Anno Quattuor Imperatorum - Part III

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So Marcus got his freedom - and his hair-cut !
In order to put an end to the rumours in the villa, Gracchus instructed his freedmen and senior slaves to ensure that everyone at the villa knew that the one time slave Markos was now a free, Roman citizen, and should be referred to as Marcus Octavianus Gnaeus, and addressed as 'Iuvenes Dominum' - (Young Master or Young Lord).
Prior to the ceremony of Manumission there had been frantic efforts, orchestrated by Terentius, to provide the new 'Iuvenes Dominum' with appropriate living quarters.
He would now, obviously, require a private triclinium, study, cubiculum and bathing facilities.
Terentius was relieved when it was all ready, just in time, but with the paint still wet.
After the 'convivium' to celebrate Marcus' Manumission, a relieved Gracchus took his leave of the young lad, and Terentius showed Marcus to his new quarters.
"'Iuvenes Dominum'," Terentius began carefully, "the Dominus has arranged for you to have new quarters, in the wing next to his apartments.
I must apologise, however.
Unfortunately the paint is not quite dry in a few places, - so please be careful."
Marcus realized that things were going to be difficult for a while - but nowhere as difficult as things would be for many people in the outside world - away from the safety of the villa.
Marcus was now left to reflect that it was not that long ago that Terentius had arrived in Brundisium, and bought a naked young boy in a slave market - and now he was calling that same slave boy 'Iuvenes Dominum' (young master).
Marcus was suddenly snapped out of his reverie by the very words that he was musing on.....
"Also, Iuvenes Dominum,". Terentius began.....
Marcus interrupted.
"Please - don't call me Iuvenes Dominum, I find it so embarrassing !
Call me Marcus !".
"No, Iuvenes Dominum - I cannot do that.
I have known the Dominus since he was young like you, and always I call him 'Dominus', and now you are 'Iuvenes Dominum', and will one day be 'Dominus' - and that is the way it must be.
We must accept our fate - who we are - and how others must behave towards us". Terentius gently explained.
And there was that word, again - 'Fate'... Marcus thought.
"I see.", said Marcus.
"I understand - but I don't like it !"
"Well.... perhaps you will like your new quarters." Terentius said with a smile, as he opened a huge pair of bronze double doors.
Marcus was amazed.
Part of Marcus' New Apartments
He had thought his original cubiculum was well furnished, and well decorated, but his new rooms were so luxurious as to be beyond belief.
The walls were sheathed in panels of veneered grey marble, Where there was no marble there were the most delicate wall-paintings, the floors were tiled in marble, and marble mosaics, and the ceilings were coffered, gold and white plaster.


'Student Master' - If Marcus thought that 'freedom' would bring an easy life - then he was wrong.
It would be luxurious, however, and he would have more money than he knew what to do with.
The young, cheeky looking Adonios had been given to him as his 'body slave', who was also quite happy to be Marcus' 'bed-boy' when Marcus got lonely, or wanted a change from young Cleon.
He also had two rather intimidating looking slave-boys, (although 'boys' was not maybe the appropriate way to describe them, as they were even older than Petronius) who guarded the massive bronze doors that gave entrance to Marcus' luxurious rooms.
But Marcus' freedom was a strange freedom.
For one thing, he never left the villa alone.
Gracchus had provided him with a carriage, and a litter, and the slaves to go with the transport.
The carriage had a driver, and an boy-assistant, plus a tough young outrider on a horse.
He could, of course, go where he wanted - he was free - but the strange thing was that there was no time - he was busy all day, and well into the evening.
No more did he help Glykon at the entrance to the villa.
Instead, after having an early morning meeting with Terentius, he rode to the Amphitheatre in his own carriage - with his own driver, and outrider, to see his 'assistant', Petronius.
Usually he and Petronius would have their midday meal together, spending much of the time discussing the business of the arena.
Then he would leave Petronius in Baiae, and return to the villa.
There he would spend the early afternoon with one or other of his tutors.
The initial situation, as already indicated, was that in late 67 and early 68, Caius Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policy, with the purpose of substituting Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, for Nero.
Later he would bathe, and go down to the gymnasion, where Servius would be waiting to give him a training session, often including sword practice, wrestling and usually ending with a swim which also served as a afternoon bath - and followed by a massage.

The evening meal - (which for Romans began early - anything between 3 and 5 pm) would now be taken with Gracchus, if he did not have any other business to attend to, in his private triclinium, which would then often be followed by a long discussion relating to various topics - from the current political situation to matters of philosophy, art or literature.

