June 25, 2006

Roman Slave - Gladiator - Freeman - Hero

Conversation at the Bath

By Douglas E Gogerty

After his day of travel, Marius Batiatus Pervalidus decided to go from the inn to the local thermae. A relaxing time in the public bath was exactly what he needed. His muscles would relax, and they would be prepared for the next day's travel.

"Greetings and salutations citizen," the proprietor said. "You have come alone? Do you wish to hire someone to watch your things? That service is available here."

"Certainly, what is the fee?"

"You can arrange that with the attendant," the proprietor stated as he waved his hand towards a snoozing slave. "You are new here..."

"I'm on my way to Rome. I am just passing through."

"Very well, the attendant..." he began. He walked over to the individual, who was assigned to attend to a visitor's things, and poked him. He scolded him quietly, and returned to speak to Pervalidus. "As I was saying, this attendant will give you the layout of the bath. If you have any questions you can ask him or if I'm available..."

"Is he trustworthy?"

"Don't mind his sleeping ways," he said when he suddenly looked at the young man. "He knows he will not get paid if he does not do his job!"

"I'll be alert," injected the attendant.

"Very well, here is your fee my good proprietor. I will begin in the tepidarium and then I wish to visit a masseur. Can that be arranged now?"

"Yes, a masseur will be available at your convenience," replied the proprietor. "The apodyterium is that way. This slave will follow and watch your things after you change there. The far door of that room leads to the tepidarium, but the warmth would tell you that. Bene Lave!"

After a good soak in the warm bath, the former gladiator enjoyed a good oiling and scraping from the masseur. In his usual manner, he returned to the tepidarium for another soak. This bath was warmer than the baths near his home, but it was still relaxing. He did not linger in the caldarium, as it was too hot for his liking. He was grateful when he reached the much cooler frigidarium. However, he did go between the rooms his customary four times.

"The caldarium is a bit too hot today," a gentleman said interrupting Pervaliduss personal thoughts.

"It is definitely hotter than my liking," Pervalidus replied.

"My name is Cassius Laurentius Silvanus."

"Greetings, I am Marius Batiatus Pervalidus."

"Are you a traveler?"

"Aye! I am heading to Rome. I have a gift of six horses for Dictator Caesar. I had hoped to make it to Rome before the Ides of March, but there have been delays. I hope to get there before he heads to Parthia, gods willing!"

"Caesar is not likely to head to Parthia until next month. You should make it without difficulty."

"Traveling in this day and age can sometimes be troublesome."

"I heard you there. I hope order will be restored with what Caesar is doing. However, I fear that he is more interested in wars and personal glory than with Rome."

"It is difficult to predict."

"The armies are mostly mobilized outside of Rome leaving us vulnerable. With Caesar going off to Parthia, he is continuing in that tradition."

"And what of the Republic...?"

"The Senate is much more concerned about retaining the status quo than making life beneficial to the Roman citizens."


"Horses huh?" started Laurentius changing the subject.

"Neptune has been good to me."

"You must be a successful member of the Equestrian Order to be able to afford to give away six horses."

"The Caesars have been good to me. I obtained much wealth when Gaius Julius Caesar became Pontifex Maximus. It is just my way of repaying his patronage."

"Personally, I think the Senate can still cause trouble for Dictator Caesar. If he lets his guard down, I would not put anything past the senators. They can cause trouble at any level. If they do cause trouble, what happens then? Do we go back to the way it was? Who would rule if Caesar dies? His grand nephew Gauis Octavinus Thurinus or whatever he calls himself."

"He is a blood relation."

"But he has no experience. He has fought in one battle with his great uncle Julius, but has not held any office. If there is trouble in Rome, do we hand ruling to him? On the other hand, would it be better than our current corrupt senate?"

"Do you have anyone else in mind?"

"Marcus Antonius is too ambitious. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus is weak. Perhaps the three of them will form a triumvirate. That would balance things a bit."

"Let us hope is does not come to that."

"Yes, there is trouble enough. We do not need more civil unrest."

"That is true. It is still difficult to travel along the roads to Rome.

"Truer words have never been spoken"

"I grow weary of this talk of politics."

"I am sorry. Sometimes I can get worked up with the state of the Republic. I have heard of troubles on the road. Yesterday, a man ended his days ride here. He spoke of a fight in an inn. Perhaps you know of the fight."


"A gladiator, now freeman, had just left the baths of that town and headed to the local inn. Once in the inn he was confronted by a man with thirty men."

"Thirty? It certainly could not have been more than a dozen."

"Are you telling the tale or am I?"

"Forgive me. Please continue."

"The man was a strong supporter of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. He was upset that more people did not come to the great general's aid. Naturally, when Pompey the great was defeated, he lost everything. He was now on the run. The former gladiator refused to join, and now this former magistrate wanted revenge. Does this story sound familiar?"

"Some of the details have a ring of familiarity, but please, tell the story."

Posted by deg at June 25, 2006 7:43 PM

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