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Aeterna Roma RPG


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Everything posted by Sharpie

  1. "Rome is the biggest city I've ever seen," Davus admitted, though he'd known only two others - but each of those others was a major centre of commerce and culture in its own right, too. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great nearly four hundred years ago, and he didn't know when Corinthos was founded but, being Greek, it was probably even older. And Rome was nearly eight hundred years old, from what he'd heard and worked out. "I'll come in with you - I can't spend too long, though." He really did have chores back home to do, and wouldn't he be for it if he was too late home to do any of them. He was probably in for an earful as it was, but he couldn't leave the pretty girl all alone in Rome. Anyone could see that!! "There's the gardens if you don't want to go shopping," he said. There were the shops and stalls if she didn't want to look at the gardens, too, of course. And if she did look at the shops and decide to buy something, she'd need someone to carry it for her, wouldn't she? Even though he'd seen that her body slave was following them, so she could probably carry anything that needed it, he didn't think Sosia had realised the girl was following them. He indicated the way in, making sure that Sosia's slave knew where they were and would be able to find them again. The inside of the Porticus Liviae was a bustling busy place, surely just the sort of place any girl would like? @Atrice
  2. "I don't believe we know for certain either way," Aulus admitted. "I suspect that they are local raiders who would probably steer clear but they have been prompted to do so in order for the government to see what our response is likely to be, which will give the Parthian government plausible deniability and make it look as if we're the aggressors if we respond. And in the meanwhile, innocent people living along the border are being needled little by little." And compared to Parthian cavalry - or even irregular local raiders on horseback - Roman infantry was slow and lumbering. Good when in place and able to respond, but slow to get somewhere - even at the vaunted marching pace of twenty-five miles in a day, they could not respond quick enough to the lightning-fast raids that Aulus understood were taking place in various places along the border. Set the troops up in one place, a raid would occur a few miles away and the perpetrators would be long gone by the time help arrived. Cavalry would be a good deterrent, but they just did not have enough mounted soldiers to be able to protect the entire border. "They are. Horses are highly prized among the peoples of that area, and are unlikely to be left unprotected." Diplomacy would be much the best solution, of course - it always was - but if these raids were done by locals, with or without official sanction from above, Aulus was not convinced diplomacy would be much help. He popped an olive into his mouth. A moment later he said, "And in the meantime, until it is stopped by whatever means, it is the locals who suffer - it may be designed to turn them against Rome as much as anything else. 'If the Romans can't protect you, we can...'" @Sarah
  3. Teutus nodded; he would certainly return and hash out the finer details when he actually needed the men, which he didn't at the moment. And from everything he had seen, he would prefer to hire from Spurius than one of the other slave-dealers; he could see the conditions that Spurius' slaves were kept in - the man had a good reputation for a reason, after all. He would probably come back, maybe even as soon as tomorrow, to see about getting a body-slave for his mother (the girl who had been doing the other woman's hair looked promising - but that was something he could think about later). With the addition of a clerk and a runner (or two!) Teutus would be able to concentrate on expanding his business without getting weighed down by the everyday banalities or having to drop something to take a message of his own somewhere. Well, that should please his father to no end! Arranging payment, once they'd agreed on the total to be paid, was straightforward enough, though Teutus couldn't help the feeling of relief that bubbled up once the arrangements were made and his mother was firmly his, and safe. "I thank you for your time, and I hope you likewise have a good afternoon," he said with a smile, returning the polite incline of the head. @Sarah
  4. "Of course," Aulus replied to her written question. "If there is anything you'd like to learn, I'm sure it can be arranged - just ask your mistress." He was sure she was an intelligent girl, and adding skills would make her more flexible and employable in the house, and add to her value. Though that wasn't something he really thought about, there was no need to sell her or part with her; she was a good, hard worker, as evidenced by the tidiness of the flowerbed where she'd been working. "You can tell your mistress if you have any problems, as well - or talk with Felix." Although 'talk' was probably completely the wrong word to use when she couldn't speak, of course. 'Communicate with Felix' just sounded clumsy. @Jenn