'Many Meetings' - Now this is where things get interesting - but also complicated - as Marcus will soon find out.
Once Marcus had been freed, given Roman Citizenship, and Gracchus' freedman Terentius had lodged the Will in Rome, detailing the adoption and inheritance, Gracchus felt it was reasonable to include Marcus in meetings with the various influential individuals who were coming to see him about the crisis in Rome - it was all part of Marcus' training.
Now Marcus Octavianus Gnaeus stood behind, and to the right-hand side of Gracchus, as he sat at his marble topped table receiving his distinguished guests.
Marcus was always introduced as Gracchus' nephew, and his presence at the various, highly confidential meetings was considered to be perfectly acceptable.
As a result of these many meetings, Marcus was able to obtain a remarkable insight into events at Rome.
Vindex's revolt in Gaul was unsuccessful.
The legions stationed at the border to Germania marched to meet Vindex, and confront him as a 'traitor'.
Led by Lucius Verginius Rufus, the Rhine Army defeated Vindex in battle, and Vindex comitted suicide.
Galba was then declared a 'public enemy' by the Senate in Rome.
It was then that matters transferred to Rome, and the Praetorian Praefectus, Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus began his machinations designed to enable him to achieve the Imperium under the guise of helping Galba.
Nymphidius' first step was to raise sufficient funds to sway the Praetorians in his favour, and to obtain these funds he went to Baiae to try to get a loan from Gracchus.
On the morning of Nymphidius' arrival, the villa seemed to be swarming with Praetorians.
Nymphidius, perhaps quite wisely, was excessively nervous about his safety.
He was not exactly a military looking figure, and too much good living seemed to have softened him.
As soon as the Prefectus arrived at the villa, he was ushered into Gracchus' study, where Gracchus and Marcus were waiting for him.
Praefectus, Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus
Almost immediately Marcus took a dislike to the man, who seemed brash and lacking refinement.
Once he was seated, Nymphidius gave Marcus a strange look.
"And who is this fine young lad ?", Nymphidius said to Gracchus, nodding towards Marcus.
"This is my nephew, Marcus Octavianus Gnaeus.", Gracchus replied.
"I was having him brought up in Athens, but now he's come to my villa, and we hope to make a real Roman of him."
"That's good !",Nymphidius replied, looking around the study, awkwardly.
"Ah !" Gracchus began, realizing his mistake, and calling for some wine.
"Perhaps you'd like some wine to refresh you after your long journey."
"That would not go amiss.", Nymphidius replied, settling in his chair.
"So what brings you to Baiae ?", Gracchus asked, innocently.
Nymphidius smiled.
"Well... I'm sure that you've noticed that we haven't go an Emperor." he answered, sarcastically.
Gracchus nodded, looking back at Marcus.
"And I'm Praetorian Prefect, so it's very much up to me to help in sorting things out." Nymphidius continued.
"That makes sense.", Gracchus retorted, but in a non-committal manner.
Seeing that he was not getting anywhere, Nymphidius started on a different tack.
Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba
"Are you acquainted with Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba ?"
"Yes, I have met him.
He was born not far away - a little to the north, on the coast.
Before he became Governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, he was semi-retired, and often came to Baiae, so we met on numerous social occasions."
"And do you know Calvia Crispinilla ?", Nymphidius asked.
"I have heard of her.
A very influential woman.", Gracchus answered, looking very intrigued.
"So you might know that Galba has his eye on the Imperium.", Nymphidius continued, revealing himself a little more openly.
"It would not surprise me.", Gracchus answered, still being non-committal.
"So would you consider Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba to be a suitable person to be the next Emperor ?", Nymphidius asked, trying to get to the root of the matter.
Gracchus paused - and spread out his hands on the beautifully figured marble table in front to him.
"That I am not prepared to say.
It has always been my policy not to make pubic political statements.",Gracchus stated calmly,
"Yes Gracchus, I know !
You only make public statements about your beloved Augustus,
(how did he know about the 'Munera ad Augustum', Marcus wondered, suddenly nervous, as this man seemed to have informers who had access to events in the villa).
The Praetorian Guard engaged in espionage, intimidation, arrests and killings to protect the interests of the Roman emperor. For clandestine operations, they employed a special wing of troops known as “Speculatores.” Formerly a reconnaissance corps under the Roman Republic, by the imperial era this unit had graduated to serving as couriers and intelligence operatives in the service of the Emperor. 'Speculatores' would often disguise themselves as ordinary citizens at Ludi, theatrical performances and protests, to monitor and arrest anyone who criticized the emperor. They also kept tabs on suspected enemies of the state, and in some cases they even secretly executed those judged to be an imminent threat to the emperor or his policies.
But I don't want you to give a 'public statement'.
I only want you to tell me !", Nymphidius was obviously getting annoyed at the way that Gracchus was not prepared to discuss this matter with him directly.
"Alright !", Gracchus replied in a resigned manner.
"Personally, I think that he is rather old to become Emperor, and so we will probably be going through this whole difficult business again quite soon.
But as for his character and ability, I think that he is probably quite adequate for the task in hand.
But that is just between you, me and the boy !". Gracchus leaned back in his chair, trying to assess  Nymphidius' response.
NOTE: - Tacitus says 'all pronounced him (Galba) worthy of the empire, until he became Emperor' - ("omnium consensū cāpax imperiī nisi imperasset").
"That's good !", Nymphidius replied.
"And now to the important matter.
To get the Praetorians to accept Galba they need to receive a 'donative' - (a payment - really a bribe).
Do you have a cerae (wax writing tablet) ?"
Gracchus called for Quintus.
Quintus nervously came into the study.
"Give his excellency the Prefectus your cerae, and two styli - and then go !" Gracchus ordered.
Quintus did as he was told and, with great relief, got out of the room.
Nymphidius, quite aware of what Gracchus was doing, leaned forward and gave Gracchus one of the bronze styli.
"This is the 'donative' that would probably satisfy the Praetorians.", Nymphidius said, as he inscribed the letters (remember, the Romans use letters, not figures, to indicate numbers).
He then snapped the cerae closed, and handed it back to Gracchus.
Marcus innocently looked up at the richly coffered ceiling, as Gracchus opened the cerae and considered what Nymphidius had written.
Nymphidius smiled in an avuncular, but 'creepy', manner at Marcus, pleased to see that he was keeping to the 'game'.
Gracchus picked up the bronze stylus that was now lying on the marble table and made his own marks on the wax.
Again there was a snap of wood on wood, and Gracchus handed back the closed cerae.
Nymphidius frowned and Gracchus explained .....
"Prefectus, my funds are limited.", Gracchus lied.
"Many are asking for loans, as they have very little income, as a result of the current crisis, and its effects on trade, - many have large debts, and creditors who are as frightened as they are, demanding payment.
We must all help each other.
I will help as much as I can, as I think the establishment of political stability will help us all.
But as I say, even I have limited funds in this time of difficulty."
Nymphidius listened to Gracchus carefully, nodding as he realised the financial difficulties that the crisis was causing - although he imagined that gracchus had more money than he was admitting to.
"Alright,", he said, a tone of resignation in his voice.
Nymphidius then wrote again on the cerae, snapped it closed, and handed it again to Gracchus.
Gracchus opened the cerae.
"Yes, I think we can manage that.", Gracchus said, benignly.
"May I call my freedman to make arrangements ?", Gracchus asked, unsure as to how secret this whole matter should be.
"Can he be trusted ?", Nymphidius asked.
"Completely." Gracchus replied, and not waiting for Nymphidius' response, he called for Terentius.
Terentius entered the study, and he and Gracchus walked over to one side of the large room, deep in discussion.
Gracchus then turned to Nymphidius.
"If you could stay overnight, I could have the sum ready, in gold, for you by the afternoon.
Meanwhile, we could dine tonight, and young Marcus here could organise a little 'sport' for you to watch, privately, at my amphitheatre tomorrow morning."
Nymphidius thought for a moment, and then smiled.
"Yes, Gracchus.
That is very generous of you."


'Nymphidius at the Games - Part I' -Marcus decided, during the 'cena' in Gracchus' private  triclinium, that Nymphidius was a real bore !
In Roman culture, cena was the main meal of the day. In earlier times, it was held midday, but later began to be held in evenings. It was a focal point of social life, along with the public baths, the frequenting of which often preceded the meal. Seating during dinner was arranged in the triclinium, three couches for reclining arranged as three sides of a square, with a small table for food in the middle of all these. The cena normally consisted of three parts. The 'appetizer' course often included eggs, olives, and honeyed wine. The second, 'main course' often included a main meat dish, like roasted pig. The third and final course included 'desserts' such as fruits or nuts. Only the very wealthy  like Gracchus - would consume exotic dishes.

