Chapter XLII - Servi Liberorum et Deos

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'The Difficult Path of Fate' - On the completion of the punishments, Petronius and Adonios (with a thoughtful Glaux), made their way back to their apartments.
It was obvious to Petronius that Adonios was upset about what had happened to Elatos.
The two boys had not had time to get to know one another, and Adonios had thought from the beginning that Elatos was not particularly reliable or trustworthy - and he had wondered why Marcus had chosen him from the Domus slaves, considering he could afford to go and buy any slave he wished.
However, Adonios thought that Elatos' end had been appallingly cruel and humiliating, and it was an end that he had probably not deserved.
Petronius then had the task of talking to Adonios, and trying to explain that the world often appeared intrinsically unfair and cruel - but the Gods certainly saw it differently, and there was always some - often hidden - meaning in the things that happened.
"You see, Adonios,", Petronius explained - sitting down opposite  Adonios,  "there are three spirits that, in Greece are called the Μοῖραι, and in Rome are called the Parcae - and they spin a golden thread for all people, and all nations and all Empires, so all of us, even you, and even the Gods - and even me - but maybe not Glaux, have their lives controlled by this thread of gold, this thread of destiny - and even the Gods themselves fear the Fates, and are in their power...." 
"Really - even the Gods fear them ?", Adonios asked, wide eyed.
"Truly - I know this.", Petronius answered.
In Greek mythology, the Μοῖραι are the "apportioners", known in English as the' Fates' (Latin: 'Fatae'), - the white-robed incarnations of destiny; their Roman equivalent was the Parcae (euphemistically the "sparing ones"). Their number became fixed at three: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (literally 'un-turnable' but metaphorically 'inflexible' or 'inevitable' - i.e. death).
They controlled the thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent - at the helm of necessity - directed fate, and watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. All gods and men had to submit to them.
"So it is the Fates who decide if things happen that we maybe feel are bad or wrong, but they also decide if good things happen - and then, of course we do not question them.
So if the Gods can submit to the Fates, then I think that my sweet Adonios should do the same.
But do not grieve too much for young Elatos.
Sacrifices shall be made tonight, and much incense burned, and libations of wine made, and I think, even if he was not always as good a boy as he should have been, his path to the after life should be smooth and easy."
Petronius ruffled Adonios' hair, got to his feet, and turned away to leave the apartment.
"I must go now and speak to the Dominus - so you get some rest, and do not worry about Elatos - all will be well in the end."
"I do hope so.", Adonios said sadly, stroking Glaux' feathers, as the little owl nibbled his ear.
For Petronius it was not the best of days.
Not only had the 'punishment' session gone awry, but he had then to contend with a very tearful and upset Adonios, and would then have to consult with Marcus regarding an unexpected funeral.
The corpses of other three slaves would be disposed of, without ceremony, in the Tiber, but Elatos, having been executed in apparent error, was entitled to at least the minimum rites of a Greek funeral, and Petronius had promised a full ritual to the boy himself, and also to Adonios (in the presence of Glaux), and so he was obliged to obtain from Marcus permission to carry out the ritual in the grounds of the Domus.

Temple of Apollo 'Sosianus'
Marcus was in agreement, and suggested that the roof garden be used, with the sand, and the supporting boards removed, and with the pyre placed on the concrete flooring, prior to the area being re-turfed.
Petronius was in agreement, as that area of the roof garden needed to be restored, prior to their later move to Tibur.
So, late in the afternoon and early evening, Petronius arranged with Nicander to have slaves make the appropriate preparations, while libitinarii - (undertakers) - were brought to the Domus to prepare Elatos' corpse.
Petronius also sent to the Temple of Apollo 'Sosianus' (the 'Apollinar') in the Campus Martius, next to the Theatre of Marcellus and the Porticus Octaviae, requesting that they send a priests and other acolytes to undertake a the appropriate sacrifices for a funeral at the Domus.
Lectus Funebris - Funeral Couch - Reconstruction
Venus Libitina
Libitina, also 'Libentina' or 'Lubentina', is an ancient Roman goddess of funerals and burial. Her name was used as a metonymy for death, and undertakers were known as libitinarii. Libitina is sometimes regarded as Etruscan in origin.
Libitinarri were also named after Venus Libitina, in whose temple in the city of Rome their headquarters were situated. The law require that they should be notified of deaths in the city, and they were equipped to make all the arrangement for appropriate funeral ceremonies (for a fee). Once the corpse had been washed and anointed it would be clothed according to its rank and status, and place on a  'lectus funebris' (a kind of portable bed). As Elatos was Greek, a chaplet of flowers would be placed on his head (not a Roman custom), and a coin place in the minariiouth (or hand) as payment to the 'Feryman' to cross the River Styx to the after life. As Elatos was not a freeborn Roman citizen, and quite young, the funeral would take place with no delay on the evening of the day of his death.
In addition, Petronius had Nicander send out slaves to purchase a sow to be a sacrificed to Ceres, which was customary at modest funerals - and Petronius personally paid for all these funeral expenses as, being responsible for the 'Supplicium', he felt obliged to make recompense in some way for what had befallen Elatos.
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres' games). She was also honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.
After Petronius has consulted with Marcus, Novius decided to speak with his Dominus.
For some considerable time Novius, who was a man of considerable intelligence and learning, had puzzled over the matter of Petronius and Aurarius, particularly after the long conversation in the carriage on their journey to Rome.
During that conversation it had been suggested that Aurarius was possibly the brother of Petronius, and Petronius himself had not objected to that possibility.
What had troubled Novius since that discussion was the fact that Petronius had shown little or no interest in Aurarius - and had made no moves to establish a brotherly relationship.
Equally, Aurarius had made no attempt to establish a relationship with Petronius, but that was hardly surprising, considering the fact that Aurarius was a slave, and Petronius had the exalted position of 'Tribune' and 'Master of the Arena', and was the closest companion to the Dominus, Marcus.
No - Novius felt there was something odd regarding the relationship between these two supposed brothers.
In addition, both he and Terentius, who had both known Petronius since he had been bought as a slave-boy by Gnaeus many years before, had an uneasy feeling about the young man who was now Marcus' closest friend - and had undoubtedly been commended in the oracle given by Apollo to the Cumaen Sibyl.
Novius suggested to Marcus that, as there was some concern, both on his own part, and that of Terentius, about the matter of the relationship between Petronius and Aurarius, it might be appropriate for Aurarius to be subjected to the Etruscan rite of 'enchantment' so that the truth could be finally gleaned.
Marcus, not wanting any problems between his senior advisers, and respecting Novius' judgement, gave his permission, and suggested that the procedure should take place prior to the cremation of Elatos.


