Chapter XXXV - Iter Romam

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'Return to the Villa' -  On arrival back at the villa everyone was just anxious to get bath - and then have a change of clothes, and a brief moment to relax.
It had been a long, hot, dusty and tiring day.
Fortunately, as the Ludi came to and end, the sun was low in the sky, and on the verge of setting.
Adonios and Aurarius soon discarded their formal clothes and then, stripped down to their loincloths, were busy preparing tasty little morsels for Marcus, (and Glaux), along with some wine (well diluted with water) - while he relaxed in his luxurious, marble lined bath.
Of course, as soon as there was some food around, Glaux was 'tiptoeing' around, (do owls have toes ?), trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, as he tried to discover if there were any tasty morsels left unguarded.
This, however, was only a brief interlude for Marcus and the others in the villa, as there was a banquet arranged for the evening with, of course, Titus as the guest of honour.
'Feast After the Games' - Even if Titus had not been a house-guest, however, it was the custom at the villa to have a celebratory meal on the evening after a successful Ludi.
And undoubtedly this Ludi had been successful, as Marcus had achieved two important 'goals'.
The first, and the most important, was to have enacted his public retribution on those who had conspired against the 'late Dominus', and himself.
They had all been publicly humiliated, brutally and obscenely tortured, and finally very painfully executed - and that should be sufficient warning to anyone else who may wish to take action against the House of Gracchus.
The second goal, dating back to the days when Marcus had first met Petronius, when they were both slaves of the 'late Dominus', was to stage a tableaux based on episodes from Homer's 'Iliad'.
With these two goals achieved - one 'political' and one 'personal', Marcus could now, hopefully, relax - and concentrate on taking control of the vast assets that the 'late Dominus' had bequeathed to him, and developing his 'political' standing in the capital.
View of the Peristyle Garden from the Large Triclinium
As soon as everyone had bathed, snacked and changed their clothes - in response to requests from slave-boys sent to their rooms, they made their way down to one of the large Triclinia for the 'cena'.
A Triclinium, (from the Greek τρικλίνιον) , as its name suggests, describes a dining room consisting of three (tri) couches.
Each couch (κλίνη, klinē) was large enough to accommodate three diners - so an average Triclinium would allow for nine guests.
By the time of our story, however, dinner parties often numbered many more guests, so some of the Triclinia at Marcus' Villa were quite large, and accommodated large groups of diners.
For the 'cena' to celebrate the 'Ludi' Marcus had invited Titus, Terentius, Novius, Petronius, Demetrius, the legate Marcellus, Vespasian's two senior Tribunes, two priests from Cumae, and two magistrates from Baiae.
As always, the Romans were obsessed with status, and Terentius had to ensure that everyone was accommodated in due order of rank.
Titus Vespasianus was served by Adonios (with Glaux), to whom Titus had taken a particular liking.
After the meal there would be the 'comissatio', when drinks would be served, and individuals could move around the room and indulge in more private and personal conversations.
The Triclinium opened out onto a beautiful Peristyle garden, with flower beds, and fountains, and many of the guests, after the meal, took their drinks with them into the cool of the flower scented evening - while the slave boys waited in the shadows, between the columns, ever watchful of the guest's needs.
'Satyrs & Nymphs' - It was during the 'comissatio' that Novius diffidently approached Marcus.
Marcus was looking out over the Peristyle garden, clutching his gold wine goblet, deep in thought, remembering the night that he had - what he had come to believe was - a vision of the god Apollo.
Vision of Apollo
Peristyle Garden
That 'vision' had been on the night that the 'late Dominus' had died, and the night that Marcus had felt that he had been finally left alone in the world.
"I think that I know what you are thinking - Dominus....", Novius said, quietly.
"Am I that easy to read ?", Marcus replied, smiling at the old man.
"It would be easy to read the mind of anyone who was in your position - and had gone through all the events that you have experienced since the day that I first met you - when you were a frightened young teenager.".
Marcus smiled again.
"Yes, Novius, I suppose it might be easy....... and I' still a frightened teenager - though I try to hide it.
There was a momentary silence.
"May I be frank with you, Marcus ?", Novius asked, dropping the title 'Dominus', and using Marcus' first name.
"Of course." Marcus replied, "You are my most trusted adviser."
"More trusted than Petronius ?", Novius asked, pertinently.
"Petronius is young, as I am.
I trust him implicitly, but he has not lived long enough to have a deep knowledge of the world.
You, however, are like Gnaeus."
"You mean your 'father' - ", Novius interrupted.
"Yes - of course... My father." Marcus quickly responded, correcting himself - and stammering with embarrassment.
"So, Marcus - my dear friend, if i may call you such - I sense that you feel that you are very alone."
Marcus nodded, shifting his gaze to the statues in the centre of the moonlit garden.
"You had young Cleon.
Your first love, I believe.
And he relived you of your anxiety and loneliness, and helped you to deal with the pain of losing your parents - and your loss of  freedom."
Novius shifted his stance, uneasily.
But when you became free, young Cleon turned against you - and now he is dead."
"Yes...", Marcus replied, almost choking on the word.
"And then there was Petronius,", Novius continued, "but when you gained your freedom you then felt you needed to free Petronius, and so your love remained 'unconsummated' - I believe - as it would not be proper for you to have such a relationship with your own freedman - a boy just slightly older than yourself - although many do follow that path - to the derision of their peers."
"Yes." Marcus nodded.
Sex between adult men who were Roman citizens was not considered proper. For a Roman male, penetrative sex was essential, and so one of the men would have to be the 'passive' partner.Sex between a citizen and a slave, particularly if the slave was of a similar age, or younger than the citizen was, however, entirely proper. If Petronius had remained a slave, Marcus could have physically consummated the relationship without any problem, but once Petronius became a free Roman citizen, Petronius or Marcus (whoever was presumed to take the 'passive' role) would have lost all social standing.For male on male sex, which was Marcus' preference, his partner would have to be a (preferably younger) slave.
"And now you are 'Dominus'," Novius continued, "and will go to Rome, and become a Senator - and a friend of Titus, and his father, Vespasian - and people will gossip and wonder - why has this young man no wife - or even any female slaves to satisfy him."
Marcus looked at Novius startled, and it was obvious to the old man that his Dominus had not thought of this matter.
"So you see, Marcus, even if you prefer handsome young fauns to nymphs, for the sake of propriety you must take a wife - from a good patrician family, and one that will cement your standing in the Senate, and Roman society."
Fauns - (derived from the Greek σάτυρος satyros) - were conflated in the popular and poetic imagination with Latin spirits of woodland, and with the rustic Greek god Pan. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, and they are ready for every physical pleasure. In the period of our story the terms Faun and Nymph were classical euphemisms for boys and girls - in the sexual sense. It was the common view among (mainly Greek) physicians, and the Roman upper classes in general, that it was essential for a healthy, virile male to indulge himself with both nymphs and fauns (Boys and girls) - for the sake of his health.
"Now, my boy, if you take a bride, which I strongly advise, there is no need for you to 'over exert' yourself with this young girl, particularly if you find the task less than attractive - and remember that you will still have your pick of attractive young slave-boys."
By then Marcus was listening with rapt attention.
"Which brings me to Adonios and Aurarius.
Marcus sat on one of the pale marble benches placed conveniently round the garden.
"I have known many attractive slave-boys in my long life, for I too am attracted to young 'fauns', but I have never come across such beautiful boys as those two.
But - it has been rumoured - that you never use them for your pleasure - and the poor boys think that they do not please you.
You also are very young to be their master - and are, as I remember from when I first met you, very attractive - and still are one of the most handsome of young men.
The boys are besotted with you - and also Petronius - but they see, with regard to yourself,  the ghost of young Cleon forever standing in their way.
And here you are, feeling alone - with all your feelings unexpressed, and yet in your very own private apartments is the answer to your loneliness and frustration.
So, if I may advise you on so personal a matter, let these boys show their love for you, and take your pleasure with them - and if they do not meet with your approval - which I doubt - then in Rome you will surely find beautiful young 'fauns' who will undoubtedly satisfy your needs."
Novius stood back hesitantly, hoping that he had not abused his position as adviser to his Dominus.
"You speak very truthfully, and wisely, Novius.", Marcus replied, after a few moments thought -
"And I will undoubtedly act accordingly - but I shall require your further advice with regard to choosing  wife - as I have no knowledge of such matters."
"Of course, Dominus.
My advice is always available to you on all matters within my competence.'
At that moment Terentius approached Marcus, which was just as well Novius thought, as the conversation between Marcus and Novius had a reached a somewhat embarrassing pause.
"Dominus...", Terentius interjected hesitantly.
"I am sorry to interrupt your conversation with Novius, but I simply wanted to congratulate you on the magnificent Games that you staged today - a truly appropriate event to mark the beginning of a new era."
"Well, it is far from all my own doing,", Marcus replied, somewhat embarrassed.
"As you doubtless know, I always lean very heavily on the Master of the Arena, Petronius.", Marcus explained.
"Of course.", Terentius replied, "So please pass on my congratulations to Petronius."
"Indeed I will.", Marcus replied.
"But now, Dominus, I am afraid I will have to leave this gathering as I need a good night's sleep - as there will be much to do tomorrow when we leave for Rome."
"Of course.", Marcus replied.
"And I too must get my sleep, so goodnight to you both."
As Terentius walked away, Novius took hold of Maecus' elbow and guided him to a secluded spot in the garden.
"I know that it has been a long and difficult day, Dominus, and you are obviously tired, but I have something else to say about your slave-boys."
Marcus looked questioningly at his friend and adviser.
"Go on.", he said, intrigued.
"It concerns Aurarius.,
Terentius was asked, at one point to make inquiries about you - as the late Dominus believed - and rightly, that you were no Greek slave-boy.
Subsequently, of his own accord, Terentius, after the purchase of Aurarius, also made inquiries about the boy.
From these inquiries, Terentius and I are almost certain that Petronius and Aurarius came from the same village in Greece - Ἐλευσίς, and are possibly, considering how much they resemble one another - brothers - although they do not seem to know it.
Now we are concerned that Petronius - who is obviously very fond of Aurarius, particularly since your relationship with him has changed, should not become  - how shall we say - erotically attached to a boy who may be, in fact, his younger brother.
My suggestion, therefore, if you will permit me to interfere in such intimate matters, is that you take Aurarius as your boy, and steer Adonios towards Petronius."
Novius looked hesitantly at Marcus, hoping that his Dominus would understand the situation, and not consider that he had overstepped the mark in giving such intimate advice.
Marcus was, to some extent surprised.
He had often noticed the physical similarity between Aurarius and Petronius, and in particular their relaxed manner and winning smile.
Both the boys spoke Greek with an identical 'country' accent, and he thought himself foolish not to have realized that possibility that they might have been related.
"Yes, Novius..... you are very astute, and I think that you may well be right.
Marcus paused for a moment to think.
Yes....if Aurarius agrees, I will take him as my 'boy' ('pusio' or 'pullo') - for the present, and  will put Cleon, who is no longer in this world anyway,  aside.
Novius looked relieved.
"That is good, Dominus.
Aurarius is a fine, handsome boy, and I think he will be good for you."
"And now, dear friend, I must retire - and possibly go to my new 'golden boy'". Marcus said, with a grin.
Novius patted Marcus on the shoulder.
"Good night Dominus....and may Eros favour you."
As soon as Marcus left, the party broke up.
No one, not even Titus Vespasianus, would 'party on' once Marcus had retired - as from then on silence would rule in the vast villa complex until it was known that Marcus had awoken.