Early the following morning Marcus was served his breakfast, in his private triclinium, by young Cleon, his general 'dogs-body'.
Gracchus had given Marcus 'Adonios' and 'Cleon', as it seemed to him pointless for Marcus to start buying slaves, unless he found a boy that particularly appealed to him as, according to the oracle, sometime in the not too distant future Marcus would inherit all of Gracchus slaves, not only in the villa at Baiae, but also the slaves in all of Gracchus' other properties, both in Italy and abroad.
Marcus, trailed by Cleon, then went to see Terentius, as was his custom.
Terentius took Marcus by the arm, guiding him to a private corner, and spoke softly to him.
"I could see yesterday, when I was arranging the loan in gold for Nymphidius, that you were worried about all that money being lost.
I knew that you would be concerned, as that gold is part of your inheritance.
But please do not be concerned.
I feel that, like the Prefectus Nymphidius, you have little understanding of the wealth of the 'Dominus'.
Of course he had to plead poverty to Nymphidius, otherwise the Prefectus may well have had him eliminated, and simply taken all his wealth." Marcus looked shocked.
Terentius continued quietly,
"You must, Iuvenes Dominum, always learn from the Dominus.
Do not flaunt your wealth, and never let people know your true worth.
That way you may live a long and untroubled life.
The money that  Nymphidius will get is but a drop in the ocean, compared to the wealth that - if the God Apollo wills it, - you shall inherit
Marcus was obviously moved.
"Thank you Terentius.
I don't know what I should do without you."
"Don't thank me, Iuvenes Dominum, thank our Master, Gracchus.Terentius replied, loyal as always.
Marcus then went over for a short chat with Glykon, while Cleon summoned Marcus' carriage and outrider.
Meanwhile, Gracchus had been holding secret discussions with the Praetorian Tribunes who had accompanied Prefectus Nymphidius to Baiae.
Wiley Gracchus had managed to come to an agreement with the Tribunes that he would make the 'dōnātiō' that Nymphidius was asking for, on the understanding that Galba, and not Nymphidius obtained the Imperium.
The suggestion was very much in keeping with the Tribunes' own feelings, as respect for Nymphidius was fast evaporating, and the Tribunes were eager to avoid any difficulties with regard to the 'dōnātiō'.
Totally unaware of Gracchus' 'double dealing', Nymphidius was gorging himself on a rather excessive breakfast in  Gracchus' private  triclinium, not bothering to inquire where Gracchus was, as he was too busy eating.
Marcus, on the other hand was encouraging his driver 'not to spare the horses', as he was eager to get to the amphitheatre in order to arrange with Petronius some fights in the arena, which were intended to keep Nymphidius distracted for the rest of the morning, while Terentius was preparing the gold for transportation to Rome.
After the evening meal, the previous night, Nymphidius, tired after his journey from Rome, had retired early, with a cute young 'bed-boy', provided by Gracchus.
Gracchus had then told Marcus some details about this less than endearing character.
Nymphidius Sabinus, it seems, was the son of an imperial freedwoman, Nymphidia, (daughter of Gaius Julius Callistus), and it was generally believed that his father was a gladiator named Martianus, although Nymphidius subsequently claimed he was the illegitimate son of the former Roman Emperor Caligula - which Gracchus thought was highly unlikely.
As to the man's early life, Gracchus knew very little, but recently he had become a colleague of Praetorian prefect Tigellinus in the Praetorian Guard, after the latter's previous partner Faenius Rufus was put to death.
Nymphidius had an obsession with young boys, and although there was nothing reprehensible as such in that, his tastes were directed at boys known as 'Cinaedus' - boys who were effeminate - which was not considered permissible, particularly for an individual in Nymphidius' position.
And to make matters worse, since the death of Nero, Nymphidius had taken up with Sporus, Nero's young boy, whom Nero had castrated and 'married', and Nymphidius had reportedly also 'married' the young lad.
However, Gracchus' main concern was to keep Nymphidius amused and unsuspecting for the morning, until he could return to Rome, where Gracchus was expecting the Prefectus to come to an unpleasant end, if the Praetorian Tribunes kept their word.
To this end, Gracchus advised Marcus to arrange a few fights for Nymphidius to watchFights that would feature the young 'boy-gladiators' from the 'Ludus Gracchii' at Gracchus' amphitheatre in Baiae.
Ludus Gracchii
The gladiatorial school had a very small arena (sanded area), similar to that of Gracchus' main Amphitheater. The arenas in the training school was surrounded by some raised seating, and people in Baiae, for a very small fee, were allowed to watch the training when there were no Ludi being staged at the the Amphitheater. The small arena was the centre of the school complex. At the rear of the seating area was a portico that opened onto the gladiator’s cubicula. The gladiator's cubicula were three storeys high. There was also accommodation for the slaves and staff who worked in the Ludus and also rooms where the training equipment was kept, baths, a mess hall and kitchens.Petronius had his own, quite lavish quarters at the Ludus.
Gracchus, knowing that Nymphidius was not only lascivious, when it came to boys, but also sadistic, advised Marcus to ensure that the fights culminated in the rape, mutilation and death of the defeated fighters - as that was what Nymphidius would be demanding.
As Gracchus made clear, it was essential that Nymphidius was distracted throughout the morning, then given plenty of food and wine, and allowed to sleep his way back to Rome in his comfortable carriage.
Once in Rome, hopefully the Praetorians would know what to do with their 'upstart Caesar'.


