Chapter XXXVII - Servos Dominis Acquirendi

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.
'Morning' - Sunlight streamed into the room.
Marcus, who was entwined with Aurarius, awoke with his usual insistent morning erection, and was almost immediately prepared to continue the indulgence of the previous night, when there was a soft tapping on the door.
"By the gods !", Marcus exclaimed, apparently thwarted in his intention to give Aurarius a morning fuck on awakening.
"Go and answer that,  Aurarius!"
Aurarius, who was equally 'aroused' on awakening, quickly put on his skimpy loincloth, which barely hid his 'excitement', and went to open the door of the introitus praetorium.
"It's ientaculum (breakfast) !", Aurarius called out.
"Well have the boy bring it in here !", Marcus replied, sitting up in bed.
Aurarius, looking appallingly attractive in his barely fitting loincloth, returned with a young slave-boy bearing a tray laden with food.
At the smell of food, Glaux, who was sitting next to Marcus on the bed, immediately became alert.
It was the same slave-boy who had brought Demetrius to the apartment the previous night.
"Put it here, boy.", Marcus said, indicating the bed.
"What's you name, boy ?", Marcus asked.
"Elatos, Dominus.", the boy replied, looking quite nervous.
"Good, Elatos.
From now on - your mine !", Marcus said firmly.
"When you go back to the kitchens, tell your steward to tell Nicander that from today you are attached to my suite." Marcus continued in Greek.
"Ναι, θεός !" - (Yes, Dominus), Elatos replied in Greek, looking rather shocked. 
"Good. - Now help Aurarius get some drinks - and then take my message down to your steward - and then come back here.", Marcus said, as he and Glaux surveyed the food.
This Roman breakfast (far more elaborate than that eaten by the 'plebs'), consisted of eggs, cheese, dormice (for Glaux), honey, milk and fruit.
Aurarius and Elatos then brought Marcus some wine, diluted with water, and then Elatos (asking permission to leave) returned to the kitchens to deliver his message to his steward.
"Do you like Elatos ?", Marcus asked, as he started on his breakfast.
"I think he's sweet.",  Aurarius replied.
"Well, at least he'll give you some time to have a rest, and relax.", Marcus said.
Of course Aurarius guessed that Marcus probably wanted to have sex with the boy, (eventually), but he was not jealous, as he was confident of his position in Marcus' affections.
Equally,  he realized that Marcus almost certainly would expect himself and Elatos to have sex, which would at least give Aurarius the chance to play the 'dominant' role.
Aurarius was no 'cinaedus' - as, if he had been, Marcus would not have chosen him, and not being a  'cinaedus' meant that  Aurarius had 'dominant' sexual needs of his own, which it would be difficult for him to fulfil with Marcus.
'Cinaedus' is a derogatory Latin term, used in ancient Rome, denoting a boy who was 'gender-deviant'; his choice of sex acts was secondary to his perceived deficiencies as a male (vir). It was the most the most frequent Roman term for a boy who was considered to be effeminate. The clothing, use of cosmetics, and mannerisms of a 'cinaedus' marked him as 'effeminate'. The 'cinaedus' thus represented the absence of what Romans considered true masculinity, and the word is virtually untranslatable into English. Originally, a 'kinaidos' (Greek) was a professional dancing boy, characterized as non-Roman or "Eastern"; the word itself may come from a language of Asia Minor. His performance featured tambourine-playing and movements of the buttocks that suggested anal intercourse.
Matters of sex, by then, however, were far from Marcus' mind.
He had finished his breakfast, and Glaux was quietly dozing on the back of a chair while Elatos, keen to prove that he was a good worker, was tidying the rooms.
Meanwhile,  Aurarius was helping Marcus to choose some elegant clothes to wear for their trip to Rome.
Once Elatos had finished his tidying, Marcus sent him to Petronius, to alert his tribune that they would later be setting out for the city.
After that, Elatos was sent down to Nicander to tell him that Marcus was on his way to inspect the Domus.
Elatos then returned, breathless, to tell Marcus that Nicander was waiting for them in the main atrium.
As they left Marcus' apartments, Marcus informed the guards that young Elatos was now one of his personal slaves, and should be given immediate and complete access to Marcus' apartments.

And so Marcus and his two slave-boys arrived in the main atrium.


'The Inspection of the Domus' - "Salve, Dominus - Salve vera pueros", Nicander said cheerfully - being careful to greet not only Marcus, but also his slave-boys after the embarrassment of the previous evening.
"Salve Magister !", Marcus replied.
"I see that you have taken on young Elatos." Nicander commented.
"Like all the slaves now working in the Domus, he is new to the establishment, but I am assured that he is an excellent worker - and I think that you will be most satisfied with him.", Nicander explained deferentially - but perhaps pointedly emphasizing the word 'satisfied'.
Now poor Nicander had, quite correctly, employed a large number of slave to work throughout the night, cleaning and arranging all the 'public' rooms of the domus.
What he didn't expect, however, was that Marcus would begin his inspection in the vast, labyrinthine basement that extended below the domus - and it was in this basement that no preparations had been made.
The basement contained, as one would expect, store rooms - for food, wine, ice, utensils, table-ware, linen, clothing, fuel,spare furniture, arms and armour, the essential furnaces for heating and hot water - and so much more.
It even contained numerous sets of cramped living quarters for the most menial of the slaves, and dining areas for slaves on duty.
And so, a very embarrassed Nicander was required to guide Marcus, accompanied by Aurarius and Elatos, round this grim facsimile of Hades.
At the completion of the first part of the inspection, Marcus had only one comment.
"I want it all repainted - white !".
"Of course Dominus - immediately !", Nicander responded.
"And now Dominus, I will take you by the lift (elevator) to the top floor."
(Yes... the Romans even had elevators - but raised by slave-power.
This was Nicander's way of ensuring that Marcus was not put to the 'inconvenience' of having to climb any stairs - he would only have to walk down stairs after he had reached the top floor.
Aurarius looked none to happy as the lift rose floor by floor.
There were no lifts in the villa at Baiae, so this was a new and disconcerting experience for him.
Elatos was equally unnerved as he had never been in the lifts at the Domus - which were reserved for guests, freedmen, high status slaves, and of course, Marcus.
The Domus Gracchi was built on the side of a hill, (the Esquiline Hill), and so the front facçade was very deceptive.
From the front it appeared to be a relatively low building, but in fact it had four floors, plus a basement.
On the top floor was a fabulous 'roof garden' with magnificent views of the city.
Part of the roof garden was also given over to a number of gazebos, (pavilions), connected to one another by pergolas.
The roof garden even featured a number of pools, complete with fountains and miniature waterfalls.

The floor below featured living accommodation for the higher grades of domus staff.
The next floor featured the living accommodation of the senior staff, including freedmen, and Nicander's apartment.
In addition there was a library reserved for senior staff, and Marcus' personal library and study, still filled with scrolls and documents originally belonging to the 'late Dominus'.
The next floor down was the 'area nobilis' ('piano nobile' or noble floor), on which were situated various guest rooms, Marcus' private apartments, the private apartments of the senior advisers of the House of Gracchus, and the newly appointed apartments of the Iuvenes Dominum (Demetrius).
That finally brought them to the ground floor.
This was the most extensive floor, consisting of the grand entrance hall, numerous atria and triclinia, rooms for meetings and conferences, a sculpture gallery, a gymnasion complex (that's not a 'typo' - it's Greek) and an indoor swimming pool, (reserved for the Dominus and his closest advisers).
There was also a small bathing complex for the domus workers, scrupulously divided into sections, in accordance with status.
Most of the atria and triclinia opened out onto quadrangles, planted with flower beds, small shrubs and trees, and some led out to the extensive gardens at the rear of the domus, which had originally been part of the legendary Gardens of Maecenas.
Aurarius was overwhelmed by the size, luxury and magnificence of the place.
Elatos, of course had seen most of the domus before, but not the breathtaking roof garden.
Marcus gave the impression, (for the sake of Nicander), of seeing only what he expected, but like Aurarius, in reality, was overwhelmed.
On arriving back at the main Atrium, they found Petronius, Terentius, Demetrius and Adonios waiting for them.
Glaux was not with them as he was too sleepy, and was dozing in Marcus' apartments.
On their way down the last, immensely wide set of steps, Marcus had complimented Nicander on the condition of the Domus - but had warned him that there were a few modification that needed to be attended to, which he would discuss with Terentius.
He also warned Nicander that, in a few days, he would also want to inspect the 'Villa Pastorali', in Tibur, (doubtless Nicander would be more thorough in his preparations, after the debacle involving the basement in the Domus) .
At this point Marcus dismissed Elatos, sending him back to the apartments to continue tidying up, and to keep Glaux company, (remember that Glaux slept and dozed for most of the day).


'Into the City' - Nicander then began to order an escort of Domus guards, and two litters, for the trip into the city, but Marcus stopped him, saying that they would walk.
Nicander looked suitably surprised.
Wealthy Roman patricians never walked anywhere (they normally travelled in a litter or a carriage), and persons of Marcus' eminence were always accompanied by guards.
Marcus, however, wanted to see the streets and the people, and as he was carrying his new pugio (the final gift from the 'late Dominus'), and Petronius was armed with a gladius and a pugio, Marcus felt quite safe.
The streets of Rome were notoriously unsafe late at night, but in the day it was quite safe.
The guards that the rich and influential surrounded themselves with were, in reality intended to establish their status and wealth, rather than there to protect them.
Guards were no protection against the unknown assassin as had been proved on numerous occasions.

