Face claimCharlton Heston
The wind. It had been many years since Manius had recalled that story. His friend and late dominus, Belanus, had hailed from Hispania originally, and had once regaled him with the local tradition regarding their origins. The first mares were said to be sired by the wind, bestowing an unmatched swiftness that their foals would inherit. Fanciful as the legend may seem, the inherent rapidity associated with the breed marked a certain precedent. The Equestrian’s own thoughts held that they must have been sired by the wind of a storm, for no fiercer temperament had he perceived in other stock.
“Uenerabilis Dea Lucilla,” Manius recited in recognition when Claudia made mention of her mother. Though they had never been introduced, the late Augusta had been a significant benefactor of the games and many of the Etruscan’s formative career had been established at such events. It seemed to be yet another of the innumerate ways in which the hand of the Imperial family had touched his life.
“She must’ve been quite a woman to have handled such creatures. I regret never having had the chance to meet her,” he offered consolingly. He had known few soldiers capable of taming such a horse as the Lusitanian, let alone civilians. She would’ve truly been remarkable in that respect, not to mention a valuable contact for a charioteer to possess. He wondered if the Hispanian folktale could prove analogous to his new acquaintance.
“Wherever the best ones are. When we can find them, of course,” he replied with a grin, referring to the network of talent scouts the faction employed. This seemed to be normal practice for most chariot factions, though they all had a main source. “In the spirit of our Caesar’s namesake, we’ve taken to housing Greek horses; mostly from Macedonia. Many of them descend from the steeds of the Diadochus,” he proclaimed proudly, if not spuriously.
“I have a personal fancy for the ‘Marino’ breed, though the ill-informed Roman tends to call them ‘marsh-horses’,” he shared a subtle intimation of his Etruscan lineage. Along with the Neapolitan, the Marino had served for generations as the typical mount for officers in the Roman legion, as well as for regular soldiers in the small number of native cavalry.
“Was there something in particular you had in mind? Some of our individual stock comes from more remote locales,” Manius explained, hoping his answer had not put her off the idea. His profession may force others to regard him with a degree of infamy, but he doubted his honour could sustain disapproval from a woman of such status as this noble lady.
 Latin for "Revered Goddess Lucilla".  Latin for "Diadochi", the successor generals to Alexander the Great's empire.  Latin for "of the sea"; substituted term for an antecedent to the modern 'Maremmano' breed of horse.
Noticing the slight slip in his guest’s noble reticence at the prospect of the odour, which could be nauseating for the unaccustomed and gentle born, Manius gave further thought to assuaging any offense to her senses. “I believe we’ll find some smelling salts inside, should you wish to spare your stomach. I hope you’ll forgive me for being unprepared for your visit,” he offered his apologies once more, before taking his first stride toward their destination.
Casting his eyes to the door of the main stable building to the north of the stable yard, he could also see in his right periphery the western wall of the faction headquarters – a structure housing the many slaves, employees and charioteers of the company. Though expansive in its own right, it paled in comparison to the exceptional size required of penning the substantial animals.
Presuming his visitor would follow in close step, Manius took this brief window of opportunity to converse less formally with his new acquaintance, in hopes of striking a rapport. “If I may be so bold as to ask, where did you happen to acquire such a specimen as your wilful Soluto? I know a few officers that would be quite envious of you for such an acquisition. They’re highly sought after as warhorses,” he began with this harmless inquiry.
Manius planted his thumb and forefinger at the base of his chin, rubbing a fine grain of newly sprouting stubble. As Claudia began her explanation, he quirked his eyebrow at her searching eyes. She was hardly the first horsewoman he’d met and unlikely to be the last. His wife was an adept rider herself, though she preferred the comfort of a chariot. Manius preferred the wealth and stability of a career in charioteering, but his first love had always been the saddle.
He grinned at the blue blooded, young woman as she mentioned a wilful stallion in her care. A Lusitanian, no less? Manius had encountered such a horse many years prior, as one had served as the personal favourite and mount to his then Dominus, but future Brother-in-law. He had not possessed the gall to ever attempt riding the bucking bronco, but had further opportunities to do so with other such horses throughout his career. They had been the unruliest breed he’d ever been required to stable and their training was often painstaking. “I may have something that would help with that,” he replied. Noticing the idle stable boy that had brought the mare back to the yard, he gestured toward him to grab his attention before shouting, “Go find me the new training bits, boy!” As the stable boy startled to attention and ran off to complete the task, Manius turned back to his imperial guest.
