Chapter XLIX - Ludo Apud Baias I

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The brief  'holiday' in Tibur has come to an end, and Marcus and the boys return to Baiae with a 'holiday souvenir' in the form of a real live 'faun'.
Back in Rome, Marcus works hard on his inaugural speech to the Senate, while Petronius takes Adonios to Baiae to prepare the next series of Games.
Eventually Marcus gives his speech to the Roman Senate - which has mysteriously acquired a new young member - just for the day....
The speech is a resounding success - with the whole Senate - led by it's new, but seemingly 'invisible' member, applauding and cheering Marcus, who is congratulated by Vespasian and Titus.
This new chapter (XLIX) then opens with Marcus saying farewell (for the moment) to Vespasian and Antonia Caenis, and then organising, with Terentius and Nicander, the journey back to Baiae - to the beautiful Villa Auream beside the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.
And then there is the Ludi - another set of Games in honour of the Emperor Vespasian, which is to be attended by Titus.


'Fond Farewells' - Much had to be done on the morning of the departure from Rome.
All items required for use in the Villa Auream in Baiae needed to be loaded onto wagons, along with a considerable number of domestic slaves and domus guards, who would no longer be required at the Domus until Marcus returned to Rome after about six months.
Meanwhile, Marcus had to make an early morning call on Caenis and Vespasian, and 'pick up' Titus who would be accompanying them to Baiae.
Marcus was dressed in his fine new Senatorial toga, and Glaux had his feathers beautifully fluffed by Aurarius, to look his best for the Emperor.
Faunus was looking remarkably respectable in a fine white toga, although whether it was a 'real' toga, or just a toga that he got everyone to imagine he was wearing was uncertain, and Marcus simply could not decide.
And so, accompanied by four Domus guards, they made their way to Vespasian's residence in the  Horti Sallustiani.
The praetorians at the entrance had already been forewarned of Marcus' arrival, and so Marcus, Faunus, with Glaux on his wrist, and Aurarius were taken immediately to the main atrium to await Caenis, Vespasian and Titus.
There one of Vespasian's freedmen offered them seats, and slaves brought refreshments while they waited.
Both Marcus and Aurarius were very nervous - almost panicking, but Faunus seemed exceedingly relaxed, and Glaux was twittering happily as he managed to snaffle up a tasty dormouse.
Vespasian and Caenis then entered, holding hands like a pair of infatuated teenagers.
Teenagers they were certainly not, but infatuated they certainly seemed to be, although Marcus wondered if that was no more real than Faunus' 'toga'.
Marcus, Faunus and Aurarius all rose, and Glaux fluttered over to a delighted Vespasian, and instantly perched on his shoulder for an intense session of ear nibbling.
"So Senator Marcus, I have  - at last - the pleasure of your company as a Senator, and the obvious approval of your magical owl.", Vespasian said, putting out his hand to Marcus.
"Indeed, Dominus", said Marcus, "but I cannot be responsible for Glaux - he has a mind of his own." (but of course Marcus knew that really Glaux was simply following Faunus' instructions.)
"And this, I presume, is your guest Faunus, who seems to have a way with Glaux.". Vespasian then said.
"I am honoured to meet you, Dominus.", Faunus said, bowing slightly.
"And handsome Aurarius I already know.", Vespasian continued.
"And this, Faunus, is my consort, Caenis who is not only the most elegant matron in Rome, but also the most intelligent and charming.", Vespasian said, indicating Caenis, putting it on very thickly.
Vespasian, of course, did not use the term wife, but rather 'consort', as he and Caenis were not actually married, but lived as man and wife, with Caenis effectively as Empress - much to the annoyance of Domitian (who, fortunately, we do not get to meet, at least in this chapter).
'Matron' was a term used by the Romans to indicate a married woman, especially one considered as a type of feminine dignity of character or bearing; and more generally any woman considered as having the qualities usually associated with the mother of a large family. Vespasian uses this term, despite the fact that Caenis was never married.
"So Aurarius told me that you have known Glaux for along time, but I thought that Glaux belonged to Adonios ?", Vespasian asked, presumably expecting Faunus to explain.
"Well...," and Faunus paused and took a breath, "now Adonios looks after Glaux most of the time, but before I looked after Glaux.
Now Adonios has taken Glaux on - as if he had adopted him - but Glaux is with me -  for the moment, - because Adonios has had to go to Baiae to help Petronius organise the Games dedicated to you." Faunus said, being deliberately, but subtly, obscure.
"Ah...I see.", Vespasian said, when obviously he didn't.
Marcus could see what Faunus was up to, and out of the corner of his eye he noticed that Caenis was smiling - apparently also  realising what Faunus was doing.
"So... getting back to important matters, Marcus.
I have had time to read your speech very carefully.
It was lucky that Titus was able to retrieve it in the uproar that followed your address.."
Vespasian paused, and smiled.
"Having read it and thought about it, and discussed it with Caenis and Titus, I thought it was excellent."
Glaux, realising that nobody was talking about him, having been rejected for important matters, such as some black squiggles on dried river plant leaves, then began to sulk.
Regardless, Vespasian continued with his praise of Marcus.
"In fact, more than excellent, the speech was remarkable, and unique.....particularly in the way that you were able to bring together so many ideas that people have been arguing about for so many years, and then show that they were all related, and in accord with one another.
You brought a sense of 'unity' to our great endeavour that we have been needing for so long..... Truly remarkable !", Vespasian enthused.
"I only said what I thought needed saying, and what I thought was right.", Marcus said, shaking his head in seeming denial.
"You are too modest !", Titus said, as he strode into the room.
"You have a truly unique political mind....and we need you here in Rome, so don't stay in Greece for too long.", Titus concluded, slapping Marcus on the back.
"Yes, Titus feels that you should be advising us - and often.", Vespasian added.
"And I think that Marcus should become a regular dinner guest - with his handsome slave-boys, and that cute little owl.", Caenis said, obviously trying to make Vespasian jealous.
"I agree - but Marcus - warn your slave-boys to take care - Caenis cane be very demanding.", Vespasian quipped.
"So.... I think you will probably be eager to start your journey with Titus.", Vespasian said, quickly changing the subject.
"Yes !", Marcus agreed, "We need to be off straight-away if we are to arrive by nightfall."
"Then go - with my best wishes - for the Games, and for your visit to Greece !", Vespasian said warmly, shaking Marcus' hand.
"And farewell, Faunus, and come to see me soon - with Glaux.", Vespasian said, turning to Faunus and shaking his hand.
Faunus then lifted a rather disgruntled Glaux from Vespasian's shoulder.
"And you, Aurarius - look after your master for me - he is very precious to us.", Vespasian said, tousling Aurarius golden hair.
And Caenis went up to Marcus.
"Be safe Marcus - I will be counting the days until your return.", she said, very softly and quietly, and Marcus blushed.
And so, with the inevitable praetorian escort, along with the Domus guards, a very well protected trio, and a now dozing owl made their way back to the Domus Gracchii.
Titus would come by a little later, in his carriage, with his tribunes, and would join the convoy to Baiae.

