Chapter III - Villa Auream

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'In the Golden Villa' - Markos is then whisked away in a luxurious carriage, across country, to the exclusive sea-side resort of Baiae, on what is now called the Gulf of Naples, to a huge, magnificent villa.There he is given a room, allowed to bathe, and has a silver slave-collar clamped round his neck to ensure that if he tries to escape - he will quickly be returned - to be punished.He is then shown a graphic example of the kind of punishment that would await him if he tried to escape - a naked, crucified and impaled slave-boy being punished (and executed) for escaping fom the villa.Later Markos eventually meets the owner of the villa, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus


'Farewell to Arion' - At the conclusion of the sale, Markos (as he was now called) was handed over to the 'mystery buyer' , whom Arion had referred to as Terentius, who was the same man he had seen the previous night..
He was a young man, in his late twenties, wearing a dark red tunic, embroidered with gold bullion, and over that a dark cloak.
The cloak was secured by a gold chain, and where the chain was attached to the cloak there were two gold medallions, sewn into the cloth.
Each medallion was in the form of an ornate laurel wreath, within which were two intertwined initials of the letter 'G'.
The young man wore no slave collar, so he was probably a freedman, but was presumably not the buyer, who was apparently far too grand to inconvenience himself by attending a slave sale - even a high class one, as Arion's certainly was.
Markos was sorry to leave Arion.
Even although he was a slave trader, he had been considerate and polite, and had helped Markos to cope with his new position as a slave.
The freedman gave Markos and identical dark red cloak, with the same gold chain and medallions, to wear for his journey - for he was still completely naked, as he had been all during the slave sale.
Arion then said goodbye, stiffly and formally, to young Markos, and then Markos and the freedman made their way to the street, where a large, enclosed carriage awaited them.
On the Road to Baiae
Usually a slave would be required to walk behind a wagon or litter on the journey to his master, no matter how long the journey may have been, but Markos was now so valuable that he would not only have to be guarded, (and prevented from possibly running away), but also carefully looked after, so that he would arrive in the best possible condition.
The freedman had three young slaves with him - one who drove the carriage - one, presumably a bodyguard, who rode beside the carriage during the journey - and a third, who Terentius addressed as Philippos, and who carried writing equipment, and was presumably a scribus, who rode with them in the carriage.


'Journey to Baiae' - Unknown to Markos, the destination to which he would be travelling was Baiae, (from which is derived the English word 'bay', as the town was situated on the Bay of  Neapolis)
Baiae is on the west coast of Italy - a considerable distance from Brundisium, which is on the east coast - and so they travelled all that afternoon, stopping once in the early evening for a light meal, and then travelling on into the night.
Sunset Over the Bay of Neapolis
The Bay of Neapolis is a roughly 15-kilometer-wide (9.3 mi) gulf located along the south-western coast of Italy in the Campania region). It opens to the west into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered on the north by the citiy of Neapolis, on the east by Mount Vesuvius, and on the south by the Sorrentine Peninsula. The Peninsula separates the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno, which includes the Amalfi coast. Pompeii and Herculaneum at the foot of Mount Vesuvius were less sought after resorts, while Baiae was the 'playground' of the wealthy and well connected.
During their stop over for a meal, Terentius studiously said nothing to Markos, but instead spent his time carefully perusing documents provided for him by the ever attentive slave-boy Philippos.
The journey was long, and Markos was tired.
Gradually, as the carriage swayed from side to side, he drifted off to sleep - but his dreams were disturbed by the visions and sounds of the death of his parents, and his sleeping did little to rest or refresh him.
Eventually the noises of a busy market-place slowly woke him up.
It was early morning, and the carriage had arrived.....but where ?
As if to answer Markos' unspoken question, his companion, (the young man who had bought him) announced, rather formally,
"This is Baiae."