Now Marcus, as you should by now have realized, was far from 'stupid', and it took very little thought for him to realise that Adonios and Aurarius had obviously spoken to Novius.
Of course they would not have approached Terentius.
While Terentius was a most loyal friend to Marcus, his exalted position made him, to some considerable degree, unapproachable to everyone except Marcus, Petronius and Novius.
Novius, on the other hand, was more like a respected 'uncle' and, superficially at least, kind-hearted and amenable.
He would have sympathized with the boy's situation, and would have been concerned to avoid any of the jealousies and frustrations that had (probably unintentionally) led to the deaths of Cleon and Glykon, (not to mention Servius).
All three had been enamoured of Marcus in various ways- he simply had that effect on people.
All three felt they had been thwarted and rejected, and all three had turned against Marcus - which then resulted in their eventual downfall.
But because of this, Marcus had shut himself off from all emotional attachments - even including his beloved Petronius - and now this was eating away at him - body and soul.
Novius had seen all of this, and had, for that reason, accepted the request of Adonios and Aurarius to speak to their master - although neither boys were aware of the further revelation that Novius had passed on to Marcus.
Marcus had slept on numerous occasions with young Adonios, - when he had been lonely, or when the occasional chill of a winter night had prevented him from sleeping - but he had never used the handsome young lad sexually.
And why ?
Because, as we have already said, Marcus was in the first place haunted by his 'first love', Cleon - and for many people, the 'first love' is the 'only love' - regardless of the other affairs and relationships that they may have subsequently.
There was also Petronius, but that was another story......
As Marcus returned to his private apartments, Novius words echoed in his mind, along with remembered visions of his lustful encounters with young Cleon.
He knew that Novius was right - that  the ethereally handsome Aurarius would make a perfect partner.
Marcus also knew that his 'mourning' for lost love was of no advantage to him, particularly now that he was to shoulder so many of the burdens of position and power.
The only problem that remained, however, was how to 'guide' Adonios to Petronius, or for that matter, how to 'guide' Petronius to Adonios.