'Journey to Baiae' - On arriving back at the Domus, Marcus found that Nicander, who was now proving himself to be truly indispensable, had managed to have all the wagons loaded, and the carriages and outriders brought to the front of the Domus.
While taking some quick refreshments, Marcus sent Aurarius up to his apartments to check that everything had been taken that would be needed at Baiae, and to bring Euphrainus (with any belongings that he had) down to the atrio magnam.
It was at that point that they realised that Faunus had disappeared
Glaux, however, had been left behind, and was perched rather disconsolately on the back of a lavishly ornamented couch.
Aurarius, returning from Marcus' apartments with a heavily laden Euphrainus, realised what had happened, began tickling Glaux, which soon got him back to his old self.
"I see that Faunus had gone on ahead, and dumped Glaux on us.", Aurarius, grinning, said to Marcus, and Marcus nodded, while Glaux looked decidedly 'put out' at the use of the word 'dumped'.
At that point Terentius - attended by Philipos -  and Novius arrived in the atrio magnam.
"Salve, Dominus !", they both said, almost in unison.
"And how did the meeting go with Vespasian ?", Terentius asked.
"Apparently very well...", Marcus replied.
"As you may have heard, Aurarius here blundered, and mentioned Faunus, by accident, so Vespasian wanted to see him this morning - but Faunus was on his best behaviour, and I don't think anybody noticed anything strange - and at least Faunus looked after Glaux, who seems, oddly, very fond of the Emperor.", Marcus replied.
"That's good to hear, but we will still have to be careful - considering Faunus will be at the villa with  Titus for some considerable time." Novius commented.
"Well perhaps you can try to keep Faunus busy helping you with your researches.", Marcus suggested.
"Yes...why not ?", Novius said thoughtfully.
"And you and Terentius are all packed, and ready to go ?", Marcus asked hopefully.
They both nodded.
"So where's Demetrius and Aelius ?", Marcus asked, somewhat annoyed.
"Euphrainus and Aurarius....go and find them, and quickly. !
We should be off by now.", Marcus said angrily.
"You know, Marcus, that boy's becoming a problem.
Perhaps we should discuss it sometime...?", Terentius said carefully.
Marcus nodded.
"Yes....perhaps we should."
Eventually Demetrius and Aelius were found in the Gymnasion - 'playing' at gladiators, under the watchful eye of one of the senior domus guards - and Marcus was far from happy.
Seemingly they had 'conveniently' forgotten that they were due to leave early for Baiae, and there was a rush to get the last of their belongings onto one of the wagons.
Nicander finally reported that everything was ready - apologising profusely for the lateness of  Demetrius and Aelius.
"That wasn't your fault... the boys are stupid, and a liability.", Marcus replied, being unusually frank with his senior freedman..
"May I now thank you for all that you have done for myself and my guests, and I now hand the Domus into your safe keeping, until I return."
Marcus then handed Nicander a a substantial leather purse of Neronean gold aurei.
It was one of the few occasions when Marcus actually handled money.
Nicander bowed low, and thanked Marcus effusively.
"Stop that, Nicander ! - It's no more than you deserve.", Marcus said, obviously embarrassed.
And with that they all made their way down the wide marble stairway to the waiting carriages.
Marcus, Aurarius (with Glaux) and Euphrainus occupied the first, most luxurious and most ornate carriage.
Terentius, Novius and Philipos occupied the second carriage, and a somewhat sullen Demetrius and his slave-boy Aelius occupied the last carriage.
When they arrived at the Via Appia they found Titus waiting for them with his carriage, flanked by Praetorian outriders.
Titus' carriage joined the convoy, and they all set off at a fast pace, leaving the wagons to trundle on as best they could, as there was no need for them to hurry to the villa.
The wagons would probably still be travelling late into the night, but they were accompanied by numerous armed guards, so their safety would be assured.
On their way back to  Baiae they stopped off for a meal at Capua - roughly midway between Roma and  Baiae.
Capua is the chief city of the Campania region of Italy; it is located 26 km north of Neapolis. Capua was founded by the Etruscans, and came to dominate many of the surrounding communities. After the period of Etruscan domination, it fell to the Samnites, an Italic people. The people of Capua spoke the 'Oscan' dialect of Italic. They supported the Latin Confederacy in its war against Rome. After Rome’s victory in the war, Capua passed under Roman control as a 'municipium' (self-governing community), and its people were granted limited Roman citizenship (without the vote). The city kept its own magistrates and language. Eventually Capua was connected with Rome by the Via Appia. Its prosperity increased and it became the second city of Italy, famous for its bronzes and perfumes. During the Second Punic War Capua sided with Carthage against Rome. When the Romans recaptured the city, they deprived its citizens of political rights and replaced their magistrates with Roman prefects.  Although Capua suffered during the Roman civil wars in the last decades of the republic, it prospered under the empire.
Little was said during the meal - which was really just a snack - as Marcus and Titus wanted to get to the villa as quickly as possible.