“The last age, sung of by the Cumaean Sibyl, is coming - and the great cycle of ages is beginning again …” 
Vergil - 'Eclogue'

Baiae was a mineral springs and coastal resort on the Northwest shore of the Gulf of Neapolis
Baiae was very fashionable, and popular with the Roman 'super-rich', and was reckoned as far superior to Pompeii, or Herculaneum, both close by, and also Capri - famous , or maybe that should be 'infamous', for the 'Villa Jovis' (Villa of Jupiter), once owned by the Emperor Tiberius.
for more information and images about Tiberius and the 'Villa Jovis' go to
Villa Jovis
Baiae was notorious for its hedonistic offerings, and the attendant rumours of corruption and scandal. Desirable for its healing thermal baths, mild climate and luxurious surroundings, Baia was conveniently situated in Campania of Southern Italia, near the western corner of the Bay of Neapolis. The very essence of Baia inspired a spirit of idleness and pleasure among the nobility, the rich, and the famous in the Roman Empire. Some of the most notable Roman historical events happened in Baia. The Emperor Nero had his mother, Agrippina, murdered just outside the resort. Caligula built his famous bridge across the sea - extending from Baia to Pozzuoli. Much later the Emperor Hadrian died in Baiae in 138 AD, and it is said that Cleopatra was staying in Baia when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Baiae was said to have been named after Baius (Βαῖος), the helmsman of Odysseus's ship in Homer's 'Odyssey', who was supposedly buried nearby. The adjacent "Baian Gulf" (Sinus Baianus) was named after the town. The volcanic area of 'The Phlegraean Fields' was the site of classic Greek and Roman legends, in Roman times well known by anyone of culture. Homer’s 'Odyssey' and Vergil’s 'Aeneid' both involved a descent into the underworld somewhere in this region. Cumae, the seat of the prophet of the God Apollo, known as the Cumaen Sibyl, is very near Baiae - (go to the Sibylline Books for more information) - and in Baiae itself is the 'Oracle of the Dead' - one of the entrances to Hades. Later, in 'The Story of Gracchus', Gnaeus Gracchus consults the Cumaean Sibyl, and receives a remarkable prophecy, which is........ well you will have to read a lot more of the story ....

Cumae and Baiae
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Cumaean Sibyl
And nearby to Baiae was the sleepy little town of Cumae, home of the renowned  Cumaean Sibyl - the prophetess who announced the oracles of the great God Apollo - patron of the deified Octavian (Augustus).
Markos, of course, had never heard of Baiae - and it was hardly the sort of place that his 'straight-laced' parents would have ever thought of visiting - even if they could have afforded to stay there, which they couldn't.
In Baiae everything was available - as long as you could afford to pay for it - and most of the people, mainly Roman patricians and aristocrats, who spent their summers in Baiae, could well afford to buy whatever took their fancy.
Emperors had villas in Baiae, but the most opulent, and the largest of the villas was the 'Villa Auream' - the fabled 'Golden Villa' - known as such because of the gilded tiles on its roofs , and the huge gilded bronze doors that formed the impressive entrance.
Part of the 'Villa Auream' was situated on a cliff-top, but the gardens associated with the villa swept down to a huge private beach, secured day and night by the owner's 'villa-guards'.
And the owner ?
Well he was reputed to be the richest man in Baiae - and many said that he was the richest man in the empire, and related to the gens Julia - for he did bear the name 'Octavian'.
Octavian (Augustus)
 Gaius Julius Caesar
The gens (family) Julia or Iulia was one of the most ancient patrician families in Rome. Members of the gens attained the highest dignities of the state in the earliest times of the Republic. The gens is perhaps best known, however, for Gaius Julius Caesar, the dictator, and grand uncle of the Emperor Octavian (Augustus - a title rather than a name), through whom the name was passed to the so-called Julio-Claudian dynasty of the 1st century AD.

It seems that the owner of the 'Villa Auream' owned huge swathes of property, mainly shops, in Baiae, and also shops, and many insulae (apartmrnt blocks) in Rome.
He was also reputed to have other villas in Italia, and Achaea (Greece), and even in Egypt.
It was also rumoured that the owner of the 'Villa Auream' was married, but that his wife lived elsewhere, - no one had ever seen her - and that the mysterious 'Villa Auream' was staffed by slave-boys and young men, but no females - and this, of course, led to endless speculation.....
And where did this speculation come from ?