but before we get to Marcus first night with Aurarius, there is a shattering explanation of the revelation regarding young Aurarius
see below
So who is Aurarius ? ...... He first appeared in Chapter XXV. He was a young, blond slave-boy; a Greek, bought by Terentius in Brundisium from Arion - the same slave dealer who had sold Markos, (now Marcus Octavianus Gracchus), to Terentius some considerable time before (see Chapter II). Gracchus (the late Dominus) was depressed and upset after the attack on Marcus, and Terentius thought that a new slave-boy (particularly one as attractive as Aurarius), might cheer up Gracchus. Originally Aurarius had been simply called 'Boy', as he had forgotten his original name, and his senile master couldn't remember it either - so he was just known as 'Boy'. 'Boy' was uneducated, and couldn't read or write, but after a difficult start he appeared to be devoted to Marcus, and a good friend of Adonios. Almost immediately the late Dominus gave him to Marcus as a personal slave (possibly intended to take the place of Cleon - by then dead). 'Boy' was eventually given the name 'Aurarius', which means 'golden one' because Novius was convinced that 'Boy' had been mentioned in the second oracle, given by the Sibyl, just before the death of Gnaeus Gracchus (Marcus' adoptive father). In Chapter XXVI Gracchus and Novius interviewed Aurarius, and discovered that the boy originally came from a village near Athens, in Greece - which Terentius' inquiries had indicated was probably the village known as  Ἐλευσίς (Eleusis). Further inquires by Novius (who had questioned Petronius carefully), seemed to point to the fact that Petronius himself came from the same area in Greece, and probably the same village. Also both Novius and Terentius had commented that Aurarius 'had a smile like Petronius, - which was totally disarming'. And so the possibility began to take shape in the minds of both Novius and Terentius -  the possibility that Aurarius was Petronius' younger brother - two brothers who had been sold into slavery by an impoverished family. The second prophecy of the god Apollo (in chapter Chapter XXVhad stated:
'An nova aureus puer ascendatcum seniorem fratrem eius dextramaurea puer ad sinistramSemper - usque ad consummationem saeculiAurarius nomen puero'
'And a new golden boy is to come - With an older brother at his right hand - The golden boy shall be at his left hand - Always - until the end of time. And his name is to be 'Aurarius'Initially Novius misinterpreted this part of the prophecy - viewing the relationship between Marcus and Petronius to be 'fraternal', whereas it now seemed that the prophecy needed to be interpreted more literally - meaning that Marcus would have two individuals supporting him, and those individuals would be brothers - Petronius and (possibly) Aurarius.
 This, therefore meant that Aurarius' position had become more significant, and also, incidentally, that Petronius needed to be warned about avoiding any erotic attachment to Aurarius, as the boy was, it seemed, almost certainly his brother.
It should be remembered that, on the insistence of the 'late Dominus', Marcus had been instructed by his Latin tutror, Lucius, in the works of Virgil (see the Preface)
Virgil, in his great work, the 'Aeneid', draws on the Greek tradition of 'male love' by portraying the love between Nisus and Euryalus, whose military valour marks them as solidly Roman men (viri).
Vergil describes their love as 'pius', linking it to the supreme virtue of 'pietas' as possessed by the hero Aeneas himself, and endorsing it as "honourable, dignified and connected to central Roman values."
In describing the ideal partner in a 'male on male' relationship, Martial, (writing in the reign of Titus' successor, Domitian), states that a slave-boy who "acts more like a free man than his master," that is, one who can frame the 'affair' as a stimulating game of courtship, is the preferred male sexual partner - and this was very much the view that Marcus held - and mirrored the relationship that he had enjoyed with Cleon.
Judging by Aurarius' character, this was exactly what Marcus would find with his new 'pullus' (boy).
And so, Marcus, while having to possibly give up his beloved Petronius, was able to have the next best thing in Aurarius - who was probably literally a younger version of Petronius - which was probably all to the good, as youth was a prized aspect of Roman male sexual relationships with regard to the passive partner.
for more information regarding Ancient Roman attitudes toward sexuality see;
'PREFACE', and scroll down to 'Roman Slavery' and 'Ancient Roman Sexuality'
also in 'THE ROMAN PRINCIPATE' see: the chapters on 'Slavery in Ancient Rome', 
'Homosexuality in Ancient Rome', and 'Sexuality in Ancient Rome'
(Love Finds Marcus)
(and Petronius)
In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars. He is also known in Latin as Amor ("Love").
His Greek counterpart is Eros. Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek and Roman art, but subsequently he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy, and his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. The sarcophagus of Ariston (the deceased slave-boy of Gnaeus Gracchus) was decorated with such 'chubby cupids', representing the boy's love for his master - see Chapter XXXI 'Munera pro Gracchus'
Sarcophagus of Ariston
Cupid is winged, allegedly, because lovers are 'flighty' and likely to change their minds, and 'boyish' because love is irrational. His symbols are the arrow and torch, 'because love wounds and inflames the heart.' In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion. He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love. Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as 'Love conquers all', and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid. In classical art, Cupid also often appears in multiples, as the 'Amores'.

Virgil (favorite poet of Octavian Augustus and also of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus) writing in his collection of Eclogues states: 'Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori.' ('Love conquers all, and so let us surrender ourselves to Love.') Of course, we should remember that in the Classical world of the Ancint Greeks and Romans, when we use the term 'love' we should not confuse it with the 'modern' notion of 'romantic love', which evolved with the development of 18th and 19th century Romanticism. In the ancient world love was more often equated with what we should consider to be more in keeping with the notions of 'lust' and 'carnality'. To the Romans, however, people didn't 'fall in love'. It was not a matter of personal volition. Love was the work of Cupid - (Eros) the son of Venus. It was believed that this lad would pierce someone's heart with one of his 'magic' arrows, so that they were helplessly ensnared in loving (or lusting after) the individual that 'Cupid' had chosen for them. So in this sense love had 'found' Marcus, binding him now to Aurarius, just as he had been previously 'bound' to Cleon (see Chapter VI) and was still, even now, 'bound' to Petronius. Love, therefore, was thought of as a 'wound' - as a disability - enthralling and 'taking over' an individual.  