'At the Amphitheater' - The horses of Marcus' carriage galloped up to the main entrance of the Amphitheatrum Gracchii, in Baiae, in a cloud of dust, as Marcus' young outrider slid off his mount to open the carriage door for his master.
Marcus was obviously in a hurry.
Arena slaves ran up, bowing and opening doors, as Marcus strode through the corridors to Petronius' office.
"Good morning, Iuvenes Dominum !", Petronius said, flashing one of his irresistible smiles.
"Cut the fancy titles !", Marcus snapped, made aggressive by his anxiety regarding the visit of the undoubtedly dangerous Praefectus Praetorio.
"We need to stage some fights - and soon - this morning ! Orders from Gracchus !"
"Of course, Dominus !", Petronius replied, deferentially.
Marcus then paused - suddenly realizing how rude he'd been to the youth who was probably his best friend.
"I'm sorry, Petronius ! , Marcus said, aware that it may well be to late for an apology.
I'm just so worried about his guy Nymphidius.", Marcus muttered.
"He's just so dangerous, and so stupid - and creepy !", Marcus went on, as Petronius called for slaves.
"We need at least six boys - good looking, but boys we can spare - and they must be 'hard-core' 'well-hung' lads, as we need the winners to fuck the losers before finishing them off." Marcus paused - giving Petronius time to think.
Marcus was not usually so blunt and crude in his language - he was, after all, a superbly well educated 'patrician' (thanks to Gracchus) - but, as often happens to individuals, fear had brought out a crudeness and directness in his speech and manner.
"Now Petronius...... this Nymphidius likes pretty boys, and likes to watch them fucking, and then get their 'privates' cut off.
This is what Gracchus has told me.
Now for reasons that Gracchus want kept secret, Nymphidius must be distracted, for the rest of the morning, by the best 'boy-show' he's ever seen.
After that he'll have coena (a main meal) - but early - with Gracchus - and then he'll go back to Rome, and hopefully we won't be bothered by him ever again."
That final phrase of Marcus made Petronius look startled and nervous - he knew what it probably meant.
"I understand !", Petronius replied.
"I'll get the boys wearing something really sexy, and then we can give them a good talking to, along with the arena-slaves who will be on duty, and explain what's expected of them.", and with that Petronius went off to select the boys who would be appearing in the arena, and instructed other slaves to dress the lads appropriately;  not that the boys would be wearing much.
Meanwhile, Marcus called Cleon, who had been relegated to waiting in the corridor - forbidden to be party to the discussions taking place between Marcus and Petronius.
"Bring me some wine, please, Cleon !", Marcus said.
Despite his now exalted position, he made it a rule to always try to be polite and respectful to those who were now his slaves.
"And after you bring me the wine, go to the Editors' Box and make sure it's clean and tidy !", he called after Cleon, as the boy was trotting out of the door.
After about fifteen minutes (not that the Romans had minutes !), Petronius returned.
"Everything's ready, Marcus !", he said, gently, trying to calm down his young master.
"Good ! let's go down and see these boys !", Marcus said briskly, leaving Petronius' officium, with Petronius following, and descending to the ground floor.
From there, Marcus and Petronius went out onto the sand, where six boys had been assembled.
They were all wearing various combinations of cross-belts, wrist guards and other leather accoutrements, but noticeably three of the boys were not wearing loincloths.
One was wearing a small pouch, made of leather straps and silver studs, which hid practically nothing.
The other two each wore a silver cage around their penis which, unlike the 'penis-cage' which Marcus had worn when he was first at the villa, was not intended to prevent an erection, but rather was intended to enhance an erection.
"Well ..... if that doesn't hold Nymphidius' attention,", Marcus said quietly to Petronius, pointing to one of the boys wearing a 'penis-cage', and displaying a truly massive erection for a boy so young, "then I don't know what will !".
Petronius grinned and nodded.
"Right, lads !", Marcus said loudly.
Because of your fighting skills you have been selected to fight before our Dominus, and one of the highest officers in the Roman Army.
You are to fight hard !
No quarter is to be given !
And let me be blunt - you will be expected to fuck your opponent  if he surrenders, or can't fight on !
Having fucked him, you will also be expected to emasculate him, if he is not granted a dismissal.
In case you don't know what that means - let me spell it out to you. 
You will be expected to cut off his cock and his balls !
And then, as a 'sexless' fighter is no use to anyone, you will be required to finish him off !
I hope that I make myself clear !
Any boy who falters, or fails to perform will be dealt with by the arena-slaves !
So I expect a good show !
You are dismissed !
And with that the boys were led away, to await their turn in the arena.
"That was a good speech, Marcus, !", Petronius said, out of hearing of any of the other slaves.
"I think you're going to make an excellent Dominus !".
"Thank you, Petronius.
"And I think you make an excellent friend !".
Petronius smiled and sighed - part of him longed for Marcus, but there were other problems, despite what Gracchus had said to him.

The boys would be - in order of appearance Adamas against Terrenus, Ferrum against Validas and Petram against Virga.
Roman gladiators - as has been stated before, almost always had 'stage-names' - or should we say 'arena-names', which usually gave some indication of their supposed character, abilities or attributes. This six were no exception.
for more information on Roman names go the the 'PREFACE' and scroll down to 'ROMAN NAMES'
  • Adamas comes from the word for diamond, and has connotations of 'hardness', both in fighting ability, and probably erectile functioning. 
  • Terrenus is from the Latin for earth, therefore it means 'earthy' which can be seen in terms of bawdiness, lewdness or obscenity. 
  • Ferrum refers to steel, the metal of which the gladius was made and, as has been pointed out before, 'gladius' was a slang term for penis. 
  • Validas has connections with the word 'lust' - which is self explanatory. 
  • Petram refers to rock, and therefore to a strong object, but also 'rock hard', like the fully erect penis. 
  • Virga refers to a staff or rod, and therefore is associated with the erect penis.
So all the 'arena names' for this small Ludi had suitable sexual significance. Also, all the names were Latin, but not because the boys were Roman, but because they had been re-named, on being purchased, with Latin names which would be comprehensible to the (usually) patrician audience in the amphitheater, who preferred Latin nomenclature for the masculine art of combat (Greek was reserved for the arts). What the boys' original names had been nobody knew or cared, and often the boys themselves forgot their original names.

'Nymphidius at the Games - Part II' - Suddenly there was a shout coming from the main entrance to the Amphitheater.
"Petronius ! The Dominus has arrived !", one of the door-keepers was shouting.
Quickly Petronius and Marcus made their way to the entrance in time to see Gracchus and Nymphidius stepping out of Gracchus' large, luxurious carriage.
Unfortunately Nymphidius had insisted on wearing his armour, and so was noticed by a number of passers by.
This was exactly what Gracchus didn't want, but hopefully the Prefectus would not be recognised.
Marcus was quick to greet Gracchus, who was obviously pleased to see him.
Petronius ushered Nymphidius through the 'prothyrum' (main entrance hall), and took him on into  a special area reserved for the reception of distinguished guests.
There Petronius called for slaves to offer Nymphidius wine and some delicacies.
Fortunately Nymphidius was well distracted, as he seemed to have taken a considerable, and instant liking to Petronius.
This gave Gracchus a chance to check with Marcus that the 'entertainment' had been organised and was ready, and also gave Gracchus a chance to have a further word with the two Praetorian Tribuni, who had accompanied Gracchus' carriage on horseback - along with Gracchus' own body-guards, who were also on horseback.
Then Gracchus, and his bodyguards, and Marcus and the Praetorianorum Tribuni, and Petronius and Nymphidius all made their way to the Editor's Box.
And where was little Cleon ?
Well he had managed to get a front row place in the empty seating of the amphitheatre.