'The Boys from Eleusis' - It was, obviously, one of those nights.
With dark clouds over the city, and the distant rumble of thunder, it was 'tailor made' for a funeral -  and a bit of 'Etruscan magic'.
A slave-boy had been sent up to Marcus' private apartments with a special drink for Aurarius.
It was all very 'above board', however, and Marcus had explained very carefully to Aurarius what Novius was proposing to do.
Marcus had told Aurarius that his involvement would be entirely voluntary, and that if he felt uncomfortable about taking part, not one would mind if he refused.
It was, of course, all just good manners and politeness.
Aurarius was a slave, and Marcus was his Dominus - and the afternoon's events had shown just what happened to those who went against the wishes of the Dominus - even to the extent of being in the 'wrong place at the wrong time', as Petronius had so succinctly described Elatos' 'mistake'.
So - Aurarius drank his drink, and sat around feeling a little nervous, (to say the least), while he waited for it to have an effect.....
The drink, of course was κυκεών (kykeon - from κυκάω, 'to stir, to mix'), specially brewed by Novius.
The barley used in  kykeon is parasitized by ergot, and the psychoactive properties of that fungus trigger an experience of depersonalisation which intensifies the hypnotic trance associated with it. The use of hypnotic states originated in ancient Egypt, and the knowledge was passed on to the Greeks, and by them to the Etruscans. Such states were exemplified in the ancient practice of oracles – individuals employed by temples to divine the future. Like 'Sleep Temples' in Egypt and Greece, individual expectation and 'overload' were essential ingredients for both the oracle and the subject.
These were accomplished through preparatory processes including the drinking of herbal mixtures (kykeon).  The result of this process was a heightened suggestibility in the mind of the subject, creating a receptive environment for a profound emotional experience.
So why 'the Boys from Eleusis' ? - and what, or where is Eleusis ?
Well, if you have been reading this story in the way you should - that is consecutively - chapter by chapter - from the beginning, then you should already know.
Eleusis - Reconstruction
Eleusis was a deme of Athens. (In Ancient Greece, a δῆμος - deme or demos was a suburb of Athens or a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens.)
The most famous deme in Attica was Eleusis - renowned for its annual festival of the 'Mysteries' in honour of Demeter and Persephone. (Demeter, of course, was known as Ceres in Rome - the goddess to whom sacrifice was to be made on the night of the cremation of Elatos). The site of Eleusis was also an important fortress protecting Attica and held several other important festivals, notably the 'Thesmophoria', the subject and title of a comedy play by Aristophanes. The site continued to be an important religious centre through Hellenistic and Roman times, when the site was significantly expanded with monumental architecture being added by several Roman emperors.
And - far more important to our story, at the moment, is the fact that it is suggested that Aurarius and Petronius both originally came from Eleusis.

When Marcus thought sufficient time had passed, he told Aurarius to got to Novius' study.
Aurarius had not been to Novius' study before, and not knowing the way, needed to ask some of the domus-guards.
Eventually he found himself outside yet another set of huge, imposing gilded bronze doors.
He knocked quietly, and heard Novius' familiar, friendly voice telling him to come in.
Novius' study was a large room, filled with seemingly endless, carefully carved  wooden'columbaria' (originally a Latin word for dove cotes, but also used for any alcove used for storage).
These were filled with many hundreds of scrolls, most having been brought by slaves from the Villa Auream in Baiae.
Novius was sitting behind a large marble topped table, along with Terentius.
And so the scene was set, and everyone appeared to be at an appropriate place.
Marcus was up on the roof garden, greeting the priests from the Temple of Apollo 'Sosianus'.
Petronius was supervising the practicalities of the ritual of the cremation of Elatos.
Adonios was trying to relax, with Glaux, in Petronius' apartment.
And finally Novius and Terentius were with Aurarius in Novius study.
Only Aurarius, however, was unaware that Elatos was dead, as Aurarius had been attending a lesson with Aristarchos, his Greek tutor, at the time of the 'Supplicium', and Marcus had considered it wise not to tell the boy about the death of Elatos until after his meeting with Novius.


