Chapter XLIV - Interludium Pastoralis

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Tibur was originality an independent member of the Latin League (communities that cooperated in political and social matters), and a rival of Rome, but it passed within the Roman orbit in the 4th century. The town received Roman citizenship in 90, and attained prosperity as a summer resort under the late republic and early empire. The Roman emperor Octavian Augustus, and the poets Horace, Catullus, and Sextus Propertius were among individuals who resided there. Many wealthy Romans built villas and erected small temples in the vicinity of Tivoli, including Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, who built a magnificent villa - the 'Villa Pastoralis' - in the heavily wooded countryside.
'Villa Pastoralis' - Tibur 
Daphnis and Chloe
A 'pastoral' lifestyle is that of shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons, and the changing availability of water and pasture. It lends its name to a genre of literature, art, and music that depicts such life in an 'idealized' manner, typically for urban audiences. Ἡσίοδος - Hesiod's  Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι - ('Works and Days') presents a 'golden age' when people lived together in harmony with nature. The ancient Greeks had sentiments of an ideal pastoral life that they had already lost, and this is the first example of literature that has pastoral sentiments, and may have begun the pastoral tradition. Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' (in Latin) also has a description of ages (golden, silver, brazen, iron and human). Another example of this perfect relationship between man and nature is evident in the encounter of a shepherd and a goatherd who meet in the pastures in Θεόκριτος - Theocritus' poems Εἰδύλλια - 'Idylls'. The pastoral life is usually characterized as being closer to the Golden age than the rest of human life. Wealthy, educated Romans often tried to recreate the 'pastoral dream' in the Italic countryside - as in the case of Gracchus. - see 'Tales of the Ancient World' - 'Daphnis and Chloe'.


'Return to the Domus' - Once again escorted by Praetorians, the procession of guests and slaves made their way from Vespasian's pavilion, at the Horti Sallustiani, across the inner city of Rome, to the Domus Gracchii on the Esquiline.
Vespasian was not one of those late night revellers - unlike Titus - and the night was still relatively young.
Little was said on the return, as Marcus and Petronius were riding either side of the carriage carrying Terentius and Novius - who, being privately ensconced in the luxurious vehicle, were able to discuss Terentius' successful negotiations with Nerva, and the possible implications of Marcus' elevation to the Roman Senate.
Nicander, as expected, was there to greet his master, and the master's entourage at the foot of the grand staircase, which was lined by slaves bearing torches to light the way.
"Greeting, Dominus." Nicander began, obviously anticipating, from the smiles on the faces of Marcus, Petronius, and the rest, that the evening had been successful.
"Good evening Nicander !", Marcus replied graciously.
"Please have the slaves provide us with refreshments in the grand atrium."
Nicander, along with the other members of the senior staff were eager with expectation.
"May I ask, Dominus, if you have any good news from your meeting with the Emperor ?", Nicander asked, being unusually forward, but taking a chance, as Marcus appeared to be in such a good mood.
"Yes Nicander.", Marcus replied with a grin, looking to Petronius.
"In future there may be visitors to the Domus who wish to speak to the 'Senator' Marcus Octavianus Gracchus."
"Wonderful !", Nicander replied, obviously quite genuinely.
"With your permission I will inform the staff.
I am sure that they will all be overjoyed."
And Nicander turned away to organise slave to arrange the tables, chairs and couches, and bring refreshments - while at the same time the news of Marcus' elevation to the Senate spread like proverbial wildfire.
Rather in the manner of servants to the aristocracy in 19th Century Europe, slaves in the Roman Empire often identified strongly with their master, and their master's family, and the slave's status was usually related to the masters' status, so that Marcus becoming a Roman Senator, (quite apart from being one of the riches men in the empire), was welcomed by his slaves, as it raised their overall status - and, as has been mentioned on a number occasions previously, the Romans were obsessively concerned with matters of status.
Marcus and Petronius, regardless of the celebratory atmosphere generated by the successful meeting with Vespasian, still had the matter of the two new slaves to deal with.
After conferring over the matter, they decided that Aurarius and Euphrainus should accompany Marcus to a meeting with Terentius and Novius, where Marcus would discuss the arrangements that had been made, on Vespasian's behalf, by Nerva.
While this was taking place Petronius would have an opportunity to 'park' Adonios in Petronius' apartments - supposedly tidying the sleeping quarters, and bathing facilities, while Petronius took Aniketos up to the roof gardens, on the pretext of showing him the view, while actually explaining to him, in detail, the amorous duties that he was expected to perform that very evening.
Later, when Marcus ended his discussions with Terentius and Novius, Marcus would take Euphrainus to the roof gardens to explain matters in the same way that they had been explained to Aniketos, while Aurarius was sent down to Marcus' apartments to perform some domestic duties.
In this way both the new slaves would be prepared to initiate Aurarius and Adonios their more dominant roles.
At least that was the plan.......


'Dominance and Submission' - In the two adjoining apartments Marcus and Petronius required their respective boys to undress them, prepare the bed, and provide an evening drink.
Then, feigning a somewhat unlikely tiredness, both Marcus and Petronius decided to go to their beds at an unlikely early hour - suggesting that, as Nicander had large beds installed in the apartment's sleeping quarters during the evening while they were away, it would be good for the boys to share  beds, and get to know one another better.
Then, almost simultaneously (but completely unplanned, with regard to timing), the doors of both Marcus' and Petronius' bedrooms closed with firm thuds, and the two pairs of slaves were left to tidy up, and retire for the night.