Once everyone was settled, Petronius gave the word for the first two boys to be brought it.
As this was a private performance, with no members of the public present, and arranged at very short notice, there was no 'pompa' - there was just a short procession of arena-slaves, all kitted out in black leather braccae, crossbelts and gloves, with some of them armed with a pilum and some with a gladius, and others carrying no weapons except for thick cord.
The senior arena-slave carried a flagrum (the "flagrum" or "flagellum" was a short whip made of two or three leather (ox-hide) thongs or ropes connected to a handle. The leather thongs were knotted with a number of small pieces of metal, usually zinc and iron, attached at various intervals.)
These arena-slaves were followed by the first two fighters - technically gladiators, as they were to fight each with a gladius.

Gladius was one Latin word for sword, and is used to represent the primary sword of Roman foot soldiers. Early Roman swords were similar to those used by the Greeks. From the 3rd century BC, the Romans adopted swords similar to those used by the Celtiberians and others, during the early part of the conquest of Hispania. This sword was known as the 'gladius hispaniensis', or 'Hispanic Sword'. Gladii were two-edged for cutting and had a tapered point for stabbing during thrusting. A solid grip was provided by a knobbed hilt added on, possibly with ridges for the fingers. Blade strength was achieved by welding together strips, in which case the sword had a channel down the center, or by fashioning a single piece of high-carbon steel, rhomboidal in cross-section.

Adamas was young, dark haired, quite muscular, and wearing the usual style of leather and silver studded harness worn by Gracchus' fighters, which included wrist guards, a leather belt with Gracchus' Medusa head as a buckle and a blue loincloth.
Terrenus was a well muscled, young blond boy, who was wearing substantially less.
He had on the same leather gear, but no loincloth.
Instead he had a thin leather waist thong, with a strap passing between his buttocks.
The strap supported a silver ring at the front, and through the ring poked his scrotum and penis.
The large steel ring at the root of his genitals had a leather strap attached to it, on which were mounted four smaller, silver rings, through which his (erect) penis passed.
Terrenus had no pubic hair, - possibly because he was quite young, but also because it was the custom for many of Gracchus' gladiators, wrestlers and boxers to have their body hair depilated (removed by shaving or plucking)
When Nymphidius saw this unusual outfit (designed by Petronius, incidentally), he was very taken with it, and started making animated comments to Gracchus about the boy and his 'costume'.
Now the problem with this entertainment was that there was no audience - except for the few individuals in the Editor's Box - and one of the main attractions of a Ludi was the 'atmosphere' generated by the audience, with its cheering, applause, and sometimes rather ribald comments, although with Gracchus' high class clientèle, such comments were at a minimum.

On coming to  a position close the the Editor's Box, each of the supervising arena-slaves marked a lines on the sand with his pilum (spear), to indicate where each boy would stand, and then Marcus stood up in the Editor's Box, and dropped a white handkerchief to indicate to the boys that they should start fighting.
Like so many ideas propagated about gladiators and the arena, the famous phrase, 'Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant !' (or in this case it could have been 'Ave, Prefectus, morituri te salutant !'), was not shouted out by gladiators before they fought. It is yet another myth.  The Latin phrase is quoted in Suetonius, 'De Vita Caesarum' ("The Life of the Caesars"), when it was reportedly used during a Naumachia, in AD 52, on Lake Fucinus, by naumachiarii - who were captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters, (not a gladiatorial contest in an arena), in the presence of the Emperor ClaudiusNo other reference to the phrase, in Roman literature, or on any Roman inscription, has ever been made regarding the phrase.
Considering the above - Adamas and Terrenus just got on with the fight - or not - as they began very hesitantly.
With no cheering or applause, the only sound that could be heard, initially was the shuffling of the boy's bare feet (no sandals) on the sand as they energetically sparred.
Adamas, like those in the Editor's Box, was unable to take his eyes off Terrenus' huge penis, standing vertically, caught by the four silver rings.
Equally, because Terrenus' thick penis was standing vertically, his plump, hairless scrotum was clearly visible, wobbling with every move he made.
Eventually however, Adamas realized that he needed to concentrate on the fight, rather than his opponent's very substantial 'equipment' - and soon there was the clang of steel, as the swords clashed.
Nymphidius was quite obviously enjoying the sword-play, and ogling the two, nearly naked, boys, particularly Terrenus'.
Terrenus, however, was not enjoying the fight at all, being acutely aware that everyone was more interested in his exposed genitals than in his swordsmanship.
Nymphidius, continuing to sup the wine that Petronius had provided for him, started to get very enthusiastic, and started clapping.
It was an eerie sound that echoed round the empty amphitheatre.