'The Enchantment of Aurarius' - "Now, Aurarius, - Terentius and I need to ask you a few questions about the time before you came to us, before you became a slave - and the Dominus, Marcus has given us his permission for us to do this - so are you happy to talk to us ?", Novius began, speaking in Greek, and trying to set Aurarius at ease.
"Of course, Domine." Aurarius replied, although already his words were just very slightly slurred as a result of drinking the kykeon some time before.
"So, before we begin, the Dominus has asked me to show you this beautiful piece of Etruscan gold.
It is a very ancient pedant, given to me, when I was young, by one of the last of the Etruscan priests."
Novius picked up the gold pendant which had been lying on the table.
"Here - I will hold it up, and you can look at it more closely.", Novius said, as he slowly began to swing the pendant in front of Aurarius' eyes, while Terentius turned his back to look away, not wishing to become affected by the powerful talisman, even although he had not drunk the potion.
"It is very, very old...", Novius continued, ensuring that the word 'very' coincided with the rhythmic swing of the pendant.
"Very....very old..." Novius continued.
"Very ... very.... "Aurarius echoed faintly as his eyelids fluttered, and he drifted off into a waking trance.
Novius then gently and soundlessly put the pendant down on the table and began o read the Etruscan incantation from his ancient scroll, while Terentius looked on, fascinated.
The words of the incantation were in a language that neither Terentius, nor even Novius understood, but that was of no consequence as the words were 'words of power', addressed to the 'Di inferi' and Hypnos.
The 'Di inferi' were 'the Gods below' who were always invoked when spells or incantations were made. Hypnos - was the Greek version of the Roman God 'Somnus'. Hypnos was the son of Nyx (Night), and the twin brother of Thanatos (Death). In Greek myth he is variously described as living in the underworld or on the island of Lemnos (according to Homer), or (according to Book XI of Ovid’s Metamorphoses) in a dark cave in the land of the Cimmerians, through which flowed the waters of 'Lethe', the river of 'forgetfulness' and 'oblivion'.
"Aurarius - this is Novius - can you hear me ?", Novius asked, as Aurarius appeared to be deeply entranced.
"Yes, Novius - but my name is Archos", Aurarius replied slowly.
"I see, I'm sorry - it was my mistake..." Novius replied.
The Farm in Eleusis
Meanwhile, Terentius had taken out a tabula (wax writing tablet), and was writing down everything that Aurarius was saying.
"And where do you come from, Archos ?", Novius continued.
"From Eleusis - we lived on a farm.", Aurarius replied.
"I see - and do you have any brothers and sisters ?", Novius asked.
"Yes - I have an older brother called Patroklos, and three sisters."
"And tell me about your older brother - Patroklos....", Novius said.
"He was quite a bit older than me, and never wanted to be a farmer, like our father, but instead an athlete - and there were Games held in Eleusis  - and I think that's where he got the idea from.", Aurarius explained.
Patroklos Throws the Discus
"So did Patroklos become an athlete ?", Novius queried.
"No, -  that's where it all went wrong.", Aurarius replied.
"You see, he often used to practice discus - in one of my father's fields.
On that day, he went to fetch the discus that he'd just thrown, but his friend wasn't paying attention, and didn't see him.
The friend made his throw, and his discus hit Patroklos' head.
When we got to my brother, he was unconscious."
"So what happened next ?", Novius asked, obviously intrigued by the answers he was receiving.
"We took him back to the farm, and put him on his bed, but he never came round.
Father said there was no hope, and we sent for a priest.
Then preparations were made for the funeral.", and as Aurarius spoke a tear dripped down onto his cheek.
Patroklos was washed and anointed - dressed in his best tunic, and prepared for the funeral.
That night the funeral was to take place, but as we placed Patroklos' body on the bier, he seemed as if he was waking up from a deep sleep, or a dream, and started asking what was happening." Aurarius continued.
"So the family must have been overjoyed.", Novius commented, encouragingly.
"Yes - of course - to begin with.", Aurarius replied, but sounding far from happy.
"Go on....", Novius said, encouragingly.
"But something was wrong.....
 Patroklos didn't seem to be able to remember anything - at least to begin with.
Later he did remember some things, but he wasn't the same - and I just thought that he was pretending to remember most of the time."
Terentius looked at Novius, knowingly.
"And he was often muttering in his sleep about being on this mountain and about music - but before the accident he never mentioned music, of even sang or whistled."
Apollo and  Hyacinth

There is an interesting parallel in the events that Aurarius recounts about Patroklos being hit by a discus, and the story of Hyacinth and Apollo.
Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by Zephyrus, the West Wind. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. When Hyacinth died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid's account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower's petals with the sign of his grief. In reference to this event Apollo was on occasion referred to as 'Apollon Hyakinthios'. Novius, and probably Terentius would have been aware of this similarity.
"That's interesting, Archos, but can you now tell me now how you became a slave ?", Novius asked, changing the subject.
"Well father, like my brother, was never the same after the accident.
He never got on with Patroklos after that accident, and he became depressed, saying he'd lost his eldest son - so slowly the farm lost money, and he got into really bad debt.
In the end he had to sell me to a local farmer to get enough money to pay his debts, and then the farmer sold me to a slave trader from Crete - and I was passed from one owner to another, until I ended up with this old man - who always called me 'Boy' - so in the end that became my name."
"And what about Patroklos ?", Novius asked.
"I don't know what happened to him.", Aurarius replied, as if he didn't care.
Terentius Buys Aurarius
"So then you were bought by Terentius..", Novius prompted.
"Yes... and he took me to this big villa by the sea, where all the people seemed to me to be crazy."
Terentius smiled - remembering when Aurarius first arrived at the villa.
"And did you see anyone at the villa that your recognised - or who looked familiar !", Novius asked.
"No, but the son of the owner reminded me of Patroklos when we thought he was dead.", Aurarius replied.
As Aurarius answered there was a low rumble of thunder - but as yet no rain.
Novius raised an eyebrow, and looked over at Terentius.
"And I think that you met a slave called Petronius when you came to the villa.
Did he remind you of anyone ?", Novius asked pointedly.
"Yes, a little......he had a smile just like Patroklos - but he was much more handsome and clever than my brother, who was just a stupid farm boy - like me.", Aurarius said in a rather self-deprecating manner.
"So where do you think your brother is now ?", Novius asked, clearly wanting to force the issue.
"I don't know !", Aurarius replied forcefully.
"But some people are saying that Petronius is your brother.", Novius countered.
"No !", Aurarius replied angrily.
"My brother was like Marcus - when he was in that funny dream-like sleep - just like my brother.
And I love Marcus, like I loved my brother - but my brother.....he's gone.....", Aurarius stammered, and began sobbing.
"That's all right, Aurarius - you may come back now...". Novius said quietly.
Novius then continued more forcefully...
"Now, when I click my fingers you will forget everything that has happened since you sat down in that chair.
Is that clear ?".
"Yes, domine.", Aurarius answered mechanically.
Novius then clicked his fingers, and Aurarius opened his eyes and looked around, a little confused.
"So what would you like me to tell you ?", Aurarius asked brightly, wiping a tear from his eye.
"Oh - nothing in particular !", Novius answered, casually, and smiling -
"But now the Dominus has said that you must return to his apartments and wait for him there.", Novius concluded.
"Thank you Domine.", Aurarius said politely, and bowing to Novius and Terentius he left Novius study.