“We’ve recently acquired some new equipment for the horses, to assist in training new riders. As our equipment is largely paid for by the imperial purse, your more than welcome to take one,” he offered, perhaps too eagerly. He did not wish to seem sycophantic, just appreciative of his station. The stable boy interrupted that momentary dismay to present a silver bar, designed similarly to a sort of abacus, with matching silver beads that revolved on the bar. The clicking noise from such a motion would give an indication to the rider as to the mood of their steed. Too much or too little clicking of the rotating beads indicate a problem, such as an agitated or nervous horse. “’Ah! ’tis a beauty, is it not? We got them to assist the novice riders. Just affix it it to your horse's bridle and it should provide a modicum of aid in your endeavours,” he explained, as he presented the mullen to her for review and receipt.
“Should you require a more hands on approach to breaking him in, we may be able to arrange a more opportune occasion,” he extended a further proposal. “As for the time being, while we’re not exactly the best market for breeding stock, I believe I may be able to provide some offerings. Just about everything has a price, as I’m sure you’re well aware, but I could hardly refuse a request of our patron. If you’ll forgive the smell, I’d escort you in to the pens, my lady. So that you may view your options in person,” Manius ended on that note and directed her towards the doors of the largest structure in the yard, housing the multitude of stalls for the faction’s racing stock.
Silk was certainly an impractical item of clothing for a stable yard, as well as being typically considered immoral and undignified of a proper Roman woman. Focusing more on Claudia's attire, Manius noted it was only her palla that was of pure silken cloth. Her stola was perhaps… a silk-cotton blend? His wife would know. She had her own predilection for fine fabrics and fashionable garments. In these hot summer months, a material such as that would bestow the modesty of cotton, while retaining the ventilative properties of silk. In Manius’ eyes, it at least appeared to be of similar material and hue as his own favoured blue tunics, though likely superlative in quality.
Closing the distance between the two of them, he momentarily peeled his eyes from the gentle-born lady to the intimidating entourage that followed in her wake. A Praetorian and a Gladiatrix? One could hardly blame her for such caution. Manius’ earlier incident with the neighbourhood boys would simply be the most recent example of the lamentable quality of residents within the area. The Campus Martius also served as an epicentre of propaganda from the multitude of temples that served as political instruments for Rome’s elites. It might only be natural to assume any number of opportunists could desire to take advantage of such a public outing.
“Ave, mea domina, Claudia. I don’t believe we’ve met, but I’m always at the service of our Imperial patron. My name is Carisia Magnus, though Manius Magnus to the masses. You may simply call me Manius, as my wife does,” he humbly submitted in deference.
“We’re truly honoured by your visit. At least we would be, if I could find anyone else in my employ to warrant such a claim,” he quipped, with more bitterness than he intended. It had been a long day. “Most of the team is running laps in the Circus Flaminius, in preparation for tomorrow’s games,” he explained, attempting to assuage any doubts he may have inadvertently cast on to the competence of his faction members or himself.
“We’ll be ready to win renown for the Imperial family, but uh, I’ll spare you the details. You must have important business. To what do we owe the pleasure of your presence?” Manius finally inquired.
 The palla is a mantle or shawl-like garment, worn by Roman women and fastened by brooches  The stola is the traditional garment worn by Roman women, corresponding to the toga for men  'Ave, mea domina' is a Latin phrase meaning "Hail, my lady"
JULY, 74 CE
As he shovelled another pile of manure out of the stall and peered around the wider stable to no sight of a groom, Manius had begun to believe he’d never left Greece.
A hundred-thousand denarii in my hands and appointed to one of the most prestigious posts in the city, yet here I am... still covered in shit!
A sudden commotion around the exterior of the building would alert Manius to a nearby presence. Resting his spade on the stall’s curtain wall and exiting through the gate, he continued on his path towards the ruckus. A distressed neighing, followed by the thumping of hooves and high-pitched laughter would instil Manius with clarity of the situation; a young slave of the faction, with a mare in tow, waylaid by stone-throwing youths. Upon closer inspection of the scene, his comprehension of the perpetrators became clear, “Is that you, Alfius?”
Manius paused in his admonishment momentarily, to scowl in disapproval of the young man. “That boy is half your size and three-to-one is hardly a fair fight,” he rebuked of the youth and continued, without giving the assailant a chance to reply.
