He could most definitely receive a good quality shave here, and more if that’s what he desired. Marcus was proud of what he did and he enjoyed doing it – else of course, he wouldn’t be doing it and with his skills with knives, he could surely get another and less fancy job, that might pay more. But he liked this.
When his client confirmed he’d have a shave and a trim, Marcus motioned to the only actual chair in the room. Else there were just little stools with no back, but the comfortable and carved chair was for his clients. He had even put a little pillow in the seat, so you would sit there very well. It hadn’t been cheap, the chair, but he knew he needed it. Marcus gave his slave a look and silently as a mouse, his slave fetched a jar with lemon-scented almond-oil for Marcus. The lemon would keep the skin fresh and the almond oil would make it soft.
His client wondered for how long he’d had the place, “About six years, I believe, sir. Why do you ask, if I may ask? I have not seen you here before.” Marcus spoke while pouring some of the oil onto his hands and then massaging it into his client’s skin. He’d seen this man before, on the streets and maybe also elsewhere? But he couldn’t recall his name yet.
The morning was very silent and Marcus liked it like this. The sun was shining outside and the city was slowly coming to life and waking up. People walking from place to place and Marcus could watch them when he looked out the open window to the street. He found himself whistling a little tune, feeling this might be a good day.
And just to prove that, not many moments later, a man walked in the door. Actually there were several of them. First one who appeared rather alert and rough, followed by a man with curly hair and stubbles and then the last one, who definitely had to be a slave. Marcus looked at them one by one, as they entered, and determined the second entering had to be the man looking for the shave. And he was right.
“I am indeed Marcus Barbatius and pleased to hear my reputation proceeds me.” Marcus said with a smile and stood, taking the hand offered to him. He assumed the man was of a higher class than himself, with two people in tow for a simple visit to a barber. Marcus had slaves too, but they were cheap. There was no point in spending a lot of coin on slaves, not to Marcus anyway. Next the man said of course he would like some of Marcus’ services.
“You certainly do appear to need a shave.” Marcus said, “I don’t know if I’d call you a savage though. I have seen them and you seem far more civilized already.” He added with a nod and continued, “So a shave you will have, then. What about your hair, does it need a trimming too?”
July, 74 AD
It was another day in Marcus Barbatius’ life, meaning another day of work. He had a few patrons coming in to see him today, they had already made it known they wanted his services on this day, but there were also a few open spots and especially before noon. Senators always came later in the day, when they were tired from their supposedly hard work and needed a proper shave and a scented lotion rubbed into their cheeks and oils onto their bodies.
His condo was in the first floor of the building and just beneath his condo, was the workshop. He slept with the key to the chest around his neck and now a slave turned up to help him get dressed. A tunica and a simple toga, that he wouldn’t mind getting some hair onto along with some of the scented oils and lotions. The slave silently helped Marcus put on the sandals, helping with the straps that went around his leg and then he had some early breakfast served. A bit of cold, watered wine and bread. Apparently they were out of honey and didn’t have much olive oil, but his kitchen slave had managed to purchase some butter and that at least was something. The mornings were silent in his home. Slaves rarely spoke, out of fear they’d say something wrong to displease their master. Nobody wanted to displease him.
Silently he went to the workshop in the street level, which had been cleaned with a broom and a brush and some wet cloth. There was an actual chair there and a few stools and a working table. Shelves of course, with beautiful bottles and jars with lotions and oils. There was a heavy scent in the room because of all that and Marcus opened the door and opened the shutters to the window to the shop to let it be known, that it was open for business.
The slave he’d chosen to help him out today stood in the corner of the room, waiting to be asked to work and Marcus removed the key from his neck to open the chest. He picked one of the razors and decided to start the day with sharpening some of the tools while waiting for potential clients.
29 | 1st April 45 AD | Plebian | Barber | Bisexual | Original | Jonathan Rhys Meyers
It is hard to describe a man like Marcus Barbatius. It might be easier to just meet him and make up your own idea about him, rather than having him described. You might describe him as twisted though, if you really knew him. But few do, because they tend to move on. Marcus will, after all, have different personalities according to whom he interacts with. With wealthy people, patrons, senators and other useful people, he can be the friendliest person you have ever met. He will be charming and all smiles and more than happy to do your biding.
With people who are beneath him however… everything is different. He knows that he has the upper hand with his slaves for example; knows that is his choice whether they live or die. And if they behave well, they’ll be fine and live. However, Marcus is not a weak man and he is the one who has access to any blade in the house. And the tiniest mistake by slaves will annoy Marcus and he will make sure they know better than to make mistakes; although it will never be easy to please Marcus and he doesn’t care. Perhaps he kind of wants to be hard to please, because he kind of likes what it can lead to? He has a strange fascination with the sight of blood and hurting others. Not that it arouses him. It just fascinates him.
