Chapter XLVIII - Ad Urbem

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Autumn in the City
Despite the fact that Marcus was enjoying his time at his beautiful villa in the country near Tibur, some distance outside Rome - Autumn, and the colder weather was on the way, and also 'duty called', and Marcus was required to return to the city.
The reason, of course, was his inaugural appearance in the Senate, where his first speech was eagerly awaited by not only the senators, but also Vespasian, Titus and Caenis, (Domitian, however, was still in the back bedroom, stabbing flies with pins.)
At the same time, the bulk of the belongings of Marcus, and his company, along with most of his slaves, needed be transported directly to the 'Villa Auream' at Baiae.
All this posed numerous logistical problems, but there was also the problem of what to do with Faunus, assuming that Faunus wanted to go to Rome.......after all, how do you explain that you have a 'tame' faun ? - (or maybe not so 'tame').


'Morning Greeting' - Aurarius thought that Marcus had in some way 'changed' since arriving at the villa - but he was not sure how.
Regardless, Aurarius had now began to feel a certain 'concern' for Marcus which was not born out of the fact that he was simply Marcus' slave.
In some strange way, although he was too 'boyish' even to admit it to himself, he felt a deep and personal concern for Marcus - well beyond any previous adolescent infatuation, or simple desire to please.
The previous evening a courier, in a carriage, had arrived from the Palatine, bearing a letter, and a gift for Marcus.
The Palatine - (Mons Palatinus) - is the centre-most of the Seven Hills of Rome, and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. From the time of Octavian Augustus, Imperial palaces were built there, and hence it became the etymological origin of the English word 'palace', and its cognates, in other language, (Italian palazzo, French palais, German Palast,  etc.), and so the courier had arrived from the 'palace'.
The gift was a senatorial toga.
It had been bought by one of Caenis' freedmen, on her behalf, (it would be inappropriate for a 'Roman matron' to buy a toga - except possibly for her husband).
The gift had been given to Aurarius to place with Marcus' other numerous items of clothing that he had with him at the villa.
Aurarius had handed the letter to Marcus, but Marcus was too tired to bother with the letter, and had left it until  the morning. 
Motivated by his new sense of 'concern', Aurarius woke Marcus early, with breakfast and a hot bath all prepared, as he did not want Marcus to miss the morning 'Salutatio' which Terentius had been so upset about the previous day.
On this particular morning neither Glaux nor Faunus were around, but Aurarius was to busy to really notice.
'Senator' Marcus
Once Marcus had eaten, washed and dressed, Aurarius presented him with his new toga.
Togas are notoriously difficult to wear, and Marcus needed some considerable help from Aurarius even to put on the heavy and awkward garment.
A Senator would wear a brilliantly white toga (whitened with chalk), with a broad purple (or bluish red) stripe down his tunic, called a 'laticlavia'. The purple-red border of the senatorial toga is woven onto the toga using a process known as 'tablet weaving', and such applied borders are a feature of Etruscan dress. The finest togas are made of pure wool, which is thought to possess powers to avert misfortune and the evil eye. Handwoven cloth is slow, and costly to produce and, compared to simpler forms of clothing, the toga uses an extravagant amount of material (approx 5.5Meters - [18ft]).
It was still an hour or so before the Salutatio, yet Aurarius insisted that Marcus should wear the garment well before appearing in the main atrium, so that he would become accustomed to it.
"So how do you feel being dressed as 'Senator Marcus' ?", Aurarius asked, grinning.
Marcus looked at Aurarius, and smiled weakly.
"Not very happy.
It's heavy and uncomfortable.", he replied.
"Well, I think you need to get used to it.
From what I've heard they won't let you retire until you're sixty - and that's a long way off.", Aurarius quipped.
The word Senate derives from the Latin word 'senex', - 'old man', and Senate thus means 'assembly of elders' - so it was unusual for someone as young as Marcus to become a Senator. There was, in fact, no legal retirement age for Senators, although the Senate was allowed to give permission to Senators to retire at the age of sixty years - and in consideration of Marcus' toga - even a 'retired' Senator would be expected to wear his senatorial toga at all official functions. Most ordinary Roman men, however, died well before they could become retired, which was as well, as there were neither state (except for the army)  nor private pensions. In Rome only six percent of the population is estimated to have been over sixty years of age, whereas in England that figure exceeds twenty percent, and is steadily increasing.
And so later Marcus, accompanied by Aurarius and Euphrainus, reluctantly made his way down the wide formal staircase which terminated in the main atrium of the villa.
The atrium was not large by the standards of the 'Atrio Magnam' (Grand Atrium) in the 'Domus Gracchii' in Rome, but it was still exceptionally large as far as the average villa was concerned.
A dais had been positioned at the bottom of the stairs, and on the dais had been placed an 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 and Aniketos, and to Petronius' side stood Demetrius, attended by Aelius.
It was obvious that Terentius, having been publicly embarrassed by Marcus not appearing for the previous Salutatio, was determined to make a show of this occasion, and suitably impress (and overawe) all the locals.
Petronius, as befitted his position as tribune, wore a gladius in a gilded scabbard, and Detritus,  Aurarius and  Adonios each wore an ornate pugio.
In front of the dais stood the three freedmen - Nicander, Ion and Keos - whose task it was to organise and keep in order the 'cliens'.
Clients seeking patronage had to attend the patron's early-morning formal 'salutatio' ('greeting session'), held in the semi-public, grand reception room (atrium) of his family dwelling (domus or villa). Citizen-clients were expected to wear the toga appropriate to their status, and to wear it correctly and smartly or risk affront to their host patron. A client must be at his patron's beck and call, to perform whatever 'togate works' were required; and the patron would usually expect to be addressed as 'domine' (sir); a citizen-client of the equestrian class, superior to all lesser mortals by virtue of rank and costume, might thus approach the shameful condition of dependent servitude. For a client whose patron was another's client, the potential for shame was still worse. Patrons (particularly of Marcus' wealth and position) were few, and most (but not Marcus) had to compete with their peers to attract the best, most useful clients. Clients were many, and those of least interest to the patron had to scrabble for notice among the 'togate horde' (turbae togatae). 
When Marcus processed down the huge white marble staircase, flanked by Aurarius and Euphrainus, there was an audible murmur, as the gathered clients noticed the dark, wide stripe on his dazzlingly white toga that signified his newly achieved Senatorial rank.
This murmur became intensified, however, as the clients saw what Marcus was unable to see.
Following a few step behind Marcus was Faunus, (minus his horns, of course), wearing a brilliant white 'toga alba' - and on his right wrist was perched a very proud looking Glaux - feathers immaculate.
Terentius, wondering what was causing the disturbance looked behind and up at Marcus on the stairs, and instantly spotted Faunus.
There was absolutely nothing that he could do.
He nudged Novius, looking at him despairingly.
"Now what ?", he muttered.
Marcus by then had reached his chair.
Terentius leaned forward as Marcus seated himself.
"Your dammed faun has followed you - with Glaux.", Terentius whispered angrily.
Marcus smiled.
"So what ?
Something to entertain the clients.", Marcus replied airily.
At that moment Glaux took flight and, lazily and silently flapping his wings, flew down and made a perfect landing on Marcus' right shoulder.
Marcus, nonchalantly stroked the little owl's head, as the clients looked on in amazement.
Meanwhile, Faunus descended the remaining steps, and took his place immediately behind Marcus' Curule chair.
It was a 'fait accompli', and all that Terentius could do was continue with the 'salutatio', although he was beginning to wish that Marcus had gone swimming again.
His one hope was that Faunus would not say or do anything.
Nicander brought the first client up to Marcus, but Marcus apparently totally ignored the unfortunate man - and looked round at Faunus
"And where did you get that excellent toga from ?", Marcus asked Faunus.
"I thought you knew - ", Faunus said haughtily.
"I can get anything I want.", Faunus concluded.
"Yes...", Marcus murmured.
"And it's better quality than mine.....
And where have you been all night.", Marcus then asked.
"In the forest, with Glaux....but I think you'd better greet your client.
He's looking very confused and nervous.", Faunus replied.
Terentius, much against his better nature, agreed with Faunus, and introduced the client to Marcus, with the assistance of Ion, who knew all the local 'worthies', (and not so worthy), by name.
Marcus passed a few inconsequential words with the poor man, who then retreated, to be given his 'sportula' by Keos.
A 'sportula' was originally a basket of food, in lieu of an invitation to dinner - but at the time of our story it was usually a sum of cash amounting to around 100 quadrantes - The quadrans (literally meaning 'a quarter') or teruncius ('three unciae') was a low-value Roman bronze coin worth one quarter of an as.
And this was the part of being the 'Dominus' that Marcus really hated.
It was boring, and almost all the people he was required to meet were, in his view, inconsequential nobodies.
Unlike most patrons, Marcus didn't feel that he really needed many clients.
The clients that he was meeting that day, however, were all originally clients of Gnaeus Octavian - clients that he had inherited.
Their main use to Gnaeus, though, had been as providers of information - which assisted him politically, (mainly in staying out of trouble with wayward emperors), but also in his business operations.
This, of course, was why Terentius was so keen on maintaining this huge, Empire-wide network of informers.
What Marcus had never really understood, however, was that such individuals as Arion, the young Greek venalicius (slave trader), who had sold him to Terentius in Brundisium, was a client of Gnaeus Octavian, and the vast numbers of individuals who paid rents regularly, in Rome, Baiae, Neapolis, Athens, and many other cities,  to the House of Gracchus, were almost all long term clients, and were the providers of Marcus' vast wealth.
It was usual, on the completion of the salutatio, for the clients to accompany the patron on his morning walk in the town or city.
The purpose of this custom was to advertise to one and all the number and quality of the clients associated with a particular patron - (hence the concern about all the clients being smart, and wearing good quality togas).
As the Villa Pastoralis was in the middle of a large forest this was not possible, which greatly pleased Marcus.
Deprived of this possibility of further contact with their patron, there was some difficulty in 'politely' removing all the clients from the villa, as many wanted an 'extra word' with the Dominus.
Eventually, however, the Atrium was cleared, and Marcus could give a sigh of relief.
"Well, Dominus - I think that went very well.", Terentius said, congratulating Marcus.
"That's good.", Marcus replied.
"But I must say something seriously to you.
Now you know that I hold you in the highest regard, and I have never criticised you - but I object to you describing Faunus to me as 'your dammed faun'.
Let me make it clear to you - Faunus is not my faun.
He's not my slave - I do not own him, and he's not my freedman.
Who he is - or what he is, for that matter, I do not really know, but in some strange way I like him - and if he wants to come with Glaux to my salutatio - well I would prefer him to most of the people who come here - just looking for money or favours."
And with that Marcus turned on his heel and stalked off, with Aurarius and Euphrainus running to catch up with him - as Glaux fluttered up the stairs.
Terentius was thunderstruck - realizing that he had let his feeling get the better of him.
Now he had angered his master, and he had no real excuse for what he had said.
Faunus, however, had crept up behind him.
"It wasn't your fault, Terentius.
I should have told you that I was coming to the salutatio.", Faunus said softly.
"I will speak to him later, and I am sure that I can change his mind, and put everything right.", Faunus continued.
"I know how much you love him - and in no way must I come between you and Marcus - for if I do then everything is pointless." Faunus said.
"Yes...yes I know....", Terentius said, sitting heavily on the Curule chair.