Well, some came from villa slaves who, of necessity, bough provisions and other essentials from Baiae and Neapolis.
The other source of information about the owner of the 'Villa Auream' came from the 'cliens', of whom there were many, who attended the morning 'salutatio' at the villa.
One of the more peculiar aspects of the Roman society was the relationship between a client (clientela) and his patron (patronus). This was a complex system of interdependency by which a wealthy patron gave to his less fortunate clients one or more of the following: legal counsel, legal aid, their 'sportula' (a regular monetary handout), free meals in their homes, other gifts and/or resources (land, livestock, right to grow crops on their land). The client reciprocated by providing to the patron: respect, political support, an escort if their patrons wished to walk around the city or go on a journey, and  financial support. In addition, most mornings the patron's house would be opened for 'salutatio', when the patron would hold court (if he was available) in the atrium of his house. During this time unofficial business would be conducted, favours requested, political support lined up for votes on important issues, and each client would receive his 'sportula' (a regular monetary handout).
So now you know quite a lot about Baiae, and the surrounding area, and some of the famous people associated with the town, and even something about the largest and most opulent of the many splendid villas surrounding the bay - but of all these things Markos knows nothing - except what Terentius has told him - which was limited to the bald statement - "This is Baiae.".

And so, back to our story.......
The young freedman continued - "And now we are approaching the house of my master, the 'Villa Auream' (in domum domini mei), and my name is Terentius".
All Markos could do was blink in the bright sunlight.
He had no idea how he should address this young man, or whether the many question that he wanted to ask would be acceptable - so he simply lowered his eyes, and remained silent for the moment.
"Is there anything that you want to ask me !", Terentius suggested, rather unnerved by the boy's silence.
"Are you Greek or Roman ?", Markos mumbled.
"I am a Greek.
I originally came from Corinth."
Terentius then surprised himself by the way he opened up to this boy who he had just met, and Philippos looked wide eyed - presumably equally surprised.
"As a abandoned child I was taken into slavery.
It was my very good fortune, when I became a youth, to be bought by my master.
He had me educated, with the intention of making me one of his close helpers.
Later, when I became a man, he offered me my freedom, but on the understanding that I would still serve him.
He gave me a Latin name, as he does with many of his slaves and freedmen.
Now I manage all his many estates throughout the Empire."
"So you are, like, my master ?", Markos interrupted.
"No !
In the Villa Auri, and all the other villas, houses and lands that my master owns there is only one lord and master.
I simply follow my master's instructions which, in my turn, I will give to you.
So you shall obey me as you would obey him." Terentius said with a note of insistence in his voice.
note - in Latin the word for 'master' and 'lord' are the same - 'Dominus'
"And who is your master ?", Markos asked, growing a little more confident.
"Your master - and my master - will tell you himself, when he thinks the time is auspicious.
And you, boy, will always address me as domine." (Latin - sir), Terentius concluded.
Terentius sat back in his seat as the carriage began to slow down.
What was it about his boy that had made him drop his guard - he wondered.
And what really worried him was that this new boy was effecting him in a similar way to another slave-boy that he had bought some time ago - and also from Arion.
It was nothing to do with sexual attraction, although both boys were attractive, (but strictly off limits - because they belonged to his patron).
But it was something else - undefinable.....
The other boy had been named Petronius by his master, and now worked in the Ludus (Gladiatorial School in Baiae) - and just as well Terentius thought, as now he rarely saw him.


'The Golden Villa' - And with that the conversation came to an abrupt end, as the carriage drew up in front of the entrance to a magnificent villa.
'Villa Auream' 
Terentius got out of the carriage first, went up the the huge bronze double doors, and using one of the large bronze rings, knocked.
The sound of bronze on bronze echoed with dull reverberations, - a sound as if coming from lofty halls and long marble corridors - which, of course, it did.
Meanwhile, Markos got out of the carriage, all the while looking entranced at the dazzling marble façade of the huge villa.
Slowly the door opened, and a young, smiling slave appeared.
"Good morning, Domine!", came the cheery greeting.