Marcus has no wife and has no plans on having one. He knows he probably ought to, but he does not have this strong desire to have an heir, like many Romans seem to have. Marcus likes to be free to do whatever he pleases in his home and rightfully thinks a wife would restrain him.
Maybe it is his mother’s foreign origin, but Marcus is sometimes tall among Romans; standing 5’8” tall. He has striking blue eyes that can appear almost piercing, as if he is always onto you or always considering or scheming something. And who knows if he is? He has an athletic build and short, brown hair. He prefers dark or green colors with his clothes, although his most cherished clothing is a blue tunica, because blue has always been a color of status where he came from. Around his neck, in a leather string, hangs an iron key.
Father: Marcus Barbatius Major (deceased)
Mother: Gaia Aulietia (deceased)
Siblings: Gaius Barbatius (deceased)
Extended family: Marcus Barbatius Magnus – mother’s husband (deceased)
45 AD – Marcus is born to a father, who used to be a simple and ordinary soldier in the Roman army. His mother was born and grew up in Gaul. When his father had served his years, he settled down with Gaia and had two sons. Marcus was the first. Marcus is from a young age an introvert and prefers to be left on his own. Something is different about this boy...
47 AD – Gaius, Marcus’ younger brother, is born. Gaius is more outgoing and gentle than Marcus.
55 AD – Marcus’ father dies and his mother is open about being in a relationship with his father’s freed slave, Magnus. Magnus is a war captive turned into a slave, who worked as Marcus’ fathers body slave. When Marcus’ father died, Magnus was freed. Marcus’ mother marries Magnus and Magnus settles down as a barber. He trains both Marcus and Gaius to become barbers too, although he does not adopt the children to be his own sons. With Marcus being the more reserved type, Magnus gets along with Gaius much better.
57 AD – Marcus thinks his brother Gaius, who is more gentle than he, is spoiled by their adoptive father and a dislike towards Gaius begins growing in Marcus. When they’re alone, Marcus tends to bully his brother. Nothing else changes though.
62 AD – Major uproar in Rome, which they hear about in the small town in Gaul. Marcus is now working alongside Magnus as a barber and hears a lot about Rome – and they are all glad they don’t live there. Gaius is still just an assistant to the barbers and Marcus makes sure his brother knows this.
63 AD – Marcus gets upset with Gaius over something minor – using it as an excuse - and cuts his arm deeply with one of the razors. Gaius loses at lot of blood while Marcus does nothing. Gaia, their mother, helps Gaius and Magnus is of course upset over this and wants Marcus gone. Gaia, Marcus’ mother, does not want him to leave, despite what he did. Marcus is still her son. But after the incident, the household feels different. Gaius recovers, but is afraid of Marcus and Marcus kind of enjoys that.
64 AD – Magnus is tired of Marcus and wants to kick him out. There is a fight in the household and Marcus ends up killing his mother’s husband. 19 years old, he is now the eldest in the household and makes sure that Gaia and Gaius will cover for him. No one blames him for the murder and by anyone else; the death is treated as an accident. Gaius however has a hard time forgiving his older brother. Marcus enjoys his rank in the household and uses threats to both his mother and brother to keep them submissive to him.
66 AD – After two years of mental and physical abuse (beatings and cuts with blades) from Marcus, Gaius will no longer stand for it. He leaves the house to go and tell about his brother, but makes the mistake of sharing the idea with his mother. Marcus forces her to tell where Gaius went and then follows Gaius and kills him, burying the body in the nearby woods. Gaia of course knows what happened and confronts Marcus with it, wanting him to stop with his violent behavior or she will tell. That doesn’t help. She ends up dead too and Marcus also hides her body before gathering all his belongings and he leaves the town behind him for good.
68 AD – Marcus arrives in Rome and settles down as a barber, pleased to start a new life in a place where no one knows him. He purchases a few cheap slaves from the market to become his assistants and now again has someone to abuse. Outwardly, towards free citizens of Rome, Marcus appears friendly and open and soon becomes a successful barber. Marcus takes in more and wealthier clients, pampering them with razors, strigils, lotions and oils and massages by his slaves.
69 AD – One of his slaves has gotten into trouble too many times with Marcus and before Marcus can punish him, the slave somehow gets his hands on a blade and slits his own throat. Marcus is very upset over this and now keeps his blades locked in a chest – and keeps the key around his neck. He vows to never have another slave take his or her own life in his house. Then of course Marcus just buys a new slave and continues as if nothing happened.
74 AD – Marcus does not know how many slaves he has owned and how many he has murdered because they didn’t act as he wanted them to. He has several of them now and is still a successful barber. He is far from poor now and has a fine home in Rome. Senators come to him to be pampered and he takes good care of them. A few people may sense that something is off about Marcus and wonder why he purchases so many slaves and what happens to some of them. And maybe one or two people have died because they knew too much and Marcus didn’t want them to tell… meaning that so far, no one really knows. Whether it can continue like this, time will tell…