It was an excellent day to go shopping !
The huge gilded bronze doors of the Domus opened, and the seemingly small group, (of which only one was a true Roman - Marcus, who had been born in Rome), made their way down the magnificent flight of white marble steps.
"And what did you think of the Domus, Dominus ?", Terentius asked.
"It's too big !", Marcus replied.
"What was Gnaeus Octavian thinking of when he built such a huge 'palace' ?"
"I agree, Dominus, but he was younger when he started to build, and he wished, at that time, to establish himself in Rome - and a grand Domus was a good way to do that.
But as you well know, things then began to go wrong - mainly with Nero, - but also the 'boy' (Terentius added quietly) - and Gnaeus retreated to his villa by the sea.
He lost interest in the Domus, and left it in the hands of that rascal Menelaus.
It was one of the best things you ever did - getting rid of him - and when I first met you, I wouldn't have thought you would have had it in you !"
Marcus nodded as they finally came to the pavement.
"So... which way ?" Marcus asked Terentius.
"Well you're the Roman - you tell us !", Terentius answered, joking.
Now we imagine that the city of Rome, at the time of our story, was a huge city, and it seems strange that Marcus and his companions should eschew the advantage of being taken round the city in a litter or a carriage.
The real centre of Rome, however, covered an area of about five square miles, and all the main buildings and markets (fora) were in easy walking distance.
"So...what do you want to buy first ?", Terentius asked, being serious once again.
"Well I need to find a sculptor to make a funeral vase for the ashes of the 'late Dominus'.", Marcus explained.
"Good ! Well I know the very man that you need to see !", Terentius replied, enthusiastically.
"The man you want is a Greek called Diodoros.
He's young, like our artist Apelles, but that means that his work is fashionable, and he's the best - but expensive.", Terentius enthused.
"Now how did I know that you were going to warn me that he'd be expensive ?", Marcus asked, with a grin.
"Well you know me, Dominus.
I never like to waste money.", Terentius retorted, as they made their way through grimy back streets.
Eventually they reached a small, rather dilapidated shop.
It reminded Petronius of the shop belonging to Timotheus where he'd collected Marcus' pugio for the late Dominus.
Looking round Marcus saw a small thermopolium, and directed Petronius to take the boys to have a drink and a snack - not that they really need one, as it was still quite early, but he didn't want Adonios and Aurarius getting bored and frisky, and maybe smashing some fine marble sculpture.
Well he remembered the problems the boys had made in Neapolis when he was purchasing items for the previous Ludi.
Terentius then led the way into the small shop.
There, in the shop, was a young man having a heated exchange with (probably) a customer about a bust of a not too attractive middle-aged woman (maybe the customers wife ?).
When the young man caught sight of Terentius he grinned in recognition, and then did his best to bring his discussion with the presumed customer to a close.
Finally the customer left.
"Hello Terentius !" he said cheerily.
"Good to see you ! How are you getting on with that new boss of yours ?", the young man, apparently Diodoros, asked.
Terentius looked somewhat embarrassed.
"Well actually this (and Terentius gestured to Marcus) is the 'new boss'.
Marcus Octavianus Gracchus - Dominus of the House of Gracchus."
"Oh.... I see. Sorry !", the young Diodoros said, rather sheepishly.
Diodorus knew Terentius (who would regularly send Philipos, or some other slave, to collect the rent), and he knew that Terentius had a new boss. What he didn't realize was that Marcus - (the new boss) -was his landlord - (Marcus owned huge swathes of the inner city of Rome) - and was also now his patron, and that Marcus was not only very wealthy but also very influential. If he had he might have been a little more polite at their first meeting.
"Now Diodoros - that is your name ?", Marcus began.
(Diodoros nodded).
Apelles' Sketch for an Etruscan Funerary Urn
"I have a drawing here, made by my artist, Apelles.
It's based on a an Etruscan design.....
It is a design for a funerary urn - to be made in black basalt and decorated with gold ornamentation."
Marcus handed the sketch to Diodoros.
"The dimensions are on the back.", Marcus added.
Diodoros looked at the sketch carefully, turned it over, and pursed his lips.
"You really want it in basalt ?", he asked.
"Yes.",Marcus answered sharply.
"You know that basalt is very, very hard, and difficult to carve ?", Diodoros said, shaking his head.
"Yes.", Marcus replied.
"Well this is going to be very expensive, and that's not taking into consideration the gold." Diodoros continued.
"Well you can discuss the financial side with Terentius." Marcus explained.
That remark made Diodoros look very concerned.
He was all too aware that Terentius was a remarkably astute business man, and knew that Terentius' ability regarding 'haggling' was legendary in the markets of Rome.
"So, may I ask, Domine.... "
"Dominus.", Terentius interrupted.
"I'm sorry.... may I ask, Dominus who this urn is for ?", Diodoros asked, wondering if maybe Marcus was going to try to sell it on as a genuine 'Etruscan' piece.
"It is to take the ashes of my dear and recently deceased father, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus - and is to be placed in his mausoleum." Marcus said, and with that he left the shop, too upset to continue.
Diodoros looked at Terentius - Terenius looked at Diodorus.
"I think you should have been a little more polite - and not asked unnecessary questions" Terentius said coldly.
He could be a very good customer for you....".
Quickly Marcus 'pulled himself together', and crossed the street and entered the  thermopolium.
"Is everything all right Marcus ?", Petronius asked, sensing that Marcus was obviously hiding some upset.
The boys, who were chatting, instantly looked up, startled that Petronius had used Marcus' first name, rather that address him as 'Dominus'.
"Yes, it's fine.
The Greek boy (Marcus said 'Greek' with unusual disdain) is going to make the urn, and now Terentius is agreeing a price.", Marcus replied, but his voice was strained.
"Well, I feel sorry for the 'Greek boy'.", Petronius quipped.
"With Terentius, he'll probably end up paying for the privilege of making the thing !"
By joking Petronius hoped to try put things right for Marcus - as he knew that the whole business of the urn and the mausoleum was upsetting Marcus.
"So now boys, as soon as Terentius has finished his business, we can help Petronius choose some new guys for our arena !", Marcus said, trying to lighten the mood.
The lads cheered, Petronius paid for the food and drinks, and then they waited outside the  thermopolium for Terentius.
'Buying Slaves' - Once Terentius arrived, they started out for the slave market, which, fortunately, was quite near by.
Location of the 'Graecostadium'
The Slave Market was situated in the area called the 'Graecostadium' behind the Basilica Julia in the Roman Forum. The name 'Graecostadium' means 'market for Greek slaves'. Some of the first large numbers of Roman slaves came from Greece. The sale of slaves at the Slave Market was conducted in many ways in the exactly the same way as other goods and wares. The sellers would emphasize the features and benefits and any unique selling points. Slaves for sale were normally stood naked on revolving stands so the buyers could see exactly what they were purchasing. New arrivals brought from abroad were put on display with one foot whitened with chalk. Roman law demanded that dealers disclosed the ethnic origin (natio) of the slaves they were selling, so placards (tituli) were hung from the necks of the slaves for sale detailing their nationality, origin, abilities, their good and, less frequently, their bad points. The prices and costs of slaves varied considerably according to age, skills and qualities of the slave. Untrained slaves were priced about 12 times less than a skilled slave. Slaves of great beauty and rarity were not exhibited to public gaze in the common slave market, but were shown to purchasers in private.

for more information about slavery go to

For the slaves for the arena, Terentius, not wanting to spend too much, headed for the public slave market.
Later he would take Demetrius to a private, 'classy' establishment, to obtain a high quality slave-boy.
The buying of slaves for the arena was the part of the trip that the boys had been eagerly anticipating.
When they arrived at the slave market, Terentius and Petronius went off to see some of the venalicius, (slave traders), who were organizing the sales, with the intention of encouraging them (with a bribe) to mount a sale of suitable boys and young men for the arena, while Marcus, standing discretely where he would not be noticed, looked after Adonios,  Aurarius and Demetrius - that part of the slave market was not only not salubrious, but could also be dangerous.
Terentius, was well known by the venalicius in this market, and they knew that he was likely to make numerous purchases, so they gathered together a group of likely looking lads for him and Petronius to view.
Terentius, being a 'special customer', was subsequently taken to a private area of the market.
There a particular venalicius (dealer), called Faustus ('Lucky'), a close friend of Terentius, (and actually a 'client' of the 'late Dominus' and therefore now a 'client' of Marcus) organized a sale.
This was the way that Terentius liked to do business.
Although Terentius was initially charged slightly over the normal price, as it was not an auction and there was no problem about 'bidding' against other buyers - it was simply a question of Terentius 'haggling' with Faustus, - and if Terentius bought in quantity, then he would obviously not be expected to pay the 'extra', but would be given a very good price.
So Faustus started presenting his boys, while Petronius and Terentius looked on.
At that point Adonios, Aurarius and Demetrius crept up to get a good look at the naked youths.
Marcus himself hung back - this was not really his business, and slave-buying upset him, for obvious reasons.
Although Marcus was very much involved in the presentation of the Ludi, he had no expertise in the selection of contestants for the arena, so he left that to the remarkably practiced eye of Petronius.
Terentius, himself, was not particularly attracted to boys (despite his close connection with young Phillipos), and knew very little about the activities in the arena, whereas Petronius was a connoisseur of attractive boys, as well as knowledgeable about assessing boys physiques for their potential as fighters.
Little by little the boys being brought forward were separated into two groups - the rejects and those who would be taken to the Domus, and later to the Ludus at Baiae.
The boys of whom Petronius was unsure would be questioned.
Petronius was obviously anxious to know if they had any previous experience of combat, or if they had trained in a gymnasion, or wrestled or boxed.
Apart from answering questions, Petronius would also get them to flex their muscles.
With some boys he would feel their muscle tone, and test their strength with an impromptu, but friendly, wrestling hold.
Faustus, who had never met Petronius before, was very impressed with Terentius' new colleague, and realized that if Petronius were to attend his sales in future he would have to offer some really good quality boys.
Eventually twenty boys were selected and Faustus, who knew where to deliver the purchases, finalized the price, and was paid by Terentius.
"Who is that young man you have with you ?" Faustus finally asked.
"That is Petronus, Tribunus to my master, and 'Dominus de Baiae Arenam' (Master of the Arena in Baiae)." Terentius replied.
And Faustus was very impressed.