And so the journey continued, under a darkening sky.
Like the evening they arrived in Rome, when travelling from Tibur, the evening of their arrival in Baiae took place during another late Summer storm.
The carriages arrived outside the glistening white villa.

to discover how Marcus first came to the 'Villa Auream' - as Markos, a young slave boy, go to:

Aurarius, with Glaux twittering excitedly, on his arm, ran up to the large gilded bronze doors, and knocked loudly.
"It's so beautiful !", Euphrainus exclaimed, never having seen the Villa Auream before.
As the doors to the villa were opened by slave-boys, Marcus, stepping down from the carriage, was half expecting to see young Glykon, but he, of course, had died in the arena so seemingly long ago.
As all the members of group left the carriages, each one was almost overwhelmed by the fresh, salty air of the sea, sweeping in on the stormy wind.
"It's so good to be back, Aurarius.", Marcus said, taking in a deep breath, seeming to finally relax after a long trip away, and Glaux twittered contentedly, obviously please to be 'home'.
There was only Nerva to greet them, seeming to Marcus to be even more ancient than he had when Marcus had first met him.(see Chapter III)
And there was no sign of Faunus - but then perhaps he was hiding somewhere in the peristyle gardens. they made their way through the main entrance, they heard a horse gallop into the forecourt, only to be reigned in, and come to a standstill.
Aurarius looked round...... and was amazed to see a slim figure, in a white tunic and flaring, white woollen cloak jump athletically down from a superb white stallion.
Of course it was Faunus, making a typically grand and dramatic entrance.
"Well ....I nearly beat you all !", Faunus exclaimed breathlessly, as he landed right next to Aurarius.
Aurarius was just about to ask Faunus where he had got the horse..... and then he remembered - 'I can get anything I want...' - those 'weird' word of Faunus.... said not so long ago, and Aurarius smiled.
Food and drink was quickly brought to Marcus and his party, which of course included Titus.
As they stood around chatting inconsequentially, Petronius descended the main staircase, accompanied by Adonios.
As soon a Glaux saw Adonios, he fluttered over and perched on the boy's shoulder, nuzzling in to his neck.
"Glad to have you back, Dominus.", Petronius said, giving one of his heart-melting smiles.
"I really have missed you.", Petronius added, showing some embarrassment at being so emotional - and so honest.
It had been a long day, and that night, as the storm cleared, and the stars appeared,  everyone slept well, and Glaux went out hunting in his familiar haunts, and Faunus wandered down to the beach, and gazed across the glittering, calm Greece.