"I see you were most successful in your quest, Domine !", the young slave continued, as he looked with obvious approval at Markos, who was still only wearing his dark red cloak, and who was standing behind Terentius,
Glykon the Door Keeper
"Yes, Glykon.", Terentius replied, as he gently guided an obviously overawed Markos through the magnificent entrance portico.
Once inside the vast entrance hall, Terentius spoke in a quite serious tone to Markos.
"Here, in the Villa Auream is where you will be staying for the present.
Now I want you to see the chief slave, Nerva, who will show you your quarters, get you fed and bathed, and the get you fitted with a slave-collar, and proper clothing.
You will then report back to the entrance hall - where I will inspect you, and give you your duties."
Terentius then called Nerva over, and had a few quiet words with him, while Markos waited.
Nerva was what we would call middle aged (which was quite old by Roman standards)
Marcus noticed that Nerva was shaking his head as Terentius spoke to him.
Nerva then went off - somewhere - and Markos was left standing in the entrance hall.
Terentius went over to him.
"Come with me, and I will find you somewhere to sit.
Nerva might be some time as he has to get your accommodation prepared."
Terentius then took Markos to a small alcove (used by slaves to keep out of the way while they were on duty - waiting to be called).
Terentius then called for a slave-boy to bring a chair, and Markos (who had slept only a little on the journey from Brundisium), slumped down and promptly went to sleep.
"Boy !...", Markos heard, and promptly jerked awake.
It was Nerva - and Markos had no idea how long he had been asleep (it had, in fact, been a couple of hours).
"Wake up, and come with me !", Nerva barked, obviously annoyed.
Nerva then led the way, taking Markos through a small side door, and into a corridor.
The corridor was beautifully finished in gleaming white plaster, with contrasting pale grey panelling.
At the end of the corridor was a flight of grey marble steps, leading to a landing, and another corridor.
There were numerous elegantly panelled, pale wooden doors leading off from this corridor.
On each door, at eye level, was a small bronze plaque with a name or number inscribed in neat Roman lettering.
Nerva took Markos to the only door without a plaque.
"When my master has decided on a fitting name for you, a plaque will be attached to your door, and will be suitably inscribed," Nerva told Marcos.
Here it should be remembered  (once again), that a slave was legally the 'property' of his master, and the master was entitled to give the slave a new name.
Nerva then opened the door and showed Marcos into the cubiculum (room).
The Romans did not, by and large, have specific rooms for specific purposes, mainly because most rooms were very sparsely furnished.
Markos' Cubiculum
Cubicula (plural) were small rooms used for a number of different purposes; on the upper story and in the interior of the house they often functioned as bedrooms, while the small rooms off the atrium may have been used for private meetings, libraries, etc. While the bedroom here, from the Villa Auream, has wonderfully fine wall paintings, many cubicula were decorated more simply. Bedrooms were often furnished with no more than a sleeping couch and a small chest; 
Markos felt that Nerva had taken an instant dislike to him, (which was true) and that worried Markos.
He sensed that Nerva was probably his immediate superior, and that in the future he would rarely see Terentius, (whom he thought that he liked), and may well never see his obviously exalted master.
So he was going to have to deal with this rather surly and miserable old man.
Nerva began grumpily: "Remember always that you may not invite any one else into your room.
Terentius, or myself, may enter to inspect the room, and of course my master may enter any room in the villa - invited or not.
Here you will keep your clothing in the chest, and any other items provided for your work, and here you may sleep. You may not bring food or drink into this room.
Do you understand what you have been told ?"
"Yes, Domine." Marcus replied respectfully.
He was, however, rather surprised by the spaciousness of the room, and the fine quality of the furnishings.
What Markos did not realize was that this was no ordinary slave's room.
When Markos had lived with his parents, in Athens, he had never seen the rooms occupied by his parent's slaves, and so he did not know that those slaves had slept on a tattered, filthy mattresses on the floor, and six slaves had been crowded into a cubiculum the same size, or maybe even smaller, than the one that Markos had now been given.
