Chapter XLI - Noctem Stellas - Part II

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Night Under the Stars - Part II
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
warning: this section features nudity, explicit sexuality and extreme violence in language, images and text - do not view if you may be offended
  
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the Chapter 'Noctem Stellas' is long - so it has been divided into two parts - with the second part including the aftermath of the day after.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
 MARCVS  ET  TITVS

There was a lot of clearing up to do, so the curtain (now a deep shade of blue) was raised, while Domus-slaves removed Glaucus' corpse, shovelled up the sand that he had fouled in his final moments, along with most of the remaining sand.
What had been the combat area was then quickly and efficiently covered with boards, stained dark blue - to provide a firm surface for the slave-boys to 'perform' on.
Meanwhile, Petronius had been dispatched to the basement in order for him to ensure that there were no more problems with the now wet and sodden slaves.
In the pavilion, Marcus invited Titus to 'stretch his legs', while the preparations for the second part of the evening were made.
Colonade in the Roof Gardens
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As they slowly strolled round the finely proportioned Ionic colonnade that surround the 'entertainment' area, the soft sound of music - along with the scent of sandalwood wafting from marble and gilt bronze burners, filled the warm evening air.
"I see you have a ὕδραυλις.", Titus commented, showing off his Greek.
 ὕδραυλις - Hydraulis
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ὕδραυλις - hydraulis - water organ was invented by Ctesibius (the first head of the Library of Alexandria) in the 3rd century BC. The hydraulis was the world's first keyboard instrument. Ctesibius devised several different kinds of pumps, and used one to pump air at a constant pressure through the organ. Air is pumped (by an assistant) into the box on the bottom, then released through the pipes when the player presses a key. The water portion of the organ is used to regulate the pressure, so that the organ produces a consistent tone and volume.


"Yes - I have one here, that I brought from Baiae, and I also have had one installed in the amphitheatre in Baiae.
I like the sound very much - I find it very soothing.", Marcus explained.
"You see .... it's those dammed Greeks - so clever !", Titus said, obviously now relaxing after the excitement of the combats.
"I do hope that you were not too disappointed by the wrestlers and gladiators, such as they were.", Marcus said apologetically.
"Not at all, Marcus.
You know you get so bored by these professional chaps, coming out with the same repeatedly rehearsed moves - and then one 'takes a dive', and because the fighting looks so good, you have to let him be spared.
The problem is, it's not real fighting - and I should know.", Titus replied.
"Indeed....", Marcus agreed, aware that Titus had years of experience of real fighting leading his legions.
"Now your boys had little or no training - but knew that they had to really fight as well as they were able - and the winners did really well - and even the boys who were killed managed to 'take it' - without too much pleading and crying -  very good.....
No - I enjoyed the entertainment you put on ..... excellent !",Titus said enthusiastically, slapping Marcus on the back.
It had been a long time since anyone had slapped Marcus on the back with boyish enthusiasm.
The last time had been when he had been with his young Greek friends in Athens.
Now that he was Dominus, he was effectively 'untouchable' - except when he was having sex with a slave, and then the touching was 'mannered' and deferential, even if it was intimate and sexual.
But then perhaps it was only a person of Titus' status who could relate at a level of 'equality' with Marcus, as his friends in Athens had done.
Marcus and Titus then returned to the pavilion.
By then Terentius and Novius and Demetrius had tactfully withdrawn - allowing Marcus and Titus to engage in private discussion.
Terentius and Novius stayed close by, in case Marcus required their advice on any matter arising from his talks with Titus
Demetrius had been provided with an elaborately decorated Hellenic style chair and small table by slaves, so that he could take refreshments while watching the dancing troupe, and Aelius stood nearby, ready to provide any service that his young master might require.
Echelaos, the boys' dancing master, also stood, unobtrusively, nearby - making discreet, and apparently pre-arranged hand gestures, which he used to guide his troupe in their steps.
Echelaos - Choros Magister - Dance Master
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The dancing style common in Rome was based on Greek dance (χορός) -  which was referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian. The dance that had taught to the boys by Echelaos, for this occasion, was the Κόρδαξ 'cordax', which was a provocative, licentious, and often (by modern standards) obscene dance. In his play  Νεφέλαι - (The Clouds),  Ἀριστοφάνης - (Aristophanes) complains that other playwrights of his time try to hide the feebleness of their plays by bringing dancers onto the stage to dance the 'cordax'. He notes with pride that his patrons will not find such gimmicks in his plays. Petronius (the Roman author- and not the character in this story) in his Roman novel the 'Satyricon' has Trimalchio boast to his dinner guests that no one dances the 'cordax' better than his wife, Fortunata (?). The nature of this dance is described in the satires of Decimus Iūnius Iuvenālis - (Juvenal), who says 'the dancers, encouraged by applause, sink to the ground with tremulous buttocks.' The Roman poet Horace, and the Roman playwright Plautus refer to the same dance as 'iconici motus' (iconic movement). Not surprisingly it was a very popular dance - but only ever watched by patricians, and never danced by them - patricians did not dance - only slaves - or debauched women like Trimalchio's wife - hence the joke.


DIVERSORIIS

'Diversions' - The Romans did not really view dancing as an art-form in itself.
The origins of Roman dancing were to be found in the Greek dance - which was primarily of a religious nature.
There was also a religious aspect to Roman dancing, derived from the Etruscans.
The sophisticated Greek style of dancing presented by slaves for Roman patricians, however, was seen simply as a 'diversion' - an accompaniment to eating, drinking and conversation - the physial equivalent of our background music (muzak).
As has been stated before - free-born Romans, and particularly patricians (aristocrats) never danced publicly.

The First -Solo Dancing Boy
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Kithara
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By this time Petronius had returned from the basement, and was standing with  Adonios, who had Glaux on his shoulder (Glaux, wide awake, was twittering along with the music).
Petronius was watching the boys, and Echelaos intently - considering how he could use them in the Amphitheater in  Baiae.
The entertainment began with just a single boy dancer, completely naked and with his slim young body gilded.
His movements were slow and sinuous, matching perfectly the rhythmic notes of the kithara (the instrument of the God Apollo), which was now leading the gentle accompaniment of the (now muffled) hydraulis.



"So......", Marcus began, trying to sound casual, "how is your father finding it being emperor ?".
Titus took his eyes of the naked gilded boy, and turned to Marcus and smiled.
"Difficult !", Titus replied - and sighed.
"You see, he never wanted to be emperor.
He had seen what being emperor had done to Nero - and so did I - and it was not good.
Nero was not too bad in the beginning - like Caligula - but the the power went to his head.", Titus replied.
"But your father - so I have been led to believe - is a very different kind of man.
You said yourself he's 'hands on', and he's a reputation for being 'down to earth'", Marcus countered.
"That's true - but the problem is that Nero almost bankrupted the empire - and the fire in Rome and the Civil War didn't help - so now there's no money - but much needs doing.
It will mean heavier taxes - and many in the Senate are opposed to that."