'A Return to Normality' (well almost) - Everyone (except Glaux) rose early that first morning, seemingly invigorated by the fresh sea air.
Titus breakfasted alone in his guest apartment, waited on by the two slaves he had brought with him from Rome.
Marcus breakfasted with Petronius in Petronius' apartments, with Aurarius and Adonios in attendance - and a very sleepy Glaux.
Terentius and Novius breakfasted together in one of the smaller triclinia, and discussed quietly the problem of Demetrius.
Demetrius and Aelius breakfasted in their own apartment.
The day was fine and sunny, and Petronius was eager to return to the preparations for the Ludi.
Marcus, on the other hand, called on Titus.
There was no salutatio for Marcus to attend that morning, although they would begin the next day, so Marcus and Titus took the opportunity to take a carriage and visit Baiae.
The both wore simple tunics, as togas were not normal wear in a 'holiday resort' such as Baiae, and they were only accompanied by Aurarius and Euphrainus, as  Baiae was a safe destination, and there was little problem with security.
Titus Flavius Vespasianus as Emperor
Vespasian Gold Aureus
It should be noted that only since the advent of photography, and the mass media, has the majority of the population had any knowledge of the appearance of their rulers, and the only likeness of Titus that anyone in Baiae would have ever seen would have been in the form of highly simplified portraits on coins and, of course, the idealised representations used for statues - found mainly in Rome. Marcus was known in Baiae, as he regularly presided over the Ludi, but his fearsome reputation meant that few would do more that simply bow an acknowledgement - so it was quite possible for both individuals to walk around Baiae almost completely unnoticed and unacknowledged.
Titus liked Baiae, (as most people did), because of the bracing air, the wide, clean streets, the abundance of excellent shops, and the distinctly 'Greek' atmosphere.
Anyone visiting Baiae, for any reason, had the immediate sensation of being 'on holiday', and as a result they inevitably became relaxed and carefree.
Rome, on the other hand, at least to Marcus,  felt oppressive, under the intolerable weight of history that literally permeated the very stones of the city.
For Marcus, Baiae was the nearest thing to the Athens of his childhood and adolescence.
θερμοπώλιον - Thermopolium
As they strolled through the streets, rather aimlessly, they came upon the θερμοπώλιον - thermopolium where Marcus, (or Markos as he was), and Petronius had often had breakfast or lunch when they worked as Gnaeus' slaves at the amphitheatre.
Marcus invited Titus in for a quick snack, while explaining the significance of the 'working class' cook-shop.
The owner was both a tenant and a client of Marcus, although he had no idea who Titus was.
Quite similar to modern 'snack bars', Thermopolia were a popular institution in Roman towns and cities. Thermopolia consisted of a main room, opening onto the street, where drinks and hot food were served; they had stone counter-tops, often decorated, with built-in recesses for dolia -jars containing food and liquids. Customers could sit and eat their meals in the rooms at the back. The Thermopolium referred to in this chapter served hot and cold drinks, cooked food, and even provided rooms for sex, upstairs
The owner was effusive in his greetings to Marcus, presumably hoping that his rent would not be raised - and blissfully unaware that it was one of Terentius' many minions (no - not the cartoon characters - a minion is an underling - especially a servile or unimportant one - of a powerful person) -who set the rent.
The meal of course was free - which was good as Marcus, as usual, had no money on him (he normally relied on Terentius) - although Titus has a small purse of gold coins - all of ridiculously high denominations.
They chatted as they ate.
"So how is the villa going ?" Marcus asked.
After his previous visit to Baiae Titus had bought a large area of land near the coast, and was in the process of building a modest villa.
"Well the reports I'm getting are not encouraging, so I will have to inspect it while I'm here.", Titus replied rather disconsolately.
"The workers round here don't seem to be very businesslike.", Titus continued.
"That's probably because they're Greek.", Marcus commented
"Good on ideas - but not always very hard working.
It's a problem here - everyone gets the idea that they're on holiday - I think it must be the sea air, and the sun."
"Probably....", Titus replied.
"So what about going to the amphitheatre - it's just round the corner - and we can see how Petronius is getting on with the preparations for the Games ?", Marcus suggested.
Having said goodbye to the owner of the thermopolium, who predictably refused any payment,
Marcus and Titus only needed to walk round the corner in order to come to the massive, ornate and very 'Roman' looking entrance of the 'Amphitheatrum Graccho' (the Amphitheatre of Gracchus).


'At the Amphitheatre in Baiae' - The sleepy guards at the entrance instantly jerked to attention as Marcus appeared suddenly, with a presumably distinguished guest.
Entrance to the Amphitheatrum Graccho
Marcus normally either arrived on horseback, with accompanying mounted villa guards, or in a carriage, with villa outriders, so finding him just sauntering, unannounced by the clatter of hooves and horses snorting, was a considerable shock for the guards.
While one of the guards rushed off to spread the warning that the Dominus had arrived, the other guard was left to bow subserviently, and open the bronze side doors.
Ludus of the Amphitheatrum Graccho
One of the senior amphitheatre slaves quickly arrived and, with much bowing and fulsome greetings, guided Marcus and Titus to the 'receptio praetorium' (reception hall), where refreshments were immediately provided, despite Marcus insisting that they had just eaten.
The slaves in the amphitheatre, of course, had no knowledge that Marcus had arrived the previous night, and were very much caught off their guard, which amused Titus.
While they waited in the receptio praetorium, slaves had been dispatched to find Petronius.
When Petronius arrived, he was smiling broadly, and obviously much happier being back in his beloved amphitheatre.
"Salve, Dominus.", he said cheerfully, holding out a hand.
"We're in the Ludus if you want to see what's going on.", Petronius continued, as Marcus nodded, and the three of them, accompanied by a group of attending slaves made their way through numerous labyrinthine corridors - not accessible to spectators, (or even guests, normally), that led to the practice arena and 'working areas' of the amphitheatre.
"First, I want to talk about the arena.", Marcus began.
"The inner wall, where we had the porphyry panels installed, is still the old rough stone, from the original arena, and I've noticed that it's very difficult to keep clean - and does't look very attractive....
Perhaps you, me and Terentius could get together, and order some new marble veneer from Neapolis, to cover the old stone. ", Marcus suggested.
"Yes.....a good idea.", Petronius said, pleased to once more be working together with Marcus.
"Also, since all this business about becoming a senator, I have been told that a number of senators are intending to attend the next Games, and I was wondering if we could accommodate them in a separate area of the ima cavea - just as a 'sop' to their exalted status - as they maybe imagine it - but not a permanent structure - but rather removable.", Marcus said.
"Yes - easy done with some local carpenters.", Petronius replied, while Titus smiled at Marcus' jibe about senator's 'exalted status'.
"It could be placed the the right of the pulvinar (the Imperial box).", Marcus concluded - and Petronius nodded, getting a scribus to take down Marcus instructions.
A Roman amphitheatre is normally made up of 3 main parts; the 'cavea', the 'arena', and the 'vomitorium'. The seating area is referred to as the 'cavea' (Latin for 'enclosure'). 'Cavea' is formed of concentric rows of stands, which are supported by arches built into the framework of the building. The 'cavea' is traditionally organised in three horizontal sections, corresponding to the social class of the spectators: The 'ima cavea' is the lowest part of the 'cavea', and the one directly surrounding the arena. It was usually reserved for the upper echelons of society.
At that point two young gladiators arrived in the practice arena, to take part in a  pre-Ludi audition  -what Romans would call 'ad faciendum iudicium'.
"May we observe ?", Titus politely asked Petronius.
Petronius nadded, and then turned to the attending slaves.
"Table - chairs - and wine and water !", he ordered.
Petronius then sent for Theon - Theon was the assistant master of the arena who would supervise the 'ad faciendum iudicium' - (if you have been reading this story in chronological order, then you will have met Theon before).
In a matter of moments Marcus and Titus were comfortably seated, and being served drinks, while Petronius stood behind them - apparently presiding over the whole operation.


