Chapter XXVII - Romae et Vesuvio

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'Rome and Vesuvius' - Pleased with Marcus' rapid recovery, Gracchus sends Petronius on a mission to hopefully bring to an end the conspiracy against the House of Gracchus.
The plan was to go first the Pompeii - on the way to Rome - and dispose of Marcus' 'cursed' pugio (dagger) down one of the vents in the nearby volcano - Vesuvius.
On arriving in Rome, Petronius and Servius were then to make arrangements with Gracchus clients to have Sabinus quietly and discreetly murdered - and also pick up, and pay for a new pugio for Marcus, which had been previously ordered.
When they arrived at Pompeii, Servius went off the find a likely lad at the local baths to have sex with, while Petronius was left with the task of disposing of Marcus' pugio after a long climb up the slopes of Vesuvius.
The following day they arrive in Rome - blending in as ordinary tourists by spending the afternoon in a high class brothel with four boy prostitutes, cavorting in the pool attached to the brothel.
They then make their way to the Domus Gracchii, where they meet the steward - a freedman called Menelaus who, surprisingly, arranges the murder of Sabinus for them.
The following day Demetrios, a domus slave, guides them round Rome, where they collect the new pugio for Marcus.
That evening they dine with Menelaus who informs them that Sabinus has been murdered, and gives Servius Sabinus' ring as evidence.
On retiring, Servius takes Demetrios to his suite and has sex with the boy.
The next morning they leave the Domus and Rome, but on their way they meet Demitrios who then rides with Servius back to Baiae, against Petronius' wishes.
open images in a new tab to enlarge


'The Boy of his Dreams' - As soon as Adonios had run off to the kitchens, Gracchus realized that the sensible thing to do was to summon his physician Agathon - in order to check Marcus' condition.
Meanwhile Novius had gone to Marcus' bedside, along with Petronius.
"So how long have I been asleep ?", Marcus asked, quizzically and still somewhat confused.
"Days...... " Novius said trying, to some extent, to avoid the issue.
"What was the last thing that you can remember ?", Petronius asked.
Novius tutted, indicating that he maybe thought that such a line of questioning was unwise at that point."The last thing ..... ", Marcus said slowly, seeming to struggle to recollect things, "was leaving the banquet, and then Glykon coming towards me - with something in his hand - maybe a present.......
The Dream of Parnassus
And I remember having a very strange, and long dream.
I dreamed that I was walking among the trees on Παρνασσός - and met the nine daughters of Zeus - the nine Μοῦσαι - and shining Apollon Mousagetēs - who looked just like the statue of Petronius - but shining brightly - and such beautiful music, and singing !"
Παρνασσός - Mount Parnassus is named after Parnassos, the son of the nymph Kleodora and the man Kleopompus. A city, of which Parnassos was leader, was flooded by torrential rains. The citizens ran from the flood, following wolves' howling, up the mountain slope. There the survivors built another city, and called it Lykoreia, which in Greek means "the howling of the wolves."
Apollo and the Muses
While Orpheus was living with his mother and his eight beautiful aunts on Parnassus, he met Apollo who was courting the laughing muse Thalia. Apollo became fond of Orpheus, and gave him a little golden lyre, and taught him to play it. Orpheus's mother taught him to make verses for singing. As the Oracle of Delphi was sacred to the god Apollo, so did the mountain itself become associated with Apollo. According to tradition, Parnassus was the site of the fountain Castalia and the home of the Muses. As the home of the Muses, Parnassus became known as the home of poetry, music, and learning. According to Hesiod there were nine Muses: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flutes and lyric poetry), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry), Urania (astronomy).
"So Petronius .....playing the God in Marcus' dreams......!", Gracchus commented wryly, as he entered the room with Agathon - and overheard Marcus' final remarks.
"It was just because of the statue .... !", Petronius stammered, blushing and moving away from Marcus' bed.
"Of course !", Gracchus replied, playfully.
"So... my learned physician - what do you think of the boy now ?", Gracchus asked, obviously proud of Marcus' rapid recovery.
"It's amazing !", Agathon replied in Greek, "And quite beyond my understanding - and I think that in future I will send my difficult patients to Novius." , Agathon concluded, half seriously and half in jest.
"It was none of my doing.", Novius said quietly.
"It was the work of the Gods - and most particularly the God who favours our young Marcus - I mean, of course the God Apollo."
At that remark, the room fell silent, as all those present considered the obvious truth of Novius' words.
"And I will dedicate the next Ludi we hold to the God, as a thanksgiving for the favours he has shown my boy Marcus, and the House of Gracchus !", Gracchus said; his voice trembling with emotion.
At this point Servius came into the room, and was surprised to see Marcus sitting up in bed, eating some grapes, cheese and bread, and chatting to  Adonios and Aurarius.

A Meeting with Gracchus - "Now, Servius and Petronius......come with me to my study.
We have some important business to deal with."
"I think that Marcus looks surprisingly good, don't you ? Gracchus remarked, cheerily, as they made their way down the corridor.
"Yes Dominus, but he's lost a lot of weight - and looks a little older.
But then Adonios could only get him to take soup."
"Yes, and he needs a haircut.", Gracchus  added - Gracchus always had a problem with boys with long hair.
They arrived in Gracchus' study, and Gracchus immediately called for Terentius.
"Now, there are two tasks for you two.
First, I want you to take Marcus' pugio to Vesuvius, and dispose of it down some smoking fissure.
According to Novius, it is essential that it is completely destroyed."
"But it's worth a fortune !", Servius exclaimed.
Design for a New Pugio
"No matter", Gracchus said, "Terentius, when he gets here, will give you enough gold to purchase a replacement - and even better."
Servius and Petronius looked at one another with an expression of disbelief.
"Terentius had found an armourer who makes the finest weapons and armour in the Empire.
He even makes items for Vespasian and Titus, so why should he not make weapons for us ?
I have here a sketch of the weapon, from a Greek artist in Neapolis, a copy of which Terentius sent to our craftsman in Rome.
When you go to collect it, and pay for it, look to see that it is true to the design drawn here."
"Yes, Dominus.", Servius said, looking admiringly at the carefully worked sketch.
"You will see that the haft and the scabbard both bear the emblem of the House of Gracchus, and the blade bears Marcus' name.
The pugio is, in itself, a potent amulet, as the pommel is in the form of the head of Jupiter's eagle - there will be no problems with his pugio !", Gracchus explained.
(You may remember that Gracchus had an obsession with eagles, and kept a caged group of the birds in a huge gilded bronze aviary in the grounds of the villa. Petronius used two of the largest birds to disembowel and emasculate a condemned slave acting out the myth of Prometheus, during the Games for Galba)
When Terentius arrived he was carrying some finely worked, and apparently very heavy leather saddle-bags.
"For this trip, boys,".Terentius said, placing the bags, with a thump, on Gracchus' marble topped , table, "You'll be needing a lot of gold.
There is gold enough for the pugio, but most of it will be to pay off some of Gracchus' clients."
Terentius then handed Servius a small scroll.
"This is a list of individuals who owe our Dominus considerable favours.
These men will rid us of  Marcus Sabinus - but it is essential that you are not directly involved - nothing must lead back to the Dominus.
Memorize the names on this scroll, and then burn it."
Servius took the scroll and tucked it in his tunic.
"Your job, Petronius, is to rid us of this accursed pugio.", Terentius said, turning his attention to Petronius.
Leave Servius in Pompeii, and go high, to near the summit of Οὐεσούιος - Vesævus.
Find a smoking fissure in the rocks that leads to the fiery heart of the mountain, and drop the pugio, and the sheath into it.
Resist the temptation to either keep the blade or the sheath - both are equally dangerous."
"Don't concern yourself, Domine.
I will do this." ,Petronius answered firmly.
"You will then go with Servius to Rome.
Do not wear armour, or any clothing that would make you stand out from the crowd, - just simple tunics - like fashionable young men - and I will get Vulcan to remove your slave collar for the trip.
When you arrive in Rome, dawdle a little, visit a wine shop or two, or go to a good class brothel and have a nice girl or boy according to your taste.
Then, in the evening, when you are sure that no one is following you, go to the Esquiline Hill, where you will have no trouble finding the 'Domus Gracchii' - it's the largest.