People in the Roman Empire were obsessed by status. Even among slaves there were various classes. Lowest of all were slaves who worked in the mines or rowed the galleys - and also performers in the arena, theatre and workers in brothels. Then, after them, came agricultural workers. There were also slaves who worked on the many building projects and public utilities who were of low status. Household slaves' status depended first on the status of their master, and then on the work that they were required to perform for their master. The same applied to slaves in the Imperial Household. As a result even a slave in the Imperial Household could be of low status if his task was the wash out the latrines. If he was the curator of his master's library, and helped to manage his master's financial affairs, then he would be of very high status, and treated accordingly, with excellent food, clothing and housing. It was therefore possible for some slaves to have a better life-style than even affluent plebeians. Markos' situation, at this point in his career was highly unusual, and noticed immediately by other members of the household, because his task appeared to be an .assistant doorkeeper., and yet he was accorded a very high status - and a very fine cubiculum.
"My master obviously already values you very highly, for reasons of which I have no knowledge - having given you such a fine cubiculum, and fine furnishings, and right at the start of your service with him, without even having met you.
You are fortunate.
Make sure that you live up to my master's high opinion of you." Nerva said, seemingly puzzled by the favour being shown to Markos.
"So now," said Nerva, "give me the travelling cloak, and I will take you to the bath."
Marcus in the Bath
They returned down the staircase, with Markos now stark naked, and turned into another corridor, and through a door.
The bath - even the bath for the high ranking slaves -  in the 'Villa Auream'  was as palatial as the rest of the building, and Markos wondered what the bath used by the owner of the villa would be like.
So Markos relaxed in the bath, which was lined with white marble, and after about half an hour Nerva returned and took him to another room, where a young slave gave him a massage.
Then he was taken down a narrow passage-way.
Unlike the other passages and corridors, this passage-way was not sheathed in marble veneers or decorated, but instead it was just roughly plastered.
Coming up the passage-way was the smell of smoke and burning and, as they came to the end of the passage, they came out into what appeared to be a metal working shop.
There were swords, spears and pieces of armour lent against, and hanging from the walls.
Vulcan at his Forge
There was a fire, with bellows for heating metal, and an anvil, and a big, bearded muscular slave, sweating profusely, and wearing only the tiniest leather thong.
"The master has deigned to call our blacksmith 'Vulcan' - which, you will probably realize, being an educated boy - so I have been told - was the name of the master craftsman of the gods." Nerva said to Markos, with a broad grin on his face - it was the only time he had smiled, or shown any emotion other than disdain or annoyance.
"For reasons I can't go into now, Vulcan cannot talk."
Then Nerva spoke to Vulcan.
"Use one of your finest silver slave-collars.
Make sure it's a good fit, and rivet it well.
We don't want this young stallion running off."
Vulcan, dribbling, grunted and nodded.
Then, while Vulcan shambled off to select a collar for Markos, Nerva noticed Markos' bulla.
"And what have we got here ?". Nerva asked, taking hold of the amulet.
"Well ? - who did you steal this off ?", Nerva demanded, on the verge of becoming angry.
Nerva picked up a small knife from Vulcan's work bench - and Markos became very fearful.
Nerva brought the knife close to Markos' neck, but all he did was to cut the leather thong from which the bulla was suspended.
"That I will give to Terentius - and I hope for your sake, that you can explain where you got it from.
If you can't tell us how you got it - then Vulcan is always here to encourage you to tell us."
Marcus' Bulla
A bulla is an amulet, worn like a locket, given to freeborn male children in Ancient Rome nine days after birth. A bulla was worn around the neck as a locket to protect against evil spirits and forces. A bulla was made of differing substances depending upon the wealth of the family. Before the age of manhood (usually about 16 years), Roman boys wore a bulla, in the form of a round pouch containing protective amulets (usually phallic symbols), and the bulla of an upper-class boy (like Marcus)would be made of gold. His bulla was carefully saved, and on some important occasions the bulla was worn. He would wear the bulla during these occasions to safeguard against evil forces like the jealousy of men.
Nerva then put the bulla in a pouch hanging from his belt, and calmed down somewhat, as he explained to Markos about the slave collar.
"This collar, which is very valuable, will be riveted round your neck.
If you were ever so foolish as to try and run away, you would find it very hard to get it removed.
Vulcan has a very special skill in these matters, and anyone else trying to remove the rivet would probably seriously injure, or even kill you - it's not worth the risk !