Temple of Juiter Optimus Maximus
The Fire of Rome was an urban fire that started on the night between 18 and 19 July in the year 64 AD. It caused widespread devastation, before being brought under control after six days. Differing accounts either blame Emperor Nero for initiating the fire or credit him with organizing measures to contain it and provide relief for refugees. The Civil War - during the Year of the Four Emperors - also caused a lot of damage, particularly to the building on the Capitol - including the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus - which, because of its importance, Vespasian nee to rebuild almost immediately.
Suddenly Marcus felt as if Gnaeus Octavianus was guiding his words.
"So that's where I come in.", Marcus said, remarkably bluntly.
"Well - you certainly come to the point." Titus said, obviously flustered and embarrassed.
"Look, Titus - I'm no politician, and I don't have time for lots of 'delicate' chat.
I'm no tough general like you - but I have - with Gnaeus, dealt with tough generals, and Praetorian Prefects - and I understand what is going on here."
Titus shifted uneasily in his chair.
"I can help you - and I will help you - if Terentius thinks it is possible and advisable - and, if your father makes me a senator, I will support him in the Senate - but I will do this only because I believe that the Flavians are the best chance that the Empire has.
And before I do this - I must first meet your father - in order to assure myself that I am making the right decision." Marcus concluded, sitting back and waiting for a reply.
"Well...Marcus - that's what I wanted to hear - and so much like my father - straight to the point." Titus replied.
"So I'm sorry if I may seem rude or blunt, but that's  the way I am.
Probably still an Athenian 'street-boy'." Marcus explained - with a grin.
Marcus, as he spoke, glanced over to where Petronius was standing.
Petronius was looking directly at Marcus, and smiling broadly, but Marcus was sure that Petronius couldn't have heard what he was saying to Titus - so perhaps it was something Adonios had said, or maybe the fact that Glaux was twittering.
"That's good !", Titus said firmly - "and I will send a message to you tomorrow letting you know when my father can see you."
Tripod for Titus
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Marcus nodded in approval, and then rose from his seat, and called over a slave - and whispered an instruction into the slave's ear.
"And now, my honourable Titus, I have a gift for you, to thank you for gracing us this evening with your presence.", Marcus announced formally, gesturing to the other guests to come forward.
And so Petronius, Terentius, Novius, and Demetrius all stepped forward to see two burly slaves carry the most elaborate and costly looking tripod over to the pavilion to present to Titus.
Titus, rising from his seat, couldn't hide the look of surprise.
"But it's magnificent !" he said, gazing in awe at the priceless gift.
"So....just an 'Athenian street-boy' ?
Well - when anyone asks me who gave this to me, I will reply, with a grin, 'Just Athenian street-boy' !.
"I can't thank you enough.", Titus continued, obviously moved.
The Second Boy Dancer
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
A sacrificial 'tripod' is a three-legged piece of religious furniture used for offerings or other ritual procedures. As a seat or stand, the tripod is the most stable furniture construction for uneven ground, hence its use is universal and ancient. It is particularly associated with (well - who else ?) Apollo and the Delphic oracle in ancient Greece, and the word τρίποδο (tripod) comes from the Greek meaning "three-footed". 
Tripods are frequently mentioned by Homer as prizes in athletic games, and as complimentary gifts; in later times, highly decorated and bearing inscriptions, they served the same purpose. They appear also to be precious gifts for guests, (as in the case of the Phaeakes, who offered a cauldron and tripod to Odysseus). In the ancient world the tripod was considered to be the 'ultimate' gift.
"You don't have to thank me - you're a friend !", Marcus replied.
'Amicus' - when two high status Romans had a relationship of mutual benefit, they were likely to choose the label amicus ('friend') to describe the relationship since amicus did not imply stratification as would be found with patron and client. In this case, Marus was taking a risk making such a presumption with Titus - but Titus gave every indication of accepting the nature of the relationship.

"So be seated, and let's watch the boys, and drink some more wine.", Marcus said, making it clear that the evening was far from over.
After the languorous beginning of the dancing, another boy joined the first lad, and then two others, and the pace of the music quickened.
More wine flowed, along with jokes and ribald comments, as the five original guests, plus Petronius gathered in the pavilion to watch the performance.
After a fast yet, highly erotic dance, eventually the naked boys, very skilfully, but as part of the performance, feigned tiredness - sunk to the floor and slowly melted into each other's arms - entwined and exploring one another, as the music, which had one again slowed, invited a sensual and overtly sexual display.
Dancing Boys - Triptych I
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Marcus turned to Terentius.
"You know these boys were Aurarius' idea.....
We were in the 'Graecostadium', and Aurarius spotted these boys, and suggested buying them, and luckily we had Novius with us - who got them at a good price - but not as low as you could get - obviously.
But seeing them perform, I would say that they were 'worth their weight in gold'.", and Marcus grinned at his own joke - (not only was Aurarius' name derived from the Latin word for gold - but the boys had also been 'gilded' for the performance).
Terentius smiled and nodded.
"Yes they are certainly an asset." he agreed.

Dancing Boys - Triptych II
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Blind Fate
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And so the evening carried on, with the 'gilded' boys 'forgetting' their dancing, and taking their erotic display well beyond the 'balletic arts', and into the realms of pure eroticism - much to the general approval of the guests - although Glaux found it all a bit odd - but then he never really understood his humans.
Eventually, as the stars circled, indicating the passing of the night, Marcus signalled to Echelaos to dismiss the boys.
Interestingly, unlike most slaves who are required to 'perform', these boys seemed loath to go, slowly untangling themselves, and helping one another up off the floor of what had been the combat area.

The Vanquished                                                 The Victors                                                 The Fortunate
'The Fate of Slaves'
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Once again 'Fate' or 'Fortuna' had stepped in - dealing out very different  circumstances for different individuals - and with no real sense of equity - after all, 'Fate' was usually depicted as 'blind'.
For some slave-boys that evening had proved to be their 'end', culminating in appalling humiliation, pain and death.
Other boys had emerged as victors - but very much chastened by the experience of violence and death.
For the 'gilded boys' who had danced for their Dominus, and his distinguished guest, (and none of them had any idea who that distinguished guest was), the night had been an opportunity to show off their lithe physiques and skill, and sexually indulge themselves.
Marcus, however, apart from the disturbance in the basement, was pleased with the evening.
Titus was pleased - and of course, as Marcus was now relaxed and happy, Petronius, Terentius and Novius were pleased.
Demetrius didn't really understand what had been going on, but he enjoyed the combats, and the boy dancers - and being a teenage boy, was feeling 'horny' for young Aelius - after all, he thought he was 'in love' with his handsome slave-boy.
Adonios and Aurarius were just pleased that everything had gone off well - and were wondering what their respective masters would be expecting of them later, particularly after the erotic display at the end of the evening.
Glaux was beginning to feel hungry again.


VALETE

'Farewells' - The guests all rose, and made their way down the huge flight of white marble steps, gleaming in the light of the oil lamps.
When they reached the atrium, Marcus said his formal farewell to Titus.
Then Titus stopped to pat Adonios on the head.
"Look after my little owl, young man !" - Titus said, his speech only slightly slurred after an evening's drinking, and fluffed Glaux's feathers, while Glaux tried to look shy - but not very convincingly.
As Titus and his tribunes made their way through the massive gilded bronze doors, Marcus turned to Terentius.
"Tomorrow I want you to contact Titus Clodius Eprius Marcellus - and get me information on the financial situation with regards to the Imperial Treasury.", Marcus ordered, suddenly becoming cold and business like.
"Of course, Dominus." Terentius replied.
(The information about the Imperial Treasury would not actually be for Marcus himself, however - but rather for Terentius, so that he could advise Marcus on the validity of Titus' claims regarding Vespasian's financial situation.)
Titus Clodius Eprius Marcellus (died AD 79) was a Roman senator, twice consul, best known for his prosecution of the Stoic senator Thrasea Paetus and his bitter quarrel with Helvidius Priscus. Eprius was also notorious for his hostility to any senatorial opposition to the Imperial house. Eprius was said to have been born in Capua from a family of no social distinction.  In December 69, when Vespasian had just gained victory in the Civil War of that year (Year of the Four Emperors), Helvidius, as praetor-elect, attacked Eprius’s former conduct in the Senate; Eprius defended himself vigorously as one of those loyal servants 'who had striven to serve the State under bad Emperors'. In the sequel he rose to become one of Vespasian’s closest friends and advisers. In 70–73 he held the Proconsulate of Asia, anomalously extended to three years, then returned to Rome for his second consulship in 74.
"And is there anything else you require, Dominus ?", Terentius enquired disingenuously, knowing full well what would be on Marcus' mind.
"Yes - I want a formal interview with Nicander, in my study, first thing in the morning.", Marcus replied.
Terentius nodded.
"So you will excuse me if I retire now ?", Terentius asked, deferentially - forgetting to remind Marcus of one important fact.
"Yes - but before you go, give Echelaos a small gratuity for work well done this evening - and a small sum to the musicians - and have some little coin available to me to give to the dancing troupe in the morning.", Marcus added.
"Of course, Dominus - and you will want the boys brought to the atrium after the 'salutatio' ?", Terentius questioned, having remembered to remind Marcus that he was expected to greet his clients in the morning.
"Yes !", Marcus replied sharply, having forgotten about the 'salutatio'.
Marcus then turned to Novius.
"Have you enjoyed the evening, old friend ?", Marcus asked, smiling.
"Very much Dominus - and I am eager to learn what passed between you and Titus, but I think that must wait until tomorrow, as I am tired, and ask your permission to retire.", Novius explained.
"Of course. Good night, and we shall speak tomorrow about the matters you have mentioned." Marcus replied.
Marcus then turned to Demetrius.
"Well, young man - I hope you enjoyed the 'entertainments'."
"Very much, Domine.", Demetrius replied.
"Well, when you and Aelius get back to your apartments - please remember that young Aelius is not a Pancratium wrestler - you understand ?
Be gentle with him.", Marcus said grinning, and winking to Petronius who was standing behind Demetrius.
Demetrius blushed, and hung his head.
"I understand, Dominue", Demetrius said sheepishly, and putting his arm round Aelius' shoulder, slowly mounted the wide, white marble steps to the area nobile.
"So - what is the situation with our stupid slaves ?", Marcus said quietly to Petronius.
"Well, they ended up very wet - and are now drying off in the punishment cells, and the bodies of the defeated combatants have all been disposed of." Petronius reported.
"Perhaps, with your permission, we could select a few of the ring-leaders for punishment - perhaps execution on the roof gardens in front of the remaining slaves." Petronius then suggested.
"Yes - that sounds good.
I don't want to completely loose my investment with regard to those slaves, and also I want to appear strict, but not over harsh.
And if it is done publicly, then word will be passed around to deter any others from fomenting any further trouble - either here, or in Baiae when we take them back.", Marcus mused.
"So you want me to do that ?", Petronius asked, in order to make Marcus' decision clear.
"Yes - and now let's get to bed - Adonios and Aurarius look tired." Marcus concluded.