  5. Rufus tried not to wince or flinch as the medicus examined his ankle. He was trying to be gentle, but even the gentlest of touches in the wrong place hurt because it was so tender. "Litter-bearers - overbearing pushy sorts at the best of times," he said with a shrug. "I suppose because their passengers are too important to deign to walk anywhere like the rest of us mere mortals. and yet simply must get to the market to buy a length of fabric for a new dress, or whatever." At least the ankle wasn't outright broken, though being able to rest it would be almost as likely as for Rufus to grow wings and fly. "I'm a slave, there's not much chance of being able to rest it. Not for very long, anyway." And saying the words out loud would surely make the other aware that Rufus couldn't pay for his help - and most medici wanted payment for their time and knowledge. If this one didn't, he'd be the only one in Rome! @Chevi
  6. "It may come to nothing, of course, but there have been incursions of one sort or another along the border for a while, despite best efforts otherwise." He rested his forearms on the table's edge, and steepled his fingers. "Lightly-armed bands of raiders can easily evade our more heavily-armed troops, after all, and there are only so many cavalry auxiliaries with a legion. And building fortifications takes both time and money, though that may be a much lesser cost in the long run. And of course, they control a vast amount of trade on the Silk Road to the east, for things such as silk and spices." It was a pretty puzzle, of course - and those incursions might not come to anything in the end. Equally, they might be the precursor of another war, which he was not sure Rome could win. Even a few generations before, some of their greatest generals had been hard-pressed to win against the Parthians, for whom the 'Parthian shot' was named, and even a technical victory against the Parthian general Pyrrhus had been very nearly as costly as an outright defeat. @Sarah
  7. "Yes, for now - though I may need to hire some labourers at some point in the future, on a semi-regular basis - I have goods that come upriver from Ostia that need unloading, but we can talk about that later." He was trying not to be too impatient; he hadn't seen or spoken with his mother in eight years or more, and needed to talk with her. At the same time, he needed to build some sort of working relationship with Claudus; their respective warehouses were not very far apart and it would make more sense to hire work gangs when he needed them than to have to house and feed men when there was no work for them, or only a little work for them. He flipped open his own wax tablet and did some quick arithmetic. "I make the total for all four..." He named the price. @Sarah
  8. The races were always incredibly popular, but due to the heat and the location of today's event, there were not as many spectators as might be expected - which was one reason that Marcus had chosen today to be Azarion's debut. The boy evidently cared for the horses, that much was obvious just from watching him with them in the stables. He still had that slightly wild air about him that bespoke his barbarian origins - not that Marcus could fault him for that, not with his own background, though he was as Roman now as anyone. He grinned as Azarion gave an overly-cocky Blue charioteer the finger. He'd hold his own with them even if he couldn't speak. And then the horn sounded, the gates lifted and the race had begun. Seven thundering laps of the track,, each lap marked by a bronze egg to enable the spectators to see how many laps had been run. He didn't mind if Azarion didn't win today's race; he only hoped that he didn't end up in a shipwreck - they were almost inevitable, and Azarion was completely inexperienced. Still, everyone had to start somewhere, and this would be a good test of his skills and training. @Atrice @Sarah @Chevi
  9. "It's strange, though you're never exactly alone in Rome. There's always someone to bump into on the landing or yell at for being too loud upstairs - though I haven't got any problem with the upstairs people." He wasn't going to boast of the freedom he had now, that he'd never truly had before - she'd once had the same and it had been taken away. He couldn't rub her face in that. "I've got responsibilities as well, you know - I can't just pack everything up and head for Hispania or wherever. I think being out of the house has helped." He found he didn't want to leave Rome entirely and go somewhere completely different and thought that the slight distance between him and his father that even just living in an insular further down the hill had provided was helping. He wasn't sure it would help patch their relationship up, but they hadn't really had much of a relationship before so why would that change now? "And how are you getting on with the others in the house now?" he asked, wondering if her relationship with the master had changed her friendship with the other slaves. @Sara