'Marcus' Apartments' -  Euphrainus looked at Aurarius.
"Well that was quite an evening...", Euphrainus said, making conversation as he wondered how 'forward' he should be.
"I never thought, when I woke up this morning, that I would be face to face by the evening with the Emperor of Rome.", he continued.
"Here, Euphrainus, you can never tell what's going to happen next - some good, and some very bad.", Aurarius replied, as the two boys went into the large bedroom, and sat on the edge of the bed.
"When I first came to the previous Dominus  - he's dead now - I thought that they were all crazy - and I still think that a lot of the time,", Aurarius confided.
"Like this business of pushing us together.
The Dominus has got this idea that I need to have a boy to fuck.
He wants me to be more dominant - but not with him, of course.", Aurarius explained.
"So does he fuck you ?", Euphrainus asked, not really understanding the situation.
"Of course." Aurarius said openly.
Euphrainus looked puzzled.
"Now look,  Euphrainus, we're going to be together -  for possibly a long time, and we need to be friends."
Euphrainus nodded and smiled.
"Let me tell you this now - and I'm fuckin' serious.
If there's problem between slaves, the Dominus - Marcus - doesn't pull any punches.
He simply kills difficult slaves - oh - and usually cuts their balls off  first - so be careful." Aurarius explained rather crudely.
"As to your question about fucking - Marcus and I are rather special.
I know this sounds soppy, but we're very fond of each-other - in fact I think he's in love with me - which could be good, as long I'm careful.
And remember - I never said that ! - you know, - about love."
"So you call him Marcus ?", Euphrainus asked, somewhat confused.
"Yes - but only ever in private - when we're fucking - and only I can call him that - so don't you try it, or it might be the last thing that you ever say !", Aurarius warned.
As Aurarius spoke, he stood up and took hold of the shoulder straps of  Euphrainus' white linen tunic.
"So let's have a look at you..", Aurarius said, remembering what Marcus had told him about being dominant.
Euphrainus raised his arms, and allowed Aurarius to pull off the tunic.
"Nice !" Aurarius said, admiring Euphrainus' lithe upper body.
"Do you really like boys - or do you just do it to please the Dominus ?", Euphrainus asked as he watched Aurarius appraising him.
"You want to be careful with some of your questions.....", Aurarius warned.
"But I think I like you - so I'll be honest with you.", Aurarius said, as he sat down on the bed again, beside Euphrainus.
"I've never fucked a girl, and I don't think I really want to - not that you ever get to see any girls as a slave here.
So, Marcus fucks me, and lets me 'cum', which I like - but I would really like to fuck you - and that's what Marcus wants, anyway." Aurarius concluded.
"That's fine."  Euphrainus replied, "and I like to be fucked - so let's get on with it....."


'Petronius' Apartments' - "So what's all this business about this owl ?", Aniketos asked.
"Now be careful what you say, Aniketos. 
The Arrival of Glaux
He's not just an owl - he's Glaux." Adonios warned.
"Yes.... but what's so special about Glaux ?", Aniketos said, rephrasing the question.
"Well....", Adonios began, sitting down on the edge of the bed.
"The night that the previous Dominus died, Glaux flew into the Dominus' study, and sat on the back of the Dominus' chair.
Novius then said that Glaux was the actual owl of the Goddess Athena - the sister of Apollo - and that he was a gift from the Gods to our Dominus.", Adonios explained, and Glaux blinked, and Aniketos looked incredulous.
Adonios and Glaux
"And you really believe that ?", he asked.
"Be careful, Aniketos !", Adonios warned, for a second time.
The last person who made fun of Glaux became sick, and nearly died, and everyone who has in any way gone against the Dominus had died horribly.
And never let Petronius hear you disrespect Glaux, or say anything against him, or he will have you in the arena, mutilated and killed in moments.", Adonios  said very seriously.
"Well....I don't want to get on the wrong side of Petronius.", Aniketos said, shaking his head.
That's very sensible.", Adonios said.
"There's more to Petronius than anyone one - except perhaps the Dominus or Novius imagines.
I hear him talking in his dreams - if that's what they are - when I sleep with him - and it frightens me.
I love him, - but he's not like anyone else I have ever known.", Adonios said darkly.
"So - you sleep with him ? - and make love ?",  Aniketos asked.
"Yes - he plays the dominant part - like he want me to take with you.", Adonios explained.
"He has told you that ?",  Adonios asked, making sure that  Aniketos understood the situation.
"Yes, he made it very clear what I was expected to do.",  Aniketos replied.
"And you will do that ?", Adonios asked, trying to find out if Aniketos was agreeable to taking the submissive role.
"Don't worry, my friend - I enjoy being fucked, and you are so cute.
I just hope that you have a nice big 'gladius' !", Aniketos quipped.
(gladius, apart from meaning sword, was one of many Roman slang words for penis)
"Oh yes !", Adonios said grinning, and forgetting himself for a minute, as he uncharacteristically boasted.
"Well, let's see it." Aniketos playfully demanded.
 Adonios (who had been aroused from the moment the two of them had been left alone), got up of the bed, pulled off his white linen tunic, and untied his thong.
"Shit ! By the fuckin' gods !", Aniketos blurted out.
Well...that's quite big enough !", and he sat staring at Adonios' huge, jerking penis.
"So....let's get started.",  Adonios said with a cheeky smile.


