Chapter VIII - Ganymedes

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.
Terentius (Gracchus' Senior Steward and Freedman) become concerned about Markos.
Not only is the boy unlike all the other slaves that he has come across, but he is also puzzled about Gracchus' strange treatment of the boy- and he voice his concerns to his master.
Gracchus can give no rational explanation - but realising that Terentius is also puzzled by the boy he decides to give Markos a further interview.
Gracchus compliments Markos on his studies, and his physical development, as a result of the work of Servius - and gives no hint of knowing about the sexual relationship existing between Markos and the young Centurion.
Gracchus then explains that he is a Philhellene - a lover of all things Greeks, making reference to the Emperor Tiberius, and justifies the fact that there are only slave-boys at the villa on this basis.
Gracchus then explains that there will be a party ('Convivium') at the villa, which will feature boys performing nude gymnastics and dancing and wrestling.
He suggests that Markos should be his 'cup-bearer' (special servant at the party), and compares this task to that of the mythical figure Ganymede, (boy lover of the Greek God Zeus [Jupiter]).
Markos considers that Gracchus is grooming him for a subsequent sexual encounter.
On his return to his room (cublicum), a very worried Markos is visited by young Cleon, and to calm his thoughts he indulges in a very vigorous and boisterous session of sex - followed by a lurid description by Cleon of gladiator fights at 'convivia' (parties) in the villa.
'Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artis intulit agresti Latio'
'Greece, the captive, made her savage victor captive, and brought the arts into rustic Latium'
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (December 8, 65 BC – November 27, 8 BC), also known as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetorician Quintillian regarded his 'Odes' as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words." Horace also crafted elegant hexameter verses, and caustic iambic poetry ('Epode's). The hexameters are amusing yet serious works, friendly in tone, leading the ancient satirist Persius to comment: "as his friend laughs, Horace slyly puts his finger on his every fault; once let in, he plays about the heartstrings". His career coincided with Rome's momentous change from Republic to Empire. (Aparently Gracchus' slave scribus, Quintus, had been named after Horace.)
The quote above, by this time was well known to Markos, as Lucius, Markos' Latin tutor, was always quoting it to him.
It was also a favourite quote of Gnaeus Octavius Gracchus - although, as yet, Markos did not know that.
And it a quote worth considering, a it can, in many ways, explain, to some extent, some of the strange anomalies and ironies in the Roman character.

'Morning' - The night after Markos' encounter with Servius on the beach, Markos dreamed - the way teenage boys do -  of himself, Servius and Cleon, having a 'three-way' sex session on the beach, - with himself in the middle, - however, at the point where Markos was about to have his orgasm, he awoke from the discomfort caused by the 'cage' that he was still wearing, which was preventing him from having an erection.
The morning, however, was the morning of his day off from taking his lessons so, after helping Glykon for a short time in the main entrance, he hurried to the consulting room of Agathon, and asked the Greek physician to remove the 'cage' from his penis.
Agathon was quite wiling to do this, and wished Markos 'good luck' with Cleon, little knowing that Markos would have a previous assignation with Servius.

 Gracchus was sitting at his desk, surrounded by scrolls and wax tablets.
There was a quiet tap on the huge double doors of his study.
"Enter !", Gracchus commanded.
One of the slave door-keepers popped his head round the door.
"Terentius would like to speak to you, Dominus", he said quietly - almost apologetically.
"Show him in - of course !", Gracchus replied, seeming pleased to have an excuse to take leave of his scrolls for a while.
Terentius entered.
"Good morning, Dominus !", he began, respectfully.
"Good morning, Terentius !
I hope you are not bringing me a problem."
"No ! Not as far as I am aware, Dominus. I have simply come to see you to report on young Markos." Terentius replied.
"Ah, Markos ! - So how is the boy.", Gracchus said, with a smile playing on his lips.
"He is good, Dominus. He works hard at his lessons, and he trains well with young Servius. All is going well.", Terentius continued.
"So why do you seem concerned ?", Gracchus asked, looking puzzled.
"Not concerned, but I am left wondering."
"About what ?", Gracchus asked.
"May I be frank, Dominus ?", Terentius asked, obviously unsure of himself.
"Well, you always have been in the past.
Not always to my liking - but always you have spoken in by best interests." Gracchus replied.
"Thank you, Dominus." Terentius paused.
"Well, I wonder about the boy.
What is he to you that you favour him so ?
I bought him for you because he was young, good-looking, and more importantly clever - intelligent.
You have many handsome slave boys, and dancing boys, and good-looking gladiators and wrestlers - but no one with whom you can share your cultural and intellectual interests.
So I bought him for you.