'A Slave-Boy for Demetrius' - Having bought a good number of slaves for the Ludus, Marcus, Terentius, Petronius, Adonios, Aurarius and Demetrius made their way to what appeared to be a large 'town house' a few minutes walk away from the slave market.
This was a private establishment which specialized in supplying very expensive and high quality slaves of both sexes.
Now by modern standards the idea of buying a young teenage boy for the purposes of sex may seem not only odd (and possibly repugnant) but also immoral. In Rome, at the time of our story, however, such behavior among the upper classes was considered perfectly normal and correct. It was thought to be far from satisfactory- for both medical reasons and for the formation of character - for a young Roman patrician to grow up without any regular sexual outlet. Casual girlfriends (or boyfriends) were socially unacceptable, (teenage patrician girls and boys rarely met socially, and boys and girls never met without a chaperone). Slave girls were considered inappropriate because of the inconvenience of 'periods', and the very likely possibility of pregnancy. The solution to these problems was the male 'concubinus'.
Not surprisingly, Terentius was also known in this establishment.
"Salvete vera Domine ! (Greetings , esteemed sir)", the proprietor said as Terentius entered.
"Salve !", Terentius replied.
"I am am sorry to burden you with so many of my associates, but one of my group wishes to select for himself your finest slave-boy.", Terentius explained.
"That is no problem, Domine (sir)," the proprietor replied.
"We can accommodate these gentlemen .... refreshments will be served, but I presume that the purchaser would prefer to select the boy on his own, or with just selected companions ?", the proprietor suggested.
High Class Brothel Boys in Rome
Petronius was fascinated, as the whole procedure reminded him very much of the high class brothel close to the Esquiline - (see left) that he and Servius had visited on their ill-favored visit to Rome, (a brothel visit that he had revealed to no one at the villa).
A slave ushered the group into a well appointed atrium, while Terentius and the proprietor spoke quietly in the exedram (hallway)
"In this case the purchaser is the guardian of the young man in question - who has reached the age where it has become appropriate for him to have a concubinus, so we need a very attractive young boy, who can provide sexual services for his young master, however, the boy must not be in any way effeminate - I am sure that you know what I mean.
The slave in question should be just slightly younger than his master, who is about fourteen years, and should be slightly shorter in stature.
We prefer a Greek boy, or one who speaks Greek, but he should also understand and speak some Latin.
Payment, on agreeing a price, shall be made in gold, and the boy be delivered today to the Domus Gracchi, on the Esquiline."
The proprietor was obviously impressed by the clear and precise description of the boy required, and at the mention of the Domus Gracchi he raised an eyebrow, realizing that he had a very wealthy customer.
He quickly spoke in whispers to a young man, presumably a slave, who then went off to select some possibly suitable boys.
"Perhaps the young man, and maybe his esteemed guardian would like to come this way.", the proprietor suggested.
Terentius then went to fetch Marcus and Demetrius from the atrium, while Adonios and Aurarius desperately struggled to look serious and mature.
Petronius had decided to stay with the boys as, much as he would have liked to see the slave-boys on show, he thought that too many people around when Demetrius was making a difficult decision might not be a good thing.
The proprietor then led Terentius, Marcus and Demetrius into a moderately sized room, where they were offered chairs.
Presentation of Slaves
Then from a curtained, columned entrance four boys, all completely naked, emerged.
"Now take as long a you like, and if none of the boys appeals to you, then we have plenty more.",the proprietor explained gently to Demetrius.
One of the boy's was tall, blonde and well-endowed.
One was red haired, and looked rather petulant
Two were dark haired.
"Any of those that you like ?", Marcus asked softly.
Demetrius was still very shy about the whole matter, but realized that he needed to make a choice, and that it was important that he got it right.
"I like the boy slightly to the right - showing off his muscles. - " he finally said. "the one with the dark hair."
"Ah, the iuvenes dominum has a good eye." the proprietor said encouragingly.
"That's good.......
"Get rid of the other three, and show the boy some more !", Terentius said firmly.
"Of course.......
And may I ask who is the guardian of our young master ?", the proprietor asked.
"This gentleman is the boy's guardian - Dominus Marcus Octavianus Gracchus.", Terentius said, indicating Marcus.
"Oh... we are honoured." the proprietor stammered, not having realized how eminent was his customer.
"Bring three more boys - the best !" he called.
Three more very handsome and naked boys made their way past the curtains.
Two of them, to Marcus' taste', appeared to be somewhat effeminate, and one was decidedly over muscled - and was probably older than Terentius had stipulated.
"What do you think ?", Marcus asked Demetrius.
"I still like the dark haired one.", Demetrius insisted, smiling.
"Right !", Marcus said to the proprietor. "Let's have a closer look at - and a word with - the one on the extreme right, with dark hair."
With a flick of his wrist the proprietor dismissed the other boys, leaving the one that Demetrius had indicated standing alone.
Marcus rose from his seat and approached the dark haired boy - and Marcus was pleased to see that the boy held his ground, while keeping his eyes lowered.

"This is Mikkos." the proprietor announced, "but obviously you may change his name if you do not find that suitable."
"So... Mikkos...", Marcus said, getting hold of the boy's head, and opening his mouth to inspect his teeth and tongue, "Do you speak Greek ?".
Once Marcus had finished his inspection the naked boy answered.
"Yes, Dominus - I speak Greek.", the boy replied, appropriately in excellent Greek.
"And I also speak Latin.", the boy boldly continued, but now in Latin.
"Are you sexually experienced, or are you a virgin, Mikkos ?" Marcus then asked.
"I am sexually experienced - many times." Mikkos answered,again boldly.
"And do you think that you could satisfy my young nephew here ?", Marcus asked pointedly.
"Yes Dominus. I believe that he would enjoy me." Mikkos answered, just slightly cheekily.
"And do you find him attractive ?", Marcus asked, turning away from Demetrius, and speaking quietly to Mikkos.
"Yes - I think that the iuvenes dominum is a very attractive, noble young man."
"Well - Mikkos... you answer very well - and, may I say, very cleverly - but do not think for a moment to deceive me - for I'm a dangerous man - as those who have crossed me, and are now in Hades, well know.", Marcus said grimly, wishing to establish (as usual) his ultimate and complete authority.
"I understand, ver Dominus.....
If I become the slave of the iuvenes dominum, I will be true to him, and to you, Dominus - always." Mikkos, answered.
Marcus was surprised by this answer.
It was eloquent, and quite moving, coming from one so young.
The proprietor, also surprised by the response of his slave, smiled and nodded.
"You see, Dominus, this boy shall be an excellent investment."
"So...Demetrius... you want this boy ?" Marcus asked, turning to Demetrius.
"Yes.... thank you Domine." Demetrius replied.
"Good !", Marcus mumbled, glad to be finished.
It was the first time that Marcus had personally bought a slave, and it brought back difficult memories of the time when he had been bought by Terentius in Brundisium.
"I will leave you to deal the the business, Terentius.", Marcus said briskly.
Terentius was no fool, and realized that this purchase of a slave-boy had been difficult for Marcus, so he quickly made a deal with the proprietor, without spending too much time haggling.
"Send the boy over to the domus before sunset, fully and well clothed, and with the appropriate documents.
Your man should contact Nicander - the chief steward - at the Domus.", Terentius explained.
Terentius then entered the atrium, where he found Marcus and Petronius chatting, while Adonios, Aurarius and Demetrius were giggling in a corner.
"Well, boys will be boys !" Terentius remarked, looking towards to giggling group.
"So, Dominus, are we ready to return to the Domus ?", Terentius asked.
"Yes, and let's have a rest, a drink and some food.", Marcus said, relieved that the supposedly 'relaxing' shopping trip was finally over.
Together they walked, hot and dusty, after their foray into the city.
Marcus walked with Terentius - Petronius walked with Demetrius, and Adonios had his arm around Aurarius' shoulder as they shared a joke (probably at Demetrius' expense).
Not surprisingly, poor Demetrius would remain the butt of a number of joke between the boys until they managed to get Mikkos to tell them about the kind of 'performance' that Demetrius had managed.
Romans, and particularly Roman boys, at the time of our story, had a very 'earthy' sense of humor.
"So what do you think about the boy ?", Terentius asked Marcus.
"He's very attractive - but I think a little bold and forward.", Marcus replied, and then paused.
"I do hope he won't be any trouble.", Marcus added.
"Well may I suggest, Dominus, that you keep your eye on him, and bring him up sharp if he oversteps his position.
It would be a shame to see all that gold wasted on a young corpse in the arena.", Terentius said.
"Don't worry, my friend. I can't see it ending up like that......
Probably young Demetrius and Mikkos will become completely infatuated with one another - be inseparable - and live 'happily ever after'."
"Yes,", Terentius replied, unusually wistfully, "I do hope so.
Demetrius deserves some happiness in his life.