'Aristotle and the Virtues - I' - Meanwhile......back at the villa, Faunus was trying very hard to behave himself, and not create any suspicions, on the part of Titus.
As a result, he was spending much of his time in Novius' study, helping the old scholar with his endless piles of scrolls.
At this particular time, when things were getting under way at the Ludus, Faunus had come across a set of scrolls containing what we today refer to as the 'Nicomachean Ethics'.
The Nicomachean Ethics (Greek: Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics. The work consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title could refers to Aristotle's son, Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated. Alternatively, the work may have been dedicated to his father, who was also called Nicomachus.  Aristotle states that the highest good for humans is eudaimonia, a Greek word often translated as well-being or happiness. Aristotle in turn argues that happiness is properly understood as an ongoing and stable dynamic, a way of being in action (energeia), specifically appropriate to the human "soul" (psuchē), at its most "excellent" or virtuous (virtue translates aretē in Greek).
"What do you think of this ?", Faunus asked bluntly.
Novius looked at Faunus quizzically.
"Well...very good, of course.
It is a book by Aristotle after all.", Novius replied.
"Yes....", Faunus replied, reflectively.
"My mistress is much taken with the ideas it contains...", Faunus continued.
In the 'Nicomachean Ethics', Book 2, (the scroll that Faunus had found) Aristotle concentrates on moral virtues - traits of character. Aristotle thought that the list of virtues was not a miscellaneous collection, but grounded in a general, reasoned account of what virtues are - but to continue.....
"And by your mistress you mean who ?", Novius asked, still puzzled at the strange way that Faunus conducted conversations.
"Why - the Goddess - of course !", Faunus said bluntly.
"And you're trying to tell me that the Goddess Athena is sitting up there, on Mount Olympus, with a scroll of  Aristotle's Ethics.", Novius said - mocking.
"No...not really.
Not on Mount Olympus - at least not the one in Greece, and not with a scroll, at least not a 'real' scroll......", Faunus said, sounding annoyed.
"Humans take things very literally - don't they ?"
Faunus handed Novius the scroll for  him to peruse.
"You seem to forget that Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom - and she therefore knows everything wise that it said or not surprisingly, she know all about what is written in this scroll, without even looking at it ", Faunus concluded.
"I see....", Novius said nervously.
"I didn't mean to be disrespectful to the Goddess.", Novius said, unrolling the scroll.