When Marcus reached the doors to his private apartments he decided that long explanations to his two slave-boys would probably not be appropriate - and anyway would undoubtedly be very embarrassing.
He turned to Adonios.
"Give me Glaux.... and go to Petronius' apartments.... he wants you for the night."
Adonios looked surprised, but meekly handed over the little bird to Marcus.
"Yes. Of course Dominus.", Adonios replied obediently, placing Glaux on Marcus' shoulder
"And you, Aurarius, come with me.", Marcus said firmly, gesturing to the slave-guards to open the massive double doors to his apartments.
By this time Aurarius' brain was working as fast as possible.
He knew that he and Adonios had spoken to Novius about Marcus, and he had seen Novius and Marcus deep in conversation earlier in the evening.
Then, for some reason Marcus had sent Adonios to Petronius' apartment – 'for the night' – and now Marcus was guiding him, with his arm around his shoulder – a gesture that he had never performed before - into Marcus' bedroom.
As they had passed through the atrium of Marcus' apartments Glaux had taken flight, disappearing through the open roof – well knowing what his two humans were about to do – and secretly approving.
Aurarius' immediate instinct was to run forward and open the doors to the palatial bedroom for his young master, but Marcus had tight hold of him.
Feeling Aurarius' intended move, Marcus gripped his slave more tightly.
'Tonight, 'pusio' (Latin slang for 'my lad'), your are not my 'slave' - but rather my 'puer' (Latin - 'boy').", Marcus said gently - in a tone that Aurarius had never heard him use before.
"Yes Dominus.", Aurarius replied obediently - but what Marcus did not see was the smile that flickered over the handsome boy's face.
So Aurarius was possibly going to get what he had been dreaming of - but the question was - would it be all that he hoped for ?
"May I take your toga, Dominus ?", Aurarius asked, as they approached Marcus' huge, richly draped bed.
"Yes,", Marcus replied, beginning to unwrap the heavy, awkward garment, "and my tunic."
Aurarius, by now a well trained personal slave, quickly helped Marcus with his toga, and then, folding it neatly took it into the dressing-room.
When he returned, Marcus had not waited for Aurarius to help him with his elaborately embroidered tunic, and was standing by the bed wearing only a very brief, white loincloth.
Aurarius, pretending not to notice the pouch of Marcus' tiny loincloth bulging ominously, with studied nonchalance, busied himself carefully folding Marcus tunic, which his master had discarded on the polished and inlaid marble floor.
"Forget about that.", Marcus said curtly.
"Let me help you.", and with that he pulled Aurarius' tunic up and off, over the startled boy's head.
"Thank you, Dominus.", Aurarius mumbled, shocked at having his master 'serving' him.
"I told you already, 'παιδ' (Marcus was now calling Aurarius by the Greek name ['Boy'] that he came with, when he first arrived at the villa - remember Marcus and Aurarius always spoke in Greek to one another), when we are together like this, you are not my slave, and I am not your master.
And you doubtless know my name, 'Boy' - it's Marcus".
"Yes, Dominus....I mean Marcus." Aurarius quickly corrected himself.
"But remember - that is only between you and me, and only on occasions like this."
"But what is this 'occasion', Marcus ?", Aurarius asked - for even after some considerable time at the villa, he was still inclined to be somewhat cheeky.
"You know very well, παλικάρι μου (my lad) - I'm going to fuck you.", Marcus said bluntly, but with a broad smile.
"Yes......", Aurarius answered, looking Marcus straight in the face. "I rather hoped so."
And Aurarius was grinning. 
And that was exactly what Marcus wanted.
He didn't want a boy who would be subservient, and lack passion - rather he wanted a boy who would enjoy the game of seduction, and who would respond with passion and vigour.

Meanwhile, in Petronius' apartments, next door, Petronius was puzzled.
Of course, Petronius was not (as yet) aware of the conclusions that Novius and Terentius had arrived at with regard to the probable origins of young Aurarius, and the implications that posed.
However, Petronius, having been given young Adonios for the night, was not about to look the gift horse in the mouth.
Adonios, of course, was as 'smitten' with Petronius as he was with Marcus - and probably more so, and so he was quite happy to go along with whatever Pertonius wanted to do on that warm, Spring evening.
So - in next to no time Adonios was stark naked, and kneeling on the smooth marble floor, bent over the side of Petronius' bed, and Petronius, also naked, was thrusting his well oiled penis deep into young Adonios.
Surprised at the sheer size of his newly found lover, Adonios had managed to take Petronius 'steel hard' 'gladius' (Latin slang meaning 'prick'), and was soon enjoying Petronius' repeated, vigorous thrusts.
Almost as soon as he had been penetrated by Petronius' very thick, and very long penis, Adonios had become extraordinarily aroused, with his slim, boyish 'tool' standing fully erect.

And all this had happened while, unbeknown to them, Aurarius was still 'flirting' with Marcus, which was exactly what Marcus was looking for, as it was making him even more eager to penetrate his incredibly 'cute' slave-boy.

And back in Petronius' apartment, things were getting quite frantic, as Petronius continued to pound his moaning boy.
"I'm sorry, Petronius - I need to wank !",  Adonios moaned, as his right hand hesitantly moved down to his violently jerking  penis.
"Get on with it, boy !", Petronius grunted, between thrusts, not caring what his firm young companion did, as long he was was left to enjoy himself.
And so on it went - the most amazing sex that young Adonios had ever experienced.
"Oh shit !", Adonios moaned, "I think I'm gonna cum !".
"Me too !", Petronius grunted, as his vigorous thrusting intensified.

Meanwhile, (in Marcus' apartments), Aurarius had deftly removed Marcus' loincloth, and was gently caressing his 'master's' incredibly stiff penis.
"Put some oil on it, Boy. I want it to slip into you nice and smoothly", Marcus said gently, passing Aurarius a glass flagon of olive oil.
"Yes, Marcus, - but promise not to 'cum' when I rub it in - I don't want you wasting your spunk.", Aurarius replied, grinning, and looking disturbingly like Petronius.
"Don't worry Boy - I've got more than enough spunk for the night.", Marcus replied surprisingly crudely and boastfully, as far as Aurarius was concerned.
"I'm pleased to hear that - but we shall see.",Aurarius answered, playing along with Marcus' coquettish way of talking.
As Aurarius rubbed the fine olive oil onto Marcus' stiff penis, predictably his master's 'tool' became more swollen and even more erect.
By that stage Marcus was dribbling copious amounts of clear liquid, and his smooth glans was beginning to become exposed.
Aurarius then decided to be bold, and gently pulled Marcus' foreskin right back, so that the whole of Marcus prominent, purple glans was on display.
This could be problematic as Romans, who were not slaves, were very 'touchy' about exposing the glans, even in highly intimate situations, but Aurarius seemed to have judged the situation accurately, and Marcus showed no sign of embarrassment.
"What a fuckin' huge 'helmet' !" Aurarius exclaimed, admiring how well endowed his young master was as he held tightly onto Marcus' throbbing rigid shaft

Back in Petronius', apartment Adonios was moaning as he finally splattered the marble floor with his creamy 'seed'.
Then Petronius - brought to an uncontrollable and magnificent climax as Adonios' anal muscles began to contract rhythmically and vigorously as he pumped his 'boy-juice' over the floor, continued to ram his huge penis deep into Adonios, as he repeatedly squirted his hot, thick seed into his groaning partner.
Finally Petronius collapsed on top of  Adonios, and the two very sweaty 'lovers' lay still for a few moments, gasping for breath.
Petronius then lifted himself up, and slowly withdrew his still stiff, glistening penis, which was dribbling the last of his semen, 'uncia' by 'uncia' (inch by inch),  from  Adonios' still tight anus.
"No please !", Adonios murmured as the huge, swollen glans emerged, "I like you inside me."
"Yes.... well I like to be inside you, too,  - but I need to get up and change my position - and I need some wine.", Petronius, smiling answered, as he ruffled  Adonios' blond curls.
"No !.... Let me get it for you !",  Adonios said, somewhat alarmed that he had forgotten the needs of his superior.
"Don't be silly,  Adonios, this is as much your night as mine - and no one is the servant in this situation."
"I see.... thank you Sir.",  Adonios replied, rather puzzled and confused, and now sitting up on the bed, looking wistfully at Petronius, - while Petronius went over to a gilt-bronze, marble topped table, picked up two goblets and a ewer of wine, and brought them over to the bed.
"And don't call me 'Sir' when we're like this.
I'm Petronius.", Petronius continued.
There was a pause.
"You do know that I really love you.",  Adonios said softly.
"I think you do.", Petronius answered, putting down the goblets and ewer by the bed, and taking  Adonios' face in his hands - "but....".
"I know,"  Adonios interupted, "It's the Dominus, and I know you can't have him, - and why.",  Adonios continued, sadly.
"But you can have me.
I know I can't take his place - but perhaps I can help you to bear not being with him.",  Adonios said, holding out his hand.
"Thank you....
You are so sweet." Petronius said, gently.