'Talking with Faunus' - When Marcus arrived back in his apartments he was angry - but also very surprised.
Faunus was lounging on one of the couches in the atrium, (complete with his little horns - but without his splendid toga - wearing just a brief white tunic).
"How......?", and then Marcus was lost for words.
Aurarius followed Marcus, grinning.
He was expecting Faunus to play one of his tricks.
"Why even bother asking ?", Faunus said, getting up off the couch, and putting his arm round Marcus' shoulder.
"But I am really sorry...
I didn't think my appearing at the salutatio would cause any trouble between you and Terentius.
It's just that you humans are so 'touchy' - and the slightest thing gets you going at one another.
Something you must learn not to do." Faunus said.
Aurarius was smiling - interested to see Faunus talking to Marcus as if Marcus was his rather foolish younger brother.
"I know.
I regretted saying those things straight away - but then it was too late.", Marcus replied.
"Well, it wouldn't hurt if you spoke to Terentius, and apologised.
It wouldn't hurt - and as the 'Dominus', as you like to call yourself, it would only make you appear magnanimous - as I know you're terrified of 'losing face'.", Faunus explained.
"I really wish that you couldn't read my thoughts.
It makes it difficult to think anything - and all the time I have to ask myself if you will approve.", Marcus said, sounding very frustrated.
"All right then - just for a while I'll stop - there - now you can think anything.....", Faunus said, sounding pompous and serious.
But Marcus was smiling.
"Yes...... and how do I know that you're being truthful ?", he asked.
"You don't !", Faunus replied, also smiling.
There was a pause while Aurarius helped Marcus to take off his toga, and Euphrainus prepared some snacks and drinks.
Marcus and Faunus then sat down opposite each other, while Aurarius and Euphrainus fussed over them with the refreshments.
"You may recall - although you were angry at the time, that you said to Terentius that you did not know who I was - or what what I was, - and I was wondering if you would like me to try to explain that a little more." Faunus said thoughtfully.
"Well yes - why not ?", Marcus replied, intrigued.
"I cannot, of course, give you a complete answer.
As you are probably aware none of us can answer such questions.
Not only are we a mystery to others - we are, each one of us, also a mystery to ourselves, be we a human, a faun, or even a little owl.", and as Faunus finished the sentence Glaux flew in through the still open door.
"Aurarius - close the door, - it should have been closed when we came in - and then you and Euphrainus can leave us." Marcus said sharply
"No Marcus, let the boys stay - they might learn something.
And don't worry, I won't say anything embarrassing about you - this is more about me.", Faunus said, trying to restore the relaxed mood.
Meanwhile, Glaux had landed on the back of the couch that Marcus was sitting on.
He then proceeded to sidle up to Marcus - pretending that Marcus couldn't see him, and then daintily tiptoed onto Marcus shoulder, and nuzzled up to his neck.
Then Faunus started his explanation:
"To begin - as you already know, my name is Faunus, and there is only one Faunus, and just Faunus.
I don't have a fancy Roman style name.
You Romans, of course, are obsessed with names - and one name is never enough.
Strangely, though, as you probably know - but maybe the Greek boys don't......."
and here Faunus directed his remarks to Aurarius and Euphrainus.
"there are only about a dozen, what the Romans call, 'praenomina' (like first names) commonly used, and, of course, Marcus is one - and so common that it is normally abbreviated in writing to just M.
Then the Romans have a family name, and then the cognomen, almost like a nickname - and then there is sometimes a Agnomen - Marcus has a couple of these, as he was adopted, and so on.
But Faunus, although it's a Latin name, is just Faunus."
And Faunus paused for a moment, and the boys looked fascinated.
"So that's who I am, but what I am is a bit more complicated.
I am what you call a 'faun', a spirit of the forest, because that's the easiest way for you to see me, but really the nearest thing that you Romans have to me is the idea of the Lar - a protector or guardian.
Of course I'm not as solid as you humans - and even Glaux appear to be.", and at this Glaux twittered.
"You see, at the beginning of all things the 'creator' - about whom I really know nothing - made - well everything -  and that was not solid and real as you see it - for this (and here Faunus eloquently indicated everything around him) is all an illusion.
That's why I can be in the atrium, and lying on your couch at the same time.
But it's all and illusion - just in your head."
Marcus smiled and nodded.
Descent of the Lesser Powers
Adapted, with permission,
from an original image by Zac Sawyer
"And then the ineffable 'Gods' - who the Gnostics call the 'Aeons' were created - and then the 'Gods' created the 'lesser powers' - and allowed them to 'incarnate' in the illusory world of sentient beings - and here I am.
I'm one of the 'lesser powers' - much lesser.....", Faunus said, with mock modesty - and Marcus and the boys each received a mental image of Faunus - apparently descending into the world.
"And I'm just here to help things along, and in this case I've been given the job of helping you.
Now why you have been chosen I have not been told, but regardless, I'm stuck with you, and you with me."
Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός 'gnostikos', 'having knowledge', from γνῶσις gnōsis, 'knowledge') is the name given to the beliefs and practices that flourished in the Hellenistic and Roman empires. Its chief diffusion centre was Alexandria. The 'Graeco-Roman' Mystery Religions are essentially Gnostic. Gnosticism was born at the crossroads of many ancient cultures, at a time in history that marked the beginning of the furthest development of pagan antiquity. The most famous of the Greek cults, from which the Gnostics derived much of their ritualism, was linked with the great Eleusian mysteries
for more information about Gnosticism and Mystery Religions go to:


"That's fascinating.", Marcus said, leaning back and looking at the boys, checking their reaction.
"Aristarchos, the Greek tutor who helps me and the boys, has spoken to me about Gnosticism when he was describing the philosophy of Plato."
When Marcus mentioned Plato, Glaux, who had been sitting very patiently on Marcus' shoulder, looked up and twittered.
Marcus looked over at Faunus, obviously puzzled.
"Yes...Glaux here gave old Plato some hints about things when he was writing about his 'theory of Forms' - but Glaux always thought the the old fellow got the whole business a bit confused." Faunus said, smiling.
"You're' joking ?", Marcus said, shaking his head.
"No....not in this case.
I do joke sometimes, but not about Glaux.", Faunus replied - obviously quite serious.
Πλάτων - Plato
Πλάτων - Plato (348/347 BC) was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy. The 'Theory of Forms' is Plato's argument that non-physical 'Forms' represent the most accurate reality - (hence Faunus' comment - 'this is all illusion' - and this concept is developed in Plato's analogy of the 'Cave'). When used in this sense, the word Form is usually capitalized. Plato speaks of these entities only through the characters of his dialogues, who sometimes suggest that these Forms are the only objects that can provide true knowledge (gnosis).  The theory was later considered to be a classical solution to the problem of universals.
It was quite evident from Marcus' expression that to a great extent he had been won over by Faunus' careful and thoughtful explanation, and was prepared to take his strange 'guest' far more seriously.
"Well Faunus - I'm very impressed by all that you have said - and I would like to continue this discussion later - but at the moment there are more pressing matters to deal with.", Marcus said.
"Yes - I agree.
And the first pressing matter is for you to put things right with Terentius." Faunus said forcefully.
Marcus nodded, and Glaux tapped him on the ear with his beak - as if to underline the point.
Marcus looked at the fluffy bundle on his shoulder, and grinned.
"Yes - of course
You are right, Faunus.", Marcus said, rising from his couch.
And so Aurarius and Euphrainus were left chatting to Faunus, and Marcus set off to speak to Terentius.
Immediately he arrived at Terentius' officium, Philipos escorted Marcus to Terentius' private study.
"Dominus - you do me honour.....", Terentius began very formally, looking nervous.
"Terentius - I've come to apologise.
It was very wrong of me to speak to you like that.", Marcus said.
"No...!", Terentius interrupted.
"I had no place to speak about your guest  - and in public, in front of your clients and freedmen - so rudely.
As your guest, Faunus had every right to attend the Salutatio - and I had no excuse to speak of him, and Glaux, so rudely - so please accept my sincere apologies.", Terentius said earnestly.
"Well - I think we both made a rather foolish mistake - and may I add that Faunus is most concerned that we should not 'fall out' on his account.", Marcus replied.
"Of course, Dominus", Terentius said, obviously relieved.
"Now at the moment I cannot stay, but I would like you to give some thought to planning our return to Rome - so that we can discus it, with Nicander, tomorrow.", Marcus said, in conclusion.
Later that day, Faunus met with Adonios on the garden terrace.
There he gave Glaux back into Adonios' safe keeping, and repeated to Adonios much of what he had said to Marcus and the boys, and suggested that Adonios pass the information along to Petronius - that was if Petronius was willing to listen.
That evening the 'cena' (evening meal) passed with much friendly conversation, and the discussion of numerous plans regarding the return to the city.
It was, however, clear that the pastoral interlude, as with the hot days of Summer, was coming to an end, and new vistas were opening.


'A letter from the Empress' - Late in the evening - after the cena, Marcus, alone in his study, finally read the letter from Caenis.
Antonia Caenis
"My dear Marcus,", it read,
"I so much enjoyed our first meeting.
Titus continues to speak well of you, and looks forward, as I do, to seeing you again soon, here in Rome.
My dearest Vespasian was very much taken with you, and assures me that he will continue to take a paternal interest in you.
We all look forward very much to your inaugural speech to the Senate - which Titus will report to me fully.
May I say that your visit to us, brief though it was , was very much the highlight of this Summer.
I am sending with this letter, via an imperial courier, a fine new Senatorial toga.
Please wear it, and think of me when you speak to the Senate.
With all my best wishes and kind thoughts, 
Antonia Caenis"

'Preparations for Travelling' - The following morning there was (yet another) Salutatio, but Marcus didn't begrudge the clients living in the area the chance to greet him for a further time, as he would soon be leaving the villa, and he would probably not return for some considerable time.
It seemed that Faunus had not slept in the villa that night, and he didn't appear at breakfast, or the Salutatio - obviously not wishing to cause any further problems.
Terentius was noticeably polite and subservient with regard to Marcus, as most of the clients had been present during the 'disagreement' on the previous morning.
Sailing in the Mediterranean
After the Salutatio, Marcus had arranged a meeting of all his senior staff, which included Ion, Nicander, Petronius and Terentius, with the intention of organising the journey back to Rome, and also preparations for the further journey to Brundisium, and from there to Greece.
Time, of course was limited.
Sailing in the Mediterranean was an uncertain business.
In Summer there were usually few problems, but as the Autumn arrived the weather could make sailing difficult.
Terentius, who made quite regular visits to Greece, had a chart (see left - but in Greek) which indicated the times that sailing was safe in the Mediterranean.
As it was nearing the end of Summer, time was rapidly running out.
Marcus would have to return to Rome for a number of days for his inaugural speech, while Petronius would return to Baiae to hurriedly complete the preparations that were already under way for the 'Spes Vespasianum'.
At the same time Nicander would be returning numerous items, including some slaves to Baiae, and from there on to Brundisium, where they would await the main party, and then embark for the voyage to Πειραιώς (Piraeus), and thence to Αθήνα (Athens).
And so everything was agreed, and it was decided that the first part of  the move would be scheduled for the following day.


'The End of the Idyll' - That afternoon Aurarius and Adonios obtained permission from Marcus and Petronius to have a free afternoon which they could spend with Faunus - as it was their last day in the villa.
They left the garden terrace, walked through the villa gardens, and then into the forest, with Glaux, twittering and fluttering on ahead - guiding them.
In no time at all they came across Faunus, lazing on the turf in a small clearing.
Well before they reached him he sat up and gave them a cheery wave.
"Hello boys...", he said.
"Nice of you to come and see me."
""Well we thought we ought to see you to say goodbye.", Adonios said, seeming rather embarrassed.
Faunus looked at the two boys very strangely.
By then Glaux had landed on Faunus' shoulder, and gave the boys and equally strange look, putting his head on one side.
"What do I say ?", Faunus asked rhetorically.
The boys looked at one another, puzzled.
"Have you understood nothing that I have told you ?", Faunus asked.
The boys were even more puzzled.
"I often say that humans are stupid - half in jest - but this time it seems to be true." Faunus said, and there was a pause while Glaux fluffed himself up.
"Listen carefully.....
No one is saying goodbye - and no one is leaving.
When you arrive at Rome tomorrow - I will be hiding somewhere in the roof gardens - ready to jump out and surprise you.
When you arrive at Baiae I will be in the peristyle garden to greet you - and when you get to Brundisium, I will already be on the boat, helping you up the gang-plank.
You don't get rid of me that easily !", Faunus explained.
"But we thought that you lived in the forest.", Aurarius said, obviously amazed.
"I was in the forest because it was easy for me to meet Adonios there - and easy for you to accept me as a 'faun'.
And it was also easy to get to know everyone, as you were all relaxed - on a sort of holiday.
But I can go wherever I am needed, and appear in a way that anyone will accept, and hardly even notice.
So... as I said to Marcus ... your'e stuck with me  !".Faunus concluded with a smile.
Aurarius and Adonios looked at one another and laughed.
"Yes...stupid humans !", Aurarius said, patting Faunus on the back.
"That's so good !", Adonios said, "Because I have so much more that I want too ask you."
"But what's in the basket ?", Faunus asked, pointing the the wicker basket that Adonios was carrying.
"Oh, just a little picnic.", Adonios said, as he placed the basket on the turf, and carefully began to unpack the contents.
And so they sat down and began to eat and drink.
"And tell me, Faunus, have you ever been to Rome ?", Aurarius asked as he helped Adonios with the unpacking.
"Yes - often.
I'm not the 'country bumpkin' you probably imagine, even if I do sometimes look like a faun, and sleep in the forest.", Faunus replied.
"And what do you think of it ?", Adonios asked.
"Rome ?.....Dirty, smelly and crowded.", Faunus said, very succinctly.
"But you are still coming ?", Adonios asked, looking decidedly worried.
"Of course.", Faunus replied, munching on some cheese.
"I'm on a 'mission'....where you go, I go", Faunus stated, emphatically.
And so they sat and chatted, and enjoyed their picnic, until the light began to fade.
Then they packed away the picnic items, and said farewell to Faunus, sure in the knowledge that he would be waiting for them in Rome.
"And you're sure that you know where the Domus Gracchii is ?", Adonios
 asked, still worried that Faunus would not be able to find his way to Rome.
"Of course.
It all in your head, and Marcus' and Aurarius'.
It's easier than reading a map - and anyway Glaux can always send me a message if I get lost - which I won't.", Faunus said confidently.
So then the boys reluctantly made their way back to the villa, sad to leave the magical forest where so much seemed to have happened.
And when they arrived back at the villa, it was time for the evening meal.
"So... ", Marcus asked Aurarius, as the they began their meal, "what did you do this afternoon ?".
"We went to see Faunus - in the forest, and took a picnic.", Aurarius replied, in a non committal way.
"And you said your goodbyes ?", Marcus asked.
"No.... not really.
"You see he said he'll be waiting for us on the roof garden, at the Domus, tomorrow.", Adonios added.
Marcus smiled.
"Well, let's wait and see.", Marcus replied, not really believing what Adonios was telling him.
"He'll be there, Dominus, believe me.", Terentius said, obviously resigned to the fact of Faunus' continuing attentions.