'Back at the Domus' - Wearily they climbed the huge, white marble staircase leading to the huge bronze doors of the main entrance.
"Why did the 'late Dominus' have to make so many stairs in this place ?", Adonios moaned.
"To keep you fit, Adonios." Petronius replied.
The massive gilded bronze doors opened, and there was Nicander, waiting for them.
"So good of you to greet us, Nicander !", Marcus said smiling, (having taken a secret oath to be much more pleasant to his chief steward.)
"And good to see all of you !", Nicander replied, trying to be equally pleasant and friendly.
"And I have twenty strapping young lads waiting for you.", Nicander added.
"That's good !", Marcus replied, "but the're for Petronius - not for me.", Marcus answered grinning, implying that Petronius had a huge sexual appetite.
"And now we need some snacks and something to drink - if you could arrange that.", Marcus suggested - ever so politely - to Nicander.
"Of course Dominus.", Nicander replied, calling over a slave at the same time.
"It has all been prepared, and this slave will take you to the Atrium.", Nicander continued.
Marcus then spoke to Nicander, while the others made their way into the main atrium.
"Now before we go, - I have bought a very special slave for Demetrius.
He will not be put on the 'slave roll' of the Domus, as he will be coming back with us to villa at Baiae.
He will be staying in the apartments of the iuvenes dominum, so please make sure that there is a suitably appointed room for him there.
When he arrives, please send him up to my apartments.
He is called Mikkos.
Make him welcome, and show him respect, as he will be one of the senior slave-boys, along with Adonios and Aurarius."
"Of course, Dominus - I shall be waiting for him.", Nicander replied.
"As for the 'strapping boys', you had better speak to Petronius.", Marcus concluded, as he made his way to the atrium.
Nicander did speak to Petronius about the slaves, and an unused dormitory in the dingy basement was found for their temporary accommodation.
Once the lads had been fed and bathed, Petronius, eager to get a look at his new charges, took them to the Gymnasion, on the ground floor, and put them through their paces.
Petronius, accompanied by his ever faithful Adonios, at last had found something, (which for him was meaningful), to do in the vast palace of the Domus.
Terentius, before he got back to his endless scrolls and calculations, spent an hour regaling Novius, who had stayed in the Domus that morning sorting out the scrolls of the 'late Dominus' in Marcus' private library, with an account of the trip into the city, and Demetrius' choice of his slave-boy.
View from the Roof gardens of the Domus Gracchii
Meanwhile, with Aurarius and Elatos tidying up Marcus' apartments, and checking on a very dozy Glaux, Marcus took Demetrius up to the roof garden for a look over the city, and a talk.
Marcus pointed out some of the main building that he could recognize from his reading about the city, and what he had been told by Terentius and Novius, but young Demetrius was more familiar with the city than Marcus, having lived there throughout his childhood.
Marcus then got Demetrius to sit down on one of the many marble benches, and spoke to him about his choice of slave-boy.
"I think you made a good choice with that boy today.", Marcus said, encouragingly.
"Yes Domine, but it was difficult.
There didn't seem to be much time - and I chose him because he looked nice, but I didn't have a chance to talk to him.", Demetrius said hesitantly.
"He's a good looking boy, but a bit bold, - and clever - so I think that you will have to be firm with him.
What you must remember is that you are the master, and he is just your slave.
I know that's difficult, as you have yourself been a slave for so long - as I was - but you must forget your previous ways - and become strong.
You must be firm with him, and then, as he comes to respect you, in time, he may well become your 'friend', but remember... he will always be your slave, unless you free him, as I did with Petronius.
Marcus turned away and looked out over the city.
"So.... the sun is low in the sky.
The boy will soon be delivered to the Domus... so what are you going to do with him when he arrives ?", Marcus asked, testing Demetrius.
"Well I will go down to the main atrium, and then take him up to my apartment.", Demetrius answered.
"Wrong !", Marcus replied emphatically.
"You will get a domus slave to take him up to your apartments, where he will be left waiting outside.
Meanwhile, you will while away some time having a drink of wine (to hopefully give you some extra confidence), while he gets nervous waiting for you.", Marcus explained.
"You will then go up to you apartments, taking your time, so you don't arrive breathless from all those stairs."
"I see, Domine.", Demetrius replied, nodding, and beginning to see what Marcus was trying to explain.
"You will then show him the apartments, going quickly through the atrium, to show him the kitchen, where he will work.
You will then show him your dressing room, and all your clothes, and shoes etc, which he will have to organize for you.
You will then show him the bedroom - the bed which he will have to make every day, and the same bed on which he will have to 'service' you, when you require it.
You will then show him the bathing suite, and the area, where he will shave your body (in the future, presumably), and massage you.
Finally you will show him the Triclinium where he will serve you when you eat, and also entertain guests for meals.
And finally show him his room - where he will sleep, when he is not sleeping with you."
"Yes, Domine.", Demetrius said.
"So you see, I hope, young Demetrius, what I am trying to explain to you ?", Marcus queried.
"Yes, I see very well, Domine", Demetrius said, with unusual confidence.
"I am to show Mikkos that he is a slave, and not a guest... Show him that he will be working for me."
"Quite right, boy !", Marcus replied with a smile.
"I think that you should make a good 'Dominus', one day".'
Demetrius looked surprised.
He had accepted the title 'iuvenes dominum' (young master), simply as an affectionate courtesy title, usually applied to the young male relatives of wealthy Roman families.
This, however, was the first time the lofty title of 'Dominus' had ever been mentioned in connection with himself.
He wondered if it was a mere  'slip of the tongue' on Marcus' part, or if there was some greater significance to Marcus' use of the word.
Marcus, however, had used the title purposefully, as he had been thinking long and hard about the future for Demetrius, and the future of the House of Gracchus.
"Domine..... should I have sex with Mikkos tonight ?", Demetrius asked, diffidently.
"I really think so." Marcus replied firmly.
"You're not nervous about it....are you ?", Marcus asked gently.
"No..not at all.. but I didn't want to seem too eager." Demetrius replied.
"I see.
Well I think it's important to start as you mean to go on....and you must impose your authority on him as soon as possible....and what better way than penetrating the boy ?".
Demetrius nodded in agreement.
"It a bit like when we have our boy wrestlers in the arena, and the winner finishes off by fucking the boy he's beaten - to show that he's completely dominant.
Now I don't think it's a good idea to treat your encounters with Mikkos like a wrestling match.....,"
Demetrius shook his head.
"But everything that you do - early on  - should be designed to show that you are dominant.
That is the mark of a Roman man.
Remember 'viriliter agite(Latin - act in a manly way)."
Marcus paused, noticing that the sun was actually setting.
"Now let's go and see if this boy has arrived yet. ", Marcus said, and the two of them slowly made their way down the seemingly endless stairs to the main atrium.
"And, remember, when you first have sex with this boy - don't do it face to face, like you are 'making love' to him !
Do it from behind, so it's clear that you are simply 'dominating' him.", Marcus advised, as they finally reached the ground floor.
For more information regarding aggression and dominance in Roman sexual relationships see:the 'Preface' - and scroll down to the section 'Ancient Roman Sexuality'
And when they arrived at the main atrium, there was Nicander, sitting and chatting with Terentius, while close by stood an obviously totally overawed Mikkos.
Nicander and Terentius immediately rose, on seeing Marcus, each giving a slight bow, and using the Latin greeting 'Salve Dominis'.
"I see you have our new boy with you.", Marcus said, putting both men at ease and encouraging them to be seated again.
With a quick click of his fingers, Nicander gave a sign to a nearby slave boy to bring a chair for Marcus, as neither Nicander nor Terentius would sit while Marcus was standing.
Quite pointedly Marcus gave the new seat to Demetrius, and waited for another chair to be brought for himself.
Eventually all four were seated, leaving only Mikkos (quite rightly) standing.
Mikkos, no longer naked, was now wearing a fine, but plain, short white linen tunic.
His luxuriant dark hair had been obviously skillfully brushed, and his lips betrayed the use of some rouge.
"Wipe that stuff off the boy's lips." Marcus said, with obvious disgust, and a slave instantly scuttled off, and returned moments later with a cloth.
Terentius smiled, thinking it was so like Marcus to insist that 'boys should be boys', and definitely not effeminate.
"So, Nicander, what do you think of Demetrius' choice for his first slave-boy ?", Marcus asked.
"He is....", and Nicander chose his words very carefully, "very beautiful - or rather handsome.", Nicander replied, quickly correcting himself in mid sentence.
"I can well understand why you didn't want Demetrius to choose a boy from the Domus.
We have many attractive young men here, but none to compare to this fine lad."
Marcus nodded, pleased with Nicander's assessment, while Demetrius blushed.
"He's so 'handsome' because he was so expensive !", Terentius said, mimicking Nicander's use of the word handsome and, as usual, reminding Marcus of the expenditure involved, - but his smiling, relaxed demeanour indicted that he was, to a great extent, jesting.
"So what are we doing tonight, Dominus ?", Nicander asked.
"Well I want a quiet night.
I have to draft a reply to the letter that Titus Vespasianus sent me yesterday, and then I think that I shall spend some time on the roof garden reading." , Marcus replied, rising from his seat, and omitting to mention his plans regarding himself and Aurarius.
"And I have a lot of work to catch up on.", Terentius said, also getting up.
"So if you will excuse me, Dominus, I will return to my officium." (I don't think 'officium' really needs translating).
Nicander then rose from his seat as Marcus indicated that Demetrius should give the appropriate instruction for Mikkos to be taken to the 'area nobilis'.
A slave quickly arrived, and took Mikkos, who looked thoroughly bemused, to a side, service stairway, while Marcus and Terentius mounted the vast flight of steps leading to the next floor.
Meanwhile, Demetrius, discretely followed by an attending slave-boy, wandered off to spend some time in one of the many peristyle gardens, (as Marcus had advised), and during this time Mikkos would be nervously kicking his heels in one of the long, high corridors on the 'area nobilis'.
Eventually, and trying to hide his nervousness, Demetrius dismissed his attendant slave-boy, and made his way up the stairs to his apartments.
There he found Mikkos waiting.
When Demetrius approached, the stunningly handsome lad gave a respectful bow.
"Ego sum servus tuus, Dominus !", ('I am your slave, my lord !'.) he said quietly, in superb Latin, with barely a trace of a Greek accent.
"It is Iuvenes Dominum.", Demetrius said curtly.
"The title 'Dominus', for your use, is reserved for Marcus Octavianus Gracchus.
Do you understand ?", Demetrius continued.
"Yes, Iuvenes Dominum.
Forgive me, I did not know.", Mikkos answered subserviently.
While this little charade was taking place, the Domus guards, who were stationed outside Demetrius' apartments opened the large bronze doors.
Demetrius entered, followed by Mikkos.
As Mikkos entered the vestibulum, leading to the atrium, he looked around, wide eyed.
Never before had Mikkos seen such a magnificent room.
The walls of the atrium were divided into decorative areas by Tuscan pilasters, and were inlaid in marble, as was the floor.
Although the atrium was not open to the sky, (there being other floors above), it still had an impluvium, fed by a small fountain in the center.
The impluvium is the sunken part of the atrium in a Roman domus. Designed originally to carry away the rainwater coming through the compluvium (opening in the roof), it is usually made of marble and placed about 30 cm below the floor of the atrium.
The atrium was furnished with gilded bronze furniture; the chairs and couches upholstered in pale blue silk - all designed by Apelles, and installed under the direction of Terentius, on the orders of Marcus.
The tables were of bronze with white marble surfaces, and in the corners were situated massive, column shaped gilded bronze lamp stands.
Demetrius then led Mikkos to the large culina (kitchen), and then continued to show the boy round the rest of the apartment in the exact order that Marcus had instructed him earlier.
Now, having completed the 'tour', Demetrius was not quite sure what to do next - as Marcus not had not gone into that much detail, and it should be remembered, at this point, that Demetrius had spent all of his previous short life taking orders from others.
"Go to the kitchen and bring me some well watered wine, Mikkos.", Demetrius then ordered the boy, and flopped down onto one of the luxurious couches, desperately thinking of how to manage the rest of the evening.
He was finding it almost impossible to maintain the posture of the stern Iuvenes Dominum - so he decided to be neither friendly nor formal, but rather give the boy a general interview.
Mikkos returned, and placed a fine gold goblet on a small white marble table, close to Demetrius. 
"Sit on the floor in front of me, Mikkos....I want to talk to you."
Mikkos obediently sat cross-legged in front of Demetrius.
"So where do you come from, Mikkos ?", Demetrius asked, trying not to sound too friendly.
"I came originally from Δεκέλεια (Dekelia), in Αττική (Attica)" (where Atticus came from - remember him ?). Mikkos replied.
"And you speak Greek ?", Demetrios asked.
"Yes.", Mikkos replied, looking slightly peeved.
"It's my natural language." he explained, showing just a hint of annoyance.
"Of course,", Demetrius replied, realizing that his questioning was sounding rather foolish.
"So.... I also speak Greek. My mother brought me up speaking Greek.", Demetrius added, trying to placate Mikkos, "So perhaps it may be easier if we spoke Greek to one another."
"Yes, Iuvenes Dominum, if that is your wish.", Mikkos answered, obviously not really caring.
"And how did you become a slave ?".Demetrius continued.
"My family sold me to pay off some of their debts.", Mikkos said rather morosely.
"And how old were you when you became a slave ?" Demetrius asked.
"I don't know - but I was bought by an old, rich lady, and then, not long ago, she died, and I was sold to this dealer who took me to Rome, where he said he could get a good price for me, and a good master, and then he sold me to the dealer that you met - and then you bought me.", Mikkos explained, seeming to open up for some reason.
"I see.", Demetrius replied, beginning to feel sympathy for the lad.
"Well I don't want to offend you, but I don't like the name Mikkos, and as all the senior slave boys have names beginning with 'A', I think that your name  should begin with the letter A, as well."
"It is for you to decide, Iuvenes Dominum." Mikkos answered, knowing that he would have no say in the matter.
"Good. Like the other boys you should have a Latin name....... I think that I shall call you....", and Demetrius paused for a moment, thinking about the various suitable Latin names beginning with 'A' - and there were not many.
"I think I shall call you 'Aelius'."
Strictly speaking  Aelius was a family name - rather than a first name, and it was derived from the Greek word ‘ηλιος (Helios) - the name of the handsome young sun god whom the Romans equated with the God Apollo (which is odd, considering how important Apollo is in our story). Coincidentally it was also one of the names of Marcus' (now deceased) natural father, Gaius Agrippa Aelius - but Demetrius was not aware of that fact.