“Not to mention that you of all people should know better than to startle the horses. Your dolt of an uncle got himself killed that way. It seems stupidity must run in the family, at least on your father’s side. I think my wife may have words for your mother tomorrow evening, at the Ludi Victoriae Caesaris,” he threatened.
A crowd began to gather around the rather public scene, causing the cheeks of the vilified boy to burnish a bright red. Alfius’ darting eyes began to tear up at the possibility of punishment from his parents for his cowardly actions, leading to his immediate flight, less he bore a two-fold embarrassment.
Manius huffed at his small victory, glad that the neighbourhood boy hadn’t possessed a sturdier backbone or the rabidness of the racing fans he was accustomed to. He shifted to assist the wounded slave to his feet, before recovering the scampering mount. Upon their return to the stable yard, Manius was surprised to spy another unwarranted visitor. This one was a young woman, who seemed to have taken an interest in one of the steeds that appeared to worm it's way out of a stall.
No grooms and no guards. What am I paying these incompetents for?
“Eh, little lady!” Manius exclaimed a brusque reproach, whilst trudging in her direction. Upon a sudden dawning of realisation at the evidently aristocratic bearing of his target and the unwarranted sternness invoked in his tone, he sighed in exasperation before adulterating his annoyance towards the stranger.
“Uh. My apologies, milady,” he respectively amended his patter, before continuing, “but a stable is hardly the place for such fine silks.”
Manius Carisia Magnus
35 | 23 July 39 CE | Equite | Dominus Factionis Caeruleum | Heterosexual | Canon | Charlton Heston
From servile origins to the social minefield of the middle-class, Manius feels far more akin to the slaves and freedmen from which he derives, rather than those who profess to be his social equal or worse still, his 'betters'. As a victim of the resultant infamy that many of Rome's scorned professions incur, Manius finds moving within the lower echelons of society far more accessible than one whose dignitas was not stained in such a way.
Since he's never obtained a proper education, Manius is barely literate. He did receive an informal education whilst in Athens, but never held any particular aptitude for academics. His wife Belanina, though of illegitimate birth herself, is the only high culture he subscribes to. During his time in Greece, he was able to indulge his childhood fascination with Etruscan legends and history, though predominantly from a Greek perspective.
This should not lead to one mistaking Manius for an ungrateful man, after all he owes his life, his position and the majority of the means by which he persists to his wife, as well as the possibilities that her brother and father have enabled. He is keen to recollect fondly of his adventures with her brother, Belanus. Manius also regards her father, Caesar Alexander, with a dual reverence and fear.
An absence of affection or attention has left Manius with a yearning to belong and be loved, causing him a degree of paranoia with regard to his position among the charioteers favoured by Caesar and desperate to retain that favour. This perceived need can invoke a ruthless and dastardly personality, not to mention dangerous or even deadly; when circumstances seem to require it, Manius will adopt a 'whatever it takes' mentality.
Faithfulness has always been a central aspect of Manius' character, whether to his team, his friends, his family, or his emperor. Despite an otherwise flexible morality, he would risk his life to ensure the welfare of a companion.
He ultimately aspires for a better and more prestigious future for his children and to reclaim the renown and prosperity that his gens possessed at the peak of the Etruscan civilisation. To this end, he is required to retain the favour of Caesar and to ensure the preeminence of the blue faction and the prestige of the Imperial family, thus the continued security of his own.
The daunting, blue eyes that grace his face and the head of wavy, light brown hair that often rests dishevelled, displays prominent traces of a Gallic ancestor. This is likely an inheritance from his maternal line and the waning days of the Etruscan civilisation, when the northern Gauls invaded southwards in to Etruria.
He is also unusually tall for an ethnic Roman, at a standing height of 6’2” (189cm) and possessing a broad-shouldered frame with an athletic build. His lean and sinewy physique was tempered through many years of slavery and the exerting discipline of horsemanship. He carries himself with a youthful vigour typical of an athlete.
Manius is known to wear an assortment of tunics, usually in a shade of factional blue or neutral brown. The occasional white is interspersed, though not in the company of other charioteers – unless offset by a blue cloak.
Vestigial laceration scars trace the length of his back, serving as a bitter reminder of the merciless whipping suffered at the hands of Epirote rebels, during a year of brutal bondage.