'Marcus' Apartments - Part II' - While we ere previously looking in on Aurarius' cubiculum, the last thing  that Euphrainus said was... "and I like to be fucked - so let's get on with it.....", and that's exactly what they did.
Euphrainus, as we had been told, was experienced in such matters, but Aurarius, in the sense of 'penetrating', a partner was a 'virgin'.
That, of course was Marcus whole purpose in buying Euphrainus.
Marcus, having absorbed Roman traditions, was well aware that to eventually be thought of as a man ('vir' from which the English word 'virile' is derived), it was necessary for a boy to show that he was capable of 'penetration' - with male, female or both.
Love, affection or even desire did not come into the equation - only the physical act of 'penetration'.
Fortunately for Aurarius, he found  Euphrainus both attractive and desirable, and as he pulled off his clothing it was abundantly clear that his desire for  Euphrainus was suitably strong.
"How do you want to do this ?", Euphrainus asked as he also 'stripped off'.
Aurarius had carefully remembered Marcus advice about how to go about a sexual encounter with a person of lower status - as Euphrainus was.
Marcus had explained that it was not appropriate to copulate ( from the Latin - 'copulatus', pp. of 'copulare'  - to join together, link, unite) face to face, as this would encourage a relationship of 'equality', and engender unnecessary feelings of possible affection.
To begin with, Marcus advised, the best position was that which copulating dogs took, with the dog behind the bitch, and entering from the rear.
Aurarius had found this advice rather off-putting, but understood why Marcus was being so blunt, (Romans - even sophisticated, well educated, upper class Romans were renowned for being blunt, particularly by present day standards).
"So... ", Aurarius said, slightly hesitantly, (unused to giving orders) - "get up on the bed, on your hands and knees, and I will enter you from the back."
Euphrainus grinned, and instantly complied, having taken such a position many times before.
"Like this ?", he asked cheekily, lifting his buttocks, and arching his back invitingly.
"Yes....exactly....", Aurarius replied with a knowing smile, realizing that Euphrainus was an 'old hand' at this 'game'.
While Euphrainus wiggled his backside, Aurarius anointed the bulging 'head' of his stiff penis, in order to ease his initial entry.
Aurarius Fucks Euphrainus
"Ready ?", Aurarius asked - although that was hardly necessary.
"Of course...", Euphrainus replied, bracing himself.
Aurarius took hold of his jerking 'tool' and, aiming carefully, thrust forwards.
He was able to slide into his handsome partner with ease, thanks to the previously applied oil.
"Shit ! You're big !", Euphrainus groaned loudly.
The 'area nobilis' was practically silent at that time of night, and Marcus' room was just along the corridor from Aurarius' cubiculum.
Marcus was still awake, and despite the thick, marble encrusted walls, and heavy bronze doors, he heard Euphrainus' muffled cry.
Marcus smiled contentedly, realizing that his 'plan' had been successful, and his beloved Aurarius had proved himself to be a 'real man' - (at least by Roman standards).
And so Marcus closed his eyes and happily drifted off to sleep.
Aurarius felt really good, and paused for a moment, with his 'gladius' inserted right up to the 'hilt' in young Euphrainus.
Then, instinctively, he began thrusting into his 'bed-boy', grunting and moaning in sheer delight.
There was no subtlety or finesse in this first encounter, as Aurarius was simply intent on ramming his 'tool' as deep as it would go, and working himself up to a sexual 'climax' as quickly as possible.
It was brief and intense.
"Oh fuck ...! I'm fuckin' cummin' !", Aurarius blurted out, as he pounded Euphrainus' tight 'hole'.
"SHIT !..." he finally moaned as he emptied his 'load' of 'seed', in repeated spurts, into Euphrainus.
In the end both boys were glistening with sweat, and Aurarius was panting hard.
Slowly the pair of them toppled over, sideways, and Aurarius, who by then was 'softening', slid out of Euphrainus, dribbling the residue of his creamy seed onto the rich brocade of the bed cover.
Euphrainus, as a good, well trained slave, got up first, replaced his loincloth, and  rolled down the coverlet so that he could remove it and replace it with one that was clean.
"That was amazing !", Aurarius whispered, "Thank you."
"Don't thank me, Iuvenes Domine" (young Sir),  Euphrainus replied.
"I am your slave, and it is my duty to please you.
"But if you will excuse me for saying are truly a young stallion.", Euphrainus added.
"Well, Euphrainus...if you get the chance, tell that to the Dominus.
I'm sure that he will be pleased to hear it - and it will probably help me also.
Remember his is my master.", Aurarius said.


'Petronius' Apartments - Part II' - While Aurarius was forcefully demonstrating his 'Roman manliness' in Marcus' apartments - things were undoubtedly warming up in Adonios' cubiculum in Petronius' Apartments.
Adonios was ready to go......but was not such a dominant character as Aurarius.
It was Adonios' gentleness that attracted people to him, so it was not surprising that Glaux took to him.
Adonios had been bought when he was very young by Gracchus, and Gracchus had always treated him as a son or young nephew.
As far as Petronius could tell, Gracchus had never used Adonios sexually, and until Petronius made love to Adonios the boy had been a 'virgin'.
In addition, Adonios loved his studies with his Greek tutor, Aristarchos, and in particular the  Θεογονία (Theogony) by  Ἡσίοδος (Hesiod), and he preferred reading such literature to watching a gladiatorial combat.
However, Petronius wanted him to be more 'macho', and so he was now expected to take the man's part, even if he was still young, with his handsome slave-boy, Aniketos.
Regardless, Adonios, enjoyed sex once he had been introduce to it by Petronius, and was now curious to discover the 'apparent' joys of 'dominant' sexuality.
As with Aurarius and Marcus, Petronius had carefully, and graphically explained to Adonios the 'dos and don'ts of what a true Roman should do when taking the 'dominant' role.
So... Adonios, like a 'good boy' got on with it.
Firmly he told Aniketos to bend over the bed.
Aniketos, of course, was well used to this, and supported himself with one arm, leaving his other hand free so that he would be able to masturbate himself to a 'climax' once Adonios got going.
Aniketos had already seen Adonios' erection, and knew that his partner was very well equipped, so he prepared himself for what he expected would be a somewhat uncomfortable penetration.
Adonios, thoughtfully 'well oiled', came up behind Aniketos.
"Ready for this ?", he asked, shyly.
"Yes...get on with it", Aniketos replied, trying not to tense up.
"Fuck !..." Aniketos grunted, as Adonios pushed forward, forcefully.
Instantly Adonios started thrusting, deeply and strongly, seemingly overwhelmed by lust.
Aniketos was surprised - not imagining that 'cute' Adonios would be so aggressive.
Adonios and Aniketos
"Take it easy, Adonios  !", Aniketos groaned.
"It'll all be over real quick if you carry on like that."
"Yes ...!", Adonios gasped, as he took in great gulps of air.
"I'll try to slow down."
Meanwhile, Aniketos  had developed a huge erection, and was fumbling for his wildly jerking penis.
Eventually he grabbed hold of it, and started pulling on his foreskin.
"Oh fuck....this is great !", Aniketos moaned, as he frantically jerked himself off.
Adonios, on the other hand just kept pounding away, seemingly in  a trance.
By then Aniketos had begun to lose control.
"Go on....! Fuck me harder....! Harder ...!", he yelled, waking up Petronius, who then had a fit of the giggles, imagining Adonios 'shafting' his slave boy in the room next door.
"Oh shit.. ! I'm cummin' !", Adonios finally squealed, as his thick 'seed' exploded inside Aniketos.
Moments later, Aniketos repeatedly squirted his own 'seed' all over the rich red coverlet of the opulent bed.
"Fuck....! I've cum !", Aniketos moaned, as his arm shook, and was then no longer able to support him.
He then flopped down onto the spunk drenched coverlet, while Adonios' still stiff cock flipped out of Aniketos' 'hole'.
But Adonios was still cumming, and splattered Aniketos' twitching sweaty buttocks with glistening gobs of spunk.
"Fuck !", Adonios murmured slowly, as he gently slid down onto Aniketos' back.