POSTERO MANE

'The Next Morning' - Marcus was so very tired after all the stress of the evening, what with unskilled combatants, (not of course the fault of Petronius), rebellious slaves, and a stressful talk with Titus, along with all the tension of the previous preparations, that he opted to insist on Aurarius sleeping separately, in his own cubiculum.
Equally, Petronius - after days of work preparing for the visit of Titus, had no energy left for Adonios - so it was only Demetrius and Aelius who benefited from the 'stimulating' experience of watching the evening's entertainments - and that resulted in them oversleeping !
On awakening and after breakfast, there was the 'chore' of the 'salutatio', and Marcus next problem was putting on his toga.
Marcus Wearing the Toga Virilis
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The toga was the distinctive garment of a Roman citizen. It was a roughly semicircular cloth, between 12 and 20 feet in length, draped over the shoulders and around the body. It was usually woven from white wool, and was worn over a tunic. In Roman tradition, it is said to have been the favoured dress of Romulus, Rome's founder. The type of toga worn reflected a citizen's rank in the civil hierarchy. Various laws and customs restricted its use to citizens, who were required to wear it for public festivals and civic duties. The Toga virilis ("toga of manhood") was also known as 'toga alba' or 'toga pura': A plain white toga, worn on formal occasions by adult male commoners, and by Senators not having a 'curule' magistracy (The non-curule magistrates were the: Aedilitas plebis, Quaestura and Vigintisexviratus). The Toga virilis represented adult male citizenship and its attendant rights, freedoms and responsibilities.
The first time that Marcus had ever worn a toga was at his 'coming of age' (ad aetatem
- which he was loath to recall, as that was the occasion when he was attacked by Glykon.
Since then he had rarely worn a toga, and had little practice in putting on the cumbersome garment.
Aurarius, being Greek, had no experience of assisting his master in donning a toga, so wearing a toga was always a trial for Marcus.
When Marcus had previously attended his first '' in the Domus, he had not realized that wearing a toga was 'de rigueur' - but no comments had been passed (possibly because - as Aurarius had said 'everyone was frightened of Marcus', or perhaps because his clients imagined that it may have been the new 'fashion').
   
SECVNDO  SALUTATIO

'The Second Salutatio' - On arriving at the atrio magno - (grand atrium), Marcus was alarmed to see that there were even more clients waiting to greet him than there had been at the first 'salutatio'.
"Why so many clients ?", Marcus whispered to Terentius.
"I think, Dominus, that word has got around that you were entertaining Titus Vespasianus last night - so now you are probably one of the most 'revered' patricians in Rome - and everyone wants to be your friend.", Terentius explained - with a touch of his well turned, but still respectful sarcasm
And so, with Terentius to one side (whispering the clients names to Marcus), Nicander, handing out the 'sportula' (small payment of cash), and Petronius as Tribune, looking suitably impressive and, just a little threatening, while Aurarius and Adonios hovered in the background, the 'salutatio' began - and seemed to go on endlessly.
(Glaux, of course, being a wise owl, was quietly sleeping in his marble framed alcove on the next floor.)
    
MARCUS  PATRONI

'Marcus the Patron' - For Marcus the 'salutatio' seemed to go on interminably, and then Terentius announced one client as Euphranor, the father of Diodoros.
After the conventional and formal greetings, Euphranor excused himself, but explained that he needed help from his patron.
"It's my boy - Diodoros - he has this terrible fever.
I brought him a physician, but as I cannot afford to pay a lot, he is not very skilled, and he can do nothing.
Dominus, can you help.
I know that you admire my son's work, and have other commissions for him, but I fear that he may not survive this fever - and I was skilled, but am now too old to work for you.", Euphranor pleaded.
Marcus looked to Terentius - and Terentius nodded in approval.
"I will send my physician, Agathon to your home - today.
If anyone can help Diodoros it will be my own faithful physician."
Euphranor was overwhelmed with gratitude, and the other clients looked on approvingly as witnesses to their patron's concern and generosity.
Eventually the 'salutatio' ended.
The clients then left the atrio magno, but gathered on the vast flight of steps in front of the Domus, intent on accompanying Marcus later on his anticipated walk in the city.
Echelaos then arrived in the atrium, accompanied by his troupe of slave boys, (with all the gilt washed off, and all now decently dressed in short, white tunics.)
"Salvete Dominus !", they all said in unison.
"Salve puerorum !", (Good morning boys), Marcus replied, barely being able to stop grinning - basically because the boy's greeting seemed so cute (Latin - 'bellus') - and innocent, compared to the previous evening's 'performance'.
The other fact that amused Marcus was that the greeting, while given in Latin, was said in a thick, Greek accent.
"I was very impressed with your 'performance' last night - particularly as you only had a short time to prepare the steps - although some of the later part of the performance I think you improvised - and the actual dancing does great credit to your Χορευτικός δάσκαλος (Dancing Master)", Marcus said rather formally, but still smiling.
The boys also smiled, understanding Marcus' reference to their 'improvisations'.
"I am, therefore, giving each of you a small gift to express my appreciation and approval.", Marcus added, and Marcus then gestured to Petronius, who gave each boy a small purse of coins.
So far, Marcus had played the part of 'caring patron' to his clients, and 'generous master'  to his slave-boys, but now he was required to show another side of his character.
He was to interview Nicander.
Marcus quietly spoke to Terentius.
"Send Nicander to my study - and I will interview him in a short while.", Marcus instructed.
Terentius gave the message to Nicander, who promptly disappeared upstairs.
Meanwhile, Marcus called for a slave-boy to bring him some refreshments.
He was going to make Nicander wait.
While this was occurring, Petronius went down to the basement to decide which of the recalcitrant slaves were to be punished.
    