View from the Domus Gracchii on the Esqueline Hill
The Esquiline Hill includes three prominent spurs, which are sometimes called "hills" as well - Cispian (Cispius) - northern spur, Oppian (Oppius) - southern spur, Fagutal (Fagutalis) - western spur rising above a valley. The Esquiline is, at the time of our story, a fashionable residential district. According to Livy, the settlement on the Esquiline was expanded during the reign of Servius Tullius, Rome's sixth king, in the 6th century BC. The king also moved his residence to the Hill, in order to increase its respectability. The political advisor and art patron Maecenas (70 BC-8 BC) sited his famous gardens, the first gardens in the Hellenistic-Persian garden style in Rome, on the Esquiline Hill, atop the Servian Wall and its adjoining necropolis, near the gardens of Lamia. It contained terraces, libraries and other aspects of Roman culture.In 1781, the first known copy of the marble statue of a Discus thrower – the so-called 'Discobolus' of Myron – was discovered on the Roman property of the Massimo family, the Villa Palombara, on the Esquiline Hill. The famous Esquiline Treasure, now in the British Museum, was found on the Esquiline Hill.

"There at the Villa Gracchi you will find Μενελαος - the  'maior domūs'.
You will like him, Petronius, he's young - well a little younger than me, and a Greek freedman.
He will make all the contacts that you need, and will look after you - like young princes.
Menelaus knows all our business.
As with me, the Dominus keeps very little from him - so you may be open with regards to all your needs.
Do you have any questions boys ?". Terentius concluded.
Servius and Petronius looked at one another - amazed.
"How could we ?", Petronius replied.
"I think that you have said all there is to say.".Servius agreed.
"As you can see, gentlemen, with Terentius I do not even have to think !", Gracchus added, with a twinkle in his eye.
"And Dominus..." Terentius interrupted.
"May I have permission to go and see Marcus, as I am told that he is now recovering ?".
"Of course, my friend, but don't linger too long, as, like always, I have business with you later.", Gracchus replied.
What we should be reminded of here is that, although Terentius takes a casual tone with Servius and Petronius, the highly stratified form of Roman society should, to some degree, be taken into account.
During this meeting there are only two freeborn Roman citizens in Gracchus' Study - that is Tribune Servius, and Gracchus - however, socially they are far apart, as Gracchus is a patrician, a senator, and therefore 'Dominus'.
Also Terentius is a Freedman (although senior Freedman) - having been originally a slave, freed by Gracchus, but still a 'client' of Gracchus - bound to Gracchus by numerous obligations.
Petronius is a slave, but oddly not a slave of any of the other individuals in the room - as he is Marcus' senior slave, with the title 'Harena Dominus', ('Master of the Arena'), which puts him in authority over almost all the other slaves in the villa - and in particular in the Ludus.

'All Roads Lead to Rome - Via Vesuvius' - Taking their heavy saddle bags, and Gracchus' best wishes, Servius and Petronius left the villa in Baiae, and began their journey to Pompeii.

'Preparations for the Games of Thanksgiving' - Meanwhile, in Gracchus' study, Terentius had returned from his all too brief visit to Marcus.
Drawing for the 'Porta Sanivivaria'
Gracchus was showing Terentius some drawings that had been made by Gracchus' architect, Severus.
Severus had previously been architect to the Emperor Nero, but with Nero's suicide he had needed to find a new patron.
He had previously worked for Gracchus on the Villa in Baiae, and also on the Domus Gracchii in Rome.
At the time of the renovation and redecoration of the Amphitheatre for the Ludi for Vespasian Gracchus had asked him to produce drawings for a new 'Porta Sanivivaria' (Gate of Life) to be renamed 'Porta Pompam' (Gate of the Parades) - in the Hellenic style
Two new enlarged gilded bronze statues of Mercury were envisaged, flanking the gateway - sculptures that had already been commissioned from the Greek sculptor Zenodorus, (the original statues were to be moved from the amphitheatre to a newly designed entrance to the villa).
The 'Porta Pompam' was to take the form of a Greek 'Προπύλαια' (propylaeum) - which is the union of the prefix προ- pro-, "before, in front of" plus the plural of πύλη pyle "gate" meaning literally "that which is before the gates" but the word had come to mean simply "gate building".
The gateway was to be built of white Pentelic marble, topped with a gilded bronze eagle grasping thunderbolts (taken from the previous gate).
The inscription on the 'propylaeum', in gilded bronze letters, was now to read - since Marcus' recovery - 'MARCVS OCTAVIVS GRACCHVS APOLLONIS DEDICATA EST DEVS' - (Marcus Octavius Gracchus dedicated this to Apollo the God').
The bronze gates themselves were designed to match the other new gates installed for the Ludi for Vespasian, but much taller, and gilded on both sides.
"This I want constructed in time for the 'Games of Thanksgiving' (Gratiarum Ludos) for the recovery of Marcus.", Gracchus told Terentius, as they viewed Severus' magnificent drawings.
"I trust you to go to Neapolis and find a contractor to produce the work - to the highest standard - on time !"
"And when do you wish the Gratiarum Ludos to take place ?", Terentius asked, hoping that Gracchus would give him a realistic date.
"A couple of months from now." Gracchus replied
"That will be difficult .",Terentius said, trying to be deferential.
"I don't care !" Gracchus replied, techily.
"Drown the contractor in gold if need be - but get it done !"


Map of the Region Around Pompeii
'Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius' - Terentius then set out for Neapolis, with the difficult and unenviable task of finding a building contractor to take on the almost impossible, but highly lucrative task of building Gracchus' magnificent new Propylaeum (see above).
Slightly further up the same road, (see map) Servius and Petronius were riding lazily towards Pompeii.
In order to reach Pompeii they would need to pass through Neapolis (the 'New City' - in Greek), and so they planned to have a long, pleasant lunch in the beautiful sea-side town.
After their lunch they travelled on to Herculaneum, and from there to Pompeii.