The two boys lay there, one on top of the other, breathing hard.
Eventually Adonios rolled over onto his back, and there they stayed until the morning....and until they were rudely awakened by a highly amused Petronius.


'Preparing to Leave' -  Preparing to leave where ? - Well, Rome, of course.
This was the morning of the journey to Tibur.
It was not a long journey - approximately 32 modern kilometres. 
The problem was all the packing.
In Roman times people like Marcus did not travel light.
So...Adonios, Aniketos, Aurarius, Euphrainus and Aelius were all required to help.
It was very early....

'CONCLAVE  PETRONIUS' - In Petronius' apartments - "So, you two....get up !
There's work to be done !" Petronius said, trying to be stern.
The two boys, both lying on top of the covers - stark naked, twitched and jerked as they fitfully responded to Petronius command.
"What the.... !", Aniketos mumbled, looking up, and suddenly seeing Petronius.
"Good morning, Domine. I'm sorry......", Aniketos stuttered, not really sure of what he was actually sorry about.
"Come on...wake up that little cupid.", Petronius said, pointing to Adonios, "Get some clothes on and help me pack."
Aniketos nudged Adonios, who was obviously exhausted by the previous night's exertions, and the two lads got dressed, and rushed to get Petronius a drink, even although he had not asked for one.

'INTERIM - CONCLAVE  MARCUS' - Meanwhile - Marcus Apartments - "So what do we have here ? Two handsome young men, blissfully asleep....
and a rather shocked looking little owl.", Marcus said with a grin.
Aurarius eyes slowly and sleepily opened.
"Good morning Marcus.", Aurarius muttered.
"Oh fuck !", he then blurted out, suddenly realizing what he had said.
"I'm sorry....I'll get up straight away.....sorry !", and with that a naked Aurarius, with a massive erection, stumbled out of bed.
"Euphrainus ! You stupid fuck !.... Get up, it's the Dominus !", Aurarius said, with one hand trying to cover himself as he nudged his sleeping partner.
"You two just get up and get dressed, and help me to pack.
Today we go to Tibur !", Marcus said, finishing on a note of triumph.
He was in a good mood because he needed to get out of Rome - and after the previous night he knew that his 'favourite boy' was now a 'real man' - after all, they'd made enough noise about it.

The packing was a long job, and when it was just about finished Marcus, taking Aurarius with him, and leaving  Euphrainus to finish the packing, decided to check with Nicander to see what progress had been made.
The main atrium was littered with boxes and packing cases.
Novius was desperately sorting through boxes of scrolls, while Terentius was having an argument with Philipos about some missing documents.
Organized chaos......
Marcus thought it best not to intrude, and spotting Nicander called him over.
"Bonum mane, Nicander."
Nicander bowed.
"My slaves, and Petronius' slaves, have packed up most of our things, so could you send some of your hefty slaves up to our apartments to bring the crates and boxes down, and load them onto the wagons.",Marcus asked.
"Of course, Dominus.
It shall be done immediately."
Eventually everything was loaded up - and Philipos found the missing documents, and Terentius said sorry - and they 'made up', and Novius, in the end got everything sorted out.
A suitable number of slaves were also loaded onto wagons, and the carriages arrived.
Demetrius, who by now was really starting to act the haughty 'iuvenes dominum', eventually arrived, with his beloved Aelius who, however, was proving an excellent slave, (as well as an excellent lover for Demetrius), having packed all his master's belongings, and attended to them being loaded onto a wagon.
For this trip Marcus, Petronius Aurarius and  Adonios (with a sleepy Glaux) rode in the first carriage.
Novius, Terentius and Nicander, with Philipos rode in the second carriage.
Demetrius, Aelius, Euphrainus and  Aniketos rode in the last carriage.
It was the middle of the morning, and the convoy of wagons, carriages and horses noisily set off, with a mounted Praetorian escort, thoughtfully provided by Titus.