'At the Funeral for Elatos' - Meanwhile, on the roof garden, Elatos' funeral was under way.
Marcus and Petronius took the role of chief mourners (a great honour for a somewhat insignificant slave), and numerous slaves, who had been given permission to leave their duties for a short period by Nicander, - slaves who had known Elatos during the brief period that they had lived at the Domus, - stood and watched the ceremonies.
It should be recalled, at this point, that Terentius, after the death of the 'late Dominus', and the execution of Menelaus, the senior freedman in the Domus, had dispersed all the domus slaves, retiring some, selling on most, and moving others to distant estates owned by the House of Gracchus, and retaining only Nicander as the new senior freedman. As a result, the slaves at the Domus had only worked together for a relatively short period, and this may well have accounted for the lack of 'cohesion' and lack of discipline among the slaves working in the domus. Part of the reason for the change of staff was the fact that the new 'iuvenes dominum' (young master) was an ex-slave of the Domus (Demetrius), and partly it was done in order to ensure that no other undiscovered co-conspirators remained in the Domus.
As the distant thunder rumbled, the priests made their solemn incantations, and the sow squealed as it was sacrificed to to the goddess Ceres.
The entrails were examined, and the auspices were good - indicting, according to the priests, that the Gods had not been offended by the death of the boy.
Elatos' Funeral Pyre
Marcus heaved a sigh of relief, and Petronius looked pleased as he took the role of the boy's mentor, and ceremoniously took the first brand and thrust it into the pyre.
As the flames leapt up there was a flash of lightening.
Fortunately, however, the rain held off so that the pyre was able to burn well.
First Marcus, and then Petronius, threw handfuls of incense onto the flames, sending clouds of sweetly perfumed smoke up into the stormy sky.
Petronius and Marcus stood respectfully, watching the pyre burn.
It was the Roman custom for the mourners to remain watching until the pyre had burned down to embers, although that could take time, and not everybody was always prepared for such a long wait.
Marcus and Petronius had little choice, however, as the slaves who were attending the funeral would expect their masters to show due respect to their comrade, even although the deceased was just a slave, and Marcus very much, at this point, and rather ironically, wanted to appear as the 'caring master'.
"So... what happens now ?", Petronius asked Marcus, apparently bemused by the recent turn of events.
"Tomorrow, Petronius, we must visit Vespasian, but before that we shall go into the city and buy a slave to replace Elatos.", Marcus replied
"I'm not choosing another Domus slave - it may well only end in more trouble.", Marcus said firmly, and Petronius nodded.
"To be honest with you..... the sooner we leave the Domus the better !
It's too big, and I don't feel comfortable will all theses new slaves.
I think that Tibur will be better."
Petronius listen patiently, aware that Marcus was far from happy with the way some things were turning out.
"Nicander tells me Tibur is smaller and peaceful - in the countryside - and the slaves there were not changed, as Demetrius was only ever there as a baby."
Marcus paused, thinking.
"That boy has been no end of trouble.......
Not his fault.....just fate..... but still trouble...", Marcus continued.
"I agree - but, as you say, it's not the boy's fault ...." Petronius said.
There was then a crack of thunder, and then the rain came.
Fortunately the pyre had burned down, and the rain would make it easier for the slaves, supervised by Nicander, to extract the ashes and bones.
Marcus strode over to where Nicander was giving orders to some of the slaves.
"Put the remains in a leather bag (the usual custom), and tomorrow I will have ordered a funerary urn, and later we can place the ashes in the Domus Columbarium."
"That will be done, Dominus.", Nicander replied, obviously impressed by the respect and concern that Marcus was showing for his deceased slave.
Domus Columbarium
A columbarium is a room or chamber which the Romans use for preserving the ashes of the dead. During the 1st and 2nd centuries, hundreds of columbaria lined the consular highways leading out of Rome. Carefully organised, with neatly stuccoed ceilings, frescoed walls, and mosaic floors, columbaria are not 'catacombs', which were long rambling underground galleries with crude recesses, used for inhumation (burial). A columbarium consisted of stacked niches designed to take cinerary urns. Columbaria were mainly used by plebs, and the servile classes, but some patricians (like Gnaeus and Marcus) maintained columbaria for their deceased slaves and lesser freedmen.