NICANDRI  COLLOQVIVM

'Interview with Nicander' - Eventually Marcus made his way to the third floor where his study was situated - and found Nicander nervously waiting for him in the marble lined corridor.
Two Domus-guards opened the large gilt bronze double doors, and Marcus led the way in.
The huge office was sparsely furnished.
The walls were dark red, and in an alcove was an exquisite white marble statue of the God Apollo.
There was a huge marble topped writing table, (similar to the writing table in the study of the late Dominus, in the villa at Baiae), and behind the table was a gilt bronze curule chair, inlaid in ebony and ivory.
Marcus had made sure that the other chairs that were usually in the room had been removed, so that Nicander would be forced to stand during his interview - or was it to be an 'interrogation'.
"So, Nicander - I need to speak to you at some length.
Marcus paused.
"Now let me make it clear to you - from the start - that I am not blaming you for what happened in the basement last night.
I am, however, concerned that you do not seem to have earned the respect of the slaves in this Domus - otherwise why should they ignore you, and only deal with Petronius or myself ?"
Nicander shrugged his shoulders, looking bemused.
"I think I can safely say that this reveals a problem with regard to the way that you conduct yourself in this Domus.", Marcus continued.
"I do my best, Dominus.", Nicander lamely replied.
"But not good enough ?", Marcus said, questioningly.
"So we need to get to the bottom of this matter.", Marcus continued firmly.
"And I need to know a little more about you ........", and Marcus left the statement hanging in the air, while Nicander looked uncomfortable.
"So....tell me...how did you come to be a freedman and an assistant to Menelaus ?", Marcus asked.
"Well it all happened a number years ago.
But surely the late Dominus must have told you  ?", Nicander began.
"No." Marcus replied, curtly.
"There were many things that the Dominus didn't tell me.
His untimely death left many things unsaid.", Marcus said sadly.
"So...the late Dominus and I met while he was making a sea voyage from Dyrrhacium to Ventulus.", Nicander began.
"By the gods - not another 'golden boy from the sea' !", Marcus said, grinning.
This is a reference to the oracle given to Gnaeus Octavian by the Sibyl describing Marcus as the golden boy from the sea.
Nicander look confused.
He didn't have the slightest idea of what Marcus was talking about.
"I'm sorry - I don't understand, Dominus.", Nicander said  - imagining that he should know.
"No matter.
Nicander Rowing
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
"And what were you doing on this voyage.", Marcus asked.
"I was a rower on the galley the late Dominus was sailing on.", Nicander replied.
"Now - two questions here.....
The first is what was Gnaeus doing on a galley ? - and the second is - what were you doing as a rower ?.", Marcus asked, quite amazed at the turn the story had taken.
"The late Dominus was having a free sea passage, which was being provided by his client, Tribune Marcellus - and I was a rower on the galley.", Nicander explained
Tribune Marcellus - later Legatus Marcellus, was the client who originally recommend Centurion Servius as a 'coach' for Marcus when he was a slave at the villa at Baiea
"And how did you get from the galley to the Domus Gracchii ?", Marcus pointedly asked.
"Well, the late Dominus noticed me - took a liking to me, and Marcellus - realizing that, gave me to the late Dominus at the end of the sea crossing.", Nicander continued, seeming somewhat embarrassed.
"And this 'liking' - am I understanding it correctly ? - after all you are a handsome young man.", Marcus delicately asked.
"No, Dominus. You should not understand it in that way.
The Dominus did not want be for my body - though many men, when I was a boy, did.
I was a rent-boy and thief - condemned to the galleys - and the late Dominus saw something in me, I don't know what, and wanted to help me - and he did."
"So he freed you, and eventually made you an assistant to Menelaus.", Marcus added, wanting to bring the story to a fairly rapid conclusion.
"That is true, Dominus." Nicander, sounding relieved, replied.
"But there was the problem with Menelaus and Demetrios (later Demetrius) - and your involvement in all that intrigue and unpleasantness - and I feel that you have never felt confident after that.", Marcus added.
"Yes, Dominus.", Nicander said - sadly.
"So you were a slave - and you probably still feel like a slave - despite your freedom and position. Demetrius can understand that, as can Petronius, and even myself - but you must move on.
So - Nicander - if Gnaeus Octaian had faith in you - saw something special in you - then I, in memory of him, am obliged to do the same - and you are obliged to live up to both his, and therefore my, expectations !.
So we will consider this matter closed !", Marcus concluded.
"Thank you, Dominus !", Nicander said - obviously deeply relieved.

   
PRANDII  TESTIMONII

'Lunchtime Meeting' - After his interview with Nicander, Marcus sent for Petronius, inviting him to lunch in one of the small triclinia on the ground floor.
"So how was it with Nicander ?", Petronius asked.
"Very, very interesting !", Marcus replied, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Would you believe that in a previous lifetime our Nicander was a petty thief, rent-boy, and later a galley slave ?", Marcus asked, dramatically.
"Yes.", Petronius replied, apparently not surprised at all.
"I see.", Marcus said, puzzled, as he took a sip of wine.
"Well, regardless - I gave him a pep talk, and hopefully he will work a bit harder.", Marcus continued, disappointed that Petronius hadn't taken the bait with regard to the revelation that he had just made.
"So have you decided on what to do with the miscreant slaves from the basement ?", Marcus asked, deliberately changing the subject.
"Yes.", Petronius replied, still insisting on being monosyllabic.
"And ?", Marcus said, getting quite frustrated.
"I decided to make them pick straws - but I didn't tell them what for.
Four got 'short straws', and they are the ones we shall have punished and executed late this afternoon." Petronius explained.
"And do they know they are to be executed ?", Marcus asked.
"No.", Petronius replied.
Marcus, shaking his head, looked at Petronius.
"It'll be a surprise for you, and the slaves......
Nothing special - but it should be good - and should solve the problem.", Petronius said, refusing to elaborate any more.
"I've already got some of the maintenance lads (puer sustentationem) working on some iron frames - like Vulcan made for the arena in Baiea - so everything should be set up in time on the Roof Garden.
The pavilion has been taken down, but I can have some chairs arranged so it will be comfortable viewing.
The important thing is that the other slaves from the basement - the ones who didn't draw the 'short straws' - witness the punishments and executions - and then that will quickly spread to the other slaves, both here and at Baiae - and that should put a stop to this nonsense.", Petronius explained.
Marcus nodded in agreement.
Iv'e also got the four boys who did  fight in the wrestling bouts and gladiator fights, to take part - so they will be seen to punish and abuse those who tried to avoid their duty - just a little bit of 'ironia' (irony).
"My...... your Latin is getting good !", Marcus said as he nodded and smiled.
"Yes, and I can say it in Greek as well - 'ειρωνεία'.
You see, Novius is not the only clever one here.", Petronius said, in an unusually barbed way.


   
TRIBVLATIO  APAVD  ADONIOS

'Trouble with Adonios' - On leaving the triclinium after lunch, Marcus was accosted by Aurarius - who seemed to be quite agitated.
"Excuse me Dominus - but Adonios is very upset - I think that you should speak to him.", Aurarius explained.
"I see - and what seems to be the problem.", Marcus asked quietly, (trying to hide the beginnings of his concern), as he mounted the steps to the first floor.
"He thinks he's killed someone.", Aurarius replied -
Obviously Marcus was finding things very difficult at this point.
The journey to Rome had been pleasant - the shopping trips and the sight-seeing enjoyable, but after that, with the preparations for the visit of Titus, a minor slave rebellion, an incompetent steward - and now sweet little Adonios apparently behaving very oddly, Marcus was beginning to think he should have stayed in  Baiea.
"Killed someone ?", Marcus repeated, loudly and incredulously.
"I think he's gone crazy.", Aurarius said, with that lack of concern so often noticeable in the off-hand comments of teenage boys.
Marcus entered the Atrium of his apartments quietly - and found Adonios sitting on a couch, sobbing.
"What's the problem ?", Marcus said, very gently.
Adonios turned to Marcus with tears rolling down his cheeks.
"I think I've killed Diodoros.", Adonios sobbed.
At that point Marcus noticed that Adonios was holding his pugio, and instantly became worried that the boy might be planning to injure himself.
"So tell me about this...", Marcus said very patiently, sitting next to Adonios.
Adonios made to dry his eyes, but could not bring himself to look at Marcus, and instead was looking intently at his pugio.
"It was when Diodoros came with the frame for Glaux's doorway.", Adonios began, and then started sobbing again.
"Go on - what happened then ?", Marcus said encouragingly.
"Diodoros was rude to Glaux, and Glaux pecked his hand, and I told Diodoros that Apollo would do something nasty - with his arrows..... and now Diodoros is going to die.....and it's my fault !",  Adonios wailed, in another outburst of tears.
Seeing how upset Adonios was, Marcus took the sobbing boy in his arms.
"There, there !
This is just you imagining things", Marcus said, stroking  Adonios' hair, and holding him tightly.
At that point Petronius entered the atrium.
"Adonios !", Petronius said, gently but very firmly.
"Apollo has not done this - and you have not done this.
Diodoros is just sick, and Agathon will cure him." Petronius continued.
"But I asked Apollo to punish him !", Adonios moaned, as he held on to Marcus.
"And Apollo did not listen - believe me.", Petronius said forcefullu, and sat down opposite Marcus and Adonios.
Aurarius looked over at Petronius - fearfully.
"Now enough, Adonios.", Marcus said softly, trying to lighten the mood.
"As if our little Glaux would hold a grudge against Diodoros - and after he made that beautiful doorway.", Marcus continued, gently wiping away the tears from  Adonios cheeks.
Adonios - First Meeting at Baiea
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
"Yes, I suppose so.", Adonios replied wistfully - just like the little boy that Marcus had met so seemingly long ago at the convivium in the villa at Baiea.
"Now I think that the best thing that you can do is come and help me  on the roof gardens.
There's a lot of tidying up needs doing up there, and you can help me." Petronius said - encouragingly, as a rather embarrassed Adonios got off the couch.
"I'm sorry, Dominus - I don't know what came over me." Adonios said lamely, as Petronius put his arm round Adonios' shoulder, and guided him out of the Atrium.
Aurarius looked at Marcus - Marcus looked at Aurarius.
"I know what your thinking, 'Boy' - just don't say anything."
Adonios'  behaviour may seem strange to the modern reader, but in the classical world superstition was rife. Many 'superstitions' were associated with various gods and goddesses, and often centred round their attributes - in this case the bow and arrows of Apollo. On the night that Gnaeus Octavian was murdered, Marcus had a vision of Apollo shooting his arrows (of death) over the villa at Baiea. Apollo is a healer, but he is also the bringer of disease and death with his arrows. In Homer's Iliad he sends a plague (λοιμός) to the Achaeans. The god who sends a disease can also prevent it; therefore, when it stops, the  Achaeans make a purifying ceremony, and offer him a hecatomb to ward off evil.  
SUPPLICIA
  