It is important here to remember that no one, at the time of our story, envisioned an eruption of Vesuvius that would bury the two towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii - killing almost all the inhabitants. The only problem that Pompeii had experienced was an earthquake, some years earlier - (see below).
While Servius found accommodation in Pompeii (with yet another of Gracchus' 'clients'), Petronius hired a rather scruffy looking donkey, and an equally scruffy looking young guide to take him up to the summit of the (apparently dormant) volcano.
Pompeii, at this time was a rather 'untidy' place, with many of its building still badly in need of repair.
Some years earlier (in what we now refer to as 62 AD), the area had been hit by a substantial earthquake.
The Latin philosopher and dramatist Seneca the Younger wrote a description of the event:'This tremor was on 5 February, in the consulship of Regulus and Verginius, and it inflicted great devastation on Campania…Sheep died and statues split. Some people have lost their minds and wander about in their madness.'
Sixth book of his 'Naturales Quaestiones' entitled 'De Terrae Motu' (Concerning Earthquakes)
Pompeii at the time had a population of 20,000, and was a compact city built in a fashion that could not withstand earthquakes. The construction; beam, brick and block; much of it built on foundations that were ancient, crumbled readily, leading to severe damage to the city. Seneca reported that while Pompeii was severely damaged, Herculaneum had far less damage, while Neapolis was barely touched. On the same day, February 5, a tidal wave hit Ostia, the port of Rome. As fate would have it, there were 300 grain ships in the harbor waiting to unload. These ships arrived from Alexandria and Carthage once a year and had the vital grain supplies for Rome for the whole year. All of them were engulfed by the 'tsunami', swamped, and the cargoes lost. This created rioting in Rome, for the people feared they would starve. The Emperor Nero had to quell the crowds by opening the storehouses of grain and rationing it. Meanwhile back at Pompeii, the earthquake affected the demographics of the city. The rich patricians decided to move elsewhere, and a new class of merchants and traders took their place and rebuilt the city. The process of repair was slow and extensive. It involved projects such as the embellishment of the Forum, the rebuilding of the Temple of Isis, and repairing the city’s water supply. Nero’s influence was felt because his second wife, Poppaea Sabina (who was later replaced by the young eunuch Sporus) was Pompeian and as such, money and power were funneled to Pompeii to rebuild the city and the social structure.
So..... not the most salubrious town to visit - but Servius found a pleasant hostelry, with clean, spacious rooms, and a host who, being a 'client' of Gracchus, was only to willing to 'bow and scrape' for the two young Domini (masters).
For Petronius, however, things weren't going so well, as a very reluctant donkey made hard work of the ascent.
The mountain was covered with gardens and vineyards, except at the top, where the donkey was causing trouble, which was craggy - (the wine from the Vesuvian vineyards was considered to be exceptional - probably because of the high mineral content of the soil).
The Upper Slopes of Vesuvius
This craggy area was dangerous for sheep and goats, and even people, who could be overcome by the sulphurous and poisonous emissions from the many small vents near the summit.
Eventually, the donkey, and its inept young handler refused to go any further, and Petronius was left to climb the last part alone - which was just as well, as he didn't want his young guide to see what he was about to deposit into one of the vents.
Finally, Petronius found a likely looking, smoking vent that seemed suitable.
Seeing the young Pompeian lad distractedly looking at the magnificent landscape below, Petronius took the Pugio, wrapped in it's black cloth (and still in it's scabbard), and dropped it down the vent.
There was a clatter, and the Pompeian lad looked over.
"Just a stone !", Petronius said, disarmingly.
But - at that moment, as if to make him seem a liar, the ground shook, as it had when the sacrifice had been made at the villa.
'Just a coincidence ?' - Petronius knew - but there had been too many coincidences, and too much strangeness surrounding this whole matter - and Petronius was pleased that the whole thing now seemed to have come to a satisfactory conclusion.
All that was left now was the bloody business of disposing of the instigator of the plot, (along with the two young accomplices, now languishing in the Ludus at the villa), and then all the related events of the 'Year of the Four Emperors' could be put into the past, like a bad dream.
The trip back down to the town was only a little better that the journey up.
The donkey was still obstinate, and Petronius ended up walking most of the way, rather than riding.
Back at the hostelry, Petronius paid off the young Pompeian lad, giving him more than he probably deserved.
"You want to take me to your room and fuck, Domine ?", the teenage donkey boy asked, hoping to get a little more money from what he took to be a wealthy, handsome  and somewhat eccentric tourist.
"Thanks, son - but maybe some other time !", Petronius replied, feeling too hot and too sweaty to do  anything.
"So how did it go ?", Servius asked, as Petronius came into his room.
"It was hot and sweaty - and I got the laziest fuckin' donkey in Pompeii - but I got rid of that damned pugio !
But something odd happened.
When I dropped the pugio into the vent, there was an earth tremor, just like when we made the sacrifice at the villa."
Servius looked surprised, and a little spooked.
"Yes, I felt it as well. ...... Coincidence ?", Servius asked, trying to put his mind at rest.
"I certainly hope so". Petronius replied.
"But they've been having these tremors ever since the big earthquake nearly flattened this place about eight years ago.", he continued.
"Pity it didn't completely flatten it - it is a bit of a dump !", Servius answered.
"Well, it's too late now to travel on to Rome, and these rooms are quite comfortable, so what shall we do for tonight." Petronius asked.
"Me .... I'm going to have some fun, and look for a nice boy !", Servius said, brightly.
"Well,, there's one downstairs with a donkey who's keen on having a fuck - for some cash.", Petronius said, grinning.
"But he's a bit smelly and sweaty". Petronius concluded.
"No thanks ! I think that I'll go to the baths, and see if I can find some nice lad there.", Servius replied.