Silver Slave Collar
If my master ever deigns to free you, then Vulcan - or if Vulcan is no longer here, then his apprentice, will remove it safely, and it will be a gift to you.
And just to remove any thoughts from your mind about leaving my master's service - after you have had the collar put on, I will show you something that will make it clear to you what would happen if you decided to leave us without my master's permission."
Vulcan then brought out a magnificent silver collar, complete with an amulet of the sacred eagle of Jupiter, and fitted it round Markos' neck.
"Don't move, boy, or it will be the worse for you !", Nerva warned, as Vulcan skilfully hammered the hot rivet into place.
Vulcan then stood back, admiring his own handiwork.


"Now come with me, boy, and I will show you a disobedient slave."
Nerva led Markos through a doorway at the back of the workshop, which led to an enclosed square courtyard.
It was quite large, but the walls were windowless and high.
There was, however, a door in each wall - including the one that Markos and Nerva used.
The walls were of rough, unfinished stone that had been badly white-washed.
"This is a punishment area.", Nerva announced, solemnly.
"Other punishments are often performed in the Ludus in Baiae."
Punished Runaway Slave
And it was quite obvious to young Marcus that it was a punishment area because, in one corner, a naked young slave was tied to a cross-beam, and impaled through his anus.
He was groaning pitifully, jerking up and down, literally 'fucking' himself, in a hopeless attempt to lift himself off the thick wooden post which was, by then, deep in his guts.
To add to his humiliation, the poor lad was becoming sexually excited, and dribbling semen, as a result of being forcibly penetrated.
Nerva explained, "He tried to run away.
Went to Neápolis, but no one there would remove his slave collar.
They all knew where he had come from, because the collar was thick silver, and he was soon reported, found, and sent back here.
My master had no other choice but to subject him to this punishment.
If slaves are not punished then why should they obey their master ?"
Markos was shocked, but tried not to show it.
"So how long has he got ?", Markos asked, trying to be somewhat nonchalant.
"He's struggling so hard that he will tire soon and sink right down on the post, which will mangle his guts completely, and he will bleed to death - probably by the morning.
Each day, for as long as the miscreant lasts, I am required to bring groups of slaves down here to witness, for a short period, the punishment - as a deterrent, and to add to the miscreant's humiliation."
The 'sedile' is a  structure protruding from the upright of the execution frame that allowed the condemned slave to take some of the weight off of his shoulders and arms, which drew out the death process and prolonged his suffering. Using a sedile could more than double the time it would take for an individual to die. Probably the most common sedile was a simple rod, or plank, that jutted straight out of the upright post, and went between the victim's legs. To increase the suffering of the condemned individual. Sediles were also made out of a flat piece of wood, that had been sharpened to a fine edge, and there is evidence that some sediles were even made of a triangular shaped piece of sharpened iron, which would result in the victim slowly emasculating themselves as they struggled. There was also a more humiliating type of sedile that was used, (in the example above) mainly for the punishment of the most serious crimes. Instead of a plank or post that went between the legs, a fairly stout rod was used, made of wood or metal, with a large round bulb at the end, that was greased and forced into the condemned slave's rectum. This type of sedile would significantly increase his suffering and humiliation. The condemned slave would then be forced to 'rape' himself as he struggled up and down. This usually produced a very strong penile erection, accompanied by one or more ejaculations of semen before the unfortunate victim died.
Nerva and Markos turned to go.
"Help me !", the boy grunted, as he pulled himself up, and then, unable to hold his position, dropped even further down on the post, squealing as he fucked himself, and forced more semen from his stiffening  penis.
Nerva closed the door on the unpleasant sight, and he and Marcos turned into another corridor, to a room where Markos would be fitted out with some clothing.
"Remember, boy, the villa is well guarded, so it would be foolish ever to try to leave without the permission of my master or Terentius.", Nerva stated, as a final warning, as the left the punishment area.


'Early Days' - Having been fully 'kitted out', allocated a room, and shown the consequences of disobedience, Markos was ready, despite the fact that it was his first day, to start working.