'Punishments & Excutions' - Up on the roof gardens everything was well under-way for the punishment of the guilty slaves.
The Imperial Pavilion had been dismantled, and put into storage in the basement.
The blue curtains and blue boarding had been removed from what had been the combat area, which had now been re-sanded.
Slaves were also busy erecting fiendish looking iron frames, on which the condemned slaves were to be bound or chained.
Petronius, accompanied by a much more controlled and relaxed Adonios, was moving hurriedly around, offering advice, encouragement and instructions to the workers.
As the iron frames neared completion, and ropes, chains and other implements were laid out in preparation for the 'punishments' ('supplicia') a set of chairs were placed in a good vantage point - in readiness for the Dominus, his 'nephew' and his freedmen and councillor.
Roof Garden Colonnade Prepared for the Supplicia
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Once everything was ready, Marcus (with Aurarius in attendance), Demetrius (with Aelius in attaendance), Terentius and Novius appeared, and were seated.
Next, those newly acquired slaves, (their hands in iron cuffs, and escorted by Domus-guards, and wearing simple tunics,) who had not been chosen to be punished were herded into the circular colonnaded area to witness the punishments
Another group of male Domus-slaves - selected at random - were also given spaces in the circular colonnaded area to witness the punishments on behalf of the household.
The four slaves who were to be punished, (their hands in iron cuffs,and escorted by Domus-guards, and each wearing only a tiny white thong), were herded into the circular combat area.
Bound Slave-Boy
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Epitomes, Nicon, Kallon and Heron followed next, in loincloths and wearing  Thracian helmets.
These slaves were to act as executioners - who would be responsible for punishing their erstwhile colleagues.
When all were assembled, Petronius rose to his feet and made a short speech that had been previously approved by Marcus and Novius.
It went as follows:
"In the name of the noble Marcus Octavianus Gaius Agrippa Aelius Gracchus.....In consideration of the seditious actions of the previous evening, perpetrated by slaves of the said Marcus Octavianus Gracchus, our gracious Dominus has seen it meet and proper, in the light of the traditions of the ancestors (mos maiorum), to show mercy. It has therefore been permitted for the everliving Gods - of whom Apollo - the Sol Invictus - is pre-eminent - to choose by lot those few who should take the burden of punishment for the many. These four slave shall now be punished - and all present here shall stand witness to the perfidy of those who would dispute the sacred and legal rights of their gracious master, the noble Marcus Octavianus Gaius Agrippa Aelius Gracchus. Let the punishments begin....."
The slaves who were to be punished had not been named, as this would grant them a status and individuality that they did not deserve, however, the four slaves were Λυκος (Lycus), Πανκρατιος (Pankratios), Σοφος (Sophos),  and Θηρων (Theron) - all Greeks.
The Romans would not be able to understand our preoccupation with keeping criminals in prisons for lengthy periods. Crimes required punishment, and that punishment, to act as a deterrent, had to be severe and public. Generally speaking, Roman Citizens were not sentenced to capital punishment if they murdered another Roman Citizen of equal status, but were more often fined or exiled, and if they were to die, then they would be given the option of a dignified suicide. Serious cases could even involve decapitation, but that was rare. If a Roman Citizen killed a slave, or any person of lesser status, then there was no punishment at all. Protecting the status of Roman Citizens was considered to be a paramount concern. To be stripped of Roman Citizenship was one of the worst punishments imaginable, and it allowed an individual to be subjected to one of the more unpleasant methods of Roman execution. Public executions, therefore, were generally reserved for slaves who had run away, prisoners of war, common criminals and army deserters (Marcus slaves who were refusing to fight would be classed as 'deserters'.) Non Roman citizens were generally executed by garotting, impaling, crucifixion, death in the arena fighting, (without weapons or only blunted weapons), a trained gladiator. Usually execution was preceded by rape, sexual mutilation and flogging.
'Pena Lyci' - Λυκος (Lycus)

'The Punishment of Lycus' - Lycus was the first slave chosen by lot to be punished.
Heron - who had competed as a pancratium wrestler the previous evening, was now charged with supervising the punishment of his one time colleague, the teenage Lycus.
Heron, in doing this, was assisted by two sturdy domus-slaves.
Heron Fucks and Kills Drakon
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
There was, of course no way that Heron could refuse to abuse and kill his fellow slave.
If he refused, he knew that he would suffer the same, or maybe a worse fate than that awaiting Lycus. (also, the previous evening Heron had, apparently without any objections, raped and killed another of is fellow slaves, young Andrippos.)
Heron led Lycus over to one of the large iron frames firmly secured to the combat area floor.
There he instructed the domus-slaves to remove Lycus' tiny white thong.
Meanwhile, Marcus was calling to Aurarius to organise some refreshments, while he and Petronius carefully studied the now naked Lycus' hefty dangling sex-parts.
The boy was 'well-hung', and in some ways it seemed a shame to have him killed, but at this point there was no going back.
(Interestingly, the thong was not ripped off, callously, as one might imagine, but was carefully untied. - Terentius was a stickler for economies, and he required even such tiny, insignificant items as a boy's thong to be looked after and kept undamaged - where possible.)
Lycus, of course, was unable to prevent any indignities to his person, as his hands were firmly bound and chained.
The embarrassed 'bollock-naked' boy was then bent over the iron rail of the frame, and his legs were kicked apart.
Heron - who was obviously looking forward to the next stage in the proceedings, pulled down the front of his loincloth in order to release his already stiff and straining cock.
Heron had, the  previous evening, already shown off his exceptionally large 'endowment', when he publicly fucked Drakon, and was now to put it to good use again in brutally raping young Lycus.
Moments later Lycus was squirming and groaning as Heron viciously thrust his huge cock into the teenage boy's (virgin ?) arsehole.
"Fuck !... You cunt.....!  I can't take it !", Lycus squealed.
After the first few thrusts, however, Lycus himself became fully aroused, despite the fact that he was complaining bitterly, and also knew that he was later to be killed.
Heron was soon on the verge of 'cumming'.
Petronius - when he had instructed Heron in how to conduct the punishment, had told him, the it didn't matter how quickly he reached his orgasm - as the main idea was that his 'victim', (Lycus), should be seen to be penetrated, and forced to take the submissive part, as he was publicly raped.
So Heron had decided not to 'pull out' as he sprayed out his 'seed', but rather forcefully squirt his spunk into his submissive 'victim'.
"Shit ! I'm fuckin' cummin' !", Heron shouted - loud enough so that all those around the roof garden colonnade would be in no doubt as to what was happening.
Then, as soon as Lycus felt the hot gush of Heron's thick 'boy-juice' squirting up inside him - and Heron's cock convulse, Lycus, groaning loudly, also jetted his own spunk - repeatedly - splattering the sand in front of him.
Lycus, overcome by his orgasm, (he thought it was probably his last) slowly sank to his knees, while still resting on the horizontal iron frame.
This left Heron with his 'unsheathed' prick jerking obscenely, as it dribbled the last of his spunk.
Heron, however, had succeeded in what he was required to do - divesting his young 'victim' of his masculinity by forcing him to play the 'feminine' submissive part.
From that point on no one (in Roman terms) was justified in having any sympathy for Lycus, as he was a now total 'non-person', and not considered to be a man, - or even a boy.
Heron, who'se erection had by then subdsided, stuffed his prick back in his loincloth.
He then got the two domus-slaves to drag Lycus  to his feet, and spread the helpless boy's legs.
Grabbing hold of Lycus' shoulders, Heron then sharply brought his knee up into the young lad's unprotected groin, viciously squashing the boy's tight, fat balls.
"Cunt !", Lykos grunted, as he tried to 'double up'.
The domus-guards, however, held Lycus firmly, and Heron was able to knee the moaning boy two more times.
Heron then got the two domus-slaves to drag Lycus, who could barely stand, let alone walk, over to large metal frame near the centre of the sanded area.
The next step was to use ropes to tie him to one of the large iron frames.
The ropes were not only used to restrain the 'victim' but were also tide tightly round the victim's genitals in order to obtain a strong erection, (in order to further humiliate him), and also as a means of attaching weights, which would be an important aspect of the torture applied to Lycus before his was mutilated and killed.
At this point Lycus was getting quite hysterical, - begging to be freed, - but it did him no good as the domus-slaves, (some of whom had been brought in at short notice from the villa at Baiea to assist during the combats during Titus' visit), were impervious to any pleading, and were experts at their work.
Soon Lycus was 'spread-eagled' on the iron frame, and his genitals were being tightly bound.
"Please !... Don't do this !", Lycus begged, almost crying, as the viciously constricted root of his genitals caused his cock to swell enormously - and stand practically vertically against his heaving, sweaty belly.
At his point Petronius left his seat and came over to supervise.
"That's good, Heron.
You can have a rest for the moment - but in a short while I want you to attach some weights the the lad's balls, and give his 'sack' a good stretch."
Heron nodded and bowed, and stood, unobtrusively to one side, as Petronius called out for Kallon to bring his prisoner forward.