Chariot of Apollo
Ἀπόλλων (Apollo) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the 'kouros' (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, and poetry. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis (she's the one with the owl - Glaux). Apollo is known in Etruscan mythology as Apulu. Apollo was an oracular god - a prophetic deity. Hermes - (Mercury), Gnaeus Gracchus' original patron god, created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called 'paeans'. In Hellenistic and Roman times, as 'Apollo-Helios', he became identified with the sun god Helios (Aelius). Apollo revealed himself to the Romans at Cumæ, through the Cumæn Sibyl. 'Apollo Phoebus' is the patron God of Marcus Octavianus Gracchus, and was also the patron God of Gaius Octavian - the 'Divine Augustus'.
Portrait of Aelius
In his study, Marcus Octavianus Gracchus was concentrating on drafting a rough reply to Titus, while
Aurarius watched over his shoulder, and Elatos playfully 'fluffed up' Glaux.
Aurarius - Laboriously Trying to Read the Latin Script
Aurarius was laboriously trying to read the Latin script, but he found it difficult as he had not been studying all that long with Lucius, his Latin tutor.
Before being bought by Marcus, Aurarius had never been taught to read or write, in Greek or in Latin, and even speaking and understanding Latin had been difficult for him.
Aurarius, however, was remarkably intelligent, and with the help of Marcus and Lucius he was making good progress with his Latin.
Later, when Marcus had completed the reply to Titus, he would send Aurarius (not Elatos, as he was not yet trusted with such confidential material) up to Quintus, Terentius' scriba (secretary), who would produce a magnificently lettered copy (often correcting Marcus' Latin grammar, which was still not as good as it should be).
On completion, some time later, Philipos would return the draft, and Quintus' copy, to Marcus.
If Marcus approved, Philipos would then heat the wax and apply it to the document, and Marcus would impress his seal, and sign the document.
Aurarius was getting bored with trying to read Marcus' boring letter.
"I wonder how Demetrius is getting on with Mikkos "?, Aurarius said, somewhat suggestively.
"Wouldn't you like to know !", Marcus replied, with  a twinkle in his eye.
"Very much !", Aurarius replied enthusiastically.
"Now remember, tomorrow, when you meet Demetrius, don't make a nuisance of yourself.", Marcus advised.
"After all, I don't think that people have been asking you about what you do with me.", Marcus continued.
"That's true, but then people are frightened of you.", Aurarius replied, but only half joking.
Marcus didn't reply, but the thought worried him.

Having filled in some time talking to his new slave, and changing the boy's name, Demetrius, feeling hungry, decided to send the boy on his first task.
"Do you know how to get down to the next floor, Aelius ?", Demetrius asked, deliberately using the boy's new name.
"Yes, Iuvenes Dominum.", Aelius replied, rising to his feet.
"When you get there, ask any slave where the kitchens are, and then go there and bring me some  vesperna (supper) - and some for yourself.", Demetrius explained.
"And what dishes do you require, Iuvenes Dominum ?", Aelius queried.
"Anything - whatever you're having." Demetrius replied, anxious for the boy to be off.
 Aelius, quietly and discretely left the apartments.
Demetrius realized that, as the hour was getting late, soon he would have to do what was required, and establish his authority in no uncertain terms by having sex with the new boy - but he was grateful for a few moments alone to prepare himself for the task.
While he was waiting for Aelius to return with vesperna, Demetrius began puzzling over something odd that Aelius had said previously.
When Marcus had asked Aelius if he had previous sexual experience, Aelius had replied that he was not a virgin - yet when Aelius had answered Demetrius' questions, he had said he was previously owned by an old lady - and that seemed a little odd.
Regardless, Demetrius rationalized that other than the old lady, there would probably have been plenty of other men and boys in Aelius' life who could have had sex with him, but it just worried Demetrius that the boy could be dissembling.
Moments later there was a soft tap on the door, and Aelius entered along with another slave-boy.
They were both bearing trays.
Aelius took his tray to his cublicum, while the other slave boy placed the larger tray on one of the many tables in the Atrium.
"If you wish to sit here for your meal, Iuvenes Dominum, I will bring you a chair.", the slave-boy said deferentially.
Demetrius nodded, took his place on the proffered chair, and sat waiting while the slave-boy fussed, and arranged the dishes on the table.
Meanwhile, Aelius had returned with a drink, and a large linen napkin; both brought from the kitchen.
Demetrius then dismissed both the kitchen slave-boy and Aelius.