'The Journey to Rome' - The logistics of taking a complete household to three separate destinations was considerable.
Marcus, his companions, and his personal slaves were all bound for Rome, along with some of their personal possessions.
Many other items, (most of them bulky), would be bound for Baiae, including some slaves.
Some other items would be sent to Brundisium, for storage at the port, until Marcus and his party joined their ship, some weeks later, for the crossing to Graecia (Greece).
Most of this organisation was the responsibility of Nicander, whom Marcus now trusted as a very able and reliable freedman.
Slowly the cases and boxes were stacked in their appropriate places in the courtyard of the Villa Pastoralis, while Nicander and Ion carefully checked off the items on their complicated lists.
Slaves then loaded the various items onto the numerous wagons, while other slaves checked the carriages to ensure that they was sound, and thoroughly clean for the journey.
Once all he wagons were loaded, Nicander sent slave-boy to inform all the members of the party that their carriages were ready.
Although Rome was not far away, it had been decided to start off early, as much needed to be done, and there was the constant concern regarding the approach of the bad sailing weather.
And so everyone arrived in the courtyard looking sleepy, and far from happy, (all except Glaux, who was already fast asleep on Adonios' shoulder, having spent a long night with Faunus in the forest).
Generally everyone was 'far from happy' because the Villa, and its surrounding gardens and forest, had been a welcome and relaxing break from the crowds, noise and dirt of Rome - to which they were now returning.
As the carriages set off, two fast outriders were sent on ahead.
They would arrive at the Domus well before the convoy, and alert the waiting staff of the imminent arrival of the Dominus and his party.
In the carriages there was little conversation - with everyone deep in his own thoughts.
Petronius was concerned that Faunus had promised to be at the Domus, as that would mean that he would most likely follow them to Baiae, and he didn't want Faunus causing any problems at the amphitheatre - after all, that was 'serious business'.
Terentius, in the same carriage, mused on the fact that Faunus had shown himself to be concerned about Marcus, and his relationships with his freedmen - and so Terentius was starting to take a more relaxed attitude towards the strange boy.
Novius was unsure what to think, but was hoping that once at the villa, Faunus might be able to provide further answers to the many questions that were puzzling him - and had done so for most of his adult life.
Adonios, in the carriage with Aurarius, Euphrainus and Aniketos, gazed out of the window at the beautiful forest, remembering fondly the few days that he spent there with Faunus.
"Do you think we'll see him again ? ....Faunus I mean.", Euphrainus asked.
"I think so.", Aurarius replied, "and in  Baiae, and Brundisium."
Aniketos then spoke.
"Why do you think that this Faunus spent so much time with you and Aurarius, and not with Demetrius....?
After all, from what I've been told, Demetrius will be the next Dominus, and you two, like us, are just slaves."
Adonios looked annoyed, and Glaux suddenly woke up.
"Who's to say that Demetrius is to be the next Dominus ?", Adonios said coldly.
Anything could happen......".
Despite the sound of the horses, and the sound of the carriage wheels on the rough cobbles, there seemed to be an ominous silence in the carriage.
Aurarius was not entirely surprised by what Adonios had said, and had a suspicion that the thought in question may not have been of Adonios' own making.
Via Appia - Gathering Clouds
The rest of the journey passed in an awkward silence.
As they headed down the Via Apia - sombrely lined with tombs - the sky darkened, and it seemed that a Summer shower was approaching.
As they came nearer to the city the skies darkened further,  and then they heard the low, distant rumble of thunder.
The horses, although a little skittish by then, continued on their way through the narrow streets, and then slowly, and with considerable effort, made their way up the Esquiline Hill.
Finally the huge pale bulk of the
Storm over the City
Domus Gracchii came into sight, as the first large drops of rain began to fall.
In a few moments the late Summer shower had turned into a torrential downpour, as the carriages came to a standstill in front of the huge white marble steps, lined with torch bearing slaves and Domus-guards, which fronted the massive, columned entrance.
As the party began to leave their carriages, there was a blinding flash of light, followed by a deafening roll of thunder, as lightening hit the sacred city.
It seemed that Jupiter Optimus Maximus was giving them quite a spectacular welcome on their return.
Strangely, however, Glaux remained sleeping on Adonios' shoulder, completely ignoring the thunder and lightening, and he didn't even seem to mind getting a little wet during the journey up the long flight of steps to the massive, gilded bronze doors of the Domus.
As soon as Marcus' party entered the Atrium Magnam they were besieged by slaves offering towels, and refreshments.
Adonios and Aurarius, however, rather than drying off, taking refreshments, or even attending to their masters' needs, rushed off to the huge central staircase, and ran, two at a time, up the stairs to the Domus roof gardens.
Glaux then immediately woke up, and fluttered above them, as if guiding them to their friend.
Running out from the entrance colonnade, into the gardens, the boys then began searching in the rain for Faunus, calling out his name.
Eventually, not seeming to find the young faun, they took shelter in one of the numerous small pavilions dotted around the gardens.
"Looking for someone ?"......
The apparently disembodied voice, in the dark stormy night, made both boys start with fright.
Then looking behind them, they made out the figure of Faunus slowly emerging from the darkness.
"Faunus !.....You came !...", Adonios stuttered, as a flash of lightening illuminated the young faun clearly, with Glaux sitting pertly on his shoulder.
"Well of course...."
But you took your time.
I've been waiting here for ages !", Faunus said in mock annoyance, while Glaux also looked suitably annoyed, although he had not been waiting at all.


"Days at the Domus' - Everyone then seemed preoccupied.
Faunus was given a small suite in the Domus, and spent much of his time helping Novius with his endless research.
Terentius, was busy as usual, arguing with Philipos, and managing Marcus' vast fortune.
Aurarius and Adonios were forced to part company, as Adonios had to go with Petronius to Baiae, along with wagon loads of crates, boxes and slaves, as Petronius needed to finalise the preparations for the upcoming Games.
Adonios, of course, was very upset to be parted once again from Faunus, but Faunus made it clear that he would be coming to Baiae very soon, and then he would also be with Adonios when they went to Greece.
In the meantime, while Adonios  was in Baiae, Faunus would look after Glaux.
Demetrius, who seemed to be the only one with nothing in particular to do, accompanied Petronius to Baiae, where Marcus wanted the boy to be 'toughened up' somewhat, and trained in the management of the amphitheatre.
Demetrius was, of course, accompanied by his indispensable slave-boy, Aelius.
Petronius had Adonios to assist him, but Adonios was not really very interested in what went on in the amphitheatre.
He was a good boy, and helped where he could, and was assiduous in looking after Petronius, but finding himself left with the responsibility of organizing a complete Ludi on his own, had made Petronius painfully aware of how much he relied on the help and support of Marcus.
Nicander had been dispatched to Brundisium with more wagons, and orders to have the items they contained stored and guarded at the docks.
He was also given the task of finding, and hiring a suitably large ship, and a trustworthy captain to take Marcus and his party to Piraeus, and in this he had the assistance of Marcus' client, the young Greek venalicius, Arion.
Marcus , however, had the most pressing problem, closeted with Lucius, his Latin tutor, as he prepared his speech for the Senate.
Titus had written to Marcus, offering to help with the speech, but Marcus had politely declined the offer, feeling that it was essential that this crucial speech should be entirely his own work, and the only help that he would use would be that provided by Lucius, in ensuring that the Latin grammar and phrasing were perfect.
For two whole days and nights Marcus worked on the speech.
Often he wished that Faunus would come and help him, as the boy was the only person from whom Marcus felt he could look for assistance - but Faunus never came near.
Faunus didn't even come to meals in the triclinium, but ate all his meals, in his suite, sharing morsels of meet with Glaux.
And in the day Faunus was seen on the roof gardens, again with Glaux, sitting among the small trees and clumps of bushes and flowering shrubs.
And on the odd times when Faunus was not with Glaux, he was in the pool, happily splashing about.
Marcus didn't sleep with Aurarius during the time he was working on his speech, and rarely spoke to the boy, and a aura of gloom settled over the Domus.