He was taken back to the entrance hall by Nerva, where they found Terentius chatting to Glykon.
"Everything has been done according to your instructions, Domine.", Nerva deferentially said to Terentius.
"Excellent !", Terentius beamed, scrutinizing Markos appearance carefully, and approvingly.
"What should I do with the boy's 'bulla ?" Nerva asked, taking the amulet out of the pouch attached to his belt, and showing it to Terentius
Terentius look puzzled, having forgotten about the bulla.
Nerva, of course, was referring to the gold 'locket' that Markos wore on a leather strap round his neck, which had been removed by Vulcan, when the silver slave-collar had been fitted.
"Ah yes, the boy has a bulla ... " Terentius said, quickly taking it from Nerva.
"Nerva,", Terentius then said seriously.
"You never saw this... do I make myself clear ?".
Nerva nodded, but looked concerned.
"And Vulcan ?", Nerva asked.
"No problem. As you knowm, he can't speak - and will only write if the Dominus permits it - and anyway his loyalty is absolute, for reasons of which you are well aware....", Terentius replied.
"I must give it to the the Dominus (Master) - as it is a sacred amulet - and leave him to deal with it." Terentius mused quietly to himself.
Terentius, however, was privately worried.
He had been stupid not to remember about the 'bulla', and if it indicated that the boy Markos was not a slave, then there could be serious legal repercussions if the matter was ever disclosed.
Freeborn Roman citizens, by law, could not be bought as slaves.
"Thank you Nerva - you may go." Terentius said to his chief slave, being careful not to communicate his concern.
Terentius then turned to Markos.
"Now Markos, you will be on duty here with Glycon", Terentius continued.
"Glykon is our most trusted door-keeper, and he has knowledge of the identities of all who call here at the Villa."
"Yes, Domine ", Markos replied, obediently.
"Our master is a great and an important man, and he is patron to numerous clients, who come to visit him regularly, particularly in the mornings.
There are some, however, who come on the off-chance, who are not recognized as our master's clients, and such men may not be admitted.
Your task, at present, is simply to watch Glykon, and take note, remembering the faces and names of those who are to be admitted as clients of our master.
Is that clear ?"
"Yes, Domine." Markos replied.
"Good !" Terentius continued, "And I will speak to you again - soon..
And Glykon will arrange for you meals, and give you any further help that you may need."
Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in Roman society between the patronus ("patron") and his cliens (plural clientes, "client"). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium. Although, almost always, the client was of inferior social class, a patron and client might even hold the same social rank, but the former would possess greater wealth, power, or prestige that enabled him to help or do favours for the client. From the emperor at the top to the local municipal man at the bottom, the bonds between these groups found formal expression in legal definition of patrons' responsibilities to clients. Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood. In return, the client was expected to offer his services to his patron as needed. A freedman became the client of his former master (as in the case of Terentius). The regulation of the patronage relationship was believed by the historians Dionysius and Plutarch to be one of the early concerns of Romulus; hence the relationship dated to the very founding of Rome. An important man demonstrated his prestige or 'dignitas' by the number of clients he had. The client and patron were not allowed to sue or to bear witness against each other, and had to abstain from any injury to each other.


'Work and Reflections' - And so the days passed, with Marcos watching as Glykon greeted a succession of obviously wealthy and influential individuals, attended by their slaves and freedmen.
While Markos tried to remember the names, Glykon would politely but firmly deny some access to the villa, while others he would direct to one of the three atria close to the main entrance hall.
Atria were a common feature in Ancient Roman dwellings, providing light and ventilation to the interior. Such a court was partly open to the sky, with an impluvium - a shallow pool sunken into the floor to catch the rainwater. In the Villa Auri the main Atrium, reserved for the most important guests, contained a little chapel to the ancestral spirits (lararium),  and a bust of the master of the house. Normally there would only be one atrium in a house or villa, but the Villa Auri was built on such a grand scale, and was required to cater to so many guests, that there were three atria - the main atria being where the lararium was situated.
But Markos was bored and lonely.
Each day began with bathing, and a massage, and attention to his hair - all performed by lowers status slaves.