'Play on the cymbal, the timbal, the lyre;
Play with appropriate passion.
Fashion songs of delight and delicious desire
For the night of my nights.
Come where the so well beloved is waiting,
Where the rose and the jasmine mingle
While I tell him the moon is for mating
And 'tis sin to be single!'
'Night of My Nights' - Later, having finished his meal, Demetrius called for  Aelius to clear the table.
"I am going to retire now.", Demetrius told Aelius.
"When you have finished washing the plates, goblets and utensils - tidy up in here, and then undress - completely - and come to my cubiculum lectuli (bedroom).
I will be waiting for you."
Now young Aelius knew precisely why he was to go to Demetrius' bedroom, and what would happen there, and he knew that it was important, on this first occasion, that he did everything correctly, and that his new master was, in the end, completely satisfied.
Demetrius was lying on the huge bed, wearing just a small, white loincloth (Roman men and boys didn't wear pyjamas, as they had not been invented yet - and Roman males would think pyjamas extremely 'effeminate' - probably rightly so).
"Come on the bed - lie on your front - and raise your backside !", Demetrius ordered Aelius brusquely.
Demetrius knew the position well, as he had, when a slave, had to take up the position many times for Menelaus - and sometimes Menelaus' friends.
Demetrius then knelt behind his prone slave.
By the bed there was a small table, and standing on the table was a small ampulla (a roughly spherical Roman flask, with two small handles), containing olive oil.
Crude, unthinking Roman men would simply spit on their right hand, and then transfer the spit to the 'head' of their penis - as a poor form of lubrication.
Demetrius was more sophisticated, and used a very light 'virgin' olive oil.
Aelius said nothing and lay still.
He well understood that his role on this occasion was to be completely passive.
Demetrius then sat astride Aelius prone body, and guided his very stiff and swollen prick up against young Aelius' twitching 'hole.
Demetrios and Aelius
Then quite slowly and gently he pushed forwards, forcing Aelius' anal sphincter to open.
Aelius groaned very softly as he felt Demetrius enter him.
Aelius had not actually seen Demetrius naked, as he had been facing away when Demetrius had removed his loincloth, and he was surprised at the size that he felt inside himself, as his young master slowly slid the entire length of his eager 'tool' into him.
Demetrius moaned, instinctively, as he revelled in the tightness of his fine young slave.
He then started thrusting, slowly at first, and then with increasing speed and insistence.
Slowly Demetrius became more and more excited - this was, after all, the first time that he had penetrated anyone.
Soon he was practically sitting on top of young Aelius, as he desperately tried to completely impale the boy on his rock-hard penis.
Demetrius knew that he was going to climax soon - but didn't want to reach the point of orgasm, as he wanted to the sex to go on forever - (he was, after all still young and inexperienced).
Soon, however, he felt the approach of the inevitable.
"Oh fuck !..... I'm cumming...!", Demetrius groaned loudly.
And then he erupted inside his squirming slave-boy, and his hot thick 'seed' gushed into young  Aelius, who also groaned as he felt to warmth of Demetrius' 'seed', and the swollen throbbing of his masters' engorged penis, as Demetrius repeatedly thrust, again and again in his final paroxysms of uncontrollable lust.
Very gradually Demetrius calmed down, and then lay, very slowly - and breathing hard - on top of Aelius.
"You were like a magnificent young stallion, Iuvenes Dominum !", Aelius said, catching his breath.
"You pleased me.", Demetrius replied, remembering Marcus' advice, and trying to sound in control and calm - which he wasn't.
At that point all he wanted to do was to take young Aelius, smother him with kisses, explore every part of the handsome young slave's perfect body, and penetrate him repeatedly, but he knew that on this first night he must be the master - and not the 'lover'.
Unsteadily he left the bed, getting to his feet.
"Get up, boy, and come with me to the tepidarium !".
As Aelius rose from the bed, he revealed a large stain on the beautifully embroidered bed cover, where he had ejaculated during their sexual encounter.
"And change the bed cover !", Demetrius ordered, as he saw the stain.
On reaching the tepidarium, Demetrius entered the water, while Aelius stood on the pool side.
"Come on in boy - I want you to wash me !", Demetrius said, finally allowing himself a faint smile.
The bath did not take long, as Demetrius had to desperately control himself in order not to become aroused as Aelius touched him in his most private parts as he thoroughly washed his master.
Having been washed and dried, Demetrius instructed Aelius to return to his own room to sleep, as on that first night, Demetrius had decided to sleep alone.
What the morning would bring, Demetrius did not know, and had not decided.
Almost instantly he fell asleep, exhausted and - at least physically - satisfied - and he dreamed of his new slave boy.
Unfortunately, as for so many other rich Roman boys, for Demetrius, the 'night of his nights' was not really a night of 'delight and delicious desire', but rather of lust and duty.
But hopefully Aelius would eventually become Demetrius' 'so well beloved', and their future 'mating' would be redolent with the scent of  'the rose and the jasmine'.
'The Tragic Irony' - What happened that night in Demetrius' apartment points up well the corrosive effect of the institution of slavery during the Roman Empire.
The Romans were not initially a slave owning culture; (unlike the Greeks - whom we like to fantasize were lovers of liberty and democracy).
In fact, according to the legendary accounts of the origins of the Roman state, the rulers of Rome were keen to be 'inclusive' with regard to the various groups that they conquered (for example the Sabines and the Etruscans)
It was only when their conquests spread beyond the confines of 'Italia', that defeated enemies became slaves, (mainly Carthaginians and Greeks at first).
Gradually the Roman people became almost totally reliant on slaves.
One of the most pernicious effects of slavery was the perversion and warping of the economy, and disruption of Roman politics.
As slaves became more and more numerous, the ordinary 'plebs' - the Roman 'working class' - were no longer required, and became an unemployed and politically unstable 'underclass'.
As slaves didn't buy goods in any quantity, and unemployed 'plebs' didn't buy many goods either, the result was a distorted manufacturing base, dedicated to the support of the military, the government, and providing ridiculously expensive goods for the remarkably small patrician class (see the Preface and scroll down to 'Rich and Poor').
And in a society where there was no 'mass-media', it was the slaves who provided the entertainment, whether it be the 'entertainment' in the arena, - music, dancing, drama or sport  - (and sometimes all of these were present in the amphitheatre) - or other forms of entertainment in the theatre, or at banquets in wealthy patrician homes.
And of course, almost all prostitutes - male and female - were slaves.
Present day objections to slavery are mainly based on the way that slavery invalidates what we believe are 'human rights', but for the Romans there were only the 'rights of the citizen', and slaves were not citizens - in fact, legally slaves were not even people, but rather things - possessions.
Even the 'christians' ('Followers of the Way' - as they were known at the time of our story), while condemning Roman Religion, and the 'divine status' (as they saw it) of the Roman Emperors, had no objection to the institution of slavery, as careful reading of early documents (what we now refer to as the 'new testament' and the 'apocryphal gospels'), will clearly show, despite the attempts of modern 'Christians' to deny the fact.
With regard to Demetrius and Aelius, however, the tragedy was that both boys were caught in a trap  - a trap created by the 'mos maiorum' - the 'ancestral custom', or 'way of the elders', which was the unwritten code from which the Romans derived their social norms.
The 'mos maiorum' is the core concept of Roman morality, distinguished from, but in dynamic complement to the written law.
If Demetrius wanted to be seen as a 'man' (more particularly - 'vir Romanus patricius' - a patrician Roman man), he had no option but to coldly, and (we may well consider) aggressively, use his slave to satisfy his own sexual needs.
Not to be seen as 'vir Romanus patricius' would mean social disgrace and complete ostracism by his own class.
Equally, Aelius was obliged to be totally submissive during the sexual act, and give every indication that he was fortunate to be used in such a way - he  compliments Demetrius on being 'iuvenis equo magnifico' (a magnificent young stallion), but that is simply an overworked and conventional Roman cliché.
Not allowing himself to be used, to object, or not to play a completely submissive role would involve punishment, and even, in the most extreme case - death.
(it should be remembered that the 'paterfamilias' [male head of the household - who was Marcus, as Dominus] had the power of life and death over all the members of the household, including all the slaves).
So - it is ironic and tragic that, for all his privileges, Demetrius, like many young patricians was, in many ways, a friendless, frightened boy, and equally, Aelius, who had no real privileges, was a friendless, frightened slave.

'A New Morning' - Demetrius awoke feeling somewhat depressed.
First there was the question of what he should do with his new slave-boy.
Then he knew he would, sooner or later, have to face his older associates, Marcus, Petronius, Novius and Terentius, and also the other slave boys, particularly Adonios and Aurarius.
"Bonum mane, Iuvenes Dominum !" (Good morning!), Demetrius heard, as he looked around, bleary eyed.
And there was young Aelius, dressed only in a tiny loincloth, and broadly smiling.
"May I bring you your ientaculum (breakfast), Iuvenes Dominum ?", Aelius asked brightly.
"Yes, of course.", Demetrius replied, not really caring.
As Aelius went for the door, the main doors of the apartment swung open, and Marcus entered.
Aelius bowed low, and then scuttled out to get the breakfast.
"Bonum mane, Demetrius !", Marcus called out, respectfully not entering Demetrius' cubiculum lectuli (bedroom).
"Bonum mane, Dominus !", Demetrius replied, hurriedly getting out of bed and getting dressed.
When Demetrius arrived in the atrium, Marcus was standing near the impluvium, smiling.
"Domine mi, - please take a seat !", Demetrius pleaded, embarrassed that he had not been up to greet his guest.
"Gratias tibi !", Marcus replied, seating himself on a couch.
"So how is your new slave-boy ?", Marcus asked.
"You mean last night - in bed ?", Demetrius asked, sheepishly.
"Well - not just that - but if you want to tell me .......", Marcus answered, leaving the option open.
"Oh he was good !", Demetrius said, but no over enthusiastically.
"I did exactly what you advised, and it all went well.", Demetrius explained.
"And you think that you will get on well with the boy ?", Marcus asked, solicitously.
"Yes....he's very attractive... and he's very polite and helpful.", Demetrius replied guardedly.
"But may I ask you something, Dominus ?", Demetrius hesitantly asked.
"Of course !", Marcus replied, as Aelius entered the atrium carrying a well laden tray.
"Excuse  me, venerabiles Dominus !", Aelius said with exaggerated politeness, embarrassed to have interrupted the conversation between Marcus and Demetrius.
"Bring the ientaculum later, - I am having a private conversation with your master.", Marcus said curtly.
"Of course, Dominus.",Aelius replied, and obediently disappeared into the culina.
"Remember, Demetrius, it is always wise not to talk in front of slaves. however much you feel that you can trust them.
That is a lesson that the 'late Dominus' taught me right from the beginning.", Marcus said quietly.
Demetrius nodded.
"So, Demetrius - what is your question ?", Marcus asked quietly.
"How long should I wait before I become a little familiar with the boy - after all, I do like him, and I think that he likes me." Demetrius explained, blushing slightly.
"Yes.... I thought you might be asking that.",Marcus replied.
Marcus thought for a moment.
"Well let me tell you about my own experience.......
Sometime after I came to the villa as a slave, the 'late Dominus' provided me with a slave boy, - a handsome young Greek lad called Cleon.
It was explained that I had to take the dominant role, very much in the way that I explained to you.
It was unusual, as slaves are very rarely given other slaves in this way, but the 'late Dominus' was obviously intending to prepare me for my future role.
Foolishly I became infatuated with Cleon - and he with me (I think) - and we became 'lovers'.
Then, when I was adopted by the 'late Dominus', and given my freedom, he became insanely jealous, and subsequently became part of a conspiracy - along with his friend Glykon, and your 'minder' Menelaus, (working for Marcus Sabinus) to bring down the House of Gracchus.
You saw the other conspirators executed in the arena - but Cleon ran away the night that Glykon attacked me.
Cleon was, however, cruelly tortured, for information, by a group of villa guards, led by Terentius, and was killed.
Subsequently I found it very difficult to get over his death - as I had foolishly 'fallen in love' with him, and only recovered with the help of Novius, and of course young 
Demetrius had listened intently.
"So I am warning you, Demetrius -  be very careful with regard to your feelings about slaves.", Marcus concluded firmly.
Demetrius nodded.
"I will. - Thank you Dominus."
"But now,", Marcus said, "thinking about the boy, he should be taught to read and write - first, I think in Latin, and then Greek - so I will speak to Lucius." (the Latin tutor).
"And also," Marcus continued, "the boy is 'pretty', but a bit scrawny, - so I think I will get Petronius, when he has some time, to build the boy up - and he will also probably need to learn to swim - if you agree." (oddly, unless they had been in the Roman Legions or Navy, most Roman males could not swim).
Demetrius nodded.
"Oh, and he needs a good Roman haircut.
His hair, at the moment, looks a bit 'girly'."
Marcus rose from his seat.
"Now I suggest that you get Aelius to bring you your ientaculum, as today I want to go 'sightseeing', and I would like you to come with me - and bring the boy."
And with that, Marcus left Demetrius' apartments. 