 Terrenus Decapitated
Hearing the echo, Terrenus very foolishly looked up, and that was young Adamas' chance.
Lunging forward, he took a risky swipe with his razor-sharp gladius at Terrenus' neck, as the boy looked towards the Editor's Box.
The gladius sliced through Terrenus' neck, and the poor boy's head flew off, landing behind him, on the sand - and foolish Terrenus didn't even see it coming.
Many of of those in the Editor's box gasped, as the headless boy, with semen squirting up from his hugely engorged penis, dropped his gladius, stood for a moment, with his arms fitfully waving about, seeming to try to staunch the gush of blood erupting from his neck.
 Terrenus Decapitated
Seconds later the decapitated boy, presumably dead, dropped heavily to his knees, urine spraying from his still upright and horribly stiff penis, while he noisily voided his bowels onto the sand.
Terrenus' corpse then fell forwards, its chest hitting the sand with a loud thump.
For a few moments the boy continued to fart and jerk spasmodically, and then lay still.
Meanwhile, Adamas srood by the headless, practically naked corpse, obviously ecstatic that he had survived the fight.
Instantly, the junior arena-slaves moved in with buckets of sand and shovels and rakes, while two arena-slaves tied stout ropes round Terrenus' ankles, prior to dragging the bloody corpse from the arena.
Meanwhile, Nymphidius was far from ecstatic about what had happened.
He turned to Petronius, who he correctly took to be the organizer of the fights.
"I though you said that the winner would fuck the losing boy before finishing him off !
It was a good kill, but the whole thing was over in the blink of an eye.
I like the loser to have a lengthy, humiliating death, and not a quick chop !", Nymphidius said scowling, - as he took a swig of wine, waiting for Petronius' response.
"Don't worry, your Excellency, that was unexpected - and the boys were told what to do - but Adamas ignored the instructions.
The boy Adamas, the winner, will be punished now, before the second fight - and I think that you will be quite satisfied with the result.", Petronius said, trying to placate the obviously annoyed, and slightly 'tipsy' Tribune.
"Excuse me, sir, and I will make the appropriate arrangements.", Petronius said, as he left the box, and went down to the arena via the service stairs.
Meanwhile, the arena-slaves were hard at work shovelling up the excrement, urine and blood that Terrenus had left on the sand, while two slaves dragged Terrenus' headless corpse out of the arena.
Petronius had no other choice but to accede to Nymphidius' demands.
He quickly told the senior arena-slave to select the 'roughest' of the boys who were due to fight.
The boy in question would then rape Adamas, emasculate the boy, and decapitate him.
Once that had been arranged, Petronius got some of the other arena slaves, who were not involved in the 'clean-up', or the removal of  Terrenus' corpse, to disarm Adamas, remove his cross belts, and strip him of his loincloth.
Petronius then went over to the shocked young lad, who was by then stark naked, to tell him was was happening.
"I'm sorry, Adamas, but his Excellency is not pleased with the way you decapitated Terrenus without fucking him.
Now, unfortunately for you, you will have to be fucked - in place of  Terrenus !
So just get on with it !
If you try to resist too much, it will be so much the worse for you !
So get on your hands and knees, and get ready."
Petronius deliberately omitted to tell the boy he was to be emasculated and killed.
That was for a little later.
A male prostitute or 'entertainer' (including gladiators, wrestlers and boxers) was 'infamis', and excluded from the legal protections extended to citizens in 'good standing'. As a matter of law, therefore, a slave (like Adamas) could not be actually raped; he was considered property, and not legally a person. The slave's owner, however, could prosecute the rapist for 'property damage'. The threat of one male subjecting another to anal or oral rape (irrumatio) is a theme of invective poetry, most notably in Catullus's notorious 'Carmen XVI' (see below), and was a form of masculine braggadocio (boastful, arrogant behaviour). The rape of an male 'ingenuus', however, was a serious capital offence, with a punishment of castration and death. ('Ingenuus' was a Roman term signifying a personal status - a free citizen - Marcus would not be classed as 'ingenuus' until he legally inherited from Gracchus)
'Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo',  (I will sodomize you and face-fuck you) is the first line, sometimes used as a title, of 'Carmen XVI' in the collected poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC). The poem was considered so explicit that a full English translation was not published until the late twentieth century. The first line has been called "one of the filthiest expressions ever written in Latin - or in any other language, for that matter."
Ferrum was the boy that the senior arena-slave had chosen to 'do the deed', and he came across the sand with a broad grin on his face, untying his loincloth as he came, and dropping it carelessly on the sand.
He already had a very strong erection, and his stiff penis jerked suggestively as he walked.
Adamas, who had obediently got onto his hands and knees in front of the Editor's Box, (who was terrified, guessing that he would probably not survive for long after he had been raped), watched Ferrum - muscular, and highly excited - approaching.
"Stick your arse up, 'cause I'm gonna fuck you ! ", Ferrum grunted, as he settled himself behind kneeling Adamas.
Ferrum then spat on his hand, grabbed hold of his stiff penis, and guided towards Adamas' anus.
He then lunged forward.
"SHIT.... !", Adamas cried out - in response, as he felt Ferrum's massive, stiff penis penetrate him- his cry echoing round the empty amphitheater.
Once he had fully penetrated the boy, Ferrum started thrusting, slowly at first, and then with increasing speed.
Ferrum was very 'well-endowed', sexually, and Adamas squirmed pathetically on the sand as he was painfully raped.
To stop the boy from crawling away, Ferrum grabbed Adamas by his hair, pulling the lad's head back.
Nymphidius, by then, had calmed down, and was obviously enjoying himself watching the two slim young lads jerking about on the sand.
Ferrum Rapes Adamas
Gracchus looked on, impassively, just waiting for the time when he could bid his 'guest' a final farewell.
Marcus did not really like what was happening in the arena, but in a strange way it fascinated him, and he did find it oddly arousing.
Petronius watch carefully, hoping there would be no more problems during the morning's 'entertainment'.
Each echoing grunt from Ferrum, as he drove his hard swollen penis into Adamas' anus, was countered by a pained grunt for poor Adamas.
Slowly the pace quickened.
"I'm fuckin' cummin' !..... I've fucked the cunt !", Ferrum moaned loudly, pulling his penis out of Adamas' gaping anus and squirting his thick, copious semen over the writhing lad's sweaty back.
Moments later, Adamas groaned and splattered the sand below him with gobs of his own creamy 'seed'.
Once he had finished ejaculateing, Ferrum stood up, as an arena-slave handed him his loincloth, while Adamas flopped down onto the sand, landing in his own semen, panting and moaning.
Two arena-slaves then pulled Adamas to his knees, and the senior arena-slave handed Ferrum a small, curved knife.
"No ! Please !..... Don't cut me !......,", Adaas groaned. looking intently at the knife that Ferrum was holding, while the two arena slave held Adamas' arms tightly.
At this point Nymphidius started to take a really intense interest in the proceedings.
Gracchus, however, simply looked resigned.
He had accepted that he was to loose three young fighters, but now it seemed that he was to loose maybe four, and the morning's entertainment was becoming somewhat difficult.
It was not, of course, a question of money, but rather of the inconvenience of acquiring another four slaves, in addition to replacing the three sacrificed at the 'munera', plus Atticus.
Up to this point Adamas was unsure as to just what was to be cut, but he probably thought it would be his throat, and therefore a quick death for him, as he pumped out his blood over the arena sand.
When Ferrum reached down and grabbed Adamas, plump, smooth scrotum, the helpless boy's blood ran cold.
"No !.... Not my balls !.... Not my bollocks !...... NO !.....", the naked lad cried out, struggling to free himself from the grip of the two arena-slaves.
Not content just to quickly castrate the boy, Ferrum pulled and twisted the well-filled, shaved scrotum.
"Fuck you !.... No !.......", Adamas groaned as, in response, his big penis swelled and stiffened in a final erection.
Then, as Ferrum pulled the knife up from the root of Adamas' penis, through the twisted, stretched scrotum, taking both of the boy's testicles, Adamas squirted his last load of semen.
"Oh fuck ! NO ! "...Adamas squealed pathetically,as he ejaculated, his 'seed', which landed in huge gobs on the sand,
Meanwile Ferrum handed the severed scrotum, containing Adamas' testicles to an arena slave who placed the bloody trophy in a small silver bowl he was carrying.
Ferrum then bent down again, and grabbed Adamas' stiff, jerking penis.
"No !... Not my cock as well !.....," Adamas moaned, unable to believe what was happening to him.
Ferrum then, slowly and viciously sliced the sobbing boy's stiff penis off at the root.
"Cunt !..... I'm fucked !...", Adamas squealed, as he squirted blood and urine over the sand from the tiny stump that was all that was left of his genitals.
The now soft penis joined the boy's testicles in the silver bowl.
"I'm not finished with you yet, boy !", Ferrum said gruffly to young Adamas, who was now hanging limply from the grasp of the two arena-slaves, as his legs has become paralysed.
"No !..... Please !.... Just finish me !....", Adamas pleaded.
"Not yet, boy !", Ferrum replied, as he pushed his knife a short way into Adamas' taught lower belly, just above the lad's pubic bone.
The naked, emasculated boy grunted, and farted.
Ferrum then pulled the knife upwards, its curve perfectly made for the task, until it hit the boy's sternum.
"Fuck !..... My belly !....", Adamas screamed.
Ferrum followed this with a further cut, horizontally, just below the naked boy's navel.
The boy's guts then slowly flopped out from his mutilated belly, landing with a series of vulgar plops on the sand between his knees.
The stench was appalling.
"Oh fuck !....",Adamas moaned, "You cunt !", unable to believe what he was seeing (and smelling), and more to the point, what he was feeling.
Ferrum then took Adamas' severed testicles from the silver bowl, and stuffed them in the boy's mouth.
By now Adamas was staring wildly, and almost certainly wishing he was dead.
Ferrum then followed this up by taking Adamas' penis from the silver bowl, and shoving it, 'root first', into the boy's already full mouth, so that his cheeks bulged, and the penis-head poked out from between Adamas' lips.
"That's it boy !....You're done !....", Ferrum said, grinning, and standing back to look at his handy-work.
Adamas, held up by the two arena-slaves, grunted repeatedly, looking up at the Editor's Box, hoping they would give a sign for him to be finished-off, and then looked down at the contents of his belly, lying in bloody, stinking, steaming coils on the sand between his knees.
He could not plead to those in the Editor's Box, the arena slaves, for Ferrum to 'finish' him, as his mouth was stuffed full with his severed genitals, and he could only grunt, and plead with his eyes.
Ferrum then looked up to the Editor's' Box for some sign of approval.
Predictably, Nymphidius started clapping - but not for long, as no one else joined in.
Ferrum then went up behind Adamas' and, using the same curved knife a before, cut the naked boy's neck  until his head finally wobbled of his neck, in a spray of blood, and fell heavily onto the sand.
The arena-slaves then let go of the gurgling, mutilated lad, and Adamas fell forwards, into the mess of his own guts on the sand, and jerked spasmodically for a few moments, and then lay still.
And then the arena-slave had a real job to get the sand tidied up for the next fight, and while they did that, incense was burned in the two ornamental vases, either side of the Editor's Box to rid the arena of the smell of death and guts that had developed as a result of the killing of the two boys.
As Adamas' guts were cut free from his corpses, and shovelled up, new sand was spread, and the naked boy's severed head was placed on his empty belly cavity.
With ropes tied round Adamas' ankles, the mutilated, sexless and headless corpse was dragged out of the arena.