Meanwhile, back in Marcus' apartments, Aurarius and Marcus were sitting together on the bed.
After Aquarius had pulled back Marcus' foreskin, while oiling his penis, Aurarius had gone one step further, and had started masturbating Marcus.
"Oh that's so good, Boy !.... Now just hold me a bit firmer...", Marcus groaned, pushing up his hips in time to Aurarius' slow, firm downward strokes.
"Yes....that's good !", Marcus murder, looking at his beautiful slave, and noticing, approvingly, that Aurarius' penis was becoming erect.
"Do you want me to make you cum, Marcus ?", Aurarius asked, as he began to increase the speed of his strokes.
"No..just take me really close - I'll tell you when...", Marcus replied, thinking back to when Cleon would do the same - some considerable time before.
Aurarius, however, didn't wait for Marcus to tell him, as he could feel Marcus' penis begin to twitch ominously, and gently released his master's throbbing tool..
"That's good.", Marcus said, ruffling Aurarius' spiky blond hair.
"Now lets get down to some real fucking.", Marcus said, brightly, rising from the bed, and standing over Aurarius, who was obviously very aroused.
"So how do you want to 'take' me ?", Aurarius asked boldly.
"Well...first time - from the rear - so lie on the bed on your front, and raise your backside a little."
Aurarius immediately  complied, and waited for Marcus to penetrate him.
"So there's going to be more than one time ?",  Aurarius questioned cheekily, looking back over his own raised, pert buttocks at Marius.
 "Tonight ? Yes, I certainly hope so." Marcus answered, smiling.

In Petronius' apartments Adonios and Petronius had been talking.
During the conversation Petronius' penis had softened slightly, but after Adonios' sweet declaration of 'love' Petronius had become erect once again.
Petronius and Adonios
"I think that you might be ready for some more."Adonios said slightly questioningly, gesturing towards Petronius' jerking, swelling penis, and emboldened Petronius' apparent acceptance of his 'love' - and his fine body.
Adonios, himself, had once again become very 'aroused', and was lusting to be filled with Petronius' massive, masculine bulk, and to feel his new found love's insistent pounding.
"All right - so lets do something more 'athletic'....", and with that he grabbed Adonios up off the bed, lifted his surprised  partner up.
With apparent ease Petronius then swiftly lowered Adonios onto his practically vertical penis.
"Oh shit ! ", Adonios groaned, as he was instantly impaled.
"You're so fuckin' big !", the squirming blond slave moaned.
"And you're so fuckin' hot and tight !", Petronius replied as he started, with apparent ease, to vigorously and repeatedly penetrate young Adonios by jerking him up and down.

So..... while Adonios was undoubtedly enjoying his first 'standing sex', Marcus had got behind Aurarius, and was slowly pushing his huge gleaming glans into Aurarius' tight little anus.
"Fuck !", Aurarius grunted, beginning to wonder if he could 'take' his remarkably well-endowed 'master'.
"Don't worry, Boy - I'll go slow.", Marcus said, reassuringly, as he continued to push his swollen penis deep into Aurarius.
By then Aurarius had begun to relax, and accept Marcus' masculine bulk, spreading his legs, and lifting the smooth hemispheres of his cute 'bubble-butt' invitingly.
First Marcus grabbed Aurarius', buttocks, caressing and squeezing them, and then he grabbed his blond slave-boy by the shoulders, and pushed his penis more deeply into Aurarius' anu, making the boy groan.
"Right..... now I start to plough you !", Marcus grunted, as he began thrusting - but slowly at first.
Each thrust elicited a grunt from Aurarius, and a moan from Marcus, and slowly the speed of Marcus' thrusts increased, and Aurarius' hips began to buck as he began to enjoy each forceful move.
"Fuck me harder !", Aurarius heard himself say, not realizing that he had become overwhelmed by the excitement of the moment.
Marcus didn't answer, however, being totally engaged in pounding the life out of his prone slave
Aurarius' erect penis was being rubbed violently against the elaborately embroidered bed cover, and he had the strongest erection that he could ever remember having - and he was worried that at any moment he might have an orgasm, and squirt his thick, creamy seed over the costly coverlet.
"I need to fuckin' wank, Marcus !", Aurarius'  blurted out, hoping that Marcus could control himself long enough to let him turn over.
"Alright." Marcus grunted, not really happy at being interrupted.
He gently 'pulled out', and then let Aurarius turn over, and settle himself on his back.
"So lets get on...", Marcus said, trying not to sound too annoyed, as he stared rather pointedly at Aurarius' very large, and very erect penis.
"You are quite a boy." Marcus said, flicking Aurarius' jerking penis, and making it bounce suggestively.
Marcus then spread Aurarius' legs very wide, took hold of Aurarius by the rear of the boy's hips, and then gently pushed his penis deeply into Aurarius' 'anus.
Aurarius moaned, and grabbed his own penis, as he felt himself once again impaled by Marcus' huge 'tool'.
Marcus then roughly pushed away Aurarius' hand, and grabbed hold of Aurarius stiff penis.
As Aurarius was unbelievably firm, Marcus used the squirming boy's stiff penis as a 'handle', and pulled Aurarius, by his penis, down onto his own massive, pounding 'tool'
Aurarius groaned, wide eyed, as he was penetrated incredibly deeply, and he found that Marcus' firm grip on his penis was effectively masturbating him, and slowly bringing him to a shattering 'climax'.

Meanwhile,  Adonios himself was about to 'climax'.
"Shit ! I'm cumming !",  Adonios groaned, as a huge spurt of semen arched out from his violently wobbling pnis, and splattered onto the marble floor, followed by four further spurts.
At the same time Petronius groaned "Fuck !...", very loudly, and  Adonios felt Petronius' cock swell violently, as his muscular partner's hot 'seed' gushed up inside him.
As he was overwhelmed by his orgasm, Petronius was unable to remain standing.
His legs trembled and crumpled, and both he, and  Adonios with him, collapsed back onto the bed.
Panting and moaning, both boys then grabbed at one another, kissing frantically and moaning in the final moments of their overwhelming climax.
Slowly the embracing and kissing calmed, and the two lads lay back, grinning.
"Well.....That was quite something !", Petronius said softly, gently cradling  Adonios' head in his hands.
 Adonios nodded weakly, lost in a precious reverie of longing for his new love.
"So, my 'horny' young friend,", Petronius said, trying to gather his thoughts together.
"much as I would like to go on with this, - and don't think I couldn't.", Petronius continued, looking down at his stiffening 'tool'.
"Tomorrow will be a very busy day, and we will doubtless have many more opportunities to repeat all this, in the future - so we must sleep.
But first go and have a splash in my bath - dry yourself, and then come to bed - and while you do that I will tidy up here."
And so the roles were once again reversed, and Petronius took on the part of the 'slave', tidying the room, while  Adonios luxuriated (if only briefly) in Petronius' huge, marble lined bath.