'Reflctions' - Back in Novius' study the large bronze door closed with a soft thud behind Aurarius.
Novius looked at Terentius - and Terentius looked at Novius.
"So what do you make of that ?", Novius asked.
"Well, I wrote it all down, but what it all means is anybody's guess.", Terentius said, looking at his wax tablets, obviously puzzled.
"Well we know that our Aurarius was originally called Archos, and that he comes from Eleusis, and he had a brother called Patroklos.", Novius recapped.
"All well and good !", Terentius confirmed, "But it doesn't seem to tell us if our Petronius is Aurarius' brother.".
"Yes,", Novius confirmed, "but there are odd little hints, all over the place, that just need connecting up....somehow."
Terentius sighed.
"Tell me, Terentius, you were at the villa when Petronius was bought as a slave, what do you remember ?", Novius asked.
"I was very young then - ", Terentius explained, "and at that time Gnaeus had a senior freedman who has long since died.
In those days, when a special or expensive slave was bought Gnaeus usually did the buying himself.
He travelled a lot then - doing various deals - it was before he was a senator.
One day he came back with this young Greek slave.
He called the boy Petronius, but that, as you well realize, is a Roman name - not Greek - and was probably the name that he gave the boy.
I have searched far back, but there is no record of the boy's name - other than Petronius - what Gnaeus paid for him - which was not much - and the fact that he was bought on one of Gnaeus' many trips to Greece."
"So that doesn't get us very far," Novius concluded, dismally.
"So it seems that we have little or no evidence that Petronius is this Patroklos, other that dammed smile, and the fact that they look similar - but we've all noticed that." Terentius concluded.
"But it's a strange story that Aurarius tells - and it's strange that he won't say one way or the other that Petronius is his brother - but at least we do know now how the boy feels about Marcus." and when Novius said that Terentius raised his eyebrows knowingly.
"Yes - and that's maybe as well.
Marcus needs someone after Cleon.", Terentius concurred.
"And it's equally strange that Petronius shows no brotherly affection towards Aurarius - so perhaps they are not related - who knows ?", Novius said - effectively ending their speculations.

'Marcus and Aurarius' - Aurarius dutifully tidied up Marcus' apartment, while he puzzled over his visit to Novius' study.
As far as he could remember he had gone in - sat down - and Novius had shown him a beautiful gold pendant.
The next thing he remembered, he was saying goodbye to Novius and Terentius.
It was all very strange.
As he worked away, puzzling, Marcus arrived.
Aurarius instantly noticed that Marcus was wearing black - which was unusual, and was only normally worn for funerals, and that Marcus was looking very strained and tired.
"Dominus - something bad's happened, hasn't it ?", Aurarius asked.
"Yes !", Marcus said quietly.
"Elatos is dead.", Marcus explained - his voice almost expressionless.
"But how ?", Aurarius said, unable to believe what Marcus had just told him.
"It was a mistake.
He got accidentally mixed up with the slaves who were to be punished for what happened last night.
Petronius, it seems, didn't notice, and it was only when it was too late that Adonios realized who it was, and tried to get Petronius to stop things - but by then it was too late - Elatos was too badly hurt - and died." Marcus tried to explain - although all his usual eloquence seemed to have left him.
"You mean Petronius had him finished off !", Aurarius said coldly.
"No..... ", Marcus said lamely.
"I wasn't there... but Petronius said there was nothing could be done for the boy.", Marcus continued, wearily.
"Petronius is too fond of having people killed !", Aurarius said - spitting out the words vehemently.
"Silence !", Marcus shouted back angrily.
"It's not your place to criticise those in authority over you !", Marcus continued, still angry, but obviously weary.
He sank down onto a couch, putting his head in his hands.
"Please get me some wine, boy.", Marcus asked, almost pleading, and almost like a boy himself - and at that moment he felt horribly alone.
Aurarius instantly regretted what he had said - not because he knew that he could be severely punished, but because he realized that he had hurt Marcus - and hurt him badly when he was at his most vulnerable.
"I'm sorry Dominus....I'll go and get the wine straight away." Aurarius said, afraid that Marcus might start to cry at any moment.
(for a master to show weakness in front to a slave was totally unacceptable, and Aurarius wanted to ensure that Marcus did not shame himself.)
When Aurarius returned with a goblet of wine, Marcus looked up at him, sadly.
"I don't want to talk about Elatos, I don't want to talk about Petronius, or anyone else - I simply want to be with you....", Marcus said - his voice breaking as he spoke.
"Don't worry.", Aurarius said, trying to sound casual.
"I'll be here, tidying up, getting your meal ready - then your bath and your bed - and you can relax."
"I was hoping that you would stay with me - even if you think I let you down.", Marcus replied.
"How did you let me down ?", Aurarius replied, - instantly realizing that it was the wrong thing to say.
"No....forget I said that.", Aurarius corrected himself.
"Let's shut out the rest of the world - and just be together - for the rest of the night.", Aurarius whispered, and disappeared into the culina to prepare some food.
"Yes....", Marcus sighed, and stretched out on the couch.

'Another Morning' - It was a peck on the ear that awoke Marcus.
Yes - it was Glaux, giving his master a 'good morning' kiss.
And as Marcus awoke he found a naked boy carelessly sprawled over him.
"Aurarius..... I don't remember....", Marcus mumbled, only just awake.
"Maybe not.... but I do....", Aurarius said knowingly, with a cheeky grin.
"Well you can't continue that now.", Marcus said gently, feeling Aurarius' boyish hardness against his equally firm stomach muscles.
"There are things to do.....", and Marcus got out of bed, seemingly having recovered from his depression of the previous evening, and leaving a slightly disgruntled Glaux sliding off the pillow, and Aurarius stretching lazily.
And so it was a quick breakfast, a struggle with a toga, and then down to the main atria for the morning 'Salutatio', with Terentius, Petronius, Adonios and Nicander all in attendance (Glaux however, had stayed in Marcus' apartments, intending to catch up on some sleep).
To Marcus everything seemed strangely normal - as if the drama of the previous day had never happened.
As usual, the 'Salutatio' was a bore, with people that Marcus couldn't remember, coming to him with problems that he didn't understand - or worse, didn't really care about, and Terentius, as ever, sorting everything out.
The only person that Marcus was interested in talking to was Diodoros, and they discussed for a few moments the progress that the young sculptor was making with the quadriga for the temple Marcus was having built in Baiae.
After a brief discussion, Marcus asked Diodoros to wait behind, as he wanted the young man to accompany him when he went out into the city after the 'Salutatio'.
It was considered a great honour to be specifically asked to accompany a patron on his morning business outside his domus - and while many 'hangers on' would attempt to be seen with notable patrons, in Marcus case the Domus guards ensured that only selected 'clientes' were allowed to walk with Marcus.
Without taking any refreshments, Marcus gathered up Aurarius, Terentius, Petronius, Adonios and Diodoros - along a with a number of 'hangers-on' - who would soon be persuaded to return to their homes or businesses by burly domus-guards - and proceeded down the wide marble steps fronting the Domus Gracchii, and made his way to Diodoros' workshop.
On arriving there, Marcus gave Diodoros  new and simple order.
"Please don't waste your time working on this yourself", Marcus insisted.
"I want a simple white marble funeral urn for a slave of mine who has recently died, and it is to be placed in a columbarium - so it should not be too tall.
It will need an inscription - in Latin."
Diodoros immediately provided Marcus with a waxed writing tablet.
"Please write the inscription here, Dominus.", Diodoros said, placing the tablet on the work bench.
So Marcus wrote :