Marcus Nautius Avitus (b. 27 BCE); deceased (d. Dec 49 CE) Mother:
Carisia (b. 20 CE); deceased (d. 23 Jul, 39 CE) Sibiling(s):
Marcus Nautius Maior (b. 3 CE); half-brother, deceased (d. 53 CE) Nautia Marciana (b. 8 CE); half-sister, deceased (d. 70 CE) Lucius Nautius Longus (b. 13 CE); half-brother, deceased (d. 73 CE) Spouse(s):
Ausonia Belanina (b. 41 CE); alive Children:
Publius Carisia Magnus (b. Jan 64 CE); son, alive Carisia Magna (b. Aug 73 CE); daughter, alive ----------------------------------------------------------
Extended Family Tree
Via Nautii, of Roma
Father: Marcus Nautius Avitus (b. 27 BCE); died of natural causes (d. Dec 49 CE) Half-Brother: Marcus Nautius Maior (b. 3 CE); died in the Romano-Epirotian War (d. 53 CE) Nephew: Marcus Nautius Minor (b. 26 CE); alive Unknown Descendants Nephew: Gnaeus Nautius (b. 30 CE); alive Unknown Descendants Half-Sister: Nautia Marciana (b. 8 CE); died of natural causes (d. 70 CE) Unknown Descendants Half-Brother: Lucius Nautius Longus (b. 13 CE); died of natural causes (d. 72 CE) Nephew: Lucius Nautius (b. 32 CE); alive Unknown Descendants Niece: Nautia Lucilla (b. 34 CE); died in childbirth (d. 50 CE) Unknown Descendants ----------------------------------------------------------
Via Carisii, of Caere (Extinct Etruscan gens)
Mother: Carisia (b. 20 CE); died in childbirth (d. 23 Jul, 39 CE) ----------------------------------------------------------
Via Carisii-Magni, of Roma (Restored by Imperial rescript)
PC: Manius Carisia Magnus (b. 23 Jul, 39 CE); alive Son: Publius Carisia Magnus (b. Jan 64 CE); alive. Daughter: Carisia Magna (b. Aug 73 CE); alive. ----------------------------------------------------------
Via Ausonii, of Aquileia
Mother-In-Law: Ausonia (b. unknown); consort of Quintus Flavius Alexander, deceased Wife: Ausonia Belanina (b. 41 CE); illegitimate daughter of Quintus Flavius Alexander, sister of Publius Flavius Alexander Belanus, alive ----------------------------------------------------------
Via Flavii-Alexandrae, of Roma
Father-In-Law: Quintus Flavius Caesar Alexander Augustus (b. 11 CE); alive Brother-In-Law: Publius Flavius Alexander Belanus (b. 37 CE); legitimised son of Quintus Flavius Alexander, brother of Ausonia Belanina, deceased (d. 60 CE) ----------------------------------------------------------
Jul 39 CE – Birth of Manius; death of his mother, Carisia. From 44 CE – Manius begins to work around the villa and learns to care for horses. From 49 CE – Manius becomes a relatively skilled horseman. Dec 49 CE – Manius' father, Marcus Nautius Avitus, dies. Jan 50 CE – Manius is sold by his half-brother, Marcus Nautius Maior, to a Greek buyer and shipped to Athens. Mar 50 CE – Manius begins working as a stable-boy for an Athenian chariot-racing team, grooming horses and attending to charioteers. In 51 CE – First bigae race in a hippodrome, in Achaea. Sep 52 CE – Athens is sacked by the rebel, Menadides of Epirus; Manius is taken captive and forced to work for the rebel armies. Jun 53 CE – Quintus Flavius Alexander defeats Menadides’ brother Banokles, near Actium; Manius is rescued by Publius Ausonius Belanus, becoming his grateful slave and faithful friend. Nov 54 CE – Occupation of Achaea & Macedonia begins, Belanus sponsors Manius to race chariots in the hippodromes across Greece. In 56 CE – Belanus returns to Rome to join Quintus Flavius Alexander's legions; Manius is entrusted to care for Belanus' sister, Ausonia Belanina. In 59 CE – Manius & Belanina develop a close friendship. In 60 CE – Publius Flavius Alexander Belanus, legitimised son of Quintus Flavius Alexander, dies; Manius & Belanina's relationship becomes romantic in nature. Aug 62 CE – Triumph for Caesar Alexander; Manius distinguishes himself in the celebratory games and earns an audience with Caesar; Manius is granted manumission and allowed to adopt the nomen, Carisia; restoring an extinct Etruscan gens from which his mother descended. Apr 63 CE – Manius Carisia marries Ausonia Belanina during the Cerealia. Jan 64 CE – Manius & Belanina's first child is born, a son that they name, Publius Carisia, in honour of Belanus; they also move in to a domus on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. Feb 66 CE – Manius Carisia becomes a staple member of the Factionis Caeruleum; he also participates in the games for Caesar Alexander's second triumph. Jan 73 CE – Manius Carisia appears at the opening ludi of the Imperial Banquet of Naples; his feats earn him the cognomen, 'Magnus' and a position leading blue faction of Rome's chariot scene. Aug 73 CE – Manius & Belanina's second child is born, a daughter that they name, Carisia Magna. Jan 74 CE – Manius Magnus begins his tenure as Dominus Factionis Caeruleum.