For most of the journey Aurarius and Adonios slept, while Marcus and Petronius talked quietly.
Novius and Terentius were rather prevented from any serious discussion in front of Nicander and Philipos, however, Terentius, who had visited the Villa Pastoralis some years before, was able to ask Nicander about the slaves who would be available at the villa, and improvements that had been made to the estate.
Map of Latium
Novius, having never visited the villa, took the opportunity during the journey to ask Terentius about the villa, and the surrounding area.
In addition, Novius, being an amateur historian, as well as an expert in religious practices and mythology, appraised both Terentius and Nicander of the history of the area around Tibur.
Forest Road
Euphrainus and  Aniketos slept, while Demetrius and Aelius whispered 'sweet nothings' to one another.
As they travelled north-east the scenery gradually became more lush and green, and soon the road was engulfed in a dense forest.
It was afternoon, and Euphrainus and Aniketos had managed to wake up.
Euphrainus was hanging out of the window of the carriage, admiring the scenery.
Entrance Arch to the Villa Estate
Suddenly he turned round and looked at Aniketos.
"Shit ! - You'll never guess what I've seen !", he said excitedly.
Aniketos, Aelius and Demetrius all moved towards the windows to join Euphrainus.
"Look at the fuckin' size of that !", Aniketos said.
"What the fuck is it ?", Aelius added.
"I think it's the entrance to the Villa - like the gateway.", Demetrius guessed.
"Well if that's the size of the front big is the villa ?", Euphrainus said, wide eyed.
"Well.... if the Domus in Rome is anything to go by...very big !", Demetrius replied.
"Have you ever been here ?", Aelius asked Demetrius.
"Well, Terentius tells me I was here when I was a baby....but I don't remember it at all..", Demetrius replied, a little sadly.
Once again the forest closed in - so it seemed that the huge monumental gateway, emblazoned with Gnaeus Gracchus' name and his gilded crest was some distance from the actual villa.
Marcus and Petronius had also noticed the gateway, and as neither of them had been to the villa before, they too, like the boys, were intrigued by the possible size of the villa.
Eventually the road broadened, and it was obvious that they were approaching the villa.
Then the main entrance to the huge, three storied villa came into sight, its pure white marble gleaming in the afternoon sun.
Villa Pastoralis - Main Entrance
Built in an elaborate Hellenistic style, with the lower order of columns being Doric (as they should be) and the upper order of columns being Ionic, it was vaguely reminiscent of the Villa Auream in Baiae, but in a somewhat more ornate style.
As soon as the wagons and carriages pulled up outside the main entrance, slaves came running from the villa to help in unloading the boxes and crates on the numerous wagons that crowded the main concourse.
Nicander then excused himself to Terentius and Novius, and swiftly walked over to the main entrance to find the junior freedmen who looked after the villa.
Ion and Keos were  the two Greek freedmen who were in charge of the villa, with Ion as the senior, and Keos as his assistant.
Neither freedman had been working in the villa at the time that 'baby Demetrios' had stayed there, although both freedmen had been at the villa for a number of years, and were trustworthy, according to Terentius, who had met both of them previously, when he had visited to make inventories and inspections of the estate for the 'late Dominus'.
Slowly everyone got out of their respective carriages, stretching their legs in order to get used to finally walking again.
Glaux decided to wake up for a few moments, took a quick look round - saw the trees - blinked, and then went to sleep again, having decided to make a full exploration once everyone had gone to bed.
Euphrainus turned to Aniketos as they walked towards the wide flight of steps leading to the main entrance.
"I think I'm going to like it here.", he said, looking up at the towering three floors.
"Well - it will probably be a lot quieter than Rome." Aniketos replied.
Marcus and Aurarius were walking behind.
"And all this is yours, also ?", Aurarius said questioningly.
"Apparently so, - according to Terentius.", Marcus replied.
Moments later Nicander came over to Marcus, with Ion and Keos in tow.
Both the freedmen looked remarkably nervous, and Marcus could only conclude that Nicander had sent letters warning them about the fact that their new Dominus was unusually strict (which was true).
"Dominus, may I introduce Ion, and his assistant Keos, who are the senior freedmen at the villa.", Nicander said.
Both the young freedmen bowed rather excessively low.
"I am pleased to meet you.", Marcus replied politely.
"Once the slaves have transferred all our belonging to the main atrium, I will speak with you, and introduce my party, and while this is under way I think we would all appreciate some refreshments.", Marcus concluded.
"Of course - immediately, Dominus.", Ion replied, sending Keos off to supervise some slaves.
Marcus then called over Nicander.
"Please - once you have refreshed yourself, sort out the crates for myself, Petronius, Terentius, Novius and Demetrius, and have them taken to the suites allocated by Ion.", Marcus instructed.
"Of course, Dominus !", Nicander replied and, grabbing a goblet of wine, he immediately started giving Ion and Keos instructions.
Finally Novius, looking a bit breathless and hot, arrived in the atrium with Terentius and Philipos.
"Is everything under control, Dominus ?", Terentius asked, looking around at all the bustle and confusion.
"Yes, and Nicander is definitely rising to the occasion - which is pleasing !", Marcus replied.
"Well I did tell you he was good....", Terentius answered, smiling.
"All he needed was to get used to you...", Terentius went on, with a sly wink.
By that time everyone was gathered in the atrium, and Marcus went through the formality of introducing his travelling companions.
He made no mention that Demetrius had spent time as a child at the Villa, and when he introduced Terentius to Ion it was obvious that they knew each other.
Marcus was very careful to make it clear to whom the various boys belonged, and matters were made easier by the fact that Aurarius and Adonios had gold collars, whereas the other three boys wore silver collars - which indicated their relative status.
Finally Marcus introduced Glaux, who managed to wake up again, (just for the introductions), and Marcus repeated the stern warning that he had previously given to Nicander, regarding the fact that all the staff were to treat Glaux with the greatest respect, or face the most appalling consequences.
Ion looked rather bemused, but was obviously obliged to obey his Dominus implicitly.
When Keos returned to advise that the allocated suites were available, Marcus told Adonios to take Glaux up to Petronius' apartments, as he didn't want the little bird getting upset by all the hustle and bustle in the main atrium.
Marcus then told Aurarius to find his apartments, and to start unpacking the crates that should have already been deposited there, while Demetrius did the same with Aelius.
The rest of the early evening, for  Euphrainus, Aniketos, Aelius, Aurarius and Adonios was taken up with unpacking, and putting things away in chests and cupboards.
Later everyone met in the large triclinium for an evening meal.
Fortunately Terentius was able to interest everyone with his reminiscences about the villa in the days when the 'late Dominus' and his wife often spent the springtime enjoying the idyllic glades, pools and waterfalls in the grounds.
Terentius was careful, however, never to mention anything about the very young Demetrios, who spent much time at the villa, although he did intrigue Novius with tales of nymphs and fauns who, supposedly, disported themselves in the glades and forests around the villa, dancing to the sound of the 'rhoptron' (tambourine), and 'syrinx' (panpipes).
Interestingly, Glaux, on hearing about φαῦνος - (fauns), looked unusually alert, and gazed intently at Adonios.
"What's got into him ?", Marcus asked, having noticed that Glaux had stopped dozing, and looked unusually, and suspiciously alert.
"He's probably going to fly off tonight, and find us a faun...", Petronius said with a grin, while at the same time winking at Adonios.
And so it was time for bed.
Aurarius slept with Marcus - just to cuddle up to him to talk - the day had been too long and tiring for anything else - and Euphrainus, equally tired, slept alone.
"It's so quiet, Marcus.", Aurarius whispered.
"Yes.", Marcus replied, sleepily.
"Even at Baiae you can hear the sea."
Aurarius turned over, laying his arm on Marcus' chest.
"Here you can listen to the trees...sighing in the breeze ...... and pipes ?", Aurarius said, quickly sitting up.
"You're just imagining it - paying to much attention to Terentius making up stories for Novius.", Marcus replied, tousling Aurarius' spiky golden hair.
But, of course, Aurarius had not imagined it.....
And Aurarius dreamed - of fauns and nymphs, and the beautiful music of the syrinx, drifting through the sweet smelling darkness...... as a little owl winged his silent way to the chosen, 'magic' glade.