'Audition in the Ludus' - Meanwhile - back at the Ludus.....the two young 'gladiators' had been fighting hard for about twenty minutes (Roman minutes ?).
Both were sweating copiously, and were showing a number of nasty bruises.
The reason for the bruises was the fact that they were fighting with wooden swords.
The reason for the sweating, apart from the fact that it was a hot morning, was because the wooden swords were 'weighted' and were actually heavier the a real 'gladius'.
Fortunately both boys only wore very brief loincloths, so they were unencumbered by any armour or belts.
As a means of defence, apart form their quick reflexes and speed, they each carried a small, round shield - also made of wood.
The whole point of this type of 'fight' was to assess the young slave's ability, and possible weakness, in order to decide who would be fighting who.
As has been explained before, most contests in the arena were 'fixed' - mainly in order to give a good show - and not (usually) from any dubious motives.
For the first 'contest', which was still under way, the fighter wearing a white loincloth was undoubtedly getting the worst of it, and was noticeably slowing down.
The question at this point was whether Theon would make a decision on the available evidence, or allow the fight to proceed, until one fighter surrendered, or was so badly beaten that he could not physically continue.
Theon strode over to Petronius to obtain a decision.
Normally Petronius would have stopped the fight at the point where Theon had made a reasonable assessment of the fighter's ability but, in this case, with Titus enjoying the sport, Petronius decided to allow the fight to run its course.
So....Theon returned to the fight to see how matters would eventually turn out.
Predictably, the fighter in the black loincloth, seeing his opponent beginning to slow down and lose his concentration, went in for the 'kill'.
Now, in a fight of this kind, with wooden swords with no 'edge', most of moves were of a 'slashing' nature which, if they actually landed using a real gladius, would cause a possibly disabling cut.
As it was, such blows with a wooden gladius were simply very painful and bruising.
The gladius, however, was also used as a thrusting weapon, but a wooden gladius had no sharp point, so such moves were rare.
In this case, however, the fighter in the black loincloth made an unexpected thrust, straight at the prominent bulge in his opponent's loincloth.
The fighter in the white loincloth squealed, dropped his wooden sword and shield, and staggered backwards, with his hands frantically clutching at his groin.
Titus applauded, and Marcus felt obliged to join in, although he feared an unwelcome outcome to this development.
Taking advantage of his opponent's helplessness, the fighter in the black loincloth moved forward, and forcefully slashed at his opponent's head.
The fighter in the white loincloth predictably keeled over almost instantly, and sprawled out on the sand, still clutching his groin, and convulsing.
Theon went over to the supine, uncontrollably jerking fighter.
Blood was dribbling from helpless boy's ears and mouth, and at the same time his loincloth had become sodden and semi-transparent as he emptied his bladder.
Suddenly the young slave noisily voided his bowels, and lay still.
Theon looked towards Marcus, and shook his head.
It was obvious that the fighter in the white loincloth was dead.
The question then was what to do about the unfortunate turn of events.
There were other slaves looking on, and when 'gladiators' were required to take part in such fights designed to aid in the selection and pairing of fighters, they were expressly instructed not to badly injure or kill their opponent - it was enough just to show their superior skill.
The slave in the black loincloth had effectively disabled his opponent, and he had no reason to go on and attack him when he was helpless.
Petronius decided that, wasteful though it may be, the slave in the black loincloth had to be punished, - but before he could do that he needed to inform all those present of the reason.
Petronius stepped forward, and in a loud voice made a statement:
"Slaves are not permitted in a fighting audition (ad faciendum iudicium), to seriously injure of kill their opponent, but simply to demonstrate their skill.
This slave will therefore be executed at the upcoming Ludi.
Guards ! Take him away !"
And at that four arena guards grabbed hold of the stunned young slave - who was stupid enough to have thought that he had pleased his Dominus - and dragged him off to a cell in the Ludus.
"Pity about that, he was a good fighter - but I suppose he knew the rules - and stupidly broke them.
Things like that often happen in the legions.
You have no choice but to do what is necessary in order to keep discipline.", Titus said as he turned to Marcus.
"'s annoying.", Marcus agreed.
And almost immediately Petronius came up to Marcus.
"Dominus...I am really sorry.
I shouldn't have let it happen.", Petronius said, obviously genuinely upset.
"It wasn't your fault, Petronius, so just forget it, and bring on the next pair....", Marcus said calmly.
And so the selection continued, with Titus taking great interest in all the proceedings, and discussing many points with Petronius.
Without consciously realizing, Marcus and Petronius were privileged spectators to the process of a general of armies transforming himself into the manager of public spectacles - in preparation for the eventual opening of the Amphitheatrum Flavium (Colosseum) in Rome, which would come some years in the future.
Construction of the Colosseum began under the Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius). The Colosseum's Latin name was Amphitheatrum Flavium. Romans often referred to the Colosseum by the unofficial name Amphitheatrum Caesareum.  The name Colosseum was derived from a colossal statue of Nero nearby. This statue was later remodelled by Nero's successors into the likeness of the God Apollo, (patron God of Octavian Augustus and Marcus Octavianus Gracchus), by adding the appropriate solar crown. Nero's head was also replaced several times with the heads of succeeding emperors. 