While Adonios was removing the sweat from his lithe body in Petronius' bath, Marcus was repeatedly pulling Aurarius down towards himself using the blond boy's ridiculously hard penis as a point of purchase, and effectively, but not intentionally, masturbating his moaning partner in the process.
Eventually Aurarius could take no more.
"I'm fuckin' cummin' !", Aurarius cried out, and his glans seemed to explode in a series of massive spurts of semen that splattered over his  naked belly.
"Oh shit !.... That's it !...", Marcus groaned, as his thick, hot 'seed' gushed up into young Aurarius.
Aurarius was looking straight at Marcus at the point of 'climax', and his eyes widened as he felt Marcus ejaculate violently inside him, while at the same time Marcus' hand had tightened convulsively on Aurarius' swollen penis, as it spewed out even more of the writhing lad's thick 'seed'.
As the overwhelming double climax subsided, Marcus fell forward, on to of Aurarius.
Lying together, face to face, Marcus smothered his golden headed lover with kisses, while still holding onto the panting lad's slowly shrinking penis.
"I love you, Boy !", Marcus whispered so very softly.
"And I love you, - my lord !", Aurarius replied.
But here, Aurarius was not using the word lord as 'dominus' but as rather as a description of his 'ruling love'.
As with Petronius, Marcus (despite the fact that their love-making had been quite brief), decide that they should sleep - as the following day was to be one of much activity.
And so, in both apartments, Petronius and Adonios, and Marcus and Aurarius slept peacefully and contentedly in one another's arms.
And in all cases it was one of those deep, dreamless slumbers, that only come with complete exhaustion, and the final resolution of much distress.
It was not usual for a master to be so informal with a slave - even when having sex, but both Marcus and Petronius had longed for the two slaves for so much time - and had, until Novius had spoken - foolishly deprived themselves of the consummation that they so desired, that when it was finally achieved they had found it difficult to maintain the normal Roman reserve, and had expressed long withheld and deeply felt feelings - and equally the same had applied to Adonios and Aurarius.
It was truly another 'night to remember' - and a 'new beginning'.
'In the Morning' - Glaux, still unable to come to terms with landing on soft pillows, flopped down beside Aurarius' head, and began gently pecking at the slave's ear.
He knew that it would be best if Adonios didn't return to the apartment to find Aurarius sleeping with, or even making 'love' with Marcus, so wisely (and after all owls are known for being wise), Glaux wanted Aurarius awake, and up, and making breakfast for Marcus.
Still half asleep, but woken by Glaux's pecking, Aurarius was surprised to find himself naked, 
(Roman boys normally wore a loincloth in bed - pajamas had not yet been invented)
in Marcus' bed, with Marcus' arms wrapped round him - and then the previous night came back to him, and he smiled, contentedly.
But Glaux was an insistent little bird, and kept on pecking.
"Yes, Glaux, I'll get up !", Aurarius said grumpily, realizing what the wise little owl was up to.
So Aurarius prepared some fruit-juice, and some bread and cheese, and gently woke Marcus.
Marcus opened his eyes, and smiled weakly at Aurarius.
"Good morning, Dominus !", Aurarius said respectfully, having remembered, while he was preparing Marcus' food, what Marcus had explained to him the night before.
So now he was, once again, Marcus' slave boy.....
Dutiful, respectful (most of the time) and obedient.
As Marcus was getting dressed, the doors to the 'introitus praetorium' (entrance hall) of Marcus' apartments opened.
A very sleepy looking Petronius and Adonios arrived, and made their way to the atrium, where they waited for Marcus.
" two are awake.", Marcus said cheerily, striding into the atrium energetically, while wiping his hands on a beautifully embroidered linen towel, after having washed after his breakfast, (Romans usually ate with their hands, and not cutlery).
"Yes Dominus... and good morning !", Petronius said respectfully.
"Adonios, go and help Aurarius - I need to speak to the Dominus privately.", Petronius said quietly to Adonios.
Adonios obediently did what he was told, as Marcus look quizzically at Petronius.
"So what have you to say that Adonios shouldn't hear !", Marcus queried.
"I think that I have made a bad mistake, Dominus.", Petronius said.
"And what might that have been ?", Marcus asked, although he had a good idea of what was troubling Petronius.
"Well....last night you sent me Adonis - and I wasn't quite sure what you wanted me to do with him - so... well....I fucked him.", Petronius said, hanging his head, and looking sheepish.
"And I know now it was wrong.
He's not my slave, and I had no right, but with him there all the evening.... well I couldn't resist it."
And there was a tense pause - as Petronius waited for Marcus reply, - while Adonios and Aurarius, who were supposed to be preparing for the journey to Rome, eavesdropped at a door to the Atrium, which was slightly ajar.
"Well.. I was hoping that you would.", Marcus replied, in a 'matter of fact' manner.
"After all, he's a very attractive boy.", Marcus continued, and Petronius looked confused
"And, coincidently, I fucked Aurarius.", Marcus added, as Aurarius, (unseen by Marcus and Petronius), grinned at Adonis.
"So you're not angry ?", Petronius said, obviously relieved.
"Why should I be ?", Marcus answered, smiling.
"I've known for a long time that  Adonios was 'crazy' about you, and you would be a fool not to want him as your 'boy'.", Marcus explained.
"But Dominus, he's your slave !
What if other people know ?.... I'm sure the slaves guarding the doors know already - or have their suspicions, and you know how rumours spread.", Petronius remonstrated.
"Well, we can make it public knowledge that we jointly own both Aurarius and Adonis - get Quintus to draw up the scrolls, and tell him to 'leak' the information."
Petronius nodded.
"But there is a reason for what has happened, but there isn't time to tell you about it now.
Later, when we travel to Rome, you and I - and also Novius and Terentius can travel in the main carriage, - and the boys (meaning Aurarius and Adonis - male slave, regardless of age were always referred to as 'boys') and Demetrius can travel in another carriage.
That way we can discuss matters privately - and it is important that our discussion is private.", Marcus explained.
Despite Marcus' explanation, neither Petronius, nor the boys, who were eavesdropping, really understood what was going on, but they accepted, as always, what the Dominus told them.
"So now - let's get ready for the journey....", Marcus concluded.