Image of 'Faun Playing the Syrinx' adapted with permission from an original image by Zac Sawyer © Copyright Zac Sawyer 2014
Glaux in the Forest


'The First Day' - Word had got round in the town of Tibur that the Dominus of the Villa Pastoralis was in residence.
No one in the town had seen the Dominus for many years, and now the local magistrates, town senators, local dignitaries and town 'worthies' all made their way to the villa - by foot, on horseback, in litters or in carriages for an early morning 'salutatio'.
'The Morning Ritual' - The salutatio took place every morning during the Roman Republic and early Empire. It was considered to be one of the central aspects of the start of the day. The morning ritual was reiterated daily throughout the Republic and Empire, and was a fundamental part of Roman interactions between citizens of varying status. It was used as a sign of respect from the 'cliens' to the 'patronus'. The relationship between the salutatory and salutatee is essentially as a system of social acquiescence. In this system, the salutatee was able to accrue significant social esteem, and the salutator was merely a humble client or social inferior.
"Dominus !", Aurarius called, "Terentius has sent a slave-boy to say that the courtyard is full of people desiring a salutio !".
"So 'boy', if you get your freedom, and become rich and respected...then you too may have all your morning disturbed by masses of fawning clients !", Marcus growled grumpily as he got out of bed.
Marcus had been looking forward to a slow, gentle rising, accompanied by a lazy fuck with his beloved Aurarius, but now it was all rush and bustle, as Aurarius hurried to drape Marcus' new senatorial toga on his master.
Later, accompanied by Petronius and Demetrius, and escorted by Aurarius, Adonios (with a seemingly 'hung-over' Glaux perched unsteadily on his shoulder) and Aelius, Marcus made his way the the main Atrium on the ground floor.
This atrium was not as large as that in the Domus in Rome, but was magnificently decorated.
There was a distinct murmuring from the clients as Marcus entered the atrium and greeted Terentius.
Obviously Glaux was a cause for comment, but more to the point, most of the clients had been expecting to see the 'late Dominus', (Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus), as few knew of the death of Gracchus.
Instead thy were confronted with his young heir, Senator Marcus Octavianus Gracchus.
Fortunately Terentius knew the majority of the clients, and was able to introduce them by name to Marcus.
Marcus was not in the best of moods, having been woken somewhat abruptly, and remained cool and aloof.
Knowing that it was unlikely that he would be a regular resident at the villa, Marcus felt no compunction, at that time, to make any real acquaintance with his clients, particularly as Terentius indicated, subtly, that few of them were of any real significance, politically, socially or economically.
Once the perfunctory greetings - and the condolences offered by the clients regarding the 'late Dominus' demise were over, Terentius  instructed Ion to supervise the distribution of the 'sportula' to the clients.
Terentius then announced to the clients that the Dominus would not be leaving the villa that morning (this was to dissuade clients from hanging around, intent on accompanying the Dominis on his morning walk - a common custom in the city).
'Sportula' - a gift (as of food or money) usually from an ancient Roman to one of his clients and often at regular intervals or on prescribed occasions.
Slowly, with the assistance of villa slaves, the atrium was cleared of visitors.
"So - I'm glad that's over....but how did they know I was here.",Marcus, who was a little peeved, said to Terentius.
"Well it's a small place, Tibur, and a huge line of wagons and carriages wending their way on the road leading to the villa is bound to attract attention - and news, as they say, travels fast.", Terentius said, shaking his head.
"And is this going to happen every morning ?", Marcus asked, as Petronius stood listening, and smiling, obviously amused at Marcus' boyish distress.
"Yes, I' afraid it probably will.", Terentius said with a certain amount of resignation.
"So what are you planning to do today ?", Marcus then asked.
"Well I know you won't really be interested - but I have to check all the accounts, and the inventories - just to make sure that no one is stealing anything.",Terentius replied.
"You mean Ion and Keos, I suppose.", Marcus said, rather too bluntly.
"Did I say that, Dominus ?", Terentius said in mock surprise.
"And talking about Ion, can you arrange for him to show me over the villa ?
Marcus then grinned.
"You see, as you tell me that I own it - well I think that at least I should be allowed to inspect it."
Terentius looked at Marcus quizzically.
"Yes, Dominus, you do own it - everything and everyone in it - so I will gladly get Ion to show you round.", joining in on the joke.
"May I come on this inspection ?", Petronius asked, having little else to do.
"Of course." Marcus replied, happy to have his friend join him, "but I think Adonios should take Glaux back to your apartments, as he doesn't look too happy this morning."
So Glaux, looking somewhat annoyed, was taken back to the 'area nobilis', and Marcus began his inspection of the Villa.