  10. Teutus considered the question. "It's a bit more expensive than linen - it's made from a plant that grows in Egypt, but it's easier to make then linen. So... I don't think it's very expensive, but you won't see the poorer people wearing cotton tunics. Rich people and maybe even some of their slaves. The more important slaves, anyway, like maybe the secretary belonging to a senator. It's very good in summer when it's hot - the only thing that is as good is very fine linen, which is just as expensive." He looked at his brother in consideration. "If you know anyone in Rome who can sew, you can have some as a gift. I don't think you're likely to find our summers very easy if you're used to the weather in the north. It does get very hot here in summer." So hot that all those who could generally left the city to bake while they spent the hottest months in their country villas. Sending iron north was something Teutus was not sure of; a lot of iron came from the northern provinces in the first place and it would surely be idiotic to transport it all the way from Britannia or Gallia to Rome only to send it back north to Germania. But glassware came from south of Rome and would easily be sent north without a doubling back in its journey. "Do you know about ivory?" he asked, opening the door but pausing in the doorway. @Atrice
  11. Teutus couldn't help the startled laugh that bubbled up at Alexius' words. "I'll say they do, just take a look at my life if you want any more proof of it." He shrugged. "My father had some sort of relationship with one of his slaves when he was younger, which led to me being born, as a slave. Then he married but all he got from that was a girl before his wife died. Then he gets a crush on Charis and she has a boy... Is it any wonder I'm messed up, too?" He shrugged under the slave's ministrations. "No, you don't have to answer that one, it wasn't a serious question." And if Charis hadn't told Alexius the whole story, well, he'd be bound to put the pieces together somehow. Anyone could add two and two when things were plain enough. "At least with Rome, there are a lot of people here from all over the place, it's not as if you're the only person here who was born outside the Empire. Though that probably doesn't help much." @Atrice
  12. Teutus had heard of that but still found it a strange concept - but then, what else could you expect of barbarians! "So, what sort of things would your people find valuable - I remember you mentioned iron, I think, and glass?" He had little idea what else German barbarians might consider to be useful, that they could obtain from Rome and its empire. "I am still importing things like olive oil, which is the amphorae there," he said, as he led his brother into the warehouse. "And cotton over there - I don't want them close by each other because of the risk of fire, even though we are right by the river. You do know about cotton? It's a cloth from Egypt, finer and smoother than linen - though even Egyptian linen is very fine." The smaller and more valuable wares were deeper in the warehouse, through a locked door to which Teutus had the key. @Atrice
  13. "I'm sorry," Teutus told him. It was probably a common story among gladiators and others, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel sympathetic for someone who'd been caught up in that. And he knew a little of that neither one thing nor the other feeling, though not as it pertained to the actual people you belonged to; Teutus was as Roman as any free citizen, after all, speaking Latin with the fluency and accent of his Roman father. He couldn't imagine what it must have been like to return home to find things had changed so much that Alexius didn't fit with his own people any more. "And you haven't thought about going anywhere else in the Empire?" he asked out of curiosity, nodding as a slave with an oil bottle and strigil approached them. @Atrice
  14. "You passed it," Teutus said, with a smile. "It's on the first floor of the same insula where Alexius lives, one of those bigger apartments." His father hadn't been altogether happy that Teutus was moving into a place as common as an insula, but they had managed to compromise; Teutus hadn't needed a whole domus just for himself and would have been content with a one or two-room flat somewhere. A three-room flat in a decent insula in a good part of the city had left Tertius hopefully feeling not completely ignored and pushed out, and Teutus was settled in a place that did not feel ridiculously over-sized for just himself. Though he would probably move again if things went well; he was going to need a slave or two and a three-room flat would be on the small size for more than three people. "I'm glade you can get out more," he told her. He couldn't help wondering if his father was allowing her some of the small freedoms that he'd allowed Teutus, simply because she was the mother of his son. Who knew what went on in Tertius' head! @Sara