In July of 39 CE – The boy that would become Manius Carisia Magnus was born on a day that would coincide with the death of his mother, when she succumbed to the chaotic, yet calming embrace of the goddess Mania. His father would therefore mockingly bestow upon him the simple name of 'Manius', in his typically sardonic style.
The boy’s father, Marcus Nautius Avitus, was a man of advanced years with numerous legitimate descendants at his disposal, as his epithet would imply. He served as an officer in the legions for most of his life and had cultivated a respectable and distinguished reputation, a reputation that he was unwilling to tarnish with the indignity of formally acknowledging a slave’s bastard-born child.
In the earliest years of his life, Manius was left to stew as a Verna in the company of the household slaves, under the care of the elderly figure of the former family Nutrix (wet-nurse). His most vivid memories were of the fond reminiscences of his mother, Carisia, and the imparted knowledge of her Etruscan origins and hometown of Caere.
His guardian’s well-meaning, but fantastic tales of his maternal descent from great warriors, famed charioteers and the regal heights of nobility – though likely spurious at best – would provide his first impulses towards greatness, through an aspiration to live up to the honour of a mother he could only wish to known.
From 44 CE – Being a part of a wealthy household did have some perks, even for slaves. The household, though initially based in Rome, would retire to their villa in the Italian countryside during the summer. These occasions would allow Manius to become accustomed to the care of the horses and he would fashion further ambitions to ride one. Though the initial venture was met with the setback of a broken arm, Manius grew determined to master his horsemanship.
In December of 49 CE – Avitus would pass away during the winter and despite his purported wealth, very little would appear to manifest when his descendants came to claim their share. Manius would fall under the dominion of the new paterfamilias; his eldest half-brother, Marcus Nautius Maior. His brother, motivated by the desire for denarii to fund whatever grand ambitions he may have entertained at the time and combined with his holding Manius in similar disregard as their father had, Marcus the Elder would arrange to sell him.
In March of 50 CE – The thought of getting away from a household that held him in such contempt was appealing, though the uncertainty his future held was of great discomfort. To his fortune, Manius had been sold to a Greek man who had been searching for healthy slaves to act as grooms and attendants for an Athenian chariot-racing team. It certainly seemed a far better prospect than any he had presumed to imagine in Rome and hearkened him back to the Nutrix’s tales of legendary Etruscan heroes, thus further emboldening the potential within himself that he would presume to see realised.
During 50-51 CE – From his arrival in March, Manius was quick to come to grips with the unfamiliar surroundings and within months had begun to truly think of Athens as home. He was fast to form bonds with his new compatriots – charioteer and equine alike – many of whom had been sourced from similar servile origins. This sparkling reputation would help to endear himself to the managing staff and upon revelation of his innate control of the horses, Manius would be surprised to find himself participating in his first bigae races before the end of his first year with the team.
In September of 52 CE – The first half of the year yielded a slew of events in the form of the Isthmian & Nemean Games, as well as a brief series of races in March that would be organised at the behest of the Augusta in honour of her husband, Claudius. Contrastingly, racing opportunities had become scarce by the mid-point of the year, as much of Greece had been suffering from rising tensions since popular revolts broke out in July. This would culminate in the 'Sacking of Athens' by forces of the rebel, Menadides of Epirus. Manius' dutiful concern for the welfare of his equine companions during the onslaught is likely to be what saved his life and sealed their fates as prizes of the rebel forces.
In June of 53 CE – Manius had served almost a year as war gains in tow to the armies of the rebel, Menadides, and was currently assigned to a contingent off the coast of Actium, under the authority of his brother, Banokles. Beaten, abused and starving, Manius' salvation would come at the hands of the swiftest and most daring turma of cavalry he’d ever witnessed. These were auxiliary forces of the Roman Legion, or 'alae' as he would come to know them and under the command of a rather young Decurion named, Publius Ausonius Belanus.