'Sightseeing' in Rome' - (the Romans didn't have a Latin word  for 'sightseeing' - but regardless, there were many wealthy tourists who 'did the sights').
Map of Rome
open in a new tab to enlarge
Not surprisingly Terentius was too busy to do any sightseeing in a city he already knew extremely well.
Novius, however, offered to be the guide or the trip - and Marcus provided a litter for Novius, although Novius declined it, saying that he would only use it if he became tired later.
Petronius and Adonios were keen to see the city, and Aurarius accompanied Marcus, while Elatos stayed with Glaux (who seemed a bit depressed ?) - and Demetrius brought Aelius.
At the time of Marcus' first visit to Rome the capital of the empire was not at its best as the city had been damaged as a result of the 'Great Fire', during the reign of Nero, and subsequently during the 'Year of the Four Emperors' (68-69) prior to Vespasian taking the Imperium.
The first port of call for the band of sightseers  was the Temple of Jupiter, surmounting the Capitoline Hill, directly opposite the Domus Gracchii.
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus'
In 69 A.D. the  Temple of Jupiter, though un-garrisoned and un-plundered, was burned when the Capitol was stormed by the Vitellians, and subsequently rebuilt by Vespasian on its original lines but with still greater height [coins of the period agree in representing this temple as hexastyle, with Corinthian columns, and statues of Jupiter, Juno (left), and Minerva (right), in the three central intercolumniations, but they differ in the number and position of the figures surmounting the pediment - which includes quadrigae, eagles, heads of horses etc.] 
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus
The 'Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus' was more than simply a standard religious building. From its earliest phases, the temple also seems to have been a repository for objects of ritual, cultural, and political significance. For example, the Sibylline Oracles (books containing the prophecy of the Sibyls) were kept at the site, as were some spoils of war, like the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal’s shield. In addition, the temple served as the end point for triumphs, a meeting place for the senate, a location for combined religious and political pageantry, an archive for public records, and a physical symbol of Rome’s supremacy and divine agency.
Then it was down to the Forum.
While Novius explained the significance of various buildings to Marcus and Petronius, the three boys, Adonios, Aurarius and Demetrius, chatted, while Aelius (not yet part of the 'gang', and excluded at the time because the boys were chatted about him), hung back, tailing Marcus.

Marcus, while half listening to Novius, was pleased to see that Adonios and Aurarius were gentle in their questioning of Demetrius, who took their occasional jests in good part.
The Temple of Vesta
The Forum is the centre of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial combats; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men.
The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, (where Terentius had lodged the will making Marcus the heir to the House of Gracchus). Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the 'Umbilicus Urbis' and the 'Vulcanal' (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic's formal 'Comitium' (assembly area). This is where the Senate began. The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually accumulated in the area. The Roman Forum developed gradually, organically, and piecemeal over many centuries. This is the case despite attempts, with some success, to impose some order there, by Sulla, Julius Caesar, Augustus and others. By the Imperial period, the large public buildings that crowded around the central square had reduced the open area to a rectangle of about 130 by 50 metres.
The first thing that Marcus wanted to see in the Forum was the 'Templum Divi Iuli' (the Temple of the Comet Star), built by his long-time hero, Octavian (later known as Augustus), and dedicated to Octavian's great uncle, Julius Cæsar.

Templum Divi Iuli
The temple was begun by Augustus in 42 BC, after the senate deified Julius Caesar posthumously. Augustus dedicated the prostyle temple to Julius Cæsar, his adoptive father, on 18 August 29 BC, after the Battle of Actium. It stands on the east side of the main square of the Roman Forum, between the Regia, Temple of Castor and Pollux, and the Basilica Aemilia (we go there later), on the site of Cæsar's cremation, and where Caesar's testament was read aloud at the funeral by Marcus Antonius. Cæsar was the first resident of Rome to be deified, and so honoured with a temple. The high platform on which the temple was built served as a rostra ('Rostra ad divi Iuli') and, like the Rostra at the opposite end of the Forum, was decorated with the beaks of ships taken at the battle of Actium.
The 'comet star' was particularly significant to Marcus, as it was mentioned in the first prophecy that Gnæus Gracchus received from the Sibyl at Cumæ.
 'Four shall seek to follow the path of the 'Comet Star',
and three - one fat and two bald - shall fall.
Then from the east shall come a saviour - and peace.'
It was in the following lines that a reference was then made to himself:
'the 'golden boy from the sea','
A reference that convinced Gnæus Gracchus that Marcus would become free, and his heir.
On arriving at the temple, Marcus left the boys lounging around the Rostra, with Petronius,  while he and Novius entered the temple.
The priests knew Novius from long before, as Novius was an authority on Etruscan and Roman temple ritual, (as well as mythology and other arcane subjects) - as Marcus had soon realized after the trips to Cumæ.
Novius made a point of introducing Marcus - prominently including the name Octavianus, (it was Ovtavian who had ordered the temple to be constructed (see above).
By the time of our story, Octavian was not a common Latin male name as, after the deification of Octavian Augustus on his death, the name had become so exalted that few families were prepared to use it in naming their sons. (the names of gods were not normally used as everyday names for children - and this is why 'Aelius', the name given by Demetrius (his own name - the male version of a female god - Demeter), was unusual because of its previously stated connection with 'Helios' - who was equated with Apollo - and would imply a high status for the owner of such a name - paradoxical as Aelius was a slave.
Novius also, in introducing Marcus, performed a judicious example of 'name-dropping', by casually adding that Marcus was a close, personal friend of Titus Vespasianus.
The result was that Marcus and Novius were given a very thorough tour of the magnificent temple, and an invitation to dine with the priests at some time during his stay in Rome.
Eventually Novius and Marcus emerged from the temple, to find Petronius looking rather rather bored, and Adonios pretending to give a oration from the rostra, while Aurarius and Aelius played the parts of and enthusiastic Roman 'crowd'.
Marcus was not entirely happy with the boy's lack of respect for the temple built by the Roman that he so revered, but Novius reminded him that the boys needed a little time to have some 'fun' - even if it was not entirely respectful.
Marcus took them for a slow stroll through the Forum.
Unlike Baiae, where most of the population were either the descendants of Greek colonists, or alternatively wealthy Romans, spending time in the attractive (and expensive) seaside resort, the people who thronged the forum, and many of the more notable thoroughfares of Rome, came from all parts of the empire, and even beyond so, for 'small town boys' - like our little group (except for Novius and Demtrius) - the forum, and the streets of Rome were quite an adventure.
Eventually their wanderings took them, as on the previous day, to the Basilica Julia, behind which was situated the 'Graecostadium'.
"Lets buy some more slaves !", Adonios said excitedly.
Aurarius agreed, and Marcus looked at Petronius, helplessly.
"What do you think ?", Marcus asked Novius.
"Why not ?", Novius replied, "After all - it is one of the best slave markets in the empire.", Novius added.
"And also one of the most expensive - and we haven't got Terentius with us to help us get a good deal.", Petronius said rather nervously.
"Now don't worry, Dominus - I'm an 'old hand' at this...", Novius said confidently.
Marcus looked quizzically at Novius.
By then they had arrived at the market, and Aurarius had found an auction of slave-boys who were about to be put up for sale.
"What about these boys ?", Aurarius asked  enthusiastically.
It seemed that they were to be auctioned as a 'lot', and were being offered as a 'dancing troupe'.
A shiver went down Marcus' spine.
Now if you have been reading this story from the beginning you will know that Marcus was captured by Cilician pirates (Chapter I) while on a seaborne journey from Piraeus to Brundisium.
The human cargo, (including Marcus), was taken to Crete, and later sold into slavery.
Among the cargo were some Armenian prisoners of war, and a group of dancing boys, and it was the boys and Marcus who were subsequently sold by the Greek slave-dealer, Arion in Brundisium (see Chapter II).
So it was the 'troupe of dancing boys' that brought back painful memories for Marius.
Marcus, however, could take a back-seat', as he had when Mikkos was bought for him by Terentius.
In this case Novius did the bidding, and arranged for the payment to be made - 'cash on delivery' - at the Domus in the late afternoon.
When the six blond boys had been bought, Marcus asked Novius a very pertinent question.
"Why in the world would I want  young dancing boys ?".
"Well, Dominus, there are two very good reasons.
The first is that now that your social standing, here in Rome, and elsewhere, is rising, I would imagine that you will be doing more entertaining.
Dancing boys, particularly those who are slim and blond, are 'all the rage', so it will please your guests.
Also, when you are not entertaining, they can amuse the audience in the amphitheatre between more, shall we say ' violent' episodes.", Novius replied.
"But make it clear to Petronius," Novius continued, turning to the 'Master of the Arena', "that they are too expensive to be wasted in any of the more rough kinds of activities that go on there."
"Don't worry, Novius - I will be gentle with them." Petronius said, with a twinkle in his eye.
So Marcus had no option but to sign the document of sale.
"So where to next ?", Petronius asked.
The Temple of Apollo - Rome
"The Temple of Apollo.", Marcus replied - relievd to be getting away from the slave market.
Obviously, the temple of Apollo was a 'must' for Marcus.
Not only was the god Marcus' patron, but also the amphitheatre in Baiae was dedicated to the god - the god who had given the prophecies foretelling the outcome of the 'Year of the Four Emperors', and also indicating to the 'late Dominus' that Marcus was to be the heir to the House of Gracchus.
The Templum Apollinis Palatini, (Temple of the Palatine Apollo) was a temple on the Palatine Hill of Rome, which was first dedicated by Octavian Augustus to his patron god Apollo. It was only the second temple in Rome dedicated to the god, after the Temple of Apollo Sosianus. It was sited next to the Temple of Cybele. It was vowed by Octavian, in return for the victory over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus, in 36 BC, and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, 31 BC, and was built on a site where a lightning bolt had struck the interior of Augustus' property on the Palatine. It was dedicated on October 9, 28 BC. The Ludi Saeæculares, (Secular Games), re-instituted by Augustus in 17 BC, and also largely developed and funded by him, involved the Templum Apollinis Palatini. The Temple also contained a cult statue of Diana (the Goddess and sister of Apollo, who had provided Marcus with Glaux).
On this occasion Marcus decided to take Petronius and the boys, as well as Novius into the Temple, as it was the temple to the patron god of the House of Gracchus.
Greek and Roman temples, unlike Christian churches, Synagogues and Mosques were not buildings to house communal worship, (which took place outside the Temple), but were rather buildings housing the 'cult statue' of the god, along with various works of art, and precious offerings given by devotees. The Templum Apollinis Palatini was particularly known for its fine collection of paintings and sculptures.
for more information about Roman Religion, temples and worship go to: 'The Preface'
(and scroll down to 'Roman Religion')