'A Meeting at the Baths' - And that's exactly what Servius did - and meanwhile, Petronius took a short nap.
Servius and Rufus
Bathing played a major part in ancient Roman culture and society. Bathing was one of the most common daily activities in Roman culture, and was practiced across a wide variety of social classes. Though many contemporary cultures see bathing as a very private activity conducted in the home, bathing in Rome was a communal activity. While the extremely wealthy, like Gracchus, could afford bathing facilities in their villas, most people bathed in the communal baths - 'thermae'. In some ways, these resembled modern-day spas. The Romans raised bathing to a high art as they socialized in these communal baths. Courtship was conducted - (like Servius looking for a suitable boy), as well as sealing business deals. Small bathhouses, called 'balneum' (plural balnea), might be privately owned, but they were public in the sense that they were open to the populace for a fee. Larger baths called thermae were owned by the state, and often covered several city blocks.  Fees for both types of baths were quite reasonable, within the budget of most free Roman males.
At the 'balneum' - 'private baths' (see above), Servius got talking to a slim, and very attractive boy.
Strictly speaking, he was not a boy, but a young man.
Servius was well aware that one had to be careful about having sex with with boys or girls.
In the case of boys, other men's slaves, and the sons of Roman citizens who still wore a bulla (had not come of age) were strictly off limits.
Servius and Rufus
The boy that Servius had found was obviously not a slave (no slave collar), and was wearing a gold seal ring, and was not wearing a boy's bulla, and was quite old enough have come of age.
So, it seemed that it would be quite safe to have sex with him.
He was just a young man who liked having sex - and the fact that Servius had been a Centurion, which Servius had told him in their brief, and rather hesitant conversation, made the boy even more keen to have an encounter.
Servius had certainly 'hit lucky', and decided to take the young man back to the hostelry.
There, Servius paid for the boy to have a room for the night.
The host (the owner of the hostelry) was obviously quite aware of what was going on, but having been paid well, for a third room, had absolutely no objections.
Servius and the boy chatted, mainly about Servius' military exploits, such as they were.
Servius, however, was very careful not to speak about Gracchus or his present work, or the reason for his visit to Pompeii, other to explain that he was on a visit to Rome with a friend to buy some expensive weapons.
The boy, who was called Rufus, seemed quite content with this explanation.
Servius then checked Petronius' room, but he was not there, and when he and Rufus then went downstairs for a meal the host told them that Petronius had gone to the 'balneum', undoubtedly to wash off the sweat and grime from his ascent of Vesuvius.
Servius doubted that Petronius would be bringing back a boy, as he was pretty sure that Petronius was 'saving himself' for his 'true love', Marcus - although Servius privately thought that Petronius would be waiting a very long time.
Rufus was all that Servius had been hoping for, and for Servius, that night in Pompeii was certainly a night to remember - it was another case of the 'ground moving' - but this time nothing to do with Vesuvius - but rather another kind of 'eruption'.

 Romae - Imperium Civitas

'Rome the Imperial City' - The next morning it was breakfast, and then the boys had to saddle up for the trip to Rome.
Servius kissed his Rufus goodbye - and promised to come back, and see him again, (highly unlikely), while Petronius watched, cynically - as part of him believed that only he (Petronius) knew what 'true love' was.
The boys were lucky, as the weather was fine.
The Road now led back to Neapolis, and from there, on to Capua.
The name of Capua comes from the Etruscan Capeva. The meaning is 'City of Marshes'. Its foundation is attributed by Cato the Elder to the Etruscans, and the date given as about 260 years before it was "taken" by Rome. About 424 BC it was captured by the Samnites and in 343 BC besought Roman help against its conquerors. Capua entered into alliance with Rome for protection against the Samnite mountain tribes, along with its dependent communities Casilinum, Calatia, Atella, so that the greater part of Campania fell under Roman supremacy. The citizens of Capua received the 'civitas sine suffragio' (citizenship without the vote). 
Via Appia
In 312 BC, Capua was connected with Rome by the construction of the 'Via Appia', the most important of the military highways of Italy - and the road which Servius and Petronius took on their journey to Rome. The gate by which it left the Servian walls of Rome bore the name 'Porta Capena'; perhaps the only case in which a gate in this line of fortifications bears the name of the place to which it led. The luxury of Capua was proverbial; and Campania is especially spoken of as the home of gladiatorial combats. From the gladiatorial schools of Campania came Spartacus and his followers in 73 BC. (of course Servius and Petronius are not going to 'bump into' the foul mouthed Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, as he and 'Spartacus ?' have all been dead for around 150 years).  In the war of 69 (the year before Servius and Petronius' journey, and part of the Year of the Four Emperors), Capua took the side of Vitellius (not very clever).  The amphitheatre at Capua (not the one in the TV series - which is a complete fantasy), was built in the time of Octavian Augustus, and at the time of our story is badly in need of repair, and although large, is no match for Gracchus' magnificently refurbished amphitheatre.
So, not stopping at rather decadent and politically naive Capua, Servius and Petronius ride on to Rome.

'Arrival in Rome' - On arriving in busy, bustling and noisy Rome, Servius and Petronius made for the quieter and more refined area of the Esquiline.
Taking Terentius' advice, the boys first went to a hostelry (Taberna).
In Rome, at the time of our story, there were no hotels, as we know them. The Thermopolium - which we have already come across in this story, - was an establishment where hot food could be obtained, but larger versions of such establishments also had rooms available for travellers - and on many occasions provided the services of prostitutes. Equally Taberna (taverns) provided drink, often accompanied with food, and once again prostitutes, as well as accomodation for guests and horses.
Roman Street Scene
Having chosen a good quality taberna, the boys refreshed themselves with wine, and a light snack.
As it was only early afternoon, they decided to use the local 'balneum' (see above) to remove the dust of the journey.
They chose a high class 'balneum', rather than the public baths, as the public baths were noisy, often crowded, and not as clean as one might expect.
Having been fed and bathed, and having ensured that the horses were well cared for, they then took Terentius further advice, - which was to visit a brothel.

In the Brothel - For young Roman men of good standing, this was quite normal and acceptable, and had none of the later 'immoral' connotations which developed as a result of the baleful influence of Christianity.
The host at the Taberna suggested a likely and 'refined' establishment, that he assured the boys was of the highest standard,
Having been given plenty of cash by Terentius, Servius and Petronius made for the brothel recommended to them by the Taberna host.
It was easy to find, as the entrance was surmounted by a beautifully carved phallus.
Prostitution was neither illegal nor stigmatized in ancient Rome. Brothels employed mainly girls, but  most brothels used Aquarii (“water-boys”) who were young boy slaves (very handsome and cute in the best establishments) who served wine and other refreshments, in addition to carrying water for washing. Such boys were usually available for sex. High class brothels would also provide a varied selection of partners, including very young girls, mature girls, very young boys, teenage boys, well muscled boys in late teens and early twenties, and occasionally eunuchs. Such brothels would also offer the 'well-heeled' clients combinations of partners.
However, when they arrived at the brothel, the burly 'portae custodi' (looking very much like an ex-gladiator or wrestler - gone to fat), thinking them to be 'out of town yokels', would not grant them entry.
Once Servius showed his heavy money pouch, stuffed with gold coins, the 'portae custodi' quickly changed his tune, invited them in, with much bowing and scraping, and called for the 'Leno' - the brothel keeper, although he would undoubtedly have disliked such an appellation - preferring the title 'Transactor'.
Having already been told that the two 'young gentlemen' were 'iuvenes dominantium' (young masters), the Leno became excruciatingly smarmy, and handed over his two new clients to a middle aged lady, who was the 'Villicus' of the establishment.

