the 'comissatio' (a time for chatting over drinks), and Novius took the opportunity to discus with his master,  Marcus' relationships with his (obviously adoring and besotted) slave-boys.
Novius also reminded Marcus that he would probably need, at some stage to take a young bride - as would be expected of him in Roman society, but that did not preclude him from having relationships with Adonios and Aurarius (although Petronius had to be excluded - being Marcus freedman).
After Terentius had left the gathering, Novius took Marcus to a secluded part of the Peristyle for some starting revelations about Marcus' slave-boys.
Terentius and Novius had been making investigations regarding Adonios and Aurarius, and had come to the conclusion that it was quite probable, for a number of reasons, that Petronius and Aurarius could be brothers.
Terentius and Novius, therefore thought that the growing attraction between Petronius and Aurarius was no entirely appropriate, and Novius suggested that Marcus, as Dominus, should take Aurarius as his boy, and pass Adonios to Petronius.
So wasting no time, that very night Marcus sent Adonios to Petronius' apartments, and took Aurarius for himself.
 Petronius Fucks Adonios
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus Fucks Aurarius
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
There followed a night of unbridled passion in which the two new, and intense relationships were fully confirmed.
The following morning Marcus, Petronius, Demetrius, Aurarius and Adonios - with Glaux and Novius and Terentius, along with Titus,  left the villa for Rome.
As they travelled, Marcus, Terentius, Novius and Petronius - a sharing the same carriage, had some rather personal matters to discuss.
Marcus then explained how Novius had told him of the possibility of Aurarius being the young brother of Petronius, and connecting the matter to the oracle of Apollo at Cumae.
Finally Marcus revealed that as a result of these revelations new relationship had been established between Petronius and  Adonios, and Marcus and Aurarius - which appeared to be to everyone's satisfaction.
After the long, and at times embarrassing discussion, the travelling parties arrived at Capua, spending the night in the city.


Via Appia
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Domus Gracchi
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Still journeying to Rome, the following morning, the numerous carriages and wagons carying Marcus and his retinue continued on along the Via Appia.
On arriving at Porta Appia, the convoy wa met by a mounted troop of Prætorian guards who had been sent by Titus to escort them to the Dommus Gracchi on the summit of the Esquiline Hill.
The 'Domus Gracchi', (House of Gracchus), was a vast, paatial mansion, built by Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus at the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Nero.
Nicander - Steward of the Domus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Only Terentius, Demetrius and Petronius has seen, and been in, the Domus Gracchi.
It now belonged to Marcus - but he had only ever heard of it.
The Steward of the Domus was a young freedman called Nicander - who was the only person still serving in the Domus from the time before the death of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus - as all the other staff had been replaced by Marcus on the advice of Terentius.
Nicander knew who Demetrius really was, as the boy had lived in the Domus while Nicander had been a junior steward under Menelaus, (who had subsequently been executed for his part in the conspiracy against Marcus.) - and he had been sworn to silence (on pain of torture and death) by Marcus.
Marcus and Aurarius in the Bath
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Demetrius, now no longer as slave, was to be addressed as 'iuvenes dominum' (young master).
After numerous introductions, during which Marcus clearly outlined the positions and authority of the various members of his suite, (including Glaux), everyone was shown to the apartments that had been prepared for them.
Marcus 'Cums' Underwater
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus took the chance, after a long, tiring and dusty journey to bathe in the magnificent private suite of baths which formed part of his accommodation - where he spent a raunchy afternoon introducing Aurarius to the pleasures of 'aquatic sex'
Adonios in the Bath
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Petronius - next door (as it were), after a serious talk with Adonios, decided to also spend the long awaited free time bathing with his favourite boy, and like Aurarius, Adonios found himself being fucked repeatedly by his very horny and insistent 'lover', culminating in a cock-sucking session, when Petronius squirted his thick seed into the bath.
Petronius the received a massage from Adonios, and Marcus was given a massage by Aurarius prior to their dressing a going to the ground floor for a celebratory 'cena' (banquet).
Just prior to their leaving their apartments, Marcus received a letter from Titus - which he locked away in a safe in his private rooms.
At the entrance to the triclinium they met Petronius and Adonios, with Glaux on his shoulder, Demetrius, and also Terentius with Novius.
During the meal, Marcus asked Terentius to arrange with Nicander for an inspection of the Domus.
marus also explained that he wanted to go into the city - to arrange for a 'funerary urn', for the ashes of the 'late dominus' - and to possibly buy a slave-boy for Demetrius.
Marcus also sent a massage to Demetrius - via  Aurarius - that he wanted Demetrius to see him after the 'cena'.
Aurarius was then sent off to spend the early evening with Petronius and Adonios - so that Marcus could explain the intricate customs relating to Roman citizens have sex with their slave boys.
Marcus not only explained to Demetrius what he would be expected to do with the slave-boys that he was to have but, as a result of Demetrius' questioning, he also told Demetrius something of his pas - as a boy in Athens, and as a slave - which was a great surprise to Demetrius.
However - Demetrius was pledged to secrecy.
After Demetrius had left, Aurarius returned to spend the night in Marcus' bed.


The following morning Marcus was awoken by the arrival of breakfast.
The breakfast was served by a disturbingly attractive young slave-boy called Elatos - whom Marcus decided to take as a personal slave.

Domus Gracchi
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus real intention, however, was to use the new slave as a companion for  Aurarius.
Marcus, accompanied by Aurarius and Elatos, then undertook his inspection of the Domus, along with Nicander.
To Nicander's surprise, Marcus begins in the basement - and area reserved for services, storage and slaves - and a part of the Domus that a master was not expected to visit.
Marcus' only comment is that the walls and ceilings must be painted white.
The Domus has four floors, and elevators are installed (slave powered).
Marcus is very impressed with the huge building - and in particular the 'roof gardens'.
On returning to the main atrium, Marcus and Aurarius found  Petronius, Terentius, Demetrius and Adonios (but no Glaux, as he was sleeping) waiting for them.
Dismissing Elatos, Marcus and the rest of the group left the Domus and walked into the city.
Apelle's Drawing
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Marcus began by allowing Terentius to take him to a sculptor, who could possibly produce the cinerary urn that Marcus required.
The sculptor's name was Diodoros - a young Greek with an excellent reputation.
Marcus showed him Apelle's drawing, and Diodoros agreed to take the commission but, not realizing who Marcus was, warned that it would be expensive.

for more images from
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(in 'Dark Tales')

(in 'Dark Tales')

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