'Marcus' Speech to the Senate' - And so the day arrived when Marcus was to make his inaugural speech to the Roman Senate.
Vespasian and Titus would be there to hear the speech - but not Antonia Caenis as, although being in all but name the Empress, she was a woman, and women, supposedly, took no part in Roman politics.
Terentius and Novius had been invited to observe, as meetings of the Senate were officially public events, although only selected guests (and their attending slaves) were usually allowed to attend, and only Senators were permitted to speak.
Meetings of the Senate usually began in the early morning, and so it involved an early rise and very little breakfast.
After a quick bite to eat Aurarius and Euphrainus, who had been practising for the last few days, carefully helped Marcus to put on his magnificent new senatorial Toga.
They then went downstairs to the Magna Atria, where Terentius, Philipos and Novius were waiting.
Little was said, and there was an air of nervousness about the proceedings.
Strangely, Faunus was not to be found, despite Aurarius and Euphrainus making a thorough search.
Aurarius had a bad feeling about Faunus' disappearance, as he well knew the strange types of tricks of which Faunus was capable.
In order to calm Marcus, Novius suggested that they walk to the Senate, and so Terentius, Philipos, Novius, and Marcus, with Aurarius and Euphrainus in attendance, made their way through the quiet early morning streets.
The Senatus Romanus - (Roman Senate) was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city (traditionally founded in 753 BC). It survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. There were only about 100 to 200 active senators - although up to 600 were elected or appointed. There were two ways for a Roman citizen to become a senator. Under the first method, the Emperor granted that individual the authority to stand for election to the quaestorship, while under the second method, (a was the case with Marcus), the emperor appointed that individual to the senate by issuing a decree. Two consuls were a part of the senate, but had more power than the senators. During senate meetings, the emperor would often sit between the two consuls, and would then act as the presiding officer. Senators of the early empire could ask extraneous questions or request that a certain action be taken by the senate. Higher ranking senators spoke before those of lower rank, although the emperor could speak at any time. Besides the Emperor, consuls and praetors could also preside over the senate. The senate also retained the power to try treason cases, and to elect some magistrates.
Titus, with a group of Praetorian Tribunes was waiting for Marcus at the entrance to the Curia Julia, where the Senate was meeting
The Curia Julia was built in 44 BC, when Julius Caesar replaced Faustus Cornelius Sulla's reconstructed Curia Cornelia, which itself had replaced the Curia Hostilia. Caesar did so to redesign both spaces within the Comitium and the Roman Forum. 
Titus greeted Marcus warmly.
"Is it a good speech ?", Titus asked quietly, trying to get Marcus to relax.
"I hope so, and at least it shouldn't bore them, as it's quite short.",Marcus replied, clutching a slim scroll.
"Well that's something...", Titus said.
"Most of these old 'gentlemen', given half the chance, will talk for the whole morning - or longer, if no one stops them.", Titus quipped.
"Don't worry speech is very short.
"I'm no politician, and I couldn't really think of anything worthwhile to say.", Marcus said, as Titus led him to the presiding Consul.
The Consul then offered Marcus the dais from which to speak - which was a special honour, probably arranged by Titus or, more likely, Vespasian.
Meanwhile, Terentius, Novius, Philipos, Aurarius and Euphrainus had found places in the raised marble gallery that surrounded the floor of the Senate.
Suddenly Terentius grabbed Novius arm.
"Look ! Down there...among the Senators.
That Senator looks far too young, and looks just like.......Faunus !", Terentius whispered frantically.
"Yes.....your right !... It can't be !
How did he get in without anyone stopping him ?..... or seeing how young he was ?
And where did he get that toga from ?", Novius whispered back.
Aurarius - keen eyed - had actually spotted Faunus first, and wasn't completely surprised.
'Just what I expected...' he thought to himself.
"I just hope he doesn't do anything stupid....!", Terentius said, by then highly alarmed.
The Lictors, standing in the gangways, hammered the metal rods of their fasces onto the marble floor to call for silence.
At that moment, as Marcus surveyed the Senators seated before him, he spotted Faunus, and promptly dropped the scroll, on which his speech was written, on the floor of the dais.
Fortunately Marcus had learned the speech by heart, and in actuality he had no need of the scroll - and it fact it was considered very 'bad form' to read a speech.
The Senators, however, looked upon Marcus dropping the scroll with approval (not realising the true reason of why he had dropped it), as they would not have been at all surprised if someone so young had needed to read - maybe not all - but part of a speech - if they became too nervous.
A second hammering from the Lictors, and the chamber became silent.
Marcus cleared his throat - and began.

Marcus makes his Inaugural Speech to the Senate
if you want to spot Faunus open the link in a new tab and enlarge
"Patres Conscripti- - conscript fathers and august legislators - it is my great privilege to have this opportunity to address you - you who are members of the most venerable body in the empire. As you shall soon discover, am in no way experienced in the arts of rhetoric, or public speaking, as I came to my present position as Dominus of the House of Gracchus somewhat precipitously. This will, therefore, by the standards of this excellent and renowned place of debate, be a very short, and rather graceless speech - and so I crave your indulgence."
Having excused and introduced himself, Marcus then launched into the main themes of his address,
I do not stand before you by the right of age - for my youth must speak plainly to you - but in this short passage of so few Summers, I have experienced much, seen much, suffered much - and may I say, with all due modesty, achieved much, and possibly much more than many who have had the fortune to have had a greater span of years. However, my noble senators, I in no way come to this historic place with my own accolades, which are few, if any, but rather with the undoubtedly undeserved approval and approbation of our enlightened and all conquering Emperor, Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus.As many of you are doubtless aware, my beloved adoptive father, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus of the gens Iulia, now sadly deceased, was previously a member of your honourable body, and so I am privileged to follow in his hallowed and revered footsteps. My adoptive father was a man who deeply respected the institutions of the Republic, and in particular, respected one individual who, in his remarkable and unique life, was able to save and preserve the republic, as its 'first citizen' - indeed he held himself, rightly the be the first among equals - 'primus inter pares' - in this illustrious chamber.I speak, of course, of Octavian - the ‘Divine Augustus’ - who was, to me, under the tutelage of my adoptive father, held up to me as a model and ideal of true Roman probity and equity - and a personal example to be followed in all things. It was his re-establishment of the traditions of the ancestors, the 'mos maiorum', much ignored and derided in the years prior to his inauguration as Princeps, that brought, once again to the Republic and the Empire, the greatness, power and majesty that will always befit the successors of the sons of the ‘she wolf’. The patron God of  Octavian, as you doubtless know, was Apollo - the God who graciously bestowed his many blessings not only on the Divine Augustus, but also, to a much lesser extent, on my adoptive father, Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus, particularly in our own time of strife and discord, when Rome was beset, and not for the first time, with the horror of civil war. It was the God Apollo who guided Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus through the tumult and vicissitudes of that time, and enabled him smooth the way, to some small extent, to the establishment of our present era of peace, prosperity and security, as presided over by our gracious Emperor, Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus. If I may, I would like to remind the venerable fathers that Octavian chose Apollo as his patron divinity for the simple reason that the God Apollo represented discipline, morality, purification, and punishment for excess. These were the moral values espoused by the Divine Augustus, and they were the moral values espoused by my adoptive father, and since then they have been espoused, as far as is possible for me - inexperienced and youthful as I am - by myself. Because the values were so strongly held by my adoptive father, he ensured that I, in my turn embraced such values as I approached my full estate of manhood. It hardly needs telling that Octavian dedicated a magnificent temple to the God Apollo on the Palatine, here in Rome, in thanks for the combined naval battles of Naulochus and Actium. I, in my own insignificant way, have followed the example of the Divine Augustus, and  have ordered the erection of a Temple dedicated to the God Apollo at Cumae, in thanks for the restoration of 'civil peace' by Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus - for the help received from the God during this restoration - and in thanks for the preservation of the noble House of Gracchus in those onerous and arduous times."
Marcus pause for a brief moment before his summing up.
"And so to the present, my learned Senators. For my part, all I can do is to re-iterate some of the essential points that I have already made.My contribution to the relentless the work of the Senate will by very simple - for I am not skilled nor experienced in the sciences of politics and government. It will be my intention, to the best of my ability, to preserve the institutions of the Republic under the wise guidance of Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus - to maintain and sustain the 'traditions of the ancestors' as the fundamental principles of Roman society, -  and to defend and protect, in every way possible, the integrity and the continuance of the Republic and the Empire."
The silence in the Senate chamber was almost palpable.
Not a cough, not a shuffle, not a murmur, not a word.
For a moment Marcus thought he must have made a terrible mistake - though he couldn't think what....
Then Marcus saw one Senator rising to his feet - slim and impossibly young looking.
"Oh no !...", Terentius whispered to Novius.
"What's Faunus going to do ?".
And Faunus started clapping.
And then, one by one, each of the Senators rose to his feet and started clapping, and in a matter of moments every single senator was on his feet, clapping enthusiastically, including the Consul and Titus.
Then the senators started to leave their seats, and came forward to the dais, as Titus offered his hand and helped Marcus down onto the floor of the Senate.
And while the senators continued to clap, along with Terentius, Novius, Philipos, Aurarius and Euphrainus and other spectators, the first Senators to reach Marcus were patting him on the back and shoulders, shaking his hand, and congratulating him - and some had been so moved by the speech that they were tearful.
For Marcus it was a most tremendous triumph.
Then Vespasian made his way through the crowd of Senators.
"Magnificent, my boy !", he said, putting one arm round Marcus' shoulder, while shaking his hand.
But no one mentioned the remarkably young 'senator' who had begun the applause, and no one even looked for him.
He had simply disappeared.