and also 'The Roman Principate' - 'Roman Religion, Magic and Mythology'.

The final temple that Marcus wanted to see was the Temple of Mars Ultor - ('Mars the Avenger')
Temple of Mars Ultor
Octavian vowed to build a temple honouring Mars, the Roman God of War, during the battle of Philippi in 42 BC. After winning the battle, with the help of Mark Antony and Lepidus, Octavian had avenged the assassination of his adoptive father Julius Caesar. He became the Princeps of Rome in 27 BC, and planned for the temple to be built in a new forum named after himself. Octavian used propaganda by fulfilling Julius Caesar's desire to create a Temple to Mars Ultor "greater than any in existence", linking himself with his 'divine' adoptive father, and thus obtaining a strong link with the Roman people through their love for the deceased dictator.
As they made their way through the crowded Forum of Augusts, the crowd mysteriously dispersed, and they heard the clank of armour.
Coming up behind them was a troop of Prætorian Guards, led by a young Tribune.
The Tribune headed directly to Marcus, while Petronius guardedly put his hand to his gladius.
The boys looked scared, but the tribune smiled.
"I believe that you are Marcus Octavianus Gracchus ?", the Prætorii Tribunus questioned politely.
"That is correct. ", Marcus answered.
"The Præfectus Prætorio, Titus Vespasianus, on hearing that you were in the forum, ordered us to escort you, for your safety.", the polite young tribune explained.
"Well I'm sure there's no need.", Marcus replied - not wanting to draw attention to himself.
"I understand, Domine - but orders are orders."
"Well - if you must.", Marcus answered.
And so they set off, with the Prætorian troop coming up in the rear, as the crowds watched, wondering who Marcus might be that he deserved a Praetorian escort.
When they reached the temple itself, the Prætorians lined the steps (almost as a guard of honour), while only the Tribune entered with Marcus, Novius and the boys.
Adonios and Aurarius, with their boyish, cheeky sense of humour, 'milked' the situation for all it was worth, waving imperiously at the crowd in the forum, who were watching curiously as the group, guarded by the Prætorians, made their way into the temple.
Everyone in the group, except Novius (who had seen it all before), were startled and impressed by the magnificence and opulence of the interior.
Once inside the magnificent building - which was strangely silent  - and even Adonios and Aurarius were stilled by the overwhelming atmosphere of the temple - Marcus, without saying anything, made a vow - just like Octavian had done, all those years ago, to build a temple to 'Mars Ultor' (Mars the Avenger) and 'Apollo Alexicacus' (Apollo the Averter of Evil) in Baiae - next to his amphitheatre, to commemorate the Ludi when he took his 'vengeance' on those who had murdered the 'late Dominus', and had tried to bring down the House of Gracchus.
Initially Marcus seemed in a sombre mood on leaving the Temple, but then his mood lightened.
Now all this visiting of Temples should not incline you to think that Marcus was overly 'religious'. In fact - despite his 'vision. of Apollo in the peristyle garden at the villa, on the night of the 'late Dominus' death, and his strange dream of Mount Parnassus, while in a 'coma' Marcus, for a Roman, was far from being 'religious'. However, it should be remembered that practically all Romans believed, unreservedly, in the Gods, the efficacy of sacrifice, the various household and local 'spirits', ghosts and magic. Romans were, by present day western standards, excessively superstitious. Rome was cluttered with temples and shrines, many of national and imperial significance, and it would be unthinkable, when in Rome, not to visit - at least the major sites.
"Right boys, - I think you might look good in some wrist guards - like young gladiators, so let's find a good leather shop."
The helpful Tribune suggested a high class leather shop that could be suitable - so of they went, followed by their 'clanking' bodyguard.
With little ado the three boys - Adonios, Aurarius and Aelius - were fitted with leather, studded arm guards.
Fortunately, Petronius had brought his money pouch with him, and had quite sufficient to pay for the items.
Marcus rarely carried money as he would usually have Petronius or Terentius to deal with financial matters.
Oddly, although Marcus was, in reality, fabulously wealthy, he had no appreciation of money or costs, and almost never even handled a coin.
"So.... Demetrius. Can you remember the shop where you took Petronius to collect the pugio that the 'late Dominus' had made for me - the owner is a 'client' of mine.", Marcus asked
"Of course, Domine - it's the shop of Timotheus !
Would you like me to take you there ?", Demetrius replied brightly, pleased to be able to show of his knowledge of Rome.
It didn't take long for them to reach the small, undistinguished shop.
The Prætorians waited outside, while the group entered - with Demetrius and Petronius leading the way.
Timotheus, a kindly looking middle aged Greek - standing behind the counter, smiled in recognition.
"Why, it's the young man who came on behalf of my 'late patron' the honoratus Gracchus.", Timotheus said, stretching out his hand.
"Salve !", Petronius replied.
 "We were all so sorry to here about the 'late Dominus'.", Timotheus said regretfully.
"Thank you.", Petronius replied, "but may I present to you his heir, Marcus Octavianus Gracchus."
"It is an honour to meet you, Dominus !", Timotheus replied, bowing slightly.
"I am also happy to greet you, Timotheus, as I greatly admire your work.
And now I have new commissions for you.", Marcus replied.
The boys, Novius and Petronius look at one another, wondering what Marcus was going to order.
Marcus then brought Aurarius forward.
"Take a look at the collar this boy is wearing......
Can you make it in gold ?", Marcus asked.
"Of course, Dominus - but the medallion - do you want that also in gold ?", Timotheus replied.
"Of course.", Marcus answered.
"Then I must take a mold of it in soft wax." Timotheus explained.
While Timotheus got one of his assistants, presumably his son, to heat some wax and take a mold, Marcus continued.
"I also want a pair of arm guards (vambrace) - in gold, for the boy here.", - Marcus indicated Demetrius.
Demetrius looked surprised.
"There is no need, Domine !", Demetrius said, obviously embarrassed.
Marcus turned to Demetrius, and put is finger to his lips.
Demetrius was immediately silent.
"Of course Dominus.", Timotheus said, busily preparing to take some measurement.
"At his age the young master should grow quite quickly, so I will make them so that they can be easily adjusted.
And what style would you like ?", Timotheus questioned.
Marcus turned to Demetrius - who shrugged his shoulders - somewhat confused.
"One minute !", Timotheus said, and bustled into the rear of the shop.
He returned almost immediately with a singe wrist guard, in gleaming gold.
"This is a test piece that I was getting my son, Panos, to work on."
Timotheus placed it on the counter.
"It's beautiful !", Demetrios enthused.
"Good !", Marcus said, "Can you have two made up in the boy's size ?"
"Of course !", Timotheus replied, smiling.
"It will take about a week.....
Shall I have Panos deliver them, or would you like to collect them - along with the collar ?", Timotheus asked.
"I would like them delivered - to the Domus Gracchi - but I will need three of the collars - and also these three leather arm guards - they have steel studs, and I want them replaced with gold.
Can you do that ?."
Timotheus looked startled
"Three collars and three arm guards ?", Timotheus questioned.
"Yes.", Marcus replied.
"For the three boys here.", indicating Adonios, Aurarius and Aelius.
"Is that a problem ?...."
The boys grinned at one another.
"No - not at all.
"I will set Panos to work on them - straight away.", Timotheus replied.
"And payment will be made on delivery - if you agree ?
And just tell Panos the price - we have no need to haggle." Marcus concluded.
"You are most generous, Dominus - and I can assure you that the price will be the best you will find in Rome.", Timotheus said, as he bowed, while guiding them to the doorway of the shop.
Timotheus, of course, would not think of overcharging Marcus and, if anything would undercharge.
Marcus was Timotheus' 'patron' - and in Roman terms Timotheus could go to Marcus  (via Nicander and then Terentius) for help if he hand any problems (particularly legal or financial) - so it was in his interests to give Marcus an excellent and a fair service.
The client/patron relationship meant that they were bound to one another, and to one anothers' heirs - always.
And so they left the shop. and returned to the Domus, - escorted by the Prætorians.
And that evening there were four very happy young lads.

and the story continues -
Marcus spends another day in the city, and returns to the villa to oversee preparations for his evening with Titus Vespasianus
('Days in the City and Preparations')

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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