Brothel Boys
© Copyright Vittorio Carvelli 2016
The title 'Villicus', usually a mature woman in a brothel, referred to the person who could give all the information required with regard to the services available, including the prices. In the lower class establishments she would usually haggle fiercely to get the best price for any particular girl, but in high class brothels she was employed to gently encourage the clients to avail themselves of the highest priced services.
"So, young masters, what is your preference.... girls or boys !", the rather pleasantly plump lady asked.
"Well, on this occasion, we would prefer boys, if you have any.", Petronius replied, obviously quite embarrased by the blunt approach of the Villicus.
"No problem young sirs.
Just come this way.", the Villicus said smoothly - but with a slight 'country accent', guiding them into a spacious chamber, decorated with marble panels and tiles, in the latest (Neronian) style.
The Villicus quickly despatched a very pretty slave-girl.
"I will show my four best boys - and if these don't appeal, which I think will be highly unlikely, we have some more lads, who may take your fancy - but this first four are highly recommended by my most discerning clients."
Brothel Boys in Rome
Moments later four boys entered the chamber.
It was obvious that his was a high class brothel, as the boys would not have seemed out of place at Gracchus' villa.
They were all teenage lads.
One, probably the eldest, was very well endowed, but completely shaved.
The two slightly younger boys, both very slim and smooth, presumably anticipating being chosen, were already excited, with very strong erections.
They stood alongside the Villicus, looking boldly at Servius and Petronius, as if daring them to choose.
Servius and Petronius looked at one another, quizzically.
"We'll take all four !"Servius said, with only a hint of hesitation.
"That will be expensive.", the Villicus said softly, being careful not to lose a good deal, but I am sure that we can come to a reasonable agreement.
"We have a bathing facility here, also. 
Perhaps you and the boys would like to uses it.
Many of our clients like to get to know our boys and girls in the relaxing atmosphere of the pool.
It will, of course, cost just a little more.".
"That sounds good !", Servius said, and went over to the Villicus to quietly negotiate a good price.
Meanwhile, Petronius went over to the boys, who were smiling in eager anticipation.
Most of these boys' clients were rich, - but old and ugly - so the boys were pleased that these two clients were young and handsome - and it seemed rich.
Petronius loudly introduced himself and Servius.
"My name is Phaedrus, and my friend there, talking to your Villicus, is Achaeus.
We have come from Pompeii, and this is our first visit to Rome."
While Servius paid the Villicus, the boys gathered round, and led 'Phaedrus', and a rather bemused 'Achaeus' down some marble steps, and along a corridor to a small, but very elegant marble lined pool.
"So you're Greek ?" one of the older boys asked.
"Well, I am." Petronius replied, realizing the mistake he had made, "but 'Achaeus' there is a true Roman - but for some reason his father gave him a Greek praenomen."
'All to the good', Servius thought, 'Greek names would help to put any suspicious people off the scent.'
In next to no time the naked young boys had got 'Achaeus' and 'Phaedrus' seated on an ornately carved marble bench, and were deftly, and carefully removing their clothing, right down to their skimpy loincloths.
And the brothel boys were far from disappointed.
Many of their older clients required a great deal of 'encouragement' or 'stimulation' to get them into a condition where they could even begin to enjoy the pleasures that they were being offered.
In the case of 'Achaeus' and 'Phaedrus' they were both magnificently ready and erect.
"I see the god Priapus favours our domini !", the eldest lad said, half joking, as he grasped 'Achaeus' incredibly stiff penis.
The God Priapus
In Greek mythology Πρίαπος, - Priapos (Latin - Priapus) was a rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. Priapus was described as the son of Aphrodite by Dionysus. The emblem of his lustful nature was his permanent erection and his large penis. In later antiquity, his worship was in reality a cult of sophisticated pornography. Priapus forms a central theme in the 'Satyricon'.

Sex in the Pool
Servius and Petronius ('Achaeus' and 'Phaedrus'), spent longer than they had really intended in the the company of the delightful boys, and they managed to penetrate each of the boys in turn, interspersed with mock wrestling and lots of playful splashing.
They undoubtedly benefited from a much needed relaxing release after all the tension and drama in the villa, and after they had dressed, said goodbye to the boys, and given each lad a substantial 'tip', and promised to return in the next few days (?), they made their way out into the busy street by a discreet side door.
By then it was time to find the Domus Gracchii.

'The House of Gracchus' - They were already on the lower slopes of the Esquiline, and they asked an old, innocent looking plebeian the way to the 'Domus Gracchi'.
And, of course, finding the 'Domus Gracchi' was not really difficult, as it was simply the largest, and most opulent building on the Esquiline.
Domus Gracchii - Rome
The Domus, (really a 'palace'), built early in the reign of Nero, by Gracchus favourite architect, Severus was basically an adaptation of a Roman podium style temple façade, with an octastyle Pyknostyle dipteral design of Augustan Corinthian columns, and a pediment containing sculptures copied from the Temple of Ἀφαία - equated with the Roman goddess Minerva - Etruscan: Menrva) who was the Roman goddess of wisdom, and sponsor of arts, and trade, and therefore very appropriate to Gracchus.

The temple style façade, of pentelic white marble led to the main halls, and two wings contained other smaller (as if anything was small in the Domus Gracchi) rooms, including guest accommodation.
The rear of the domus overlooked a valley, and much of the city, with magnificent views from various balconies, walkways and terraces.
Servius and Petronius, although familiar with Gracchus' large and opulent villa at Baiae, were quite astounded at the size and magnificence of the 'Domus Gracchi' - and what struck Petronius as odd was that Gracchus only very rarely stayed at this remarkable villa.
It also crossed his mind that, all things being equal, some time in the future, Marcus would inherit this huge property, along with all of Gracchus' other properties and possessions.
View of Rome from the Domus Gracchii
"Well, let's see if we can find this freedman Menelaus.", Servius said, wearily, as the started to climb the vast stairs leading to the towering bronze doors of the main entrance of the domus.
There was a guard at the door, who knocked on their behalf.
Almost immediately one of the huge doors opened a fraction, and an attractive young slave boy peeked out.
"Servius and Petronis ?", he questioned.
"Yes - how did you know ?", Servius answered, surprised.
"You are expected.", the boy replied.
"Come with me, and wait in the Atrium, while I fetch Menelaus."
Servius and Petronius entered the huge, cool entrance hall, and were then taken to a somewhat smaller Atrium.
Petronius was surprised to find a marble and gilt bronze statue of himself, as the God Apollo, in a magnificent shrine, very similar to the shrine in the villa at Baiae.
"Well, you certainly get around !", Servius said, grinning as he eyed the statue.
As soon as they settled down on a couch, slave boys hurried up with snacks and wine.
What was odd was that the domus seemed to be as well served by slaves, and as much in use as the villa in Baiae, and yet Gracchus was hardly ever in residence.
After some minutes a well dressed man, seemingly in his early thirties, arrived.
"My name is Menelaus - and you must be Tribune Servius.", he said turning to Servius, "And you are obviously Petronius, 'Harena Dominus' to the 'Iuvenes Dominus', Marcus.", he continued, smiling at Petronius.
"I can see your obvious likeness in the statue of Apollo that the Dominus recently had installed here.
I have prepared suites for you, as the Dominus requested.
Do you wish to retire now, before we have any discussions ?", Menelaus asked.
"Well firstly, can you have some slaves pick up our horses that we left at the taberna - I presume that you obviously have stabling for them here ?".
"Of course, that is no problem.", Menelaus replied, casually.
Menelaus then called a slave-boy.
"Take these guests to the suites that were prepared this morning, and ensure that they are comfortable, and well looked after." he instructed the young slave.
So Servius and Petronius were taken to their beautifully appointed suites, both of which had interconnecting balconies overlooking the city.
A couple of hours later, in the early evening, they were invited down to take a meal with Menelaus.
Rather in the manner of Gracchus, Menelaus was careful to dismiss all the slaves before engaging in any serious conversation.
"So tell me, Petronius, how is the Iuvenes Dominus, Marcus ?", Menelaus inquired.
"So far, I am pleased to say, he seems to be very much his former self.", Petronius answered, carefully.
"Of course, I have not yet met the young man, but Gracchus has kept me informed about him, and I was most concerned when I learned that an attempt had been made upon his life, and he had suffered a mysterious injury.".