'Back at the Domus' - Three silent citizens, one of whom was a Senator, and their slaves, escorted by Praetorian tribunes, walked back through the now crowded Roman streets.
They were too stunned, and too exhausted to say anything, but each one of them was mulling over in their mind the astonishing events of the morning.
On arriving at the Domus Gracchii, Marcus, Novius and Terentius tried to recover, as they sat in one of the smaller atria taking refreshments, while slaves carefully removed their togas.
"Truly....I don't believe it !", Novius said, his hand shaking slightly as he raised his gold goblet to his lips.
" mean Faunus in the Senate ?", Marcus asked, lying back weakly on his couch.
"No, not just that....I mean the speech !", Novius exclaimed.
Marcus smiled.
"And you had no help with it, Marcus ?
Not even from Faunus ?", Terentius asked, looking at Marcus intently.
"No.....Ever since we returned to Rome, Faunus has refused to see me, - ask Aurarius."
Aurarius nodded.
"Faunus has spent all his time with Glaux, Domine.", Aurarius confirmed.
"So - perhaps I begin to see what has been happening.
Faunus wanted you to prove yourself - and without any help from him.....
Very good....", Novius mused.
"Well, we are all proud of you - truly.", Terentius said.
"Yes, well thank you.",Marcus replied shyly.
"And I'm even a bit proud of myself - ", Marcus added, smiling gently.
"And where is Faunus now ?", Terentius asked.
"In his suite, with Glaux.
I checked as soon as we came back, Domine.
And this will surprise you, Dominus - (speaking to Marcus).
He asked how your speech went at the Senate - as if he didn't know.", Aurarius said, smiling knowingly.
At that moment a slave entered the atrium bearing a scroll.
"A scroll for you, Dominus, from the Domina Antonia Caenis.", the slave said quietly.
Marcus took the scroll, dismissed the slave, and read the scroll immediately.
My dear Marcus,
Titus has told me how well your inaugural address was received by your fellow Senators.
Of course, I know exactly what you said.
It seems that you dropped the scroll before making the speech, and Titus managed to retrieve it in the subsequent melee.
I still have the scroll, and I would like to return it to you.
If you are in agreement, my dear Vespasian would like to have a copy made for us.
If you are able, please come and see me before you leave for Baiae, as I would like to return the scroll in person, and also Vespasian, Titus and myself would like to wish you a safe journey personally. 
With all my best wishes and kind thoughts,
Antonia Caenis
"Its from Caenis, asking me to visit them before I leave for Baiae - to say goodbye.
She also wants to return the scroll of the speech that I dropped in the Senate chamber.", Marcus said, distractedly, to the unasked, but presumed question.
"So, gentlemen, if you will excuse me, I will go to my apartments and have a short rest.
For the moment, Aurarius, your time is your own.
Don't get into trouble, and be back at the end of the afternoon, as I shall have work for you", Marcus said as, accompanied by Euphrainus, he mounted the marble steps to the area nobilis, where his apartments were situated.
Having waited for Marcus to leave, Aurarius then ran up the stairs to the upper floor where Faunus' small suite was situated.
On arriving at Faunus' suite, the domus-guard outside the door told Aurarius that Faunus had left his suite - with his 'bird' - and probably gone to the roof-gardens.
So Aurarius then climbed one more flight of steps to the roof-gardens.
And there was Faunus....sitting under a small tree, fluffing Glaux' feathers, and gazing out across the city.
Faunus looked up when Aurarius arrived.
"He likes his feathers ruffled, but he told me he's missing Adonios.", Faunus said casually.
"Yes... all very well.....but I think that was a dangerous game you were playing this morning.",Aurarius said.
"And why ?", Faunus replied.
"Well it's obvious....impersonating a Senator could get you executed !", Aurarius explained.
"You still don't understand.....", Faunus said, slightly exasperated.
"They didn't even see me.
Marcus did, and dropped his scroll, which I wanted him to do, and you and the others saw me, but the Consul - Titus - Vespasian - the Senators - the Lictors....all the others in the chamber - they saw nothing - so how could they catch me or arrest me ?
To them I was just a shadow - a wraith...",
And just to prove it, Faunus promptly disappeared !
"All right've made your point." Aurarius said, knowing he had been deftly outmanoeuvred, as Faunus slowly materialised once again.
Interestingly, Glaux didn't even seem to notice what had happened - but then perhaps he was used to such things.
"So...everybody clapped, and seemed to think it was a wonderful speech, but was that just you doing things to their thoughts, or was it really good ?
To me it seemed very short, but with lots of big words, most of which I couldn't understand.", Aurarius said - obviously puzzled.
"It was a very good speech." Faunus said, emphatically.
I clapped first because the silence was embarrassing - and the reason for the silence was because they were all so surprised by the quality of the speech, and were trying to take in the implications of what Marcus had said.", Faunus carefully explained.
"So what did he say that was so special ?
I couldn't really understand it.", Aurarius replied.
"Well sit down here, if you have the time, and I will explain.", Faunus said, patting the turf beside him.
"Well...I have the time, as Marcus is now resting - but try to make it simple.", Aurarius said.
"I will - and some of it could be a good lesson for you."
Faunus paused for a moment and thought.
"To begin with, the Romans have this weird 'thing' about public speaking.
They dress everything up in fancy language, and are very formal, even if they are being rude, and criticizing someone - but remember, this is only when they are speaking to other Patricians.
To plebs and slaves the Patricians are both rude and cruel.
Marcus, throughout the speech was very clever, however, and copied the elaborate phrases and long words - but also managed to keep it clear, and to the point.
In most of the speech he sounded very much like Cicero - have you heard of him ?", Faunus asked, in passing.
Aurarius nodded.
"Lucius taught me and Adonios about him a few months ago."Aurarius replied.
"Good !
You are very lucky to have someone like Marcus who will provide you with a good tutor, and get you educated.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC - before our story) was a Roman politician and lawyer, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists. His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero has been traditionally considered the master of Latin prose, with Quintilian declaring that Cicero was 'not the name of a man, but of eloquence itself'.
"But let me continue....
Cicero was a great orator, and very good at getting people to agree with him - although not sadly Mark Anthony  - often by flattery - and this is what Marcus did, at the beginning of the speech.
He also cleverly 'talked himself down', but at the same time he highlighted some of his accomplishments and virtues - but without being too specific.
It's a shame that Augustus didn't learn that lesson when he composed his 'Res Gestae Divi Augusti'.", 
At that point Aurarius didn't have any idea as to what this thing by Augustus was - but he ignored that, and let Faunus carry on with his explanation.
"Then Marcus got to the good bits - and very good they were.
Sons of the 'She-Wolf'
He managed to talk admiringly about Octavian Augustus, - that always goes down well.
He also pointed out that his adoptive father was also a Senator, and so he was only treading in his father's footsteps.
He praised the Republic but not too much - which pleased the remaining 'die-hard' Republicans.
Very importantly, he said that he supported the 'traditions of the ancestors', and the old Roman virtues, and managed to take the whole speech right back to Romulus and Remus - the 'Sons of the She-Wolf'.
Very clever !
He then brought in the God Apollo, as he did at the funeral of the 'late Dominus' - connecting the God up with his adoptive father, and also Octavian Augustus, and with the present Emperor, Vespasian, and then announced that he, Marcus Octavianus, like Octavian Augustus, was having a temple built in honour of the God Apollo !
And the it only got better, as he pledged himself to the work of the Senate, promised to uphold the Republic, as well as the Imperium of Vespasian, and also the important moral principles of Roman society.
He then topped it all off by saying that he would help to protect and defend the Empire !".
Faunus sat back, a little breathless.
"So of course they clapped and cheered.
It was not a long speech, but it didn't need to be.
From Romulus and Remus up until to today, with something for everyone - and with the Gods, Augustus, public morality, the Emperor, and the Republic and the Empire, all seemingly in agreement, and with Marcus, apparently at the centre of everything, of course the Senators were going to clap and cheer.", Faunus concluded.
"And Marcus wrote it ?", Aurarius asked.
"Marcus wrote it.", Faunus replied.
"All by himself  ?", Aurarius asked.
"Yes, all by himself - except for a couple of grammatical errors that your tutor Lucius corrected." Faunus explained.
"So you think he's clever - I mean Marcus ?", Aurarius asked.
"Oh yes....very, very clever.
He has his problems, but you are lucky, like I am, to know him.", Faunus said - very seriously, as he stroked Glaux.
"Well, I'm glad its over..." Aurarius said.
"Now perhaps we can get back to Baiae - the clean air and the blue sea.
You know, Faunus, Baiae always reminds me of Greece, when I was very young.", Aurarius said, wistfully.
"Yes.... and now you remind me of Marcus.
He's always thinking about Greece - when he was a boy.
You probably don't know that - but I can read his thoughts - and they are often very sad, just like yours.", Faunus said.
"But don't worry - soon we will be on our way to Athens...."
"Good -", Aurarius said, getting to his feet, "But now I must go back to Marcus, he has a job for me."
Faunus stood up as well.
It's a letter he wants you to take to Antonia Caenis - but don't be long, as Marcus wants to speak to me about the speech, and will want you with us." Faunus said, grinning.
"Don't you ever get bored, knowing what everybody is going to do, before they even do it ?", Aurarius said, turning to go.
"No....", Faunus called after him.