But there's something else bout him.
Something that I - and others - don't understand."
Gracchus was gazing, almost absently mindedly, at a bust of Virgil.
He then starred straight at Terentius.
"Yes - there is something - but it is something that I don't understand either.
I feel that the boy has some important part to play.
What it is, I cannot say - but I feel that I must prepare him.
Hence all the lessons, and the study, and the training."
"I see, Dominus.", Terentius answered, realising that his questions were not to be answered - at least in a simple manner.
"But you do well Terentius - and with the boy, I am pleased - and we shall see what transpires, as more time passes."
"Thank you Dominus. May I go now.", Terentius asked politely.
"Of course - and tell young Markos that I am pleased with him."
And with that Gracchus returned to his work, and Terentius left the study.
Terentius was still puzzled, but he knew that his master, Gracchus was an erudite and perceptive man, and if he saw some importance in this rather innocent young slave boy, then he, Terentius, should bow to Gracchus' superior judgement.
Terentius very much wanted, however, to have a second opinion on the matter, but the only person who might have been able to advise him was Gracchus' oldest and wisest friend, Novius -  and Novius was as present in Rome.
Note - if you don't like reading explicit descriptions of all male sex, 
then you are advised to scroll down to the next section - Occurens cum Graccho - II'
'Meanwhile' - As soon as Markos was 'uncaged', he rushed down to the gymnasion to meet Servius.
Straight away they went to the pool, where Markos ripped off his loincloth to show Servius that he had the 'cage' removed.
After swimming  a few lengths of the pool, Markos and Servius went down to the deserted beach.
There Servius took off  his loincloth, and the two embraced and fell to their knees on the sand, kissing.
It was then that Markos' 'rode' on Servius huge, stiff 'tool', while at the same time masturbating, and the two 'lovers' managed to ejaculate at almost the same time.
After one more vigorous session, this time face to face, Markos and Servius parted - not wanting to tempt 'fate' by lingering on the beach too long.


Markos then returned to his room, and after about an hour of study there was a knock on the door.
It was a slave boy that Markos had never seen before, saying that Markos was wanted by Gracchus.
Now, of course, Markos was terrified that Gracchus had found out about  himself and Servius, but there was nothing that he could do other than face his master, and make the best of it.
Doors to Gracchus' Study
Once again, Markos walked down the the corridor to where a pair of imposing bronze doors, with gilded panels and decorations in the form of swags of laurel leaves stood, - the doors guarded by tall, young slave-boys.
As Markos reached the doors the slave boys opened them, apparently knowing who he was, and expecting him.
And there was Gracchus, sitting and looking relaxed, with just the hint of a smile on his lips.
"Hello Markos !", he said gently.
"And so we meet again."
"Yes, Dominus." Markos replied nervously.
"I have been receiving lots of reports about you,", Gracchus began.
This is it, thought Markos - he knows about me and Servius.
"And they all seem to be good !", Gracchus said, much to Markos' surprise.
"Your tutors, and particularly your Greek tutor - what's his name ?"
"Aristarchos." Markos interrupted, hopefully helpfully.
"Yes - Aristarchos - he's particularly pleased with your work on Homer.
And you look so much better - thanks obviously to Servius.
And Servius now says that you can swim properly.
This is all very good."
Gracchus paused for a moment - obviously collecting his thoughts.
"I am particularly pleased with the reports of your Aristarchos, regarding your Greek studies because I am what is known as a Philhellene, and I am sure that you, being 'apparently' Greek, and a Greek speaker know the meaning of that word."
And for those readers who are not 'apparently' Greek, and who do not speak Greek, here is some information about that word.
Philhellene ('the admirer of Greeks and everything Greek'), from the Greek φίλος philos 'friend, lover' and ἑλληνισμός Hellenism 'Greek', was an intellectual fashion prominent in the Roman empire among the well educated, male elite, at the period in which our story is set. The literate upper classes of Rome were increasingly 'Hellenized' in their culture, and among Romans the career of Titus Quinctius Flamininus (died 174 BC), who appeared at the Isthmian Games in Corinth in 196 BC and proclaimed the freedom of the Greek states, was fluent in Greek, stood out, according to Livy, as a great admirer of Greek culture; the Greeks hailed him as their liberator. There were however, some Romans during the late Republic, who were distinctly anti-Greek, resenting the increasing influence of Greek culture on Roman life, an example being the Roman Censor, Cato the Elder, and also Cato the Younger, who lived during the 'Greek invasion' of Rome, but towards the later years of his life he eventually became a Philhellene after his stay in Rhodes. The lyric poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (recently studied by Markos) was another Philhellene. He is notable for his words, "Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artis intulit agresti Latio" (Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium), - quoted at the top of this chapter - meaning that after the conquest of Greece, the defeated Greeks created a cultural hegemony over the Romans. Roman emperors known for their Philhellenism include Nero, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius
So Markos was left puzzled - not by the word 'Philhellene', but rather by the word 'apparently'.