'The Journey to Rome' - Terentius had already been up for hours, - making arrangements, ordering Nerva to organize the slaves who were packing numerous crates, and loading them onto wagons at the rear of the villa, while Quintus, miserable and grumpy as ever, supervised the packing of his own scrolls and records, and Lucius and Aristarchos organized the careful packing of certain essential items from Marcus' library.
Meanwhile the 'Magistro Equitum', ('Master of the Horse') had been getting ready the carriages, supervising the harnessing of the horses, and briefing the outriders.
Back in the villa, Novius, oblivious to all the hustle and bustle was being served his breakfast (many Romans ate very light breakfasts, and many did without).
However, Novius, anticipating a long carriage drive before the first stop for refreshments, had decided on a substantial breakfast that morning.
Eventually Marcus, Petronius, Demetrius, Aurarius and Adonios - with Glaux, half asleep on his shoulder, arrived in the main atrium to be greeted by numerous slaves who were busily carrying boxes and crates to the waiting wagons and carriages.
Finally Terentius realized that the Dominus had arrived.
"Dominus - please accept my apologies.
I didn't realize that you were here.", Terentius said, unusually flustered.
"And good morning Dominus - and good morning Petronius - and young Demetrius.", Terentius said, while still trying to keep an eye on the numerous slaves who were passing through the atrium.
"Now calm down, Terentius. 
I am sure that, with your skilful organization, all is well, and you can leave the details to Nerva." Marcus said, reassuringly.
"Yes Dominus - of course.
But this is the first time that you have been to Rome - and I want everything to go well.", Terentius explained.
"Now Terentius, please remember - I was born in Rome - so this is not going to be my first visit.", Marcus said, putting his hand on Terentius' shoulder, and smiling.
Terentius smiled back.
"Of course.
Excuse me.
I am not myself this morning -  I really don't like all this disruption.", Terentius explained.
"I know - I don't either.", Marcus agreed.
Nerva then approached.
"Good morning Dominus.", he said.
Nerva had always been distant, but respectful to Marcus ever since the first day that they had met when Markos, (as he was then known), had arrived as a practically naked slave-boy. (see Chapter III)
Nerva had found if more difficult than most to come to terms with the fact that the 'slave-boy' was now Dominus.
"Everything is now ready, Dominus, and you may leave whenever you wish.", Nerva explained, obviously proud of the way he had made the preparations for the journey.
"Thank you Nerva - and I now leave the care of the villa in your capable hands."
Nerva bowed, and then took his leave.
"Right, Adonios, go and get Novius and Titus, and we will set off !", Marcus said decisively.
Marcus and Petronius walked over the their carriage, and waited for the appearance of Novius and Titus.
Eventually Titus arrived with his Tribunes, followed by Novius.
"Good morning, Marcus !", Titus said cheerily.
"I see that everything is excellently arranged - you should become a legatus with your organizational abilities."
Titus turned to his tribunes.
"Go find your mounts, and accompany my carriage.", he ordered briskly.
"See you when we have our first stop for refreshments." Titus called over to Marcus, as slaves helped him into his carriage.
"Well, he seems happy enough." Petronius said to Marcus.
"Indeed, but let's greet Novius, and bring him over to our carriage.", Marcus said, raising his hand to attract Novius' attention.
"Greetings, Dominus !", Novius said.
"Please excuse my lateness, but I have been making a brief offering and prayer to the god Mercury for a safe journey and prosperous stay in Rome.", Novius explained.
The Roman God Mercury (the Greek God Hermes) was the patron god of travellers
"Thank you Novius - the way I neglect the gods I am surprised that I am even still alive.", Marcus said, grinning at Novius.
"Please... don't say that, my boy.
You are favoured by the gods, and in particular the great Apollo.
Other people always need to be begging for their help, but you - you have their favour forever - and it has been promised to you." Novius said insistently.
"Well.... I hope that you're right.",Marcus replied.
"Now lets get into the carriage - otherwise all the baggage and the slaves will get to Rome before we do.
And Petronius - get the 'boys' and Demetrius into their carriage, so that they can follow us." Marcus added.
And so, once settled in their carriages, they set off on the journey to Rome.
For Aurarius and Adonios it was a great adventure, as neither boy had been to Rome.
Demetrius, however, had been born and lived his childhood and early teenage years in the great city - and during the journey he regaled the other two lads with many tales - some slightly exaggerated.
What he did not tell them, however, was how unhappy he had been in the 'Domus Gracchii' - Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus' opulent palace in Rome.
For those who may not have read some of the previous chapters here is some information about Demetrius. - Demetrius is the natural (but illegitimate) son of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus. Born as the result of an 'affair' between Gracchus and a slave-girl in the palatial 'Domus Gracchi', in Rome, many years before the appearance of Markos (later Marcus), Gracchus rejected the boy, and had him brought up as a slave in the 'Domus'. Demetrius' mother died during the boy's infancy, and Demetrius was 'brought up' by the abusive Major Domo, Menelaus, (subsequently executed in the arena - [emasculation and drowning], for conspiring against the House of Gracchus). Demetrius later became the unknowing and unwilling center of a plot to usurp Marcus as Dominus of the House of Gracchus, and was subsequently the subject of an infatuation by Servius. Eventually Servius demanded that Gracchus give him Demetrius a a slave-boy, and the ensuing quarrel resulted in the death of Gracchus (see: ) -
(Servius was later executed in the arena [emasculation and flaying alive] for the murder of Gracchus). Having been deeply traumatized by various events in his short life, Demetrius was brought to Marcus' magnificent seaside villa', where he is 'treated' by Novius (an ancient form of 'hypnotherapy'), and after being freed, is put into the care of the ever faithful Petronius.
Publicly, it is suggested that Demetrius is Marcus' nephew - while Marcus has tentative, long term plans to adopt the boy, (not unusual in Roman patrician society).
Novius had spent much of his youth in Rome, mainly studying, and, it must be said, chasing after attractive young slave-boys.
Brothel Boys in Rome
For Terentius, Rome was just another place where he conducted business for the Dominus of the House of Gracchus - first Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, and now Marcus Octavianus Gracchus, and he knew it well, and had many contacts in the teeming city.
Sex in the Bathhouse Brothel
Petronius had visited the city on only one previous occasion, (see Chapter XXVIII), when he had been accompanied by Tribune Servius (now dead - executed in the arena for conspiracy against the House of Gracchus)
That had been when he was sent by Gnaeus Gracchus to arrange a murder, and collect a pugio (dagger).
The Road to Rome - Via Appia
On that visit he had met Menelaus, Gnaeus Gracchus' devious and abusive senior freedman in Rome (now dead - executed in the arena for conspiracy against the House of Gracchus). and during that visit he had also met, for the first time, Demetrius, and experienced a high class 'boy brothel' - and indulged in 'underwater sex'.
The route that the convoy of carriages, wagons and outriders took started on the 'Via Popilia', which took them to Capua, (famed now for 'Romeo and Juliet' and the gladiatorial combats featured in the mini-series 'Spartacus'), where they would stay overnight.
At Capua, they would then join the renowned 'Via Appia', which would take them directly to Rome.
Terentius had already made arrangements for various hostelries in Capua to accommodate members of the convoy, with various groups of slaves being housed in the more down-market establishments, while Marcus, and his companions, (including Terentius himself of course), would be accommodated in the most luxurious establishment in the city.
'Discussions in the Carriage' - Having settled in their carriage, there was an uneasy silence.
Novius then decided to 'start the ball rolling'.
"I think, Dominus, that this would be a good time to discuss certain matters relating to our talk last night - if you are agreeable."
Marcus nodded.
"Indeed ! This is about as private as we could be, and as there is nothing else for us to do - except perhaps look at the passing scenery - I think that we should be well employed in considering certain matters."
At this point Petronius stirred awkwardly in his seat.
"We have some important matters to discuss regarding the slave-boy Aurarius." Novius continued, carefully.
Immediately Petronius was somewhat relieved, as he imagined that this 'discussion' was to be, in fact, a criticism of his behaviour the previous night with Adonios - regardless of what Marcus had told him just a little earlier.
"This matter particularly concerns our esteemed colleague, Petronius.", Novius then added, and Petronius immediately began to feel nervous once again.
Marcus then cleared his throat.
"Perhaps it might be better if I explained the matter to Petronius - and if either you, or Terentius, wish to clarify anything that I have said - then feel free to do so." Marcus interjected.
"It seems that when Aurarius - or 'Boy' as he was then known, arrived, Terentius was a little puzzled about the lad.
Farm House in Eleusis
Terentius Buys 'Boy'
This was the second expensive blond slave-boy that Terentius had purchased - I was the first, to the best of my knowledge.
Now there was no suspicion that 'Boy' might not be a 'bona-fide' slave, but there were some odd facts about him that Terentius, quite rightly, but without the knowledge of the Dominus felt obliged to investigate.", Marcus explained.
By now Petronius was looking very puzzled, but still nervous.
"Terentius eventually discovered that 'Boy' came from a village in the West of Attica, called Ελευσίνα, on the Θριάσιο Πεδίο.
People there have a particular accent - which I know well, having spent most of my youth in that area - the same accent spoken by Petronius.
We know that 'Boy' was sold into slavery because of the debts of his family, and Terentius' records show that that was the same reason for Petronius becoming a slave - the late Dominus was assiduous in keeping record.", Marcus continued, glancing at Petronius, who was by then shaking his head.
"Also, when Petronius arrived at the Villa, some considerable time ago, he, like 'Boy', could neither read nor write, and spoke no Latin - and it was the late Dominus who educated Petronius, just as he educated myself.", Marcus then looked to Terentius and Novius, just to check that they were in agreement with all that he had said up to that point.
Both men, who had been listening intently, nodded.
Second Prophecy
"Then we come to the second prophecy of the God Apollo, which mentions another golden boy, to be called 'Aurarius', and 'brothers, standing together'.
Novius originally thought that this referred to Petronius and Marcus, but a more careful reading of the Latin translation from the Oscan indicates that, in the original Oscan text, the correct reading implies that Petronius has a younger brother.", by then Petronius was looking alarmed.
"Finally, of course, as so many people, including myself have observed, in physical appearance, manner, accent, and of course with that inimitable, wonderful smile it seems obvious that Aurarius is almost certainly Petronius' younger brother.!", Marcus apparently concluded.
"And the remarkable coincidence of his arriving at our villa is no accident, but the profound and fortuitous workings of the God, bringing the prophecies of the Sibyl to fruition." Marcus added.
"And you think this is true ?" Petronius stuttered, still shaking his head.
"I am sure that it is true, - and that our esteemed friend Terentius, was simply an agent of divine providence, unerringly guided by the God to purchase this unlikely lad, and bring him here, to help and guide our Dominus." Novius added.
"I can't believe it !", Petronius muttered, and began to wonder if that was why Marcus had 'given' him Adonios the previous night.
Petronius looked at Marcus and smiled.
"And you knew this ?", he asked Marcus.
"Yes - Novius explained it to me earlier in the evening."
"Well that explains a lot." Petronius said.
"Thank you Marcus. - I am so very grateful.", Petronius said rather unconvincingly, stretching out to take Marcus' hand.
"So - without being disrespectful, Dominus, what are you two talking about." Terentius asked.
"Well we are all 'men of the world', so I see no reason why we should not also discus this aspect of the matter.", Novius interjected, wisely trying to avoid Marcus being embarrassed in any way.
"The boys - Aurarius and Adonios had spoken to me some time earlier about their strong feelings for the Dominus, and how they felt that he was ignoring them, in the 'physical' sense.
They felt that this was not good for their master."
On hearing this Terentius nodded in agreement, while Petronius began to feel remarkably embarrassed - which was very unusual for him.
"I mentioned this to our Dominus, suggesting that it would be good for him to start having physical relations with his slave-boys - but I also explained to him about Aurarius and Petronius.
Now as we all know, our Dominus has a very close relationship with Petronius, but as they are both adult Roman citizens, it would not be seemly for them to give this relationship physical expression, however, as Aurarius is young, and a non-citizen - and in all ways like Petronius, Marcus would be free to have a physical relationship with the boy, just as Petronius is free to have such a relationship with Adonios." Novius continued.
Marcus could see that, in a seemingly useless attempt to avoid any embarrassment, Novius was tying himself up in knots.
"Well, Novius, let's be frank about this, and 'cut to the chase'.
Realizing what was going on - and after talking to you, I gave Adonios to Petronius for the night, and Petronius fucked him, and I took Aurarius - and I also fucked him - and it seems that we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.", Marcus stated forcefully.
Petronius grinned.
Domus Gracchii
"Well, that seems to have solved the problem." Terentius said, smiling.
"And I think that I should give Adonios to Petronius, as his permanent personal slave, and I will have Aurarius - if Petronius has no objections - with the provision that at some time, in the near future - when my ardor for Aurarius, and Aurarius' ardor for me has worn off, I will grant him his freedom.
As for freedom for Adonios - well that is up to Petronius."
And after that intense discussion the four slightly bemused travelers resorted to 'small-talk' about Rome, the new Emperor (Vespasian), and the 'Domus Gracchi' which neither Marcus or Novius had never seen - even although Marcus owned it - along with quite a few more houses and villas spread over the empire.