In general layout and decoration, the villa was very similar to the Villa Auream in Baiae.
The villa was well kept, but that was probably because since the death of the 'late Dominus' wife no one had lived there.
All the furnishings had been shrouded in vast linen cloths (only removed the day before Marcus' arrival), while the floors had been assiduously and regularly cleaned, and the gardens had been immaculately maintained.
Unlike the Domus, in Rome, here there was no roof garden, but that hardly mattered, as the grounds around the villa were so extensive.
In fact the formal gardens had been so designed as to merge, imperceptibly, into the surrounding forest glades, where statues depicting mythological subjects, and small temples and pavilions dotted the landscape.
The Nereide Pool - 'Villa Pastoralis'
Marcus and his entourage had arrived just as the hot weather was approaching, and both he and Petronius were eager to view the swimming pool of which Ion had boasted.
The pool itself abutted a large marble terrace which projected from the main wing of the villa.
And it was impressive - adorned with enumerable statutes of gods, goddesses, nymphs, sirens, nereides and tritons, all sculpted from the finest, flawless Parian marble.
Apart from using the pool to 'cool off', Marcus also wanted to ensure that all the 'boys' could swim, and swim well.
Demetrios and Aurarius were already good swimmers, thanks to Petronius, but Adonios needed more practice, and none of the new boys, Aniketos, Aelius and Euphrainus were able to swim.
Ion then suggested that they go back inside the villa to inspect the indoor pool - which was actually part of a balneae (from Greek βαλανεῖον), which was a series of baths and pools set at different temperatures.
Indoor Pool - Villa Pastoralis
All the private apartments in the villas and houses belonging to the Estates of Marcus had small balneae - but also usually larger suites for bathing set on the ground floors.
It seemed that the balneae in the Villa Pastoralis was particularly lavish, which was why Ion was keen to show it off.
And indeed it was lavish and ornate, with the main pool - cool and used for swimming - having in the centre a magnificent statue of an ephebe in white marble.
Petronius' comment, however, just about summed up the overall impression of the main pool -
"It's a bit blue - isn't it ?".
"So who was the architect ?", Marcus asked Ion.
"I'm afraid I do not know, Dominus.
The βαλανεῖον was built before I began my service here.", Ion replied, apologetically.
"I bet Terentius knows.", Petronius suggested.
"Yes - certainly.
And I would guess that it was Severus - and I would bet that all those blue tiles hide a lot of concrete - if we know Severus.", Marcus replied, referring to his brilliant, but decidedly eccentric architect.
(in case you don't remember from previous chapters it was Severus who designed Nero's 'Golden House' in Rome, and since Nero's death Severus worked first for Gnaeus Octavian, and now Marcus.)
After the pool, Marcus and Petronius inspected the lavishly decorated and equipped Gymnasia.
Further inspection showed that the slave quarters were a considerable improvement on those in the Domus Gracchii in Rome.
The Domus slave quarters were situated in a gloomy basement - which Marcus, on inspection, had ordered to be re-plastered and whitewashed.
They were situated in the basement because the Domus was situated on the summit of the Esquiline Hill, and there was no danger of flooding
Here, in Tibur, the area was low lying, with many local rivers and steams, and Springtime flooding was always a danger - so the slave quarters were light and airy, being built, as was the whole villa, on a substantial brick and concrete podium.
Marcus and Petronius also inspected the library, which was busily being stocked with scrolls, under the supervision of Novius.
On finding Novius in the library, Marcus suggested that he join himself and Petronius for an alfresco lunch on one of the marble terraces overlooking the villa gardens.
And so Aurarius was sent off to order lunch, and to bring Adonios down from Petronius' apartments on the 'area nobilis' on the floor above.
As slaves brought tables, chairs and couches for the lunch, Aurarius arrived with Adonios.
Sitting on Adonios' shoulder was a very flustered looking Glaux, and Adonios himself looked concerned.
"What's wrong, Adonios ?", Petronius asked.
"It's Glaux, Domine....
Since he returned from hunting this morning he ha been very disturbed.
He keeps flying over to the balcony - perching on the balustrade - looking out to the forest, and then looking back at me.
It's like there's something out there - and he wants me to follow him to see it...", Adonios explained, breathlessly, looking a bit embarrassed.
"Well, that's easily sorted.." Marcus suggested.
"After lunch, see if he will guide you through the forest, and see if he's found anything....."
"Maybe another owl to 'play' with....", Petronius interrupted, with a wicked grin, and a gleam in his eye.
"But if you go, don't go too far -  if you go on your own...
and be careful !", Marcus added.
Glaux looked intently at Marcus - blinked,  and then seemed to settle down.
"You know, I'm certain that wicked little bird understands everything we say !", Marcus said disapprovingly.
"And everything we think....", Petronius added knowingly.