Manius would recount the details of his circumstances to the superior officer, a man he would later become well acquainted with and come to know as simply, 'Belanus'. Belanus grew intrigued by the younger slave’s plight and of distinct interest to him was Manius’ brief stint as a charioteer – his own particular pastime of choice. In an effort to spare Manius continued debasement through the backbreaking labour of a legionary slave or the precarious possibilities of the auction block, Belanus would agree to assume ownership of him.
In November of 54 CE – Manius entered Athens for the first time in over two years. He had experienced more of the brutal reality of warfare and bloodshed in that duration than many men see in their lifetime. The cursory and fleeting danger of chariot-racing – coupled with the immediate rewards – was far more suited to his sensibilities.
It would appear Belanus had similar ideas since, following the occupation of Greece that occurred upon the fall of Menadides, he would see about sponsoring Manius in further chariot-based endeavours. Having grown nostalgic for the transient adoration of the crowds and craving further acclamation, Manius would doubtlessly accept.
Belanus’ intrinsic joy of the sport was the condition without which such a possibility would be futile to entertain, but it was not the only motivating factor. As his slave and client, the rewards and prestige of Manius' successes were all the more his own. As he recently had come in to knowledge of his Imperial paternity, he wished to use this opportunity to demonstrate to his father the sort of man he could be – capable, resourceful and pragmatic.
Early Adulthood [15-21]
In 56 CE – As tensions escalate across the Empire, Belanus returns to Rome to assume his place with Quintus Flavius Alexander’s legions. He places his trust in Manius to take care of his sister, Ausonia Belanina, during this period when he cannot; consigning him in to her custody at their estate in Aquileia. The closer proximity to Rome would allow Manius to compete on the grander stages of the Roman provincial circuses, compared to the small theatres of the Greek hippodromes – and for larger prizes.
In 59 CE– At eighteen years of age and two years his junior, Manius began to perceive a truly enchanting woman in Belanina. She was a woman who embodied a venerable wisdom that exceeded her years and exuded a warm compassion that was matched only by her engaging wit. She was a stunning and intelligent companion, despite her low birth; whereas he oft smelt of manure and could barely write his name. Perhaps it was due to the interdependent nature of the arrangement or it could be that she simply grew lonely over time, but Belanina would begin to confide in Manius in a way only Belanus had before her.
In 60 CE – Publius Flavius Alexander Belanus, the now legitimised son of Quintus Flavius Alexander, becomes a casualty in the early stages of the Praetorian Prefect Clemens' rise to power. In the four years since his absence was necessitated by circumstance, Manius had done his utmost to abide by the last wishes of his late dominus, sponsor, but perhaps more importantly, his friend.
Their time in like-minded company may have been brief, but that would be a detail that made it all the more prized. Had he never met Belanus, Manius’ station in life would likely be worlds apart from where it stood then. At that moment, just a few feet away, stood Belanina – a woman he had come to value even more highly than her sibling. The grief over a shared loss would serve to guide them closer together and further prove to be the kindle that stoked the match.
In January of 62 CE – Manius had been racing chariots for several years as a member of a team based in Patavium, where he’d been rising in notability following a series of successes in the nearby province of Dalmatia. At the same time and as a result of his rising stardom, Manius would find himself propelled to the heights of the Circus Maximus in Rome, as an associate rookie with the Blues.
In August of 62 CE – With the close of the conflicts that had plagued the empire for the last half-decade and the death of all his rivals, Quintus Flavius Alexander becomes the undisputed emperor of Rome and marches in a triumph. Traditionally the triumphs are followed by celebratory games and this instance would be no exception.
Manius – now also in Rome – would seek to use the occasion to distinguish himself in front of Caesar Alexander during the ludi circenses (Circus Games), in the hopes of obtaining an audience. A concerted effort by Manius to achieve consecutive highly contested victories would get as far as achieving a public gesture of praise from the Imperator, but it seemed Manius’ aims were not to be achieved. In one final act of desperation – a loud and brash dedication of his remarkable feat to the memory of his patron, “Publius Flavius Alexander Belanus”. It would be this startling declaration that would earn him the audience he sought.
