Roman Slave - Gladiator - Freeman - Hero
By Douglas E Gogerty
"1000 is a staggering number," replied the former gladiator's wife when the story ended.
"The last one brought me to a conclusion," responded Pervalidus.
"What was that?" Bella inquired.
"Notoriety as a killer brings more opportunity to kill."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, every man I have killed has a father. Perhaps he has a brother or maybe children. In any event, his death can have effect on many others. These others may want revenge. Thus, they may come after me as several have."
"You cannot change the past."
"Thank you Bella. I can -- however -- change what people hear about the past. I asked Octavian to rebuke the story about his dream to give me credit for saving his life. I realize now that this is a mistake. If history records that a dream saved his life rather than me killing those 53 men, the relatives of those men will not come after me."
"That is sensible."
"The entire time I was fighting for Rome, I was looking for notoriety. I should have been doing it for something more noble. I feel ashamed about that."
"You said you were fighting to appease the gods who promised peace. That is a noble cause."
"Indeed I did. However, when I was actually in battle..."
"No 'howevers'! What went through your mind while in the heat of battle is irrelevant. Those thoughts kept you alive and fighting. The dreams of glory stopped you from giving up. However, your true motive was 'peace.'"
"Why did I name you Bella when I should have named you Astuta..."
"Your words honor me husband. Let us prepare to dine now."
The former gladiator contacted the Emperor Caesar Augustus to tell him not to fight the story of the dream at the Battle of Philippi. He was suddenly comfortable with his anonymity. He would be happy to fade into history.
His family would remember, although he would not tell the stories of his exploits very often. They all knew the truth about the Battle of Philippi. They knew how much of a hero their ancestor was. They knew how much he sacrificed and how much he did in his life.
Marius Batiatus Pervalidus quickly stopped being a former gladiator. He stopped being a former soldier. He stopped being the former hero of Philippi. He was just father, husband, neighbor...
His family thrived in the peace. His horses were renowned in the chariot races. Patrons from all over the Empire sought out "Pervalidian Horses." They were said to be strong, powerful, and fast. "The finest horses in the world" became the family slogan. Pervalidus claimed that Neptune smiled upon him for his years of service.
In fact, as he traveled, he never ran into any more trouble. The gods were happy with the 1000, and his battles were over. The roadways became safe and highwaymen never accosted him again. The days of explaining to the local magistrates how he killed the half dozen men were through. The extra days during travel to speak with authorities about troubles in town became a thing of the past.
Pervalidus had entered his final stage of his life. He started out as an ordinary child living in Bithynia. That was the first stage of his life. That stage lasted a mere twelve years.
With his family's death and Lucullus capturing him and selling him into slavery, he entered the short second stage of his life. This ended when he killed man number one, his master.
He lived with Spartacus and was part of the slave rebellion. However, this portion of his life did not last very long either. The fourth period in his life began when Crassus and his legions killed Spartacus and sold the future Validus Maximus into slavery again. He was purchased by the Batitus's gladiatorial school, and this was longest section of his life.
This long portion of his life brought him much fame and wealth. Citizens from all over the Roman Republic shouted his name. They all admired his skills with the trident and net. They were amazed at how he could handle any situation in the arena. However, he always thanked his personal patron Neptune for his survival.
He acquired a great fortune and purchased his freedom to begin the next phase in his life. This phase did not last as long as he had wished. The conflicts as a freed slave continued and he would kill bandits and highwaymen occasionally. He got out of the arena with a desire to stop killing. However, this was not to be as he continued killing. Thus, he decided to enter another part of his life.
He joined the forces of the future Emperor of Rome Caesar Augustus, and became a soldier. Most citizens and members of the Equestrian Order would retire from fighting in the army at the age Pervalidus started. However, he quickly became a war hero with his skill using the spear. He killed the most men during this phase of his life. However, he was clearly a war hero.
After that period of his life, he was able to enter the final stage. He was able to retire to private life. The killing stopped. He could finally relax and enjoy what he fought for all those years. There was peace in the realm and the Roman slave, Gladiator, Freeman, and Hero would fade into the past. He was just an ordinary citizen. The life made him very satisfied to enjoy the little things. Thus, all around him were happy.