He soon learned the names of the various 'clientes' who called at the Villa, usually in the morning, and who was permitted access, and to which atrium they should be sent, and other than that there was little to do.
Unlike slaves in small villas and domum (houses), who usually took their meals by snacking in the kitchen, in the Villa Auri there was a separate room where the high status slaves, (which included Markos), ate, while lower status slaves served them.
There Markos had the opportunity to talk occasionally to Glykon, but it was obvious that the other slaves were very wary about talking to him - being unsure as to why such a newly acquired slave should have gained, almost immediately, such high status.
They realized that Markos spoke both Greek and Latin, and it was rumoured that he could read and write in both languages - and they were unsure of his real role or function in the villa.
Markos was expected to stay on duty in the main entrance hall every night until nearly midnight, and then had to rise just after dawn - and all the time Neva was watching and checking on him, and reporting to  Terentius.
It was during his lonely nights, confined to his Cubiculum that Markos (or Marcus as he truly thought of himself - as he was determined not to forget his true name) was able to consider the strange turn that his life had taken.
Like most Romans of his time, he deeply believed in the Gods and spirits that controlled the world and peoples' destinies.
He believed that he had been punished - possibly by the goddess Furrina - or perhaps Fortuna, for being a wayward son, and not honouring his parents, or the 'mos maiorum' (ways of the ancestors).
Gradually he came to believe that if he could at least be a good, honest and hard-working slave, then one day the curse may be lifted, and perhaps he would be free once again.
'Mos Maiorumis' is the unwritten code from which the Romans derive their social norms. It is the core concept of Roman traditionalism, distinguished from, but in dynamic complement to written law. The 'mos maiorum' was collectively the time-honoured principles, behavioural models, and social practices that affected private, political, and military life in ancient Rome. Traditional Roman values were essential to the 'mos maiorum':
  • Fides - The Latin word fides encompasses trustworthiness, faithfulness, confidence, reliability and credibility. The concept of fides was personified by the goddess Fides whose role in the mos maiorum is indicated by the antiquity of her cult. Her temple is dated from around 254 BC and was located on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, near the Temple of Jupiter.
  • Pietas - was the Roman attitude of dutiful respect towards the gods, homeland, parents and family, which required the maintenance of relationships in a moral and dutiful manner. Cicero defined pietas as "justice towards the gods.” It went beyond sacrifice and correct ritual performance to inner devotion and righteousness of the individual, and it was the cardinal virtue of the Roman hero Aeneas in Vergil's 'Aeneid'.
  • Religio and cultus - related to the Latin verb religare, " to bind", religio was the bond between gods and mortals, as carried out in traditional religious practices for preserving the pax deorum (“peace of the gods”). Cultus was the active observance and the correct performance of rituals.
  • Disciplina - the military character of Roman society suggests the importance of disciplina, as related to education, training, discipline and self-control.
  • Gravitas and Constantia - Gravitas was dignified self-control. Constantia was steadiness or perseverance. In the face of adversity, a good Roman was to display an unperturbed façade.
  • Virtus - derived from the Latin word vir ("man"), virtus constituted the ideal of the true Roman male. It is virtus for a man to know what is good, evil, useless, shameful or dishonorable.
  • Dignitas and Auctorias - dignitas and auctoritas were the end result of displaying the values of the ideal Roman and the service of the state, in the forms of priesthoods, military positions and magistracies. Dignitas was reputation for worth, honour and esteem. Thus, a Roman who displayed their gravitas, constantia, fides, pietas and other values of a Roman would possess dignitas among their peers. Similarly, by that path, a Roman could earn auctoritas ("prestige and respect").
Now all of this may sound very academic and, by present standards, 'over the top', but to understand 'The Story of Gracchus', and  the subsequent events that befall Marcus, the concepts of the 'mos maiorum' need to be always kept in mind, as it was the foundation on which Roman life, culture and morality was built.

and the story continues
young Marcus meets his new master for the first time - a fateful meeting, because many things change for Markos after his 'meeting with Gracchus' ........'
(Meeting with Gracchus)

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    1. Thanks...
      Rich people in ancient Rome could afford to buy 'cute' slave-boys - and Gracchus was very, very rich !