What, he wondered, did Gracchus mean by that ?......
But Gracchus went on.
"Like the late Emperor Tiberius - who owned a villa - I think it was called the 'Villa Jovis', near here, I love all things Greek, an also, like Tiberius, I am fascinated by Greek mythology."
And where was all this leading ? Markos wondered.
"My love of boys, of which you are no doubt aware, is inspired by Greek custom, and the art that I commission is an attempt to bring new life to the Hellenistic ideal.
This is why I appointed for you a Greek tutor, as well as a Latin tutor.
Many Roman fathers neglect to give their sons a Greek as well as a Latin education, but in your case, you have both Greek and Latin."
Gracchus then looked a little confused, and quickly corrected himself.
"Of course, you are simply a slave - not a son - but the same logic applies."
Gracchus cleared his throat, obviously embarrassed.
"So - to get to the point." Gracchus continued, "Tomorrow there is to be a dinner for some of my close friends. There will be mythological re-enactments, and some of the boys will dance, do some gymnastics, and wrestle.
I would like you to be there."
"Of course, master." Markos quickly interrupted.
"I wish you, at this dinner, to be my 'cup-bearer'.
As you may know, a cup-bearer can be a person of high rank, and it is his duty to serve the drinks at the master's table
In this position, your confidential relations with myself could, in the future, grant you a position of great influence, so remember - the position of cup bearer is greatly valued, and given to only a select few.
You will be like 'Ganymede' - without the abduction and rape of course, (Gracchus was smiling), - to my Zeus."
Γανυμήδης, Ganymēdēs is a divine hero in Greek Mythology, whose homeland was Troy. He was the son of Tros of Dardania, from whose name "Troy" was supposed to derive, and of Callirrhoe. His brothers were Ilus and Assaracus. As a boy, he was abducted and raped by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, and then served as cup-bearer in Olympus. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of all boys. The myth was a model for the Greek social custom of 'paiderastía', the socially acceptable erotic, and usually sexual relationship between a man and a boy. The Latin form of the name was Catamitus (and also "Ganymedes"), from which the English word "catamite" derives.
"I don't know what to say, Dominus." Markos answered.
"Now go and speak to Terentius in the main Atrium, and he will give you more information.....
You may go.", Gracchus concludes, with an imperious wave of his hand.
"Thank you, Dominus" Markos said respectfully, as the great doors opened and he left the room.
When Markos got back to his own room, after talking to Terentius, he was confused.
It was not, however, confusion about what Terentius had said to him.
Terentius had simply explained to him, carefully, and in detail, his duties for the next evening as 'cup-bearer'.
It was Gracchus who had confused Markos.
He wondered about what Gracchus had meant about 'confidential relations in the future', and why Gracchus should confuse Roman 'sons' with Roman 'slaves', and how it was that he had referred to Markos as 'apparently Greek'.
To Markos, Gracchus was an enigma.
While Markos was pondering the strangeness of his master, Gracchus, there came a soft knock at the door, which sounded to Markos, like Cleon's knock.
And it was - and sweet young Cleon was standing at the door, wearing, as usual, only his tiny little white thong.
"Is it aright - me visiting tonight ?", he asked, apologetically.
"Of course ! Come in !", Markos replied, genuinely pleased to see his cute, young friend.
"So, what's been happening ?", Cleon asked.
"Well ... I had another interview with Gracchus.",Markos replied - thinking it better not to tell Cleon anything about the sex he'd had on the beach with Servius.
"And what ?", Cleon prompted.
"Well .... he told me that there's going to be a big dinner tomorrow, and he wants me to be cup-bearer.
And then he went on a lot about the Greeks, and Ganymede, and how it was a great honor for me, and so on.", Markos said, breathlessly.
"Sounds good...",Cleon replied, "but you need to be careful when older guys start talking about Ganymede - it could me something to do with sex.
Which reminds me .... aren't we supposed to be having some - sex I mean ?"
Note - if you don't like reading explicit descriptions of all male sex, 
then you are advised to scroll down to the next section - 'Verbositate Conquiratur' - 'Much Talking'
Cleon then pulled off his thong, and plonked himself down on the bed.
He was already partly erect, and beckoned Markos over, to join him.
Markos smiled - pulled off his own thong, and straddled his eager, young friend.