'Planning a Killing' - Menelaus seemed remarkably well informed about recent events.
"My position is that I rank directly below my esteemed colleague, Terentius, and in addition to taking care of the 'Domus Gracchii', and my masters' villa at Tibur, I am also responsible, on behalf of the Dominus, for all legal, commercial and financial matters pertaining to the capital, and  that is why I am involved in the matter relating to Marcus Sabinus.", Menelaus continued.
"I see.", said Servius, pleased that they had come quite quickly to the real matter in question.
Menelaus continued, "The most important thing to remember is that the Dominus must not in any way be directly connected with what happens to this Sabinus.
People, of course, will see his disappearance as a possible consequence of his actions against the House of Gracchus - and that is all to the good - as it should dissuade anyone one else from following his example.
And I am quite aware that you two young gentlemen would be quite capable of eliminating this individual - but we must deal with this matter carefully and discretely."
Menelaus then re-filled the gold wine goblets of the two boys.
"Now we have, at the villa at Tibur, a 'Magister Equorum', (a senior slave responsible for the horses and carriages at the domus), who has many contacts with horse dealers, slave traders, and other unsavoury characters, and is completely trusted by the Dominus.
He could undoubtedly arrange for a person, among his 'business' associates, to find a 'cut-throat' to do the deed.
It will then be my task to find a 'client' of Gracchus, who is owing the Dominus a serious favour, to then dispose of this 'cut throat'.
With sufficient links broken - hopefully any proof that we have any connection with the events will disappear - and the two weighted and mutilated bodies will disappear into the Cloaca Maxima.", Menelaus concluded.
Cloaca Maxima
The Cloaca Maxima is one of the world's earliest sewage systems. Constructed in Ancient Rome in order to drain local marshes and remove the waste of one of the world's most populous cities, it carried effluent to the River Tiber, which ran beside the city. There were many branches off of the main sewer, but all seem to be 'official' drains that would have served public toilets, bath-houses and other public buildings. Private residences in Rome, even of the rich, would have relied on some sort of cesspit arrangement for sewage.
"And where do we fit  into this ingenious plan ?", Servius asked.
"Your task, gentlemen, as the Dominus has arranged it, is to provide the money, for the Magister Equorum  to give to his associate, to give to the cut-throat. - Money that I hope you have brought in the heavy saddlebags that you have deposited in your suites.", Menelaus said, with a distinct smile on his face.
"The 'client', of course, will not need to be paid - he will only be fulfilling an obligation.
And most of the money, if all goes well, shall be returned - after all, what can a dead 'cut-throat' spend money on ?", Menelaus asked, grinning.
"Meanwhile, you can see the sights - and there is a very good, high class brothel nearby that you can use - and if you wish to bring any partners back from there to your suites.... you are more that welcome... and I also believe that you are to collect a pugio for the Iuvenes Dominus from one of Gracchus' 'clients' - a 'client' who is well known to me.", Menelaus suggested.
"Is there anything that you don't know about ?", Petronius asked, a little perturbed.
"Very little.", Menelaus replied,

"But don't be worried, I am expected by the Dominus to be well informed about everything in this bustling, noisy city - and fortunately I am not only a colleague of you two fine young men, but I hope I shall also be also a good friend."
Exploring Rome - The next morning Servius and Petronius awoke early - not particularly because they wanted to, but because Rome was a much noisier place than sleepy, and rather exclusive Baiae.
Notice that they didn't bathe in the magnificent pool in the Domus. Oddly the Romans were not very keen on bathing or washing in the morning - that almost always came later in the day.
They breakfasted with Menelaus, who, in the absence of Gracchus, acted very much as the 'Dominus'.
During breakfast, Menelaus suggested various places of interest that they might like to visit.
In addition, he also introduced them to a young slave-boy, Δημήτριος - Demetrios, who would act as their guide.
This boy would also take them to the workshop of one of Gracchus' clients, where the new pugio should be waiting for them.
And while they quite visibly sauntered around the centre of Rome, the preparations would be being made for the double killing which they had discussed the previous evening.
And so the set off, in a small carriage, provided by Menelaus, with Demetrios as outrider, guiding the coachman, and with Servius discreetly carrying one of the saddlebags containing some of the cash that they had been given by Terentius for the pugio, - and their first stop was the Forum Romanum.

Open in a new tab to view full size
(See 9) - The Forum Romanum is a rectangular forum (plaza) at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum. It was the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; 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, and is located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills,

Gaius Octavian Augustus
Their next stop, just a short walk away, was the 'Temple of the Divine Augustus'.
(See 13) The Temple of Divus Augustus was a major temple, originally built to commemorate the deified first Roman emperor, Augustus. It was built between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, behind the Basilica Julia, on the site of the house that Augustus had inhabited before he entered public life in the mid-1st century BC. The temple was originally built to an Ionic hexastyle design.
Because of Gracchus' obsession with Octavian Augustus, this was an essential stop, and also brought to Petronius' mind the 'Munera ad Augustum', which now seemed to be an event from the distant past.
The Interior of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus
And, of course, Gracchus would undoubtedly want to hear about Servius' and Petronius' impressions of the temple on their return to Baiae.
The next important temple that they visited, a short ride away from the 'Temple of the Divine Augustus', was the 'Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini' - The Capitoline Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. This was Rome's greatest and most important Temple.

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus - Rome
(See 4) The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus was located on the Capitoline Hill. It was surrounded by the Area Capitolina, a precinct where certain assemblies met, and numerous shrines, altars, statues, and victory trophies were displayed. Unfortunately, when Servius and Petram visited the Temple it was in the process of being rebuilt on the orders of Vespasian having been severely damaged during the violence in Rome during the 'Year of the Four Emperors', however there were still many shrines and statues and, of course, magnificent views over the city. Of course, even if the Temple had been completely refurbished, it would not have been possible for Servius and Petronius to approach the magnificent and huge statue of Jupiter (known to the Romans as 'Jove').
The one important building that you would have thought that Petronius was particularly interested in visiting was the great amphitheater in Rome (known to us as the Colosseum, but known to the Romans as the Amphitheatrum Flavium - Flavian Amphitheatre).
The reason that he did not visit it was because it hadn't been built at the time of his visit.
Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor, and heir Titus (who - we may tell you, without giving too much of the plot away - we will be meeting later).