(the Ashes of Elatos - Faithful and True Slave of Marcus Octavianus Gracchus)

"You were fond of this slave, Dominus ?", Diodoros asked, being surprisingly forward, but obviously affected by the nature of the dedication.
"Not as much as I should have been.", Marcus replied, dryly.
Diodoros took the tablet and closed it, realizing that there was obviously a problem, and regretting that he had asked the question.
"I will pay you in advance - and Terentius.... don't haggle !", Marcus said firmly.
Terentius nodded, and wisely said nothing.
"I want it done quickly, and delivered to the Domus.", Marcus ordered.
"Thank you Dominus.
You are much too generous.", Diodoros replied very formally.


'A Slave for Aurarius' - on leaving Diodoros' workshop the group made their way to the up-market slave dealer who had provided the slave for Demetrius.
As they walked, Marcus spoke quietly to Terentius and Petronius, while  Adonios an Aurarius walked ahead, out of earshot, as they had been taught to do when their masters were conferring.
"I want to purchase a slave to replace Elatos, and to be a slave for Aurarius - for obvious reasons, gentlemen.
I would suggest that you might do the same for Adonios, even although he is a little younger than Aurarius - as he is getting to that crucial age."
"Of course, Dominus.
I always abide by your suggestions.", Petronius replied.
"Please, Petronius, don't try to flatter me.
When I first met you, and helped you in the arena, it was I who always abided by your suggestions !", Marcus replied, good naturedly grinning.
"That is true, Dominus, but this suggestion that you have made is a good one - so I agree.", Petronius answered, in obvious good humour.
It may seem surprising that Marcus is buying a slave for his own slave, but that was not completely unknown. High status slaves often had slaves of their own - either slaves that they had bought themselves, or slaves that had been bought for them. In this case the slaves to be bought were to act as a 'concubinus' to their master's slave, and this was acceptable as the masters' slaves were thought to require an approved outlet for their dominant male role. A slave who owned a slave did not, however, have true ownership. As has been explained previously, all monies, and property, (real and personal) in Roman law belonged to the slave's master, and the slave's ownership was only granted with permission from his master. For Aurarius and Adonios, however, being given their own slave was one small symbolic step towards their eventual freedom.
Having come to an agreement they reached the large domus which was somewhat incongruously the premises of the high class slave trader.
Externally the fine, white stuccoed, windowless façade gave no indication as to what lay within, and unless one had been told of the trade carried on in the building, one would have no idea that some of the finest slaves in Rome were available beyond the large, finely panelled, dark wooden doors
Terentius, who was well known to the owners of the business, was given instant admittance, and soon the group found themselves in the large, luxurious atrium, where the primicerius (manager) greeted them as if they were old friends (which Terentius undoubtedly was).
Marcus was introduced first by Terentius, and the primicerius beamed, obviously remembering his previous custom.

see Chapter XXXVII - SERVOS DOMINUS ACQUIRENDI - for the previous visit to this establishment when Marcus purchased Aelius for Demetrius.