Cleon immediately started playing with Markos' genitals, getting it his young friend's penis nice and erect.
He then turned round and lowered himself onto Markos' now huge, and stiff member.
Both boy's groaned as Markos's thick penis slowly disappeared into Cleon's tight anus.
"That's so fuckin' good !", Markos grunted, as Cleon started jerking up and down.
"Really go for it !", Markos moaned, pushing his hips up as Cleon lowered himself repeatedly.
"I really need to 'cum' !"
After that the conversation stopped, and there was only the sound of the two naked lads panting and grunting, as their exertions became faster and more intense.
As he became more 'excited', Cleon grabbed hold of his own penis, which was by the then standing vertically.
For a few moments he just held on to the thick, twitching 'rod' tightly, but then he started masturbating, very forcefully, pulling at his swollen shaft, so that his foreskin pulled back and forth over his partially expose glans.
All the while there was clear fluid was dribbling from his glans.
Eventually his hefty testicles, which had been flopping up and down, pulled up to his hairless crotch, signalling that he was about to reach his orgasm.
"Fuck, Markos I' gonna 'cum' !", he grunted.
"Hold on a moment ! I'm nearly there !", Markos pleaded.
"Yes !", Markos then gasped, as Cleon's anus and perinaeum started to convulse, rhythmically, as he squirted out huge ropes of creamy semen.
"Oh fuck !", young Cleon then moaned, at the same time as Markos' hot seed gushed up inside him.
When he'd finished spurting, Cleon then turned round and collapsed onto Markos' gleaming chest, as Markos' penis, still jerking and dribbling semen, flopped out of Cleon's tightening anus.
"You're really great !", he panted, smothering Markos' chest and face with kisses.
"You too !", Markos answered, somewhat overwhelmed by Cleon's obvious enthusiasm.
Both boys, naked and relaxed after their exertions, lay on the bed, gazing up at the ceiling.
"So tell me, Cleon," Markos said dreamily, as he gently caressed his young friend's chest,"what's this dinner that Gracchus was talking about going to be like ?"
"Well, it depends if it's one of Gracchus' small, private 'parties', or a bigger 'banquet'." Cleon replied.
"The small dinners are more - sort of 'Greek' affairs - like a 'symposium' - a  'convivium'. You know what Gracchus is like with his 'hellenism'.", Cleon explained.
"The bigger 'banquets' are more 'Roman'."
Slave Serving Wine - Alma-Tadema
In ancient Greece, the symposium (Greek: συμπόσιον symposion, from συμπίνειν sympinein, "to drink together") was a drinking party. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara. Symposia are depicted in Greek and Etruscan art that shows similar scenes. The equivalent in Roman society is the Latin 'convivium'. Food and wine were served. Entertainment was provided, and depending on the occasion could include recitations, songs, flute-girls or boys, slaves performing various erotic acts, and even wrestlers and gladiators.
"So will you be there ?", Markos asked.
"Yes, I will be serving food and drink to the guests.
And maybe later me, and some of the other boys, will be selected by Gracchus for one of the guests, - and then the guest can take me off to a cubiculum, and fuck me ! - Hopefully he will be a nice, young buck !"
Cubicula 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.
"But the banquets are different - and I think that tomorrow it will be a banquet, as there will be a cup-bearer - you !
The banquets can be quite tame affairs - it all depend on who the guests are.
If some of the guests are the 'newly rich', rough and ready types, then things can get difficult for us slaves."
Cleon probably means, here, nouveau riche (French: 'new rich') - a term, that is usually derogatory, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familial inheritance. The equivalent English term is 'the new rich' or 'new money' (in contrast with "old money"). Towards the end of the reign of the emperor Nero, many 'nouveau riche' Romans fled from Rome to Southern Italy, to avoid Nero's murderous attempts to raise money for the rebuilding of Rome after the Great Fire. Many acquired property around Baiae - which was reckoned as superior to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri for the 'super-rich'. Although Nero had a sumptuous villa at Baiae, he rarely used it towards the end of his reign, and the area was considered relatively safe for the wealthy. Baiae was renowned during the late Republic and early Empire as a centre of Hellenistic culture.
"How do you mean ?", Markos asked - now getting increasingly curious about Gracchus' symposia and banquets.
"Well ..... at a symposium - what the Romans call a 'convivium', us slaves just have to serve food and drink, maybe do some dancing and sing - and later some of us may get fucked - but in private - and that satisfies Gracchus' philhellene friends.
Slaves Wrestling at a Cena
But  at a 'cena' - a banquet, it's mainly Roman 'clients', who want Roman entertainments, so they like to see us slave-boys naked - fucking and jerkin'-off, and doing wrestling, that ends up with the loser being fucked - what us slave-boys call 'fuck-fights'.