'A Letter for the Empress' - When Aurarius returned to Marcus' apartments, he found his master in the study.
"Did you enjoy your free time this afternoon ?", Marcus asked.
"Yes Dominus - very much.
I talked with Faunus, on the roof garden, and he explained about your speech to the Senate to me.", Aurarius replied.
"And did our sweet young faun approve of my speech ?". Marcus asked.
"Yes...very much.
He says you're very clever - like Cicero.", Aurarius said ingenuously.
"Well I hope I don't end up like Cicero - with my hands nailed to the Senate doors." Marcus said, grinning.
"Is that what happened ?", Aurarius said, wide eyed.
"Yes - because he got on the wrong side of Marc Anthony ! - and remember that Caenis was the slave of Antonia Minor - the daughter of Marc Anthony.", Marcus said, hoping to unnerve Aurarius.
"And your job, my boy, is to put this letter into the hands of Antonia Caenis - she'll be expecting you.", Marcus continued.
"Yes, Dominus.", Aurarius replied obediently.
So Aurarius ran through the streets, clutching the scroll, which was wrapped in purple cloth - taking it to the residence of Vespasian.
On arrival he showed the Praetorian tribune on duty a parchment, signed by Senator Marcus Octavianus Gracchus, requiring entry to the presence of the Empress for his messenger.
Aurarius was then ushered into a small atrium, where he waited alone - not knowing what was to happen next.
After about a quarter of an hour, (by our modern reckoning), a middle aged female slave entered the atrium and beckoned Aurarius.
"I am told that you have a message for the Empress...", the slave said curtly.
Aurarius nodded.
"Well you can leave it with me, and I shall see that she gets it.", the female slave said.
"No !.. My dominus has said that I must put in her hands  - personally."
The fusty female slave looked as if she was going to make trouble.
Suddenly a firm, imperious voice spoke.
"Bring the boy to me. "
The woman was tall and slim, and although no longer a girl by any means, she was still very beautiful.
Aurarius recognised her from when he had accompanied Marcus on his his visit to meet Vespasian.
It was Antonia Caenis.
"Yes, Domina." the female slave replied, and slunk away.
"Come with me, my boy.", Caenis said gently.
Caenis led Aurarius to  a small reception room in her private apartments.
"You are the boy who came with Marcus when he met with me and the Emperor, are you not ?", Caenis asked.
"Yes, Domina.", Aurarius replied shyly.
"Well what have you got for me ?", Caenis asked, pointing to the purple wrapped scroll.
"It's a letter from my Dominus." Aurarius replied, holding out the purple bundle hesitantly.
"And your name is ?", Caenis asked quietly.
"It's Aurarius, Domina,", Aurarius replied, as Caenis gently took the scroll he was offering to her.
"And well named - the 'golden boy'." Caenis said as she removed the purple cloth an unrolled the short scroll.
For a few moments (note: Roman moments are longer that modern moments - the pace of life was slower)  there was complete silence as Caenis read the brief letter.
Caenis then placed the scroll carefully on the marble topped, gilded bronze tripod table standing beside her couch.
"Paulla - bring me my writing equipment, - and a new, small scroll.", Caenis said to the slave-girl standing discretely in the shadows.
Instantly the slave-girl disappeared, and Caenis and Aurarius were completely alone.
"You are a very handsome boy, Aurarius.
Marcus has remarkably good taste." Caenis said softly, and almost seductively - and Aurarius blushed.
"And he makes love to you ?", Caenis asked, being surprisingly frank.
Aurarius blushed even more.
"That I am not permitted to say.", Aurarius replied, carefully.
" are a very good - and discreet slave.
"I wish all my slaves were like you.", Caenis replied admiringly.
"But you love him ?", Caenis questioned, worrying at the matter.
"I admire and respect him." Aurarius said, understanding well how he should play this 'game'.
"But you do understand that soon he may have to marry ?
Will that upset you, or make you jealous ?", Caenis asked pointedly.
At that point Paulla arrived with Caenis writing materials, and placed them on a nearby table.
Aurarius ignored the interruption and answered Caenis' difficult question.
"No - it won't upset me or make me jealous - after all, I can't marry my Dominus.", Aurarius replied.
Caenis was taken aback.
Aurarius had highlighted the great problem in her own life - the fact that she could not marry her beloved Vespasian.
"Well, it didn't bother Nero !", Caenis said, dryly, and they both laughed.
"So now, if you will give me a moment, I will reply to your Dominus.", Caenis told Aurarius, as she moved over to the large marble topped table and deftly prepared the scroll and her pens and ink.
Unlike some male patricians - and most upper class women - Caenis was adept at writing as, prior to being given her freedom, she had been the personal secretary to Antonia Minor.
"So how did Marcus come to acquire you.", Caenis asked, as she raised pen to papyrus.
"Well at the time Marcus was unconscious - in a coma....", Aurarius began and, pen in hand, Caenis smiled. -finding that situation quite amusing.
"It was Terentius, the senior freedman who bought me in Brundisium, in order to cheer up Gnaeus Octavian - but Gnaeus didn't really want me, and I was given to Marcus.", Aurarius explained.
"Well...lucky Marcus." Caenis commented.
"And where did you come from - I mean originally ?",Caenis asked.
"From just outside Athens.", Aurarius replied.
"I see ....
Well excuse me for a minute - I must get on and write this short note to Marcus.", Caenis then turned to Paulla.
"Please bring our young 'guest' a drink and a snack, while he is waiting."
Paulla instantly disappeared, and Caenis indicated a couch where she wished Aurarius to sit.
Caenis then began writing.
Now rarely did slaves sit in the presence of a master or mistress. Caenis, however, had been, for most of her life, a slave, so she was much less strict with 'favoured' slaves - and Aurarius was definitely 'favoured', partly because he was so attractive, but also because he was a means by which she could find out more about Marcus - who obviously fascinated her.
It didn't take long for Caenis to finish her letter.
Caenis wrote with black ink (made with Atramentum librarium), but unusually signed her name with a special, very expensive red ink which, by special edict, was only permitted to the Emperor, and members of the Imperial family.
Then Caenis had to wait for the ink to dry.
Roman inks, however, dried quickly, as they were very thick and glutinous.
While they waited, Caenis renewed their conversation.
"So was Marcus your first master ?", Caenis asked.
"No..I was sold into slavery because my family became bankrupt, - and my first master was a crazy old man, who didn't look after me.
He died, and his son didn't want me, so I was sold to this Greek venalicius called Arion, who was a friend of Terentius, and he sold me to Terentius - the best thing that ever happened to me.", Aurarius explained.
At that moment Vespasian, with an attendant slave, came into the room.
Aurarius immediately stood up, nearly spilling his drink.
"Who is this handsome young lad ?", Vespasian asked.
"Why...don't you remember, dear ?
It's senator Marcus' personal slave, Aurarius.", Caenis said, jokingly scolding Vespasian.
"Oh yes, and he was with the boy with the owl.
Yes, now I remember.", Vespasian said, chuckling to himself.
He turned to his attendant.
"Boy...go and bring me the scroll on my desk in the study.", Vespasian ordered.
"Which one ?", the boy asked timidly.
"Why the scroll of Senator Marcus' speech, of course !", Vespasian said tetchily.
The boy hurried out of the room, and Vespasian gave Caenis a perfunctory 'peck' on the cheek.
Caenis then sat.
"I'm sending a letter to Marcus telling him to come and see us tomorrow before he leaves Rome". Caenis said uncompromisingly.
"Good.", Vespasian replied.
"And how are you, young man ?", Vespasian said to Aurarius.
Aurarius was taken by surprise that Vespasian should speak to him.
"I'm very well, thank you Dominus.", Aurarius replied.
"And what about that charming boy with the owl ?", Vespasian continued.
"Yes...Adonios, and Glaux the owl, are well.
Glaux is still in Rome, but Adonios is in Baiae.", Aurarius explained, not really thinking.
"So who looks after Glaux ?", Vespasian asked.
Aurarius couldn't decide what to say for the moment.
He knew that it would be dangerous to lie to the Emperor, and he had to think of something - truthful - to say - quickly.
"Oh...Faunus looks after Glaux....
They've known each other for a long time.", Aurarius said, realizing instantly that he had said the wrong thing.
"And who is this Faunus ?", Vespasian asked.
Aurarius had no choice but to tell Vespasian.....something...
"Faunus is a young guest of Senator Marcus, Dominus.", Aurarius replied, hoping that it would be the end of the matter.
"Good .... well I want to see this amazing owl again, so tell young Faunus to accompany Marcus, and make sure that you too attend your Dominus, when you come to us tomorrow.", Vespasian said, as his slave boy returned with a scroll.
Vespasian quickly unrolled the scroll, glancing at it to check that it was, in fact, Marcus' speech.
"Now I'm afraid that I must break up this pleasant meeting, Aurarius, as Caenis and I have some guests to meet.
So.. take Caenis' letter to your Dominus, and take Senator Marcus' scroll back to him - and I look forward to seeing this boy Faunus, with Glaux, and Senator Marcus - and you, tomorrow.", Vespasian said, like the General he was, commanding his legions.
He then instructed his slave-boy to ensure that Aurarius had a Praetorian escort back to the Domus Gracchii - (this was required as Aurarius was carrying Imperial correspondence).
"Goodbye, Aurarius.
Take care and give my fond wishes to your Dominus !", Caenis said, as Vespasian whisked her off to an Imperial function.