"The Dominus intends to purchase a slave for this young man.", Terentius explained.
He made no mention that the young man was a slave himself, and the primicerius had no way of telling, as Aurarius' heavy slave collar was of gold, (giving no indication that it was in fact a 'slave collar', as no slaves in the entire empire wore such opulent and expensive collars), and in addition Aurarius was dressed in a gold embroidered tunic, and wore a distinctive engraved gold seal ring.
"Of course, come this way.", the primicerius said smoothly.
"And what kind of slave does the 'iuvenes dominum' require ?", the primicerius continued in his silky sales tones.
(Aurarius smiled to himself with immense inner satisfaction as, for the first time in his life, he had been referred to as the 'young master')
"Perhaps a sweet virginal slave-girl ?", the primicerius suggested, seemingly forgetting the sale that he had mad previously to Marcus.
Marcus then spoke up for himself.
"No...we require a slave-boy, about the same age as the 'iuvenes dominum', to be a concubinus.", Marcus explained.
"Ah ...I see...", the primicerius replied, instantly realizing what was required.
The  primicerius took Marcus and Aurarius to the viewing room, (which Marcus recognised from his previous visit), while Terentius, Petronius and Adonios remained in the atrium, where they were provided with refreshment.
Marcus and Aurarius were offered seats, and the primicerius conferred with his staff, who then busied themselves organising the appropriative slaves for viewing.
As on his previous visit, the prospective 'goods' were viewed three at a time.
Undoubtedly this was a strategy to prevent customers from becoming confused by the choice they were being offered.
"Dominus,", the primicerius interupted, "tell me of any slave that you may think may be suitable, and that slave will be put to one side, and then more slaves shall be offered."
The first three boys (all naked as was the Roman custom when selling slaves) entered the viewing room, and stood smiling, as Aurarius looked them over, very carefully.
he turned to Marcus.
"No - nothing there.", he said.
Marcus smiled.
Aurarius had a wonderful, and unintentional way of being absolutely direct and blunt when he wanted.
Oddly, Aurarius was behaving like a 'true patrician' in this situation, whereas, in the same situation previously, Demetrius had been diffident and nervous.
The primicerius clapped his hands.
The first three slaves left (looking somewhat downcast as the potential buyers looked rich and young - which may have been good for them, if they had been sold).
Three more slaves entered.
Aurarius looked, and brightened up.
He turned to Marcus.
"The one on the left looks 'cute'. (in Latin - 'bellus')."
"True.", Marcus replied
"Keep the one on the left.", Marcus told the primicerius.
Immediately three more slave boys entered.
Aurarius, becoming familiar with the way of selecting the slaves, gave a quick, and seemingly professional glance at the trio, and selected a handsome blond boy (puer pulcher flavis capillis).
The primicerius, obviously impressed with the way that Aurarius was selecting his purchase, then ordered three more slaves to present themselves.
Aurarius chose one of the three.
A Slave for Aurarius
The two 'rejects left, and Aurarius finally had three 'first choices'.
"That's good, Aurarius.
Now - without rushing, is it possible for you to choose one of these three, or would you like to see some more ?", Marcus said, tying to ensure that Aurarius made the best choice possible.
Aurarius looked carefully.
He turned to Marcus.
"Are any of them Greek ?"
Marcus turned to the primicerius. "Well ?"....
"The two boys on the right are Greek, and speak Greek.
The boy in the centre reads and writes, Greek and has a little Latin.
The boy on the left is Hispanic (from Spain), and only has weak Latin, I'm afraid.", the primicerius explained.
"If you agree, Marcus, I would like the the blond boy in the middle, wearing the 'slave collar'.", Aurarius said, deferentially.
Marcus was surprised to hear Aurarius use his name, but as there was no one else in the room he made no comment.
Marcus nodded.
"Well, let's find out more about him.", Marcus said, indicating that the other two boys could be dismissed.
Marcus went up to the blond boy, and turned him round.
He then examined the boy's teeth, and got the lad to flex his muscles to check his muscle tone.
"Why is he wearing a slave collar ? - None of the other boys you showed us were.
Has he a propensity to run away ?", Marcus asked, pointedly.
"No - not at all.
It's just some trinket his previous master gave him.
His previous master didn't want to sell him, for obvious reasons - but there were money problems - as so often happens.", the primicerius explained.
"Good.....", Marcus said.
Marcus then addressed the slave-boy.
"What's your name, boy ?", Marcus asked.
"Euphrainus", the boy replied.
"That's appropriate  - considering what you will be required to do.", Marcus quipped, smiling at Aurarius.
(the joke was that the boy's name is a Latinized version of the Greek - which Marcus and Aurarius both spoke -  'ευφραινω' meaning 'to delight').
"Your task, with regard to your master here, (indicating Aurarius) is to be his αρσενικό παλλακίδα ('bed-boy').
Do you have any problem with that ?", Marcus stated baldly.
"That would be no problem, master - I have served that function many times before." Euphrainus replied in clear, well spoken Greek.
"Now make sure that you are not simply trying to please in what you say.
The house to which you are coming is one of strict discipline.
You are being bought to replace a slave who yesterday made his 'crossing of the Styx' (died) - having been executed for not complying with instructions.
If you in any way fail in your duties, you will be appropriately punished, like your predecessor.
Do I make myself clear ?" Marcus continued, firmly but quietly.
"I understand master.", Euphrainus replied.
"And knowing this, you still want to come and serve ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes, master.", Euphrainus replied.
"Good." - and Marcus then turned to the primicerius.
"Speak to Terentius and agree a price - then send the boy to the Domus Gracchii this afternoon, with appropriate documents, and fully dressed.", Marcus instructed.
"Of will be a pleasure." the primicerius replied obsequiously.
"Now I have a colleague who also wishes to purchase a slave-boy, so perhaps we could wait while you serve him.", Marcus said, as he led Aurarius back to the Atrium.
"Now it's your turn.", Marcus said, grinning, to Petronius and Adonios, as Terentius got down to some very serious haggling with the assistant primicerius.