Amphitheatre at Pompeii
It should be noted that very many modern stories, and particularly films ('Quo Vadis', 'Demetrius and the Gladiators' etc), feature a huge amphitheater modeled on the Amphitheatrum Flavium - probably because most people immediately imagine all gladiatorial contests to take place in such buildings. The largest amphitheater at the time of our story, however, was the amphitheater (Spectacula) at Pompeii - very accurately reconstructed for the 2014 film 'Pompeii. Gracchus' amphitheater was considerably smaller, but as it was privately owned and operated for a profit, it was far more opulent. In 59 AD, a deadly brawl occurred between Pompeians and residents of Nuceria during Games in the amphitheatre, resulting in a 10-year ban on such events - until 69 AD - this explains why Gracchus was so keen on improving the facilities at his Amphitheater in Baiae at the time of Servius' and Petronius' visit to Rome (70 AD), however, ten years later the Amphitheater in Pompeii was completely destroyed in the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius.
for more information about Roman Amphitheatre see : Chapter XIV Spectacula 
At this point Servius and Petronius decided that enough was enough, and asked Demetrios to take them to a good thermopolium where they could get a nice midday meal, and some fine wine.
Demetrios guided the coachman to a suitable establishment, leaving the coachman to take the horses to  a nearby taberna, for his own lunch, and for water and a 'rub-down' for the horses.
Servius, Petronius and Demetrios then went to the pleasant thermopolium for a good lunch and a talk. 
Demetrios at the Thermopolium
Menelaus had told Petronius and Servius that, unusually, Demetrios had actually been bought personally by Gracchus, about three years previously, on a visit to Athens (which later proved to be not true).
Gracchus usually left the buying of slaves to Terentius (at Neapolis or Brundisium) or to Menelaus (at Ostia).
Demetrios, Menelaus maintained, was originally from Corinth (also not true), and was another one of those 'educated' Greek slaves, speaking both Greek and Latin.
In many ways Demetrios seemed to Petronius to be a precursor of Marcus; attractive, educated, bilingual and blonde - but for some odd reason Gracchus had kept him in Rome - and that should have aroused Petronius' suspicions.
It was obvious to Petronius that Servius 'took a shine' to the slim, well spoken blonde lad - which worried Petronius as, although Demetrios did not live at the Villa in Baiae, he was probably a favourite of Gracchus.
On the way to the Shop of Timotheus 
"Dominorum, now that you have come to the end of your meal, would you like to go to the workshop of Timotheus to collect the pugio for the 'iuvenes dominus', Marcus ?", Demetrios asked.
"That's a good idea, Demetrius !", Servius replied, cheerily, (using the Latinversion of the boy's name) and patting the lad on the back in an avuncular fashion.
Demetrios rode on ahead, to warn Timotheus that his masters were coming, while the coachman struggled to drive the carriage through the crowded streets.

'A Dangerous Admission' - "That Demetrios is a fine looking boy !", Servius said to Petronius, trying to sound casual.
"Yes - and smart !", Petronius agreed.
"I think ......when we get back to the Domus, I will invite him up to my suite after our meal.", Servius continued - carefully.
"And to what purpose ?", Petronius asked, innocently.
" fuck him - of course !", Servius replied, with a grin.
"Are you crazy ?", Petronius blurted out - amazed.
"He's Gracchus' boy ! One of his favourites !
"Just because he's not in Baiae doesn't mean that Gracchus won't find out !", Petronius continued.
"And if he does - What might he do ?
I fucked Marcus a number of times, on the beach near the villa, when he was a slave.
Gracchus knew. 
Told me he knew.......
Did nothing, and made me his tribune !", Servius unwisely boasted.
Petronius looked out of the carriage, not wanting Servius to see the look of vicious cold anger on his face.
"Let's hear no more about this.", Petronius said, needing time to absorb what he had been told.
"Anyway - I've got no personal slaves - like a 'bed-boy', and I think that Gracchus might sell me - or even give me Demetrios, if I ask him nicely enough."
The remainder of the carriage drive passed in silence.

'A Gift' - After battling his way through the crowds and the traffic, the coachman stopped outside a very ordinary looking shop, in a very ordinary looking street.
Demetrios, who had dismounted, handed the reigns of his horse to the coachman, and opened the carriage door for Servius and Petronius.
"This is the shop of Timotheus !", Demetrius announced, grandly.
They entered, to be greeted by a middle aged Greek shopkeeper.
"These are the guests of our Dominus Gracchus.
They have come to collect the pugio that was ordered by Terentius for the son of the Dominus.", Demetrios explained to Timotheus.
Marcus Pugio
Design for Mrcus' Pugio
"One moment, gentlemen !", Timotheus said politely, and disappeared into the back of the shop.
He returned, moments later, with a beautiful ebony box.
He placed it on the counter and took out a glittering pugio.
"I think that this is what Terentius ordered ?", he said quizzically.
Servius and Petronius gasped, and Servius unrolled the small scroll, containing the design of the artist from Neapolis.
"It's perfect !", Servius declared, as he compared the design to the finished work.
Timotheus then placed the pugio in the ebony box, which he now left open, alongside the equally beautiful scabbard.
"It is magnificent !", Petronius said,  picking up the scabbard.
"And how much did the Dominus agree to pay for this pugio, ?", Servius asked, suddenly becoming more businesslike.
"There is no payment due, sir.
Marcus' Pugio in Presentation Case
This pugio is a gift from a number of 'clients' of the Dominus, here in Rome, to commemorate the recovery of his adopted son, Marcus - and is offered, humbly, to the Dominus, with our best wishes.
"Also, gentlemen", Timotheus continued, "the Dominus ordered two items of body armour, which you may take now, if you wish, however, I am afraid that, as these are normal items of trade, some payment will have to be made."
"Well, let us see them." Servius demanded - seeming a little put out at having to buy something that he had not been told about before.
Then a young assistant of  Timotheus brought into the shop two superb examples  of 'cuirasse esthétique'