'The Boy in the Forest' - After lunch, and almost unnoticed, Adonios set out on his 'quest' in the forest with Glaux.
Unusually, Glaux was not content to sit on Adonios' shoulder as he normally did, but instead insisted on sitting an Adonios' wrist - just like a real bird of prey - which, of course he was.
As the forest canopy closed in around Adonios, Glaux suddenly took off.
For a heart stopping moment Adonios thought that Glaux would fly away, and possibly never return.
Instead, however, Glaux wheeled about among the treetops, seemingly effortlessly.
Adonios had never before seen Glaux fly like this.
The only time that Adonios had seen Glaux fly was when he was flying in or out through the opening in the ceiling above the atrium pool (compluvium), or in or out between the columns of the balcony, and then the little bird had only ever been visible for a moment.
Now, for the first time, Adonios was able to see how elegantly and skilfully Glaux could fly and, of course, being an owl, his flight was completely, and mysteriously silent.
It was surprisingly dark in the forest, and Adonios slowly recognised what he was seeing.
And as he did, he began to be nervous, as he realised that he had, in fact, dreamed this, the previous night.
Glaux in the Forest
'Glaux', Adonios realized, was 'the little owl.... drifting through the sweet smelling darkness...... winging his silent way to the chosen, 'magic' glade'.
Glaux, of course, could fly far faster than Adonios could walk through the dense and entangled forest, but it was obvious that Glaux wanted Adonios to follow him, as the little owl repeatedly circled, giving Adonios time to catch up, and on occasion even perched on an overhanging branch - waiting.
Eventually Glaux returned to Adonios' wrist, and sat there looking up with his huge, limpid eyes  at his dear friend.
"So what now ?", Adonios whispered, afraid to break the overwhelming silence of the forest.
Glaux ruffled his feathers, and blinked.
Adonios then heard a sudden quiet crack, like the sound of a twig snapping.
"Did you hear that ?", Adonios whispered to Glaux.
Glaux nodded - or did Adonios just imagine the bird's reaction - and, before,  did he just imagine the quiet crack.
But then there was another crack, and Adonios was sure that there was something, or someone nearby.
"Who's there ?", Adonios called quietly, his voice trembling as he felt rather foolish.
But no one answered.
But Glaux was looking intently at a very large rhododendron a short distance away.
"'s something there ?", Adonios whispered softly to Glaux.
Glaux then flew off, and circled the rhododendron as if to answer Adonios' question.
"Who's there ?", Adonios repeated - just a little louder.
"Who are you ?", came the soft reply.
Glaux quietly did his odd warbling cry, as if to reply.
"I'm Adonios.", Adonios replied, being far more brave that he ever imagined that he could be.
Then, something very strange happened.
A figure 'appeared' in the rhododendron - the figure of a person - of a boy, - about Adonios' age.
But it was not as if the boy parted the leaves and stepped out, but rather the boy just seemed to become, in some way 'solid', but still partly hidden among the leaves.
"Oh !", Adonios said, feeling rather stupid after he said it.
"I'm Faunus.", the boy said softly,  in a beautiful, melodious voice.
The boy appeared to be naked, and stunningly handsome, with hypnotic, dark eyes - as dark as the black of the night sky.
But there was something very, very odd about this boy.
Firstly his ears were pointed - and secondly he had very small horns on his head.
Adonios was shocked, intrigued and excited, all at the same time.
"And what are you doing here ?", Adonios asked as innocently as he could, while Glaux flew and perched on Faunus' head, where he pecked inquisitively at one of the boy's horns.
"I live here - always have.", Faunus replied nonchalantly.
"Enough, Glaux !", Faunus said firmly but gently , obviously tired of having his horns pecked.
"But....!", Adonios spluttered, and then got control of himself.
"How did you know his name?", Adonios managed to ask - completely incredulous.
"It's obvious.", Faunus replied.
"Athena told me he would bring you here.", Faunus explained, as if it was 'perfectly obvious'.
Adonios flopped down against a tree trunk, and slapped his cheek.
"I must wake up !", he said to himself, rubbing his eyes - but they were open - and he was awake.
"Now if you have no problem with Glaux, then why should you have a problem with me ?", Faunus asked, standing with one hand on his hip, and looking peeved.
"Well, you'e got horns, and funny pointy ears, and seemed to appear out of nowhere.", Adonios stuttered.
"But we all have these horns and these ears, and can change shape, and appear and disappear.
It's all very normal really." Faunus replied casually.
"Yes...but not for people like me - and all the other people I know - and even Glaux can't appear and disappear...
And who do you mean by 'we' ?"
"Don't know much - do you !", Faunus replied.
"Glaux is just like me.
He can appear or disappear - and change his shape if he wants.
And what's the problem with my horns and ears....I'm a faun !
Just because you - and the other humans don't have them is nothing.
Horns give a boy class - and human ears are horrible and floppy and round.", Faunus continued, obviously warming to his subject.
"And we - as you have asked, are the fauns and satyrs - 'elementals' - and very upmarket and exclusive...
So be careful what you say."
Adonios, forgetting his concern about whether he was dreaming - or not, was worried that he might have offended the young faun - or Glaux, or even Athena.
"I'm very sorry, Faunus.
I didn't mean to be rude - but I've never met a faun before - in fact I wasn't even sure that fauns existed - so it's all been a bit of a shock.", Adonios said, trying to apologise.
"Yes....", Faunus said reflectively,
"Glaux said that you might get a bit weird.
He knows that you are a bit timid - but don't take that the wrong way.
Glaux really loves you, but he understands that some things make you nervous and upset.
So lets start from the beginning...."
Faunus squatted down in front of  Adonios, looking up, as Glaux carefully climbed down onto Faunus' shoulder, and began nibbling at his 'pointy' ear.
"I'm Faunus - a faun, and I met Glaux last night, and he told me all about you, and so I told him that I wanted to meet you - and, as you can see, he brought you here to see me - simple ?" Faunus ended, on a note of bravado.
"Well no....not really." Adonios was forced to reply - and then paused, collecting his thoughts.
"So how can Glaux tell you about me - he's and owl, and he can't talk.
And what has all of this to do with Athena ?", Adonios said, trying to straighten things out for himself.
"As I said before - you don't know much - so stop saying things that are not true.
Glaux can talk to me - but not in the way that you humans talk.
He can send his thoughts to me (although he often warbles when he does it - which is funny) , and I can send my thoughts to him, or just talk - he understands both ways.
And also, he can read human thoughts - so be careful what you think when Glaux is around.
And everything that Glaux sees and hears - Athena knows - because he's her owl - as you keep telling everybody."
Adonios nodded, finally beginning to make some sense of the strange situation.
"So what do we do now ?", Adonios asked rather nervously.
Adonios had heard about satyrs, and their rather unsavoury reputation, and he was not quite sure if fauns and satyrs were very much the same sort of thing.
And here he was, on his own, in the forest - and no one knew he was here - and he was alone with this 'boy-thing', that may well turn out to be a satyr - or worse.
In Greek mythology, a σάτυρος (satyr - satyros) is the member of a troop of ithyphallic male companions of Dionysus; they usually have goat-like ears and tails, as well as permanent, exaggerated erections. The faun is a similar woodland-dwelling creature from Roman mythology. In myths, both are often associated with pipe-playing. Greek-speaking Romans often used the Greek term saturos when referring to the Latin faunus, and eventually syncretized the two.
"Ah !....I can see what your thinking.", Faunus said, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Your'e thinking that I'm a satyr, and so I'm about to fuck you - yes ?
Well, in case you haven't noticed, I'm not 'horny' - and that's just a rumour - not entirely unjustified, I'm pleased to say - but over exaggerated." Faunus explained.
"No I wasn't thinking that !", Adonios answered, obviously embarrassed.
"Please, Adonios...remember that I can understand your thoughts.
You humans are like open scrolls to us." (he meant 'open books' - which hadn't been invented yet). Faunus said, shaking his head.
"Any way, 'what we do now' is to go and see Marcus, get me something to eat, and somewhere for me to have a sleep.
Us fauns like to have a long 'meridiatio' (siesta).", Faunus said casually.
"Yes....and how am I going to explain you to Marcus - I mean the Dominus ?", Adonios said, correcting himself.
"Well.. if you still think that you are dreaming, that should be no problem.",' Faunus replied, smiling - just like Petronius.
"So just follow Glaux...... and I will follow...", Faunus said, as his voice faded away, and so did he !
As Faunus mysteriously faded, Glaux fluttered up, and then landed on Adonios' shoulder.
"Just follow - all will be well...", a voice said in Adonios' head.
'Oh shit ! I've gone crazy !',  Adonios thought, as Glaux took flight, and  Adonios followed his faithful friend.
"I must see Agathon.
Perhaps he has some potion to put my brain right.",  Adonios said, talking to himself, as he trudged through to forest, following his fluttering owl.

'and the story continues -
Adonios arrives back at the Villa with Faunus - which, not surprisingly, causes no end of problems....
('Faunus at the Villa')

Please note that this chapter may contain sexually explicit and violent images and text.
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