'Trouble with Marcus' - Aurarius felt very important as he made his way through the busy streets of Rome with two burly Praetorians clearing a path for him - and in addition, he had actually been 'chatting' to the Emperor of Rome - who had especially asked to see him the following day !
However, how was he to explain that Vespasian wanted to see Faunus the following day - and would Faunus co-operate ?
And even if Faunus did see Vespasian - would he do something strange or stupid - like disappear at the wrong moment - or turn up with his little horns, stark naked - or pretend to be a Senator ?
So Aurarius was very nervous when he entered Marcus' study.
"Salvete Dominus !", Aurarius said, giving  very formal greeting.
"Why so serious ?", Marcus asked, sensing that something was wrong.
"Well - here's your speech, and a reply from Caenis to your letter - but I've done something very stupid.", Aurarius said nervously
Marcus rose quickly from his chair.
"No ! Don't beat me !", Aurarius whine, obviously very frightened.
"Don't be stupid !", Marcus said, angrily.
"When did I ever beat you ?", Marcus asked, more gently, sensing that something was seriously wrong.
"My old master, before he became sick - he used to beat me - all the time !", Aurarius sobbed.
"You never told me this before.... ", Marcus said, obviously shocked, as he took Aurarius in his arms.
"No - I didn't like to remember it - so I never spoke about it. ", Aurarius mumbled, with his head buried in Marcus chest.
"Now just calm down.
Nobody's going to beat you, or even get angry with you - and I'm sure whatever it is we can sort it out.
Now tell me what the problem is.", Marcus said, gently stroking Aurarius spiky golden hair.
"Vespasian asked who was looking after Glaux - and I didn't think - and said Faunus, and now he wants to meet Faunus tomorrow - and I'm frightened of what might happen.", Aurarius spluttered, as he began sobbing again.
"Nothing will happen.
Everything will go well.
You told the truth and that was good, so nobody would want to punish you, or even think badly of you."
Marcus looked up - and then Aurarius looked up - recognising the voice.
It was Faunus, standing over them, smiling.
"Are you sure ?", Marcus asked, as Aurarius smiled weakly, and tried to wipe the tears from his eyes.
"Would I lie about something like this !", Faunus asked, putting a hand on Marcus' shoulder.
Marcus shook his head.
"No I suppose not...", Marcus said meekly.
"Now you go up and look after Glaux on the roof garden, Aurarius ....
He has a strange way of making people relaxed and happy....
While I have a little chat with Marcus.", Faunus said firmly.
Aurarius, slowly got up, still wiping his eyes, and left the study.
Faunus sat down opposite Marcus.
"Well, Marcus...
Don't worry about tomorrow - everything's under control, which is more than I cans say about what's happening here.
Perhaps you now see that Aurarius loves and respects you, but is also frightened of you - and he's told you that before - in a roundabout way - but you haven't listened.
And you've never bothered to really find out about him.
You love him - but mainly for his body - and that's understandable - he's very attractive.
But you know very little about him as a person.
So you didn't know that his previous master abused him, and that's one reason why he's frightened of you.
Now we can talk more about this at another time, but take my advice - be good to him, and learn to understand him  - because you're very lucky to have him........"
And with that, Faunus just faded away.
"I wish you wouldn't do that !", Marcus groaned - angry that he been deprived of making any excuses for his attitude and behaviour - but knowing, deep down - that those excuses would be just that - excuses, and not good reasons.
Marcus got up, and picked up the letter that Caenis had written to him.
It confirmed what Aurarius said that Caenis and Vespasian wanted to see him the following day.

'and the story continues -
Marcus says farewell to Vespasian and Caenis, while Titus accompanies Marcus' party to Baiae for the 'Ludi Spes Vespasianum' - prior to Marcus' departure for Greece
('The Games at Baiae')

Please note that this chapter may contain sexually explicit and violent images and text.
If you strongly object to any of these images please contact the blog author at and the offending material can be removed.
Equally please do not view this chapter if such material may offend.


  1. Please, more boys fights, both younger-sexual than muscular-deadly... ;-) We love the arena's sensations

    1. We appreciate the comment.
      All arena fights etc occur as part of a developing story - which is of interest to many of our viewers.
      At present, the characters have been away from the arena for some time - on 'holiday' - even characters in a story like to have holidays.
      They are, however, returning to Baiae - where Marcus has the private arena he inherited from his adoptive father, and Petronius is organising a large series of Games in honour of Vespasian - so when this is held - during part of the current chapter - there will be plenty of 'sensational' fights, and executions.
      But please remember that these events take time to 'produce' - as regards illustrations - so please be patient.
      Meanwhile, some new fights are being added to Chapter XXIII - 'Ludi Homorem in Vespasiani' - so keep watching...