In classical antiquity, the cuirasse esthétique or heroic cuirass is a type of body armor cast to fit the wearer's torso, and designed to mimic an idealized human physique. It first appears in late Archaic Greece. It is commonly depicted in Greek and Roman art, where it is worn by generals, emperors, and deities during periods when soldiers used other types. In Roman sculpture, the 'muscle cuirass' is often highly ornamented with mythological scenes. The anatomy of muscle cuirasses intended for use might be either realistic, or reduced to an abstract design; the fantastically illustrated cuirasses worn by gods and emperors in Roman statues usually incorporate realistic nipples and navel within the scene depicted.
The question that exercised Servius' mind was - 'for whom had these two fine items of armour been made ?'.
Only two people at the villa wore armour - himself - as Gracchus' Tribune, and Marcus - as Gracchus' heir.
Or perhaps they had been made to be gifts to some exalted personage known to Gracchus.
Regardless, he told Demetrios to load the pieces into the carriage - and wait for him.
Respectfully, Timotheus handed a small piece of parchment to Servius.
"This was the agreed price made between myself and Terentius - on behalf of Dominus Gracchus.", he said quietly.
"This is a very great sum !", Servius said, raising his eyebrows.
"They are of the very finest materials and workmanship,", Timotheus replied, "equal to the armour that we make for our beloved Emperor Vespasian, and his son, the noble Titus."
As there was no answer to that statement, and Servius, rather reluctantly paid the required amount.
'A Deed Well Done ?' - On their return to the Domus Gracchi Petronius went up to his suite to think things out.
Some thoughts...... 'If it was true that Servius had sex with Marcus - when he was the slave-boy Markos, then that was strictly against Gracchus' orders. While it was permitted for an adult Roman citizen to have sex with a slave, it was only acceptable if the owner of the slave had given permission - and Gracchus had not given permission, (in Roman Law a slave was 'property', and it was not permissible for any person [free or slave] to use another's free person's' property without permission). So how was it that Servius subsequently was given the high position of Tribune to Gracchus - with a small villa in Baiae, and a large salary.
And then there was the matter of Servius' failure to protect Marcus at his 'Coming of Age' Convivium, and the fact that he was unable, or unwilling to prevent Cleon escaping from the Villa, and the fact that he never had Glykon's dormitory searched - plus his inability to get much information from Petram and Glykon. - The oddest thing about all of this was that Servius now felt that Gracchus should either give, or sell him Demetrius, and was planning to use the boy for sex, while he was in Rome, in the same way that he had used Markos.'
Petronius was uncertain as to what to do.
Should he discuss his thoughts with Marcus - or even Gracchus - or would it be better to leave those directly involved to work things out themselves.
Later, that night, Petronius couldn't sleep.....
Before retiring, however, Servius and Petronius had an evening meal with Menelaus in one of the smaller triclinia.
Towards the end of the meal a slave-boy entered the triclinium, carrying a very small box and a purse, which he gave to Menelaus.
"This, gentlemen, marks the end of your task !", Menelaus said, curtly dismissing the slave-boy.
He gave the box to Servius.
Servius opened the box, to see the glitter of gold.
"The seal ring of Marcus Sabinus !", Menelaus announced, grandly, "cut from the man's finger earlier this evening."
"Please give it to Dominus Gracchus, along with this !", and Menelaus handed Servius the purse, heavy with gold coins.
"Many thanks !", Servius said taking the box and the purse.
"My Master will be well pleased !", Servius added.
"I think that it will be Petronius' master who will be well pleased !", Menelaus said, carefully - very well aware of which way the wind was blowing.
Servius scowled, and there was an awkward, cold silence in the room.
"And the body of Sabinus, and his assassin ?", Petronius asked, breaking the silence.
"In the Cloaca Maxima - weighted with lead, cut up and unrecognisable - and probably by now in the Tiber.", Menelaus replied, smiling grimly.
Petronius nodded - but to Petronius was all a little to simple - and easy - and he knew why........
How he knew is another matter.
At that point, sensing the difficult atmosphere in the room, Petronius decided to retire to his suite.
"I am sorry, Menelaus but I must now retire.
Please do not be offended, it was a fine meal .....and I am also grateful for the news that you gave us about our main task - but tomorrow there will be a lot of travelling, and I want to wake up fresh and rested."
"Of course.", Menelaus replied.
"I have enjoyed your esteemed company."
With that, Petronius left the triclinium.
"Now that Petronius has left us, I have a matter that I would like to discuss with you.", Servius began.
"Go on.", Menelaus replied, seemingly intrigued.
"The young slave-boy, Demetrios, who accompanied us today interests me.
At present I only have a few household slaves - to clean, wash and cook for me, but I need a young man as a personal slave ....... I'm sure your understand." Servius continued in a rather embarrassed tone.
"I see.", Menelaus replied,waiting for the inevitable.
"So, I thought that I might be able to take him with me, back to the villa at Baiae, so that I could ask the Dominus, Gracchus, to sell me the lad." Servius said.
Menelaus sucked in his breath, with his eyes looking up to the ceiling.
"Knowing that he is one of the slaves of the Dominus, - from an excellent establishment, and well trained, - I thought he would be ideal as a personal slave - and as I am Tribune to the Dominus I thought that I could, perhaps, make a reasonable deal with the Dominus.", Servius prattled on - doing little to help his position.
"Tribune Servius," Menelaus said quite seriously, 
"I could not give permission for this proposal.
The slaves at the Domus can only be transferred from here to the Villa in Tibur, as I have complete authority over both villas - and also the slave's activities in the city and environs of Rome.
As for 'making a deal', as you put it, with the Dominus - that is out of the question.
Any matters about the selling and purchase of slaves are dealt with by the freedman Terentius - who is my superior.
Terentius, in turn, has to receive his instructions from the Dominus.
As for this boy Demetrios, put him out of your mind.
Although he is not, at the moment in Baiae, the boy is a particular favourite of the Dominus - and is definitely not for sale to anyone, at any price - not even Vespasian - should he show an interest."
"I see," Servius said - hesitantly and unsure as to how to pursue the matter.
"And is there any reason why the Dominus favours this boy so much ?", Servius rather foolishly asked.
"That I cannot say !", Menelaus replied angrily.
"And that is the end of the matter !", he concluded.
"Then I shall bid you a very good night.", Servius replied, taken aback and confused by Menelaus' attitude.

Meanwhile, in Petronius' suite, the 'Harena Dominus' to the 'Iuvenes Dominus', was working on scrolls, making plans for the Games to celebrate Marcus' recovery - which he would present to the 
'Iuvenes Dominus' as soon as he returned to the villa in Baiae - assuming that Marcus had recovered enough to deal with such matters.
The two suites - as mentioned before - were linked by open porticoed terraces, and Petronius was frequently disturbed by the sounds of very vigorous sexual activity coming from Servius' suite.
He could distinguish the voices of both Servius and young Demetrios, and was appalled that Servius could be so foolish as to make his activities to easily overheard - particularly as Menelaus had made it clear that he had eyes and ears everywhere - in Rome, Tibur and also Baiae.
Petronius knew that trouble was brewing - possibly as serious as the 'trouble' that has surrounded Marcus' 'coming of age' convivium - but what could he do ?
He knew where his duty lay, however - to ensure the safety and good name of his young master, Marcus !

and the story continues -
'Servius and Petronius return from Rome (via Capua). - Terentius confronts Servius over the presence of Demetrius - (and who is Demetrius ?), and investigates the expenses that Servius presents for the visit to Rome.
At the Villa the further renovation to the Amphitheater are almost complete, and Petronius and Marcus work on planning the new Games.
Letters from Rome 'set the cat among the pigeons', and matters take a dark and a brutal turn.
Eventually, Marcus is given the bloodstained new pugio, along with the seal ring of the House of Gracchus by Terentius.
Chapter XXVIII

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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