  15. Teutus glanced over the women in the cell, and felt his heart skip a beat as he saw the oldest of the women - she wasn't even that old, not really, just reaching middle age, perhaps. But he knew her - how could he not? He might not have seen her since he was a teen, but he would still recognise his own mother. He clasped his tabula tightly, so tightly his knuckles showed white, as he tried to push down his bubbling emotions. If the trader realised how much he wanted this woman, he would surely put her price up. "I know her - I knew her years ago. I'll take her," he said, doing his best to keep his voice even and the excitement off his face. Or maybe he wouldn't; despite his trade, Claudus seemed as humane as anyone Teutus had met, and far more so than a good number of other slave traders and dealers. How had his mother ended up here? What had happened to her since they'd last seen one another? He had a million questions and could not ask even one of them, not here and not now. In a very short while, once they were outside, he'd ask all of them and more. @Sarah
  16. "Music is a great pleasure, isn't it?" he said. To listen good singer or musician was a very enjoyable experience, after all, and one he did not get to indulge as often as he might have liked. "You would like to travel?" he said, looking down at her. "Is there anywhere in particular you would like to see, or does the place not matter so much as the journey there?" He couldn't help shrugging at her question. "Politics is work, of course. I like reading, or listening to someone else read, if they can do it well. I would quite like to see some more of the Empire - places like Ephesus and Antioch would be interesting, I think, and Alexandria, although senators aren't allowed to go to Egypt ever since Mark Antony went and set himself up with Cleopatra." Mark Antony probably wasn't the best subject to mention even in passing, not in this place dedicated to Augustus and his descendants, and Gaius gave the inscription an apologetic look. @Sara
  17. "You don't have to," Teutus said. "Though... thank you. I appreciate the offer, truly." He was vaguely glad that his father didn't often buy slaves; it meant that there were fewer slaves who had that next-to-no chance of freedom. He couldn't tell Charis he'd tried to persuade his father, twice, to free her and been shut down for it. "Do you know where to find me, if you need to?" he asked as they began walking again, the thought only just occurring to him though he'd said she was welcome to find him if she needed. If she did get out of the house and wasn't expected to return immediately, of course - he'd had some flexibility himself, thanks to his neither one thing nor another position within the household, but he didn't know if she had the same. @Sara
  18. "Oh, that is a very good way of putting it! Yes, I do feel that he's my responsibility rather than my brother, though he doesn't exactly help that. I sometimes think he feels I'm an antagonist rather than a brother, or something." He turned to look at her - perfectly turned out, expensively dressed... "I don't know how your brother comes to the same conclusion about you, though, unless it's simply the differences between men and women that he can't fathom." Gods knew there were enough of those to keep anyone puzzled. "What do you like to do? Stay in, go out, go shopping, go sightseeing?" How in the world were men and women supposed to negotiate this tangle of their very different spheres enough to build a solid marriage? Gaius supposed that was why the majority of marriages in their social stratum were arranged by the parents. @Sara
  19. "I imagine that it would be," Aulus agreed dryly. There were plenty of good strong marriages that had been built on nothing more than an arrangement between the parents of the happy couple, but equally there were plenty of arranged marriages that had ended in divorce when one partner or the other grew unhappy with the arrangement - or found that they had rather stronger feelings than they should for someone not their husband or wife. He studied the young man before him with growing respect. "The recent issues in Britannia and along the border with Germania seem to have been solved, but I am not altogether happy with the situation that seems to be developing along our border with Parthia. After all, they have an empire similar in size and power to ours, being the successor to Alexander, and where two such powers meet, there are often tensions. I think it would be well to keep a close eye on what is going on there." It would likely simmer for a while, of course, but there needed to be a quick and decisive response when - if! - things did come to a head. @Sarah
  20. Teutus noted that quick assessing glance, and approved of it. "You have been a tutor in a patrician family, I take it you speak Greek?" "Málista, kýrie." He also noted the slight stoop - he would benefit from a proper desk and chair, but that would be no great expense, especially as any clerk would need those anyway. "I don't have children for you to tutor, but I do have a business that requires neat methodical record-keeping and organisation. I daresay that is well within your capabilities." And having a Greek-speaking clerk would be equally beneficial when dealing with Phoenician traders and others from the eastern part of the Empire. The price named was a fair one for someone of his age and with his skills, too. "I will take him, likewise, thank you." * Μάλιστα κύριε - Yes, sir @Sarah