Petronius and Adonios entered the viewing room.
"And what sort of slave are you looking for ?", the primicerius asked.
"Well... a boy very much like the Dominus was looking for - but for this young man." Petronius said, indicating Adonios.
A Slave for Adonios
And so the selecting began once again, but Adonios was far more nervous than Aurarius, and Petronius had to give him much encouragement and help.
Eventually after much uncertainty, Adonios managed to pick four possible boys.
It should be remembered that Adonios felt that he was deeply 'in love' with Petronius, and felt no real necessity to take the 'dominant role' in sexual matters - so he was somewhat puzzled as to why it was so important for him to have a 'bed-boy' for himself, when he had Petronius.
However, as Petronius had made it clear to Adonios that he had reached an age when he should take the 'dominant role' - so Adonios accepted what Petronius was suggesting as, in all things, Adonios followed Petronius' advice.
"So...before we decide to buy this lad, Adonios, I think we should find out a bit more about him.", Petronius said, giving Adonios a surreptitious nudge forward so that he could get a good look at the naked slave-boy.
Adonios was a little bit intimidated by the handsome boy who looked at him, maintaining his pose and his gaze.
"Tell me your name, boy.", Petronius asked in Greek, quite gently.
"My name, master, is Ανικητος (Aniketos)."the boy replied quietly.
Adonios relaxed a little.
The boy spoke with a refined accent, in a low, melodious voice.
"Is that your real name, or a name you were given ?", Petronius asked.
 Ανικητος - (Aniketos)
"It is a name I was given by my previous master - 
but I do not remember my original name."
"It's a very fine name." Petronius  commented, in a rather dreamy tone.
"Do you know where it comes from ?", Petronus asked, turning to Adonios.
Adonios shook his head, and Aniketos smiled - a beautiful smile.
"Aniketos - it means 'unconquered' - 'invicta', and it is the name given to the God of Sport and Athletics." Petronius explained.
Hellenistic Bronze Torso
of the God Aniketos
Aniketos was the son of Hebe, the goddess of youth, and Herakles, gatekeeper of Olympus and strongest demigod in history. Little is known about Aniketos, but he was always represented as an eternal ephebe (a teenager) and was worshipped primarily in Rhodes and Thebes.
Adonios looked at the boy, wide-eyed.
"But I don't think that he'll stay unconquered for long - seeing as how 'horny' you are Adonios !", Petronius quipped, grinning broadly at Adonios.
The primicerius smiled knowingly, also understanding well the reference Petronius was making, and Adonios blushed.
"But will he like Glaux ?", Adonios. asked - quite seriously.
Petronius turned to Aniketos.
"Well Aniketos - Glaux is a very special owl - and if you are to come to us, you must make friends with Glaux". Petronius said, trying to be equally serious.
Aniketos looked confused - but thinking that his new masters seemed pleasant and friendly  - and rich - (if a little weird), he thought it best to let them buy him.
"I'm sure I could get on with my new masters' owl.", Aniketos replied, not really believing that he had given such a strange answer.
At that moment Marcus came in from the atrium.
"Sorry to interrupt,", Marcus said, remarkably apologetically, ,"but have you chosen a slave ? - because we have someone rather important to visit tonight - and we must get back to the domus to make preparations.".
"Yes, Dominus, we're just sorting out the matter of Glaux, but Adonios has chosen a boy, so Terentius can start haggling.", Petronius explained.
"Glaux ?", Marcus questioned, and then in the confusion gave up, and returned to the atrium.
Aniketos was also confused when he heard Petronius refer to Marcus as 'Dominus'.
Aniketos knew enough Latin to know that 'Dominus' was the word for 'κύριος' (master), and so he was becoming confused as to who his new master really was - but he would eventually find out when he got to the Domus.

'Return to the Domus - As soon as Terentius had made a good deal (for Marcus and Petronius) with the unfortunate assistant primicerius, (practically two boys for the price of one - but still vastly expensive as they were very special slaves), the group left for the Domus.
Domus Gracchii - Roma
On arriving back, both Adonios and Aurarius, were excited at the prospect of having their own slaves.
Equally the adults were far from their usual selves, but rather than excited they were concerned to make all the appropriate preparations for their visit to the 'Horti Sallustiani' (Vespasian's residence in Rome).
Immediately on their return Marcus was closeted with Novius and Terentius to be briefed with regard to his negotiations with Vespasian and Titus.
At the same time, in Demetrius' apartments, Aelius (Demetrius' slave) was helping Demetrius to bathe, and giving his young master a very thorough massage, (which inevitably ended with a very oily and intense session of sex), which then required a further bath.
Finally Aelius managed to clam down his amorous master by getting Demetrius to tell him all about Titus and Vespasian, and how Vespasian became Emperor, and while they talked Aelius prepared Demetrius' clothes and accessories for the evening at the 'Horti Sallustiani'.
Meanwhile, Petronius and Nicander supervised the various practical preparation.
In the early afternoon Euphrainus and Aniketos arrived at the Domus.
Nicander supplied a receipt for the primicerius who had sold the boys to them, and then Nicander had both slaves fitted with silver slave collars, and kitted out with identical white tunics.
The rather overawed boys - who had never seen such a magnificent domus - were then deposited in a small atrium, and guarded by a domus-slave, while they waited for Petronius to find the time to induct them.
Eventually Petronius arrived, and took the boys up to his apartments.
Once there, Adonios and Aurarius were banished to their rooms, so that Petronius could talk to the new slaves privately.
"So boys...", Petronius began, in his best 'school-masterly' manner,  "you have arrived on an auspicious day, but this means that you will have no time to adjust to your new position, and your new surroundings.
In a very short while we will be making our way through the streets, escorted by Praetorians, to the Horti Sallustiani - which is, at present, the residence of Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus - the Emperor Vespasian.
While you are at the residence you will say nothing unless you are spoken to.
You, Euphrainus, will remain at all times one pace behind, and to the right hand side of Aurarius.
You, Aniketos, will remain at all times one pace behind, and to the right hand side of Adonios.
That is all that you need do.
Bow when you first meet the Emperor.
Never look straight at his face, but always with eyes lowered, and bow when you finally leave.
If you have to answer him - and I doubt that he will speak to you - address him as Dominus.
Is that clear ?"
Both boys nodded.
"In this Domus you call Terentius, Novius, Nicander and myself as Domine - Demetrios as Venerabiles Iuvenes Domine - and Adonios and Aurarius as Iuvenes Domine.
Only Marcus Octavianus Gracchus is to be addressed as Dominus.
Is that understood ?", Petronius continued.
"Yes Domine !", the two boys answered in unison.
"When we return, you will 'attend' your new Iuvenes Domine - in your case, Euphrainus, that is Aurarius - and in your case, Aniketos, that is Adonios, and you will ensure that you give them full 'satisfaction' before they join their Domine for the remainder of the night.", Petronius concluded, with a smile flickering on his lips.
"Yes Domine !", the two boys answered.
Without showing it, Petronius was pleased that both the new slave-boys seemed suitably subservient, and he hoped that there would be no further problems with slaves.
"So - Euphrainus, you go to the apartment down the corridor, and help to prepare Aurarius, and your Dominus for the visit this evening - and you,  Aniketos, go and prepare Adonios..... and meet Glaux."
And at that point Petronius couldn't help but smile.

'and the story continues -
Finally Marcus meets the Emperor Vespasian, and Vespasian's mistress Caenis Antonia
After the successful meeting the two new slave-boys,  Euphrainus and Aniketos, begin their lives in the House of Gracchus
('A Meeting with Vespasian')

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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