'A Diversion' - Well, unfortunately, we will miss most of the second fight, as we have to get back to the villa, to see what is happening there.
But we will probably be back for the end of the fight, and it will also be likely that we will witness the final fight.
Gracchus had left instructions for Terentius to organise the preparation of the gold shipment to be taken to Rome.
Now the figure for the 'donatio' (bribe) that Gracchus had agreed with the Praetorian Tribunes was substantially less that that which Nymphidius thought he was going to get.
The Tribunes were more than happy with their 'arrangement' with Gracchus, thinking that the demand that Nymphidius had made was outrageously excessive.
They felt that if it became known that they had received the amount that Nymphidius had suggested they would be dishonoured by being excessively intemperate, and the reputation of the Praetorians would be slurred.
More significantly, they considered that the sum that Nymphidius was expecting would include a substantial 'rake-off' for Nymphidius himself.
In reality, of course, the gold ingots in the cart were simply a bribe, given by Gracchus, to ensure that Nymphidius did not become the next Emperor - and this was the first time that anyone close to Gracchus was aware of him becoming in any way involved in politics.
The times, however, were desperate - and an appalling civil war loomed.
So it was necessary to have the sum that the Tribunes had agreed with Gracchus loaded onto a large, four wheeled cart, which would look, at first glance to be substantially more than it actually was.
This, Terentius was endeavouring to arrange, and it was to this end that Nymphidius was being kept well away from the villa, where the gold shipment would eventually be prepared, and wined and dined at the amphitheatre while he ogled young gladiators.
As Gracchus had said to Marcus, - you should always discover a man's weakness if you wished to stay on top of any situation.
Roman Gold Ingots
The gold itself, of course, was not kept at the villa, and Terentius had to take a circuitous route through the local countryside to an innocent looking farm, just outside Herculaneum. 
This was yet another of Gracchus' properties - one that Marcus didn't know of, where, deep in a hidden, stone lined underground vault, Gracchus kept just some of his wealth, including ingots of precious metals (gold and silver).
Using a small number of highly trusted slaves, some of these ingots were packed into wooden, iron bound chests.
The lower chests were left partially unfilled, while the chests on top, that may be easily inspected, were fully loaded.
The iron bindings protected the partially filled chests from the weight of the fully loaded chests above.
The chests were then loaded onto the cart that Terentius had brought from the villa.
Now hopefully, Nymphidius, on his return from the amphitheater, would take a cursory look at the large, heavily laden cart, climb into his carriage, and return to Rome, where his tribunes were 'cooking up' an excuse to be permanently rid of him.
Back at the amphitheater, Gracchus was waiting nervously for a messenger from the villa to tell him that everything was ready.


Coming back to Gracchus' arena, everything seemed to be going well.
Nymphidius was enjoying himself, and seemed to have forgotten all about his gold.
Petronius not only kept Nymphidius supplied with plenty of wine, but also ensured that the entertainment went well.
Ferrum was also having a very good morning.
After raping and killing Adamas, he had managed to beat Validas, who sued for mercy when it was clear that he was outclassed by his opponent.
He obviously, although foolishly, thought it might be safer to plead for mercy, and a dismissal from the arena, rather than fight on, and find his detached head bouncing about on the sand, as happened with Terrenus.
Obviously, with Nymphidius watching, no mercy was shown, and Ferrum got his second rape of the morning.
While Validas, stark naked after being raped, was recovering, the arena-slaves got hold of him, and Ferrum, now wearing his loincloth, made short work of the poor lad's genitals.
Squealing pathetically, as blood and urine gushed from his crotch-stump, the now mutilated, sexless fighter was pushed face down onto the sand, and Ferrum rammed his gladius through the boys' back, pinning him to the floor of the arena.
Validas squirmed briefly, and then Ferrum pulled up the boy's head by his hair, and slit his throat with a knife.
Blood gushed from Validas' neck, and steaming excrement dribbled from between Validas' legs as his bowels emptied.
After threshing about in his own blood and excrement on the sand for a few seconds, with the gladius still impaling him through his back, the naked young fighter was dead.
Ferum then saluted the Editor's Box, and left the arena.
He had survived, as he was not expected to fight again that day.