It's usually the older, stronger lads who win, and then the loser is near enough raped."
At this point Markos started to look concerned.
"Usually, though, Gracchus leaves before things get too vulgar.", Cleon added.
While slaves had no status in Roman society as a whole, even they had differing levels of social standing. (Markos, being a favoured slave, had a far higher social standing than a 'kitchen-slave'). In this way, losing a wrestling bout, and then being sexually abused in public, was an ultimately demeaning experience for the slave in question, although it had practically no meaning for the non-slaves who observed the event - other than as a source of some amusement - or maybe 'arousal'.
"Worst of all - if it's some big festival, then they will have a couple of pairs (or more ) of gladiators fight - and that always ends up with a few being mutilated, raped and killed - and that's messy, 'cause we boys have to clear it up.
Gracchus' Ludus
Fortunately for us, though, the gladiators are likely to be the older slave-boys, that Gracchus usually uses as his 'guards' or are brought over from the Ludus."
"What's the Ludus ?", Markos asked, interrupting.
"Oh - didn't you know ? Gracchus has his own amphitheatre in Baiae, and the Ludus is where he keeps his gladiators and other fighters."
By now Markos was wide eyed.
"And what do you mean, mutilated ?", Markos asked - a bit naively.
"They get their 'bits' cut off - you know - their balls, and possibly their cock as well."
Markos looked horrified, remembering what the pirates had done to his father, some weeks before.
"An' usually the're finished off by being dragged over to a big, gold Krater."
Gold Krater
κρατήρ - krater (from the verb κεράννυμι, keránnymi, "to mix") is a large vase, which was usually used to mix wine and water.
At a symposium, kraters were placed in the center of the room. They were quite large, so they were not easily portable when filled. Thus, the wine-water mixture would be withdrawn from the krater with other vessels. In the banqueting hall - when there were fights - one gold plated krater was reserved to receive the blood of defeated fighters.
"The defeated guy is then made to kneel with his head over the Krater.
The winner then grabs hold of the loser's hair - 'cause by now the poor boy's stark naked, - and then chops off his head - so all the blood spurts out into the Krater.
It's less messy that way.
They then hold up the dead boy's head, for the guests to applaud, and what's left of the poor lad's body is dragged out of the room.
It's not very nice - but you may get to see it - tomorrow."
"I really hope not !", Markos replied - looking quite worried.
"So how come Gracchus uses his slave-boys as gladiators ?" Markos asked, now becoming even more curious about Gracchus.
Cleon explained, "For one thing it's a good way to rid himself of unwanted slaves.
Of course he could sell them - but he gets more respect from his clients if he makes a show of getting rid of them - and I think it 'amuses' him - like I said before - he likes to watch.
It certainly gets the respect of the other slaves.
So when a slave-boy gets older, and is less attractive, if he's not got a special skill that Gracchus values, then he makes way for new and younger boys.
You see - Gracchus might be really interested in everything Greek, but he is a Roman - and the one thing that almost all Romans really like is gladiators - and that's how his family started making his money."
Cleon settled back on the bed, making himself comfortable, as he got into his story.
"As a very young man - so I'm told - he specialized in - among other things - buying and selling slaves - muscular, fit young guys, who he sold as gladiators, boxers and wrestlers.
Later he kept the fighting slaves for himself, and hired them out to arenas, or patricians who needed body-guards, or a bit of 'muscle'.
He then built his own, private amphitheatre, and had his own ludus (gladiator school).
Of course he had so much money that he was able to buy land, and start up all sorts of other businesses, and became incredibly rich - as you know.
Now, of course it's just a hobby of his.
He still has a small amphitheatre here in Baiae - and he stages 'Ludi' at regular intervals.
Of course, they are not like the 'Ludi' in Rome, or the 'Ludi' run by the magistrates in other towns.
Gracchus' 'Ludi' are not free - its only the well off can go - and with the gladiators he also stages Greek style wrestling and boxing, and mythological re-enactments and mime.
He also has a permit from the local magistrates to carry out public executions.
It's all very Roman !", Cleon exclaimed, yawning and turning over to go to sleep.
Ludi are Games, held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals. They originated with the Etruscans, who staged Munera - a form of 'funeral games' - which were fights between pairs of gladiators - 'ad mortem' (to the death). The blood of the gladiator who was killed was offered as a sacrifice to the spirits of the dead
'and the story continues
the day of the Banquet dawns -
and Markos gets to see Gracchus' wrestlers and gladiators for the first time.
(Banquet at the Villa)

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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