Pena Pankratios -  Πανκρατιος (Pankratios)

'Punishment of Pankratios' - Pankratios was youthful looking and blond - and like Lykos was initially wearing only a very skimpy white thong.
Kallon, who had wrestled in the previous evening's entertainment, accompanied the obviously terrified boy, and it was Kallon who was now to impose the punishment on Pankratios.
Petronius was a 'stickler' for organization and uniformity, and so the 'plan' for Pankratios' punishment was practically identical to that which had been planned for Lykos - at least in the initial stages.
Petronius was, however, a little concerned about young Kallon.
Petronius had named him Kallon because he was so good-looking - one might almost say 'pretty'.
(Kallon comes from the Greek - meaning beautiful).
Petronius had imagined that the cute boy was probably 'effeminate', (by Roman standards), and would not have the guts to win his fight with Andrippos, but Kallon did fight well , and did win.
Kallon Throttles Andrippos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Kallon is Mouth-Fucked by Andrippos
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In order to do this, though, Kallon had been forced into the 'submissive' role, when his opponent, Andrippos, had fucked his mouth.
To everyone's surprise, however, Kallon had bitten off Andrippos' penis, and then gone on to throttle the mutilated boy.
Now Petronius wanted to see just how truly 'dominant' Kallon was, and reassure himself that Kallon's win had not been just a lucky accident for the boy.
After taking Pankratios over to the other iron frame, stripping him naked and bending him over the horizontal bar, with his legs spread, it was time for Kallon to get his cock out and rape Pankratios.
This was the first time that Petronius had seen young Kallon 'hard', and the pretty young boy was no disappointment.
Kallon was certainly 'well equiped', and Pankratios was almost immediately screaming that he was being 'ripped apart', as Kallon's huge stiff 'tool' ploughed into the helpless boy.
Kallon turned to Petronius.
"I'm cumming !", he grunted, as if requesting permission.
Petronius nodded, and Kallon started moaning as he kept thrusting - pumping a huge 'load' of 'boy-juice' into Pankratios' straining, ripped arse-hole.
As soon as he had finished, Kallon pulled out, and Pankratios practically collapsed, as Kallon's still stiff cock waved obscenely as he continued to splatter the last of his spun onto the sand.
Then came the part that Pankratios had been dreading, (although there was much more for him to be even more fearful of later on.).
Kallon, oddly aggressive after the rape, spun Pankratios round - before even bothering to replace his cock in his loincloth - planted his hands on the boy's shoulders, and brought his knee up sharply, crushing the helpless boy balls - once - twice - three times - and then pulled back for a fourth.
"Stop !", Petronius called out , firmly.
Kallon stopped instantly, and looked round at Petronius quizzically.
"You can kill a boy if you crush his balls too hard, too many times.", Petronius said, laconically.
And we don't want him dead - not just yet !".
"I'm sorry, Domine. - I will remember.", Kallon replied obediently, letting go of Pankratios, who buckled at the knees, moaning and clutching at his mangled balls.
(interestingly Kallon's apology was to Petronius, and not to Pankratios)
"Please, Domine - have mercy ! No more !", Pankratios spluttered, finding difficult even to stand.
"Shut up, boy !", Petronius replied.
Petronius then turned to the domus-slaves
"Rope him up, and make sure he gets nice and 'hard'.", Petronius said, striding off to get the next condemned slave.
As Petronius walked away, Pankratios could be heard sobbing, and then squealing as his genitals were tightly tied.

Pena Sopho -  Σοφος (Sophos)

'Punishment of Sophos' - Sophos was a dark haired Greek boy - and like the other condemned slaves, was initially wearing only a very skimpy white thong.
The plan for the final two slaves was a little different from the treatment of the first two.
They were to be stripped of their loincloth, but suffer no initial rape.
Sophos was puzzled, (inappropriate perhaps, as his name, in Greek, means 'clever').
He was then handed a wooden gladius, and a small circular shield.
Petronius had decided that, as some of these slaves had decided not to fight as gladiators, they should now be forced to fight, but without effective weaponry.
Leontios Dead
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Epitomes
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

For this punishment, Petronius had chosen Epitomes - one of the new slaves who had fought as a gladiator the previous evening.
Epitomes, for an untrained gladiator, was remarkably aggressive, and had easily beaten his opponent, Leontios, leaving the boy disembowelled, emasculated and decapitated.
Petronius was expecting an excellent future (barring unforeseen circumstances) for this well muscled young slave.
Epitomes was required for the Supplicia to 'pretend' to fight Sophos.
Petronius had instructed Epitomes to chase Sophos round the sanded 'combat' area, slapping him on the buttocks, belly, back, shoulders and balls.
Of course, Sophos could not really fight back, as he only had a gladius made of soft-wood pine, whereas Epitomes had a steel gladius.
And so the 'fight' started, and every time Sophos tried to get away, there would be an armed domus-slave blocking his path.
Even the new slaves, (supposedly 'forced' to watch their comrades being punished), found the whole procedure very amusing, while Aurarius, Adonios and Aelius were in fits of laughter as they watched the terrified, stark naked Sophos running around, trying to avoid the endless slaps - (particularly those to his balls, which were obviously very painful), that he was receiving from from the flat of Epitomes' gladius.
It didn't take long for Sophos to become completely exhausted and so Epitomes simply tripped the staggering boy.
Epitomes then approached Sophos, who was sitting on his backside on the sand - panting hard and nursing his swollen bollocks.
"Do you surrender ?", Epitomes asked, haughtily.
Sophos, moaning, foolishly nodded.
Pertronius then gestured to two of the domus guards, who grabbed hold of Spphos, stood him up, bent him over, and spread the trembling boy's legs.
Meanwhile, Epitomes, who was very 'well-hung', pulled down the front of his loincloth, and pulled out his swollen, stiff cock.
"No - please !"....Don't fuck me !", Sophos begged, as Epitomes brutally penetrated the naked boy.
"Fuck ! It's too big !", Sophos groaned, as Epitomes repeatedly rammed his massive rigid cock into young Sophos.
Epitomes reached his orgasm quite quickly - as this was not a 'show' for an audience in the arena.
The sole purpose of the fuck, in this instance, was to publicly rape the condemned slave in order to completely humiliate him, before further torture and execution.

Meanwhile
'Pena Lyci et Pankratios' (Punishments of Lycus and Pankratios)

We left Lycus tied to one of the iron frames, with weights suspended from his scrotum.
Lycus, suspended quite high on his iron frame, had a excellent view of the rape of Pankratios - who was now also tied to an iron frame, and was undergoing similar 'ball-torture' to Lycus.
Both slaves had also been able to see the antics of Sophos, as he ran 'bollock-naked' round the sanded 'combat' area, pathetically and unsuccessfully trying to avoid the slaps from Epitomes' gladius, and both slaves were also able to observe Sophos finally being publicly raped.
Neither lad, however, had much energy to consider whatever else was going on, as each boy struggled for breath, and desperately tried to cope with the appalling pain in his groin.
So, as Epitomes finished raping Sophos, domus-slaves increased the weights that had been attached to the genitals of both Lycus and Pankratios.
The two frantic slaves responded by struggling more violently (and obscenely) on their iron frames which, in fact, only increased their suffering.