'Arriving in Capua' - When they arrived at Capua, Titus bade farewell to Marcus, as he needed to be in Rome as soon as possible.
Street Scene in Capua
However, on leaving his new, young friend, he gifted him with a fine, and very heavy gold ring, bearing a cameo of a Roman eagle on its bezel - in thanks for Marcus' generous hospitality - and Marcus invited Titus to visit him, when it would be convenient - in the Domus Gracchi.
It was late before all the wagons and the carriages had been secured, and the slaves and various other household workers had been allocated their sleeping quarters.
Marcus and  Petronius dined alone - they had much to discuss.... obviously.
Aurarius, Adonios and Demetrius had their meal in the same establishment - but not in ear-shot, while Terentius and Novius chose to dine separately and - considering the previous nights events, and the subsequent discussions, for that night, at least, everyone slept alone, in their own room, except for Aurarius and Adonios, and of course 'Glaux', who all slept together - (Glaux had not slept during the day, as was his custom, as he was frightened when in the carriage)

'and the story continues -

and the weary travellers arrive in Rome
to settle for a long stay in the palatial Domus Gracchi...'

Aurarius and Adonios - and Marcus and Petronius seem to sort out their complex relationships,

and Marcus has a long talk with Demetrius as he plans to buy a slave for for the boy.
Chapter XXXVI
(In the House of Gracchus - in Rome)

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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