'Aristotle and the Virtues - II' - Meanwhile......back at the villa, in Novius' study, Faunus was still chatting away happily with Novius.
"So tell me, Faunus, have you read Aristotle's writing on the virtues ?", Novius asked, perhaps hoping to catch out the precocious young faun.
"Oh yes. 
My mistress insisted.", Faunus replied.
"She thought that it would help me sort some matters out with Marcus.", Faunus continued.
"I see.....", Novius replied slowly and thoughtfully, wondering just what those matters might be.
In his moral philosophy Aristotle listed twelve main virtues.  
'Virtue' is the quality of being morally good. The word virtue comes from the Latin root 'vir', for man. At first virtue meant 'manliness' or 'valor', but over time it settled into the sense of 'moral excellence'. 
Aristotle's 'virtues' are: Courage, Temperance (self-control and restraint), Liberality (charity and generosity), Magnificence (the spending large sums of money on liturgies, or public gifts), Pride (to think oneself worthy of great things), Honour (respect and reverence), Good Temper (equanimity), Friendliness (conviviality and sociability), Truthfulness (straightforwardness, frankness and candour), Wit (sense of humour), Friendship (companionship), Justice (impartiality and fairness). It is in this list of 'virtues' that we find one of the significant differences between the morality of the Classical civilisations, and the subsequent (as Nietzsche would describe it) 'slave morality' of Christianity, which still affects us even today. The seven Christian virtues are listed as Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility - all excellent virtues for a diligent slave.
"So you are interested in philosophy, young man ?", Novius asked.
"'s part of my present 'mission'.", Faunus replied somewhat mysteriously
"Tell me, do you talk to Demetrius or Adonios and Aurarius about philosophy ?", Faunus then asked.
"Well all Demetrius can think about is his boy Aelius, and the arena, and gladiators, but Aurarius and Aurarius sometimes ask questions - the they are all a bit young for philosophy - even you.", Novius said, a little dismissively.
"Well I have to take an interest in philosophy.....", Faunus began.
"Yes...I know.... it's part of your 'mission' !", Novius interrupted, somewhat exasperated.
"The problem is that Marcus seems to take little interest in philosophy....", Faunus continued.
"No - and nor does Petronius !", Novius said derisively.
"I know....the only two philosophers here are you, and Terentius.", Faunus said.
"And Terentius is a Stoic !", Faunus added.
"Yes.... and I'm undecided...still confused.", Novius admitted.
"And how did you know that... about Terentius, I mean.
Did he tell you ?", Novius asked, almost aggressively.
"No - he didn't tell me.....I just knew.", Faunus replied brightly.
"Yes...yes of course.", Novius said with a note of resignation in his voice.
"Apparently Terentius is very keen on Seneca.", Faunus added, by way of additional information.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
'Errare Humanum Est'
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was a tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. He was forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero. Caligula and Fabius were critics of his works, and Columella, Pliny, Tacitus and Dio proponents. Works attributed to Seneca include a dozen philosophical essays, one hundred and twenty-four letters dealing with moral issues and nine tragedies. The most famous quote from Seneca is: 'errare humanum est' - in full - 'to err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabolical'.
"You know the saying from Seneca - 'To err is human.' ?", Faunus asked.
"Yes...", Novius replied, wondering what was coming next.
"Well that, among us fauns, is one of our favourite sayings.", Faunus said, grinning.
"Yes....I might have suspected it would be...", Novius said, looking a little disgruntled, but with a twinkle in his eye.
And so the evening came.
Marcus and Titus rode slowly back from the amphitheatre through the warm evening twilight, chatting about the fighters they had watched, and Faunus, wanting to keep on the good side of Novius, worked diligently, helping to tidy up all the scrolls in the abysmally chaotic study.

'Salutatio and Neapolis' - That morning Marcus was obliged to attend the morning Salutatio, which was held in the main atrium.
As was expected, in accordance with strict Roman tradition, it was a very formal affair.
Marcus, as expected, made his grand entrance, accompanied by Aurarius and Euphrainus.
Faunus, who was still trying to be on his best behaviour, had obtained permission to attend the Salutatio, and Terentius, wanting to 'patch things up' with Faunus, had offered him the position of 'honoured guest' - on the proviso that Faunus behaved as a perfectly normal and respectable young Roman patrician.
Faunus had made a solemn promise, and was therefore allowed to follow Marcus into the atrium, and stand behind Marcus when he took the morning greeting from the clients.
At the far end of the atrium, there was a dais, on which had been placed Marcus' ornate, gilded Curule chair, inlaid in ivory.
Terentius stood to the right of the chair, wearing his best toga, and attended by Philipos, and to Terentius' side stood Novius.
On the left of the chair stood Petronius, wearing a gilded cuirass and white cloak, and attended by Adonios, (with Glaux on his wrist), and Aniketos, and to Petronius' side stood Demetrius, attended by Aelius.
At the foot of the dais Nerva stood - his purpose being to 'marshal' the clients.
There was, however, a stir among the attending clients as they realised that Marcus was wearing the toga of a Senator.
News, outside Rome, was slow to arrive, and only the very influential and well connected had been informed of Marcus' elevation to Senatorial rank, and the reputation that he had gained in Rome as a result of his remarkable speech.
And so, Marcus, now not only Dominus but also Senator, finally mounted the dais and took his seat, with Faunus, wearing an immaculate toga, standing behind Marcus' Curule chair, and slightly to the right.
After calling for silence, Nerva allowed the clients, one by one, to greet Marcus, while Terentius provided Marcus with names, and any relevant details, and Nerva, then rather grudgingly handed out the 'sportula'.
After the Salutatio, Titus parted company with Marcus for the day, as he was to spend his time supervising matters with regard to his new villa.
Marcus, on his part would be accompanied by Petronius, Adonios, Aurarius and Terentius - (Glaux would be left quietly snoozing , while Faunus once again helped Novius in his study).
Marcus had also decided to take Apelles (Marcus' 'in house' artist and designer) with him in order to discuss designs for the proposed temporary pavilion to be constructed for visiting dignitaries to the amphitheatre.
A carriage was provided for Marcus, Petronius, Terentius and Apelles (who was not a slave), while Adonios, Aurarius, along with some hefty slaves, rode in one of two wagons.
And their destination was Neapolis.
The first Greek settlements were established in the area of Neapolis in the 2nd millennium BC. During the end of the Greek Dark Ages a larger mainland colony, initially known as Parthenope, developed around the 9-8th century BC, and was re-founded as 'Neapolis' in the 6th century BC: it held an important role in 'Magna Graecia' ('Greater Greece' of the Greek diaspora). The Greek culture of Naples was important to later Roman society. At the time of our story, the city was a flourishing centre of  'Hellenistic' culture that attracted Romans who wished to perfect their knowledge of Greek culture. The pleasant climate made it a renowned resort, as recounted by Virgil.  Romans connected the city to the rest of Italy with fine roads, excavated galleries to link Naples to Pozzuoli, enlarged the port, and added public baths and aqueducts to improve the quality of life in Naples. The city was also celebrated for its many feasts and spectacles.
They only had one main call to make on this, their first visit to Neapolis with regard to the new Ludi, and that was with a company of Greek builders and decorators that Marcus had used previously when making modifications to the Amphitheatre.
The first topic on the agenda was the new marble facing to cover the rough stone inner wall of the arena (part of the original old construction).
The use of marble veneer was common place in top-quality building practice at the time of our story (it would later be used to great effect in the Flavian Amphitheatre). Such veneers were usually cut to a thickness of approximately 4 cm, and held in place with bronze clamps.
Imperial Porphyry
Marcus had brought a small piece of an Imperial Porphyry panel of the kind already in place in the arena.
The task was then to find a suitable colour of marble to attractively offset the deep, reddish purple of the Imperial Porphyry.
Numerous samples were presented to Marcus, who instantly passed them to Apelles for his professional opinion.
Veined Cream Marble
Each sample had to be viewed in strong sunlight to obtain a good estimate of the final effect.
The final sample chosen was cream, with some heavy graining of greenish-brown.
Such a colour would be easy to maintain, and show the minimum of staining during a Ludi.
The next matter was to arrange a date (the next day, as the matter was urgent) so that the artisans could begin installing the marble panels.
As Terentius made the detailed financial arrangements for the order, work had immediately begun on cutting sections of veneer to the appropriate size, with the measurements taken from records of work that the company had undertaken previously for Marcus and the 'late Dominus'  at the amphitheatre.