  21. "Indeed she was," Aulus agreed. "And you are quite right - it might be a responsibility, but that is no reason to rush. Most men have established their careers before they think about marriage, after all. You have at least ten years or so before you really need to think about taking a wife." Aulus had married at twenty-nine, but he was rather exceptional - he'd still been a Tribune and probably should have waited until returning to Rome, except he'd been in post in Greece and Horatia had been there and her father had not objected (nor had Aulus' parents, although he'd barely waited for them to receive the news and reply to his letter). "It is hard, when our society means that men and women live very different lives, but I would recommend finding someone you could consider to be a friend." He was not sure Horatia would appreciate him sharing any of her own slight eccentricities, and therefore refrained; she was very formal and aware of her position in society, and while he appreciated the keenness of her mind that didn't shy away from reading somewhat more unusual texts (in what world could a woman studying military texts be considered usual, after all?), he was not about to share a secret that wasn't his to share. He considered it a disservice that women were dissuaded from learning even theoretical things about the military and politics - but then, would they be content with just the theory? If that was allowed to all women, the exceptional women would then press for political and military careers of their own, and Rome could never withstand that. @Sarah
  22. "Not since yesterday?" No wonder he'd been in such a mess this morning when Teutus had knocked on his door! "We're not worth missing a meal over, Charis and me, you do know that? I suppose you didn't get much sleep either?" Fine, it was going to be a decent lunch at a decent sit-down thermopolium, then, rather than a mere quick takeaway from some grubby caupona or hot food stall. He joined Alexius on a marble bench in the tepidarium, stretching his legs out in front of him and leaning back on the wall behind him with a contented sigh. "So... how did you end up in Rome anyway? I mean, if you don't mind telling me. If you'd rather not, we can find something else to talk about. Like the weather." He managed a smile, glancing sideways at his friend to see how he would take the query. @Atrice
  23. "Yes - it's the building just there," Davus replied in answer to her query about whether they were anywhere near the Porticus Liviae. It was a pretty impressive building from the outside, situated on the lower slope of the Oppian Hill, which was one of the least impressive hills in Rome despite being one of the major seven that the city had been founded on. "It looks better from inside, admittedly," he added, though the outside was nothing to sneeze at, not really. But then, Rome was stuffed full of impressive buildings - all the temples, and the Circus Maximus and the new Flavian Amphitheatre - far more impressive buildings than it knew what to do with. "Well, if you stay in the better part of the city when you go walking your dog, you should be all right - though I wouldn't go out at night if you don't have to, it's very dark in places and there's all the traffic because they don't let carts and wagons and things in during the day," he said. Not that he really went out at night, most of his evening chores were in the house. It was pretty rare that his master went out after dark and needed someone to carry a torch for him to light the way. @Atrice
  24. "There are lots of things that are considered to be expensive in Rome," Teutus said. "A lot of spices come from very far away, which makes them expensive. Glass from Egypt, because it takes skill to make it and it's very delicate. There's a type of red pottery called Samian ware that's also expensive, for a similar reason. A lot of things are expensive just because they come from a very long way away and they're not available in big quantities, for one reason or another. Rarity pushes the price up - it must be the same in Germania too?" He wondered what the Germans prized - he knew that they had amber that far north, though whether they traded for it or produced it themselves was something he didn't know. Amber would be very rare in Rome, but it was not completely unknown. "Let's go and have a look, shall we?" he suggested. @Atrice
  25. Well, that answered that; he'd been told! Aulus managed a smile. "Well, you're a good girl and a hard worker. I just wondered if there was anything you particularly liked to do and would like to do more of? Or are there any skills you would like to learn?" He wasn't sure why he was bothering so much about a slave - Horatia would probably think he had gone soft! On the other hand, Horatia knew him best of anybody and wouldn't think that because she'd seen him in his quiet moments with the children. It would be Cassius Longinus and Sulpicius Rufus who would think he'd gone soft, and neither of them were here to witness this conversation, thank Jupiter. @Jenn
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