Pena Therone -  Θηρων (Theron)


Nicon and Glaucus
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Nicon - Gladiator
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
'Punishment of Theron' - Theron was the last slave to be punished - and he was unlucky, in one way, in that he had been able to watch what had happened (so far) to the previous slaves.
The punishment that Petronius had devised for Theron was very similar to that meted out to Sophos.
Petronius had chosen 'first time' gladiator Nicon to humiliate and punish Theron.
Nicon had fought in front of Titus during the previous evening's 'entertainments', and had proved himself by emasculating and dispatching his unfortunate opponent, Glaucus.
Theron, like Sophos before him, was summarily stripped of his tiny thong by domus-slaves.
He was then given his practically useless weapons, a wooden gladius and a tiny shield - and given a slap on his naked buttocks by Nicon, to start him off on his hopeless run round the sanded combat area.


At the same time, - back with young Sophos...

Sophos, who had just been brutally fucked, was crawling about on the sand, moaning, and begging for mercy.
Epitomes, who was standing over his 'abused' victim, and who was stuffing his shrinking cock into his loincloth, was then given some further instructions by Petronius.
In response, Epitomes recovered the wooden gladius that Sophos had been unsuccessfully using to defend himself.
Epitomes then instructed the domus-slaves to pull Sophos up off the sand, bend him over, and spread the naked boy's legs.
Epitomes then rammed the wooden gladius deep into Sophos' exposed arsehole.
"Shit !..My fuckin' arse !...", Sophos squealed, as his hands flailed about, desperately, but unsuccessfully, attempting to grab hold of the wooden gladius that was jerking obscenely as it poked out of his anus.
Epitomes then pushed the shrieking, impaled boy forwards, so that he staggered about pathetically, trying to maintain his balance.
Also, as a result of being so forcibly penetrated, Sophos had almost immediately become appallingly sexually aroused, and was desperately holding on to his stiffening penis in an attempt to hide his embarrassing response.
Unable to straighten up, because of the thick wooden gladius deeply embedded in his guts, and being obscenely aroused by the bulk of the wooden implement, Sophos found himself first touching, in a useless attempt to hide his arousal, and then pulling on his hugely swollen cock-head.
The fact that the boy appeared to be uncontrollably masturbating, then obviously caused much ribald comment, and some sniggers from the observers - which became more evident when Sophos started groaning asa he squirtrd his thick, creamy 'seed' over the sand.
"Oh shit !... I've cum !...", Sophos moaned, gazing down at the splatter of spunk between his feet.
Despite having 'cum', however, the poor lad remained disgustingly 'hard', with his huge twitching cock continuing to dribble spunk.
Still bent over, Sophos  turned his head to Epitomes.
"Please 'finish' me !... For fuck sake !", he pleadingly and pathetically sobbed,.
Epitomes looked questioningly  to Petronius, and Petronius nodded.
Epitomes then dragged Sophos over to a stake set into the sanded floor, and swiftly pulled Sophos up by the hair.
Raised up, Sophs had plenty of time to see the Vicious stake that was to end his short life.
"No !..no !.... Fuck no !.." he screamed, apparently having changed his mind.
It was too late for the naked, impaled boy, however, and Epitomes simply dropped him on the stake, so that the stake impaled the boy's chest, emerging from his back.
"Fuck !..", Sophos grunted - spraying piss from his still stiff, jerking cock.
For a few moments he struggled, trying to push himself off the stake, but it was too deeply embedded.
His legs trembled, and the wooden gladius in his arse jerked obscenely, and then he shuddered flopped, and he was dead.
Petronius had given permission for the boy to be killed because he was the youngest, he had given an (unintentionally) good 'show', (masturbating and ejaculating), and also he was not stupid (hence Petronius naming him Sophos - 'clever'), and so was probably not involved in the 'revolt' - and it was just 'Fate' (the goddess Fortuna) that had blindly picked him out to be 'punished'.
Petronius therefore gave instructions to the domus-slaves to give the boy a minimal burial, in order to prevent an 'infestation' of a 'Lemure' (here we are not talking about cute, cuddly little furry guys, but rather, restless,malevolent spirits).
A Cute, Cuddly Little  Roman Lemur
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
In Roman belief the 'lemurēs' were shades of the restless or malignant dead.  Lemurēs is a literary term used by the Augustan poets Horace and Ovid, the latter in his 'Fasti', the six-book calendar poem on Roman holidays and religious customs. Lemurēs are the wandering and vengeful spirits of those not afforded proper burial, or funeral rites, and so are not attested by tomb or votive inscriptions. Ovid interprets them as vagrant, unsatisfied and potentially vengeful 'di manes' of the underworld.
Meanwhile, with Theron...

As Sophos was being killed, Theron was 'running the gauntlet' of some domus-slaves, as he was pursued by Nicon, who was slapping his buttocks and shoulders repeatedly.
Finally, infuriated at being repeatedly humiliated, the naked boy turned on Nicon, with the vain and foolish intention of fighting his implacable pursuer.
Nicon, knowing that Petronius didn't want the boy killed at that moment, however, just 'played' with the 'butt-naked' young lad - which infuriated Theron even more.
Eventually Nicon managed to smack Theron across the side of his head with his rectangular bronze shield.
Theron, looking shocked, staggered, and then fell to his knees, partially concussed.
The confused boy then dropped both his tiny shield and his wooden sword, and looked around as if he had no idea of where he was.
Petronius stepped over to Nicon, who was not sure what to do next, and told his 'up and coming' gladiator to rape the boy.
The domus-slaves heard Petronius instruction, and advanced on the kneeling boy, although Sophos gave every indication that he was unaware of what was about to happen to him.
The domus-slaves pulled Theron to his feet, bent him over and spread his legs, while Nicon pulled out his stiff cock.
During the fight the previous night, in the presence of Titus, Nicon had not fucked his opponent Glaucus, so Petronius had no idea if Nicon would be 'up to the job' or sufficiently well equipped' (so he was taking a risk).
As it happened, Nicon was 'hung like as horse' (in modern parlance), or 'hung like a satyr', as the Romans would say.
In Greek mythology, a satyr (Greek: σάτυρος satyros) is one of a troop of 'ithyphallic' (from ευθύς - ithus - straight and φαλλός - phallos - phallus) male companions of Dionysus, sometimes depicted with goat-like features, and often with a very large permanent erection.
Theron was bent over, facing away from Nicon, who 'took' him from the rear, and Theron seemed to have no idea of what was about to occur.
Once Nicom rammed his prick into Theron'e arse-hole, the boy simply grunted and staggered with the violence and force of Nicon's penetration.
Struggling to maintain his balance, the stunned boy took the severe pounding that Nicon was giving him, grunting at each thrust.
"Fuck it !....I'm gonna cum !", Nicon groaned loudly - pulled out, and let his hot, milky spunk splash all over Theron's sweaty buttocks and back.
Theron remained bent over, breathing heavily, while Nicon wiped his cock with his hand, and waited for it to become limp, so that he could stuff it back into his loincloth.
Petronius then pointed to Theron's wooden sword, and Nicon immediately understood what was expected of him.
Nicon approached Theron from behind, put his left hand on Theron's shoulder to steady the lad, and rammed the wooden sword into Theron's anus.
Theron shrieked, and staggered, and then tried to get way from Nicon, and probably escape from the sanded combat area - but he only managed half a dozen steps - with the wooden gladius poking out of his arse, - before falling onto his hands and knees.
"My fuckin arse-hole !", Theron groaned, as he then started crawling, dog-like, towards the iron frames, (although no one was sure why - probably not even Theron).
"Finish him !", Petronius ordered, handing Nicon his steel gladius.
Nicon went over to the naked, impaled and helpless boy and grabbed his hair, (from the rear), pulling his head up.
"What the fu.....?", Theron began but never finished the obvious sentence as, with one stroke, Nicon sliced off Theron's head.
Instantly blood sprayed from the lad's neck, - piss sprayed from the lad's limp prick, and he keeled over, with his arms and legs violently twitching, and landing on his side - impaled and dead.