Their conversation would be a long one and come to encapsulate many aspects of the last decade or more. By the end, Manius had presented the last will and testament of Belanus to Caesar Alexander – sealed with the insignia of the Flavii – and awaited the bidding of his emperor.
Minutes felt like hours as Caesar’s eyes drifted across the page and the last wishes of the sovereign’s late son whirred through his mind. After a time, the rustling of a page and the footsteps upon floor demanded Manius’ attention. His eyes began to bulge as Caesar Alexander professed…
By request of his son Belanus and through the authority of an Imperial rescript, the slave, Manius, was to be immediately manumitted; furthermore, the freedman, Manius, was to be granted the peculiar honour of assuming his late mother’s Etruscan gens, Carisia. It would appear Manius’ connection to his Etruscan heritage would resonate with Belanus’ perception of him and would give way to cementing that characteristic as a permanent identifier, as well as a mark of their friendship.
In April of 63 CE – During the Cerealia of that year in the hope that Ceres might grant her boon on the blossoming couple, Manius Carisia would marry Ausonia Belanina. An event nearly five years in the making and despite Manius’ growing fame and wealth, it would occur to little fanfare.
In January of 64 CE – Almost nine months to the day after Ceres bestowed her blessing upon the pairing, Manius & Belanina's first child would be born. Belanina would give birth to a healthy baby boy that they name, Publius Carisia – his maternal uncle’s namesake.
In the hope of providing a better future and further prospects for their growing family, Manius and Belanina would decide to purchase a domus in a relatively middle-class residential area of Rome – the Esquiline Hill
In February of 66 CE – Another triumph for Caesar would lead to more celebratory games, the influx of which had allowed Manius to recoup his investment in his family domus just two years prior. In the four years since his first appearance in the Circus Maximus, Manius had become a staple of Rome's blue faction and was now receiving an annual income surpassing 300,000 sesterces, well on his way to reaching the social heights of the Equites.
His victory during the triumphal events of that year would see him become one of the leading stars of Rome's chariot scene in recent years. Manius would perhaps be the first to admit his skill at the reins was never remarkably prodigious, but he was always reliable, tactical and determined – not to mention a beloved showman. His ability to whip the crowd in to a frenzy and feed off their fervour was the best demoralising weapon in his arsenal.
In January of 73 CE – The Carisia family would find themselves surreptitiously invited to the 'Imperial Banquet' in Naples, under the pretence of participating in the chariot-based events. The banquet itself would be off-limits to them, but they were to attend an earlier event that would officially begin the 'year of ludi', in honour of the opening of the Flavian Colosseum. Suffice to say, chariots were hardly the spectacle of these events, yet wherever games could be found, chariots would tend to follow. As Neapolis happens to be a stronghold of Greek culture on the Italian mainland, it holds the peculiar distinction of being one of the few Roman cities with a hippodrome-style stadium – this would work in Manius' favour.
The regularity of events throughout the year would provide a good way for Manius to close out his charioting career. With a son soon to grow in to manhood and another child on the way, Manius wished to retire and settle down to raise his growing family. Little did he know of the opportunities that would shortly await him, as fickle Fortuna had other ideas.
By the afternoon, Manius endeared himself to the pilgrimage of patricians with his characteristic charm and showmanship; by the evening, Manius had bested all-comers and loudly hailed as "Magnus!" amongst the crowd of well-bred popinjays. Caesar Alexander would seize upon this moment of newfound fame to embolden his own prestige, much as Belanus had before him.
In that moment, Caesar would extend an offer of which refusal was not a conceivable option; Manius was to accept the 'privilege' of leading the blue faction of Rome's chariot-scene, a faction with Imperial-leanings tracing back to the reign of Augustus. This position would raise Manius' social class and entitle his family to the inherent property requirement for members of the equestrian order.
Since Caesar's chosen man could hardly be anybody but the 'greatest' charioteer, so as a further embellishment, he would officially recognise the familial cognomen, Magnus. From that day hence, Manius Magnus of the Carisii-Magni, became Dominus Factionis Caeruleum.
In August of 73 CE – Whereas his son, Publius Carisia, would have the cognomen retroactively applied, Manius' newborn daughter would be the first generation of Carisii to be born in to the Magni stirps. The name of their daughter, Carisia Magna, would thus prove self-evident.
In January of 74 CE – Manius Magnus officially begins his tenure as the leader of the blue faction of Rome’s chariot scene – Factionis Caeruleum, colloquially known as the “Blues”.
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