for more information about the previous 'upgrading' of the Amphitheatre at Baiae go to

Meanwhile, as Terentius haggled over prices and delivery dates, Marcus took Petronius, Adonios, Aurarius to a nearby thermopolium for a snack.
Ruins of a  thermopolium at Pompeii
Perhaps interestingly. it was irregularly shaped pieces of marble, accidentally broken in such operations as that being undertaken for Marcus, that were subsequently sold to be used as counter tops for thermopolia throughout the Empire. And so, a long time after our story, 'archaeologists' were  able to identify the types of marble popular at the time by the varieties to be found in the variegated counter tops of Roman eating establishments. The fact that the owners of such establishments were unable to afford counters covered with marble veneers in large pieces of the same type, and only used 'rejected broken off-cuts', indicates that the marble veneers that Marcus was purchasing were prohibitively expensive.
Having finished his negotiations, Terentius then went and joined Marcus at the thermopolium, while Petronius, concerned that the marble was not damaged as it was transferred to the wagons, left to supervise the loading.
Simply because of the immense weight of the marble, they would only be able to take a small portion of the full order, but at least some of the artisans, (who would travel back to the amphitheatre on the wagons) could begin installing the panels that day.
Having achieved his main objective, Marcus wanted to buy the boys some sort of gift - mainly as a reward for 'befriending' Faunus - and so, while Petronius was supervising the loading of the marble, Marcus, Terentius (essential for the money and the haggling), Adonios and Aurarius set off to look at the shops.
One of the (to us) strange things about Roman life was the conspicuous lack of personal consumer goods. There were no mobile phones, no DVDs or tablet computers etc. There were plenty of domestic goods - precious table-ware, items for the kitchen - but the question was - 'what do you buy a teenage Roman boy - even when money is no problem ?' 
The only items that the boys could show off, apart from jewellery (which was limited, as 'real' Roman boys wore little jewellery - otherwise they would be branded as 'effeminate'), and weapons, (and both boys had enormously expensive daggers), was clothing, so Marcus decided to buy them tunics, to be made up and delivered to the villa in time for the Ludi.

for a previous shopping expedition got to:

Marcus selected a fine pale blue material for Adonios (and also Aniketos) , and a dark red for Aurarius (and also Euphrainus).
Adonios and Aurarius were each to have additional gold edgings and borders on their tunics as befitted their status.
The tailors were required to report to the villa at Baiae the following morning, with the appropriate material, and then measure up, cut out and stitch the garments, to be ready by the end of the day - with payment made on completion.
So, by the time the material had been chosen, all the arrangements made, one of the slaves working on the wagons arrived to tell Terentius that the initial consignment of marble panels had been loaded, and the wagons and carriages were ready to return to the villa.
Additional consignments would be sent from Neapolis as required.
Ludi Announcement
While Marcus had been arranging matters at Neapolis, Theon had been continuing to put the various performers through their paces in the Ludus at Baiae, and at the same time slaves from the Amphitheatre had been putting up announcements (what we would call 'posters'), on various sites, around the town.
(Unfortunately, not having Latin as his first language, Apelles had misspelt Marcus second name - but no matter- there was only one amphitheatre and therefore only one 'Marcus' in Baiae !)
There was, however, still one matter that had not been decided, and time was fast running out.
The poster had announced a 'tableaux' and the undecided matter was the nature of the 'mythological tableaux' which was traditionally a central part of the Ludi.
Strictly speaking, in following on from the last Ludi - the tableaux should be the 'Death of Hector', but that would mean the use of a chariot, and the question would be - was there enough time to organise and rehearse a two horse chariot in the relatively small arena ?

'and the story continues -
Frantic preparations continue unabated for the upcoming 'Ludi Spes Vespasianum' - and the first day of the Games finally arrives....
(Ludi Spes Vespasianum - The Games at Baiae - Part II')

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