By the time the third contest was ready to start Gracchus was getting worried, as the courier he was expecting, with the news that the gold for Nymphidius was ready, had not yet arrived.
Nymphidius, however, seemed quite happy, now, with the morning's entertainment, and Petram and Virga were striding out onto the sand, looking quite confident, regardless of the mayhem that had already been enacted in the arena.
With the burners by then filling the air with perfumed smoke, the stench of the previous killing was hardly noticeable as the senior arena slave drew two lines in the sand, which indicated the starting positions for the two boys.
Both of the lads showed considerable skill during the fight, unlike the other boys, and Petronius was pleased with the quality of the fighting.
Halfway through the contest, Gracchus courier quietly entered the Editor's Box, and gave Gracchus a softly spoken verbal message,
Nymphidius didn't even notice, as his interest was focused on Virga, who was wearing a silver 'penis cage', identical to the one that the ill fated Terrenus had been wearing.
So, as Nymphidius was distracted, Gracchus had a quick word with Marcus, who by that time was getting somewhat bored with the proceedings down in the arena, despite the rather skilful exhibition of swordplay that Virga and Petram were giving.
Virga, of course was well named,  (Virga means rod), as throughout the fight his stiff, erect penis was on display, held in position by the silver rings attached to the leather harness he was wearing round his loins.
Petram, however, finally managed to get the better of Virga, and thrust his short gladius deep into Virga's belly, just above the sexually aroused lad's navel.
"Fuck !...", Virga grunted, dropping his own gladius, as he simply stood opposite Petram, looking down at the twitching blade lodged deeply in his guts.
Nymphidius, now past caring whether any of his fellow spectators in the Box were interested in the fights, or not, applauded in the oddly silent Amphitheater.
The arena-slaves immediately dealt with Virga, pulling the gladius from out of the seemingly mesmerised lad's belly.
As the gladius came out, blood spurted, and the boy groaned "Shit !..."
The slaves then stripped the helpless lad of his leather harness.
It was obvious from the prominent bulge in Petram's skimpy loincloth that he was very 'aroused'.
"No !... Please !.... Don't fuck me !....", Virga pleaded, despite the fact that his hefty penis was already stiffening.
As the arena-slaves bent Virga over to be raped, Petram went over to the moaning boy and thrust his thick, stiff penis into the now naked and bleeding young fighter.
"Cunt !...", Virga grunted, as Petram's thick penis impaled his twitching, anus.
Petram started excitedly thrusting, and there was a great deal of grunting from the two boys, as Petram raped Virga viciously, while the Virga was prevented from toppling over by the arena-slaves.
"Fuck !.... Fuck !.... I'm cumming !...", Virga, who had been erect and excited throughout the fight, groaned loudly, as he squirted his (final) 'load', splattering his thick, creamy 'seed' over the sand.
Obviously, with a deep abdominal wound, this was the unfortunate lad's last orgasm.
Moments later Petram groaned, and rammed his penis deep into Virga,
"Shit !... Virga grunted as he felt Petram's hot penis force itself deeply into him, as it squirted seed right into the squirming, naked Virga's penetrated guts.
The arena-slave then released Virga, who sank to his knees, still 'erect' and dribbling semen, while Petram covered his nakedness with  his loincloth, in preparation for 'finishing' his opponent.
Before Virga knew what was happening, Petram then grabbed hold of Virga's well filled scotumm and still stiff, twitching penis.
"No !... Not my balls !...", Virga screamed, as Petram sliced off not just the boy's testicles, but his complete the genitals - testicles and jerking penis, with one, deft cut.
"Oh !....  Fuck !..."Virga squealed and grabbed at his mutilated, bleeding groin.
Having been given Virga's gladius by one of the arena-slaves, Petram then unceremoniously thrust the tip of the gladius between Virga's clavicle and collarbone, forcing the blade down into his trembling, naked opponent's heart.
Instantly Virga, completely emasculated and naked, gurgled, as blood gushed from his nose and mouth, and his bowels emptied noisily onto the sand, and urine sprayed from his pathetic little stump that was all that was left of his penis.
Petram pulled the blade out of the dying boy, and Virga spluttered "Cunt !...", and collapsed forward onto his face - dead.
Victorious young Petram then raised his bloody gladius to the small audience in the Editor' box.
The arena slaves then rushed to tidy up the mess, tying ropes round the ankles of dead, sexless Virga, in order to drag the corpse from the arena.
Meanwhile, in the editor's Box, Nymphidius was congratulating Petronius on a 'fine show', and assuring Gracchus that he had an excellent slave in the person of Petronius.
Marcus, glad that Nymphidius was no longer paying him any attention, stayed in the background, although he was concerned that the Praetorian Prefect was so taken with Petronius.
The group then made there way to the 'prothyrum', where Nymphidius insisted on meeting and talking to Petram and Ferrum - the two survivors of morning's 'entertainment'.
It was obvious that Nymphidius 'fancied' young Petram (Ferrum was obviously a bit too much like 'rough trade' for Nymphidius).
Surprisingly, Nymphidius asked if he could 'borrow' Petram, and take him back to Rome for a few weeks, (Nymphidius, obviously anticipating his 'imperial' status, now felt that he could make demands which would normally be quite unacceptable).
Gracchus had no option but to accede to Nymphidius request.
Petram looked pleased, but he obviously had no awareness of Nymphidius' odious reputation.
Leaving the Amphitheatre, the various members of the group took to their carriages, while the Praetorian Tribunes mounted up.
Petronius was relieved that he was able to return in Marcus' carriage, having finally escaped from Nymphidius.

'Conclusion' - Back at the Villa, Nymphidius made effusive apologies, but explained to Gracchus that he was urgently needed in Rome.
The Prefect simply glanced at the apparently heavily laden cart, and then climbed into his carriage with his arm around young Petram (who was still only wearing a loincloth).
Before the group set off for Rome, Gracchus had a word with the senior Praetorian Tribune.
"I would be grateful if you could see that nothing untoward happens to the young slave-boy, Petram.
I will send a freedman to collect him after you have rid yourselves of Nymphidius."
"Of course, sir.", the Tribune replied, giving Gracchus a friendly smile.

'and the story continues - 
Rome has a new Emperor

(The Year of the Four Emperors - Part IV)

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

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