At the Iron Frames... Lycus

Lycus and Pankratios were still tied to the two iron frames situated to the rear of the sanded combat area.
Iron Frame Torture
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Below them was the naked corpse of Sophos, impaled on an iron stake, and the naked, headless corpse of Theron, sprawled on the sand.
Neither corpses would be removed until the conclusion of the 'supplicia' - when Lycus and Panratius were aware that there would be four corpses to drag away.
Both the boys were finding it difficult to breath, and were experiencing excruciating pain in their joints and muscles from having to support themselves in one position for so long.
Each lad, however,also had to contend with a permanent and painful erection, and horrific pain in the lower abdomen and scrotum, resulting from the weight stretching his balls.
The pain in the scrotum, however, would soon be dealt with, although not in the way that the boys would want.
Heron, who was responsible for the punishment of Lycus, on having watched Sophos and Theron being executed, was instructed by Petronius to finish the 'work' on Lycus.
The first step was to thrust a large wooden stake into Lycus' anus.
The thick stake in the anus not only not only represented sexual humiliation, (along with being very painful for the victim), but also served a practical purpose, as it effectively 'stopped up' the impaled individual, preventing any malodorous and messy voiding of the bowels during to final parts of the punishment.
"Oh shit ! My fuckin' guts !", Lycus bellowed, as he was brutally penetrated.
Gelding Knife
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017
Then Heron approached Lycus with a gelding knife.
"No ! Not That !......Anything but that !", Lycus whimpered as soon as he saw the glint of the curved blade.
Heron ignored the pleas of the terrified boy, and grabbed hold of Lycus' horribly swollen 'ball-bag''.
"No ! Not my fuckin' bollocks !", Lycus screamed, as Heron sliced through the top of the bulging 'sack'.
Instantly Lycus convulsed, and blood sprayed from his groin.
At the same time his still obscenely erect cock jerked as it squirted the last of his rich, creamy spunk.
Heron then dropped the severed 'ball-bag', along with the weights that had been attached.
The now useless bollocks, and the iron weights fell to the sand - the weights making a dull thud.
Next, Heron grabbed hold of Lycus still masively stiff cock.
"Not my fuckin' cock as well !...", Lycus wailed.
"Don't need no cock if you got no fuckin' balls !", Heron countered in common street Greek - (Δεν χρειάζεστε πέος αν δεν έχετε όρχεις !), mockingly, as he sliced through the root of Lycus' huge prick.
More blood sprayed, and Lycus began to slump forward, feeling the effects of his considerable loss of blood.
As Lycus was now slowly but obviously dying, Heron went on with the penultimate mutilation, disembowelling.
Disembowelment or evisceration is the removal of some or all of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract (the bowels), usually through a horizontal incision made across the abdominal area. Disembowelment was often used by the Romans as a method of torture and execution. 
As Lycus slumped from the iron frame, Heron made a cut across the boy's well muscled belly.
"No....!", Lycus quite uselessly protested.
Lycus then looked down at his quivering belly.
There was little blood initially, but then he was horrified to see his intestines slowly flop out.
"Shit !... My fuckin' guts...!", Lycus moaned, unable to believe what was happening to him.
Heron was not naturally cruel or sadistic, and was simply following Petronius' instructions, so he did not leave Lycus to suffer the horror of disembowelment for long, and swiftly cut the naked, mutilated lad's throat.
Lycus gurgled noisily- piss sprayed from his bloody cock-stump - and his head flopped forwards as blood gushed down his chest and mutilated belly.
Heron, after killing Lycus, was still holding the dead boy's severed prick, which he then disposed of by shoving it in Lycus' gaping, bloody mouth.
And so Lycos was executed
At the Iron Frames... Pankratios

Pankratios had been watching as his fellow slave, Lycus had been impaled, castrated, had his penis cut off, was disembowelled -  and was finally 'finished off'.
The terrified lad knew that now it would almost certainly be his turn to suffer the same abuse and mutilations.
Kallon then approached Pankratios with the same instructions to humiliate, mutilate and 'finish off' Pankratios as Heron had previously been given for 'finishing' Sophos.
"No, no - don't do that to me !", Pankratios begged, looking across, horrified at the mutilated, naked corpse of his companion, now hanging limply from the iron frame.
Kallon, however, realizing that the 'supplicia' had drawn to a close, quickly got on with the final acts which would 'finish off' the last of the condemned  slaves.
One of the domus-slaves handed Kallon a thick wooden stake - and Kallon quickly rammed the bulky object into Pankratios' anus.
Pankratios knew it was coming, and simply grunted, and jerked upwards as he was humiliatingly penetrated.
Next Kallon was handed the gelding knife (see above).
"Your balls are hurting - yes ?", Kallon asked Pankratios.
That was obvious, as  Pankratios' scrotum was, by then, visibly darkening and horribly swollen.
Pankratios nodded tearfully.
"It'll be less painful if you have em' off.", Kallon said, obviously prevaricating.
Pankratios nodded again, probably not realizing the implications of what he was agreeing to.
Kallon then took hold of Pankratios' bulky ball-bag and, with one swift slice, cut off the pathetic lad's balls.
"Shit !....", Pankratios yelled, as his bollocks, along with the attached weights dropped to the sand.
"Good - so, no balls - so no need for this !", Kallon then said, as he flicked Pankratios' stiff, twitching cock.
Pankratios' large, appallingly stiff prick flopped obscenely when Kallon flicked it, dribbling copious quantities of 'pre- cum'.
Despite having been castrated, the tight roping round Pankratios' penis had the effect of trapping blood in the already erect member, and the insertion of the large stake in his anus also contributed to his continuing sexual arousal.
Fascinated at the sight of Pankratios' huge jerking 'member', with no balls hanging below, Kallon forget about his eager concern to finish things off  swiftly, and allowed his perverse imagination to take over.
"What about a final jerk-off ?", Kallon suggested.
(Petronius overheard him, and simply grinned.)
"Please !", Pankratios grunted hoarsely.
Now whether Pankratios meant 'please jerk me off', or 'please stop', or 'please help' or whatever, it was impossible to say, however, Kallon took it as permission to indulge himself.
Instantly he grabbed Pankratios' foreskin, and began pulling it rhythmically over the groaning lad's cock-head.
"Please !", Pankratios continued to moan.
Then, some moments later, Pankratios' hips pushed forwards - the boy's eyes glazed over - and he squirted out repeated sprays of glistening, creamy spunk, most of which landed on the sand below him, as he groaned softly.
It was undoubtedly his last orgasm as, before he had finished 'cumming', Kallon sliced off the the poor lad's penis, right down at the root.
Forgetting to disembowel the boy, Kallon then cut Pankratios' throat and, as the horribly mutilated, naked boy sprayed piss and blood from his groin, and blood from his ripped neck Pankratios convulsed, and in a matter of moments was dead.

And so ended the supplicia......

CONCLUSIO

'Conclusion' - Marcus, Demetrius, Terentius and Novius rose from their seats - and Terentius and Novius, having no further business at the supplicia at that time, made their way back down to the main atrium.
Demetrius, Adonios, Aurarius and Aelius, unable to control their teenage, boyish, (and somewhat macabre), curiosity, stepped out into the sanded area in order to examine the naked mutilated copses of the four executed slaves - excitedly recounting to one another favourite parts of the afternoon's events.
The rigid social stratification of Roman society is highlighted by the behaviour of the boys at this point. Only Demetrius is a Roman citizen (a slave by birth - although, through the influence of Marcus all record of his servitude has been obliterated, and the boy is not even considered to be a freed slave (freedman), but rather the son of a Roman citizen, (Gnaeus Octavian). The other boys are all slaves, but see no similarity between themselves and the slaves who have just been executed. So in Rome, there were slaves and 'slaves' - and some 'slaves' have more status than even freedmen, as they have the patronage and protection of their master - (in this case Marcus).
Meanwhile, Nicander and Petronius (in an obvious and purposeful show of cooperation and mutual respect), supervised the removal of the four corpses from the roof gardens, while domus-guards supervised the leaving of the other observers, (mainly slaves), from the roof gardens.
Marcus went over to Nicander and Petronius and congratulated them effusively on the excellent work that they had both done.
While all seemed well to the casual observer, the image of solidarity and control was being purposefully projected for the benefit of the Domus staff, and the next day Marcus would conduct an appraisal of what had gone wrong, and what had led to the debacle of the previous night, which had resulted in the unnecessary loss of too many recently acquired slaves.
Marcus final instruction was that the four corpses of the slave boys who had been executed were to be cremated that night, with minimal rites, and the ashes placed in the 'columbarium' at the villa at Baiea.
The Romans in the period of our story, often used “columbaria” (which means“dovecote”) as a name for a structure containing multiple funerary urns because the stacked urns resembled stacked cages. Such columbaria were manly used for the poorer member of society and slaves, and the rich would often have private tombs, and the very wealthy (like Marcus) would have a Mausoleum.
more images for the section 'SUPPLICIA' are in course of preparation....... 


'and the story continues -
Novius works his 'magic' on Aurarius to reveal an interesting past and Elatos is punished.

© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

CHAPTER XLII
('Slaves - the Free - and the Gods)
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2017

warning: this section features nudity, explicit sexuality and extreme violence in language, images and text - do not view if you may be offended
  
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