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  1. "I bet it's a crazy story," Titus said appreciatively, finishing a square of placenta and reaching for another from Aulus' hands; it proved a bit much to both take big steps to keep up with his father and also coordinate things, so he was glad when Aulus slowed down a little bit. Indeed, he'd taken just a bit easier to Felix than to Aulus on return, though that still wasn't saying much; he was around and doing not-business-stuff a little more often, and he had none of the mystique that Aulus-as-father had about him. Felix said once, too, that he sort-of remembered him from when he was just a wee Titulus, which helped the process of making friends a little bit because people your parents trusted that far back were probably good for you. Felix was also quiet but not in the really judgmental sort of way that some adults with important stuff to do could be; Felix quietness was more like a curious quietness, like listening all the time. Or maybe it was just that he was a slave in general? Titus still felt a little self-conscious about asking him for anything other than basic quick things that didn't eat up too much time -- not because he was under any delusions about relative rank or anything, but just because he was so ... big, and always seemed to have more of his stuff together than Titus did. More stuff to do, and so on. He never told anyone because it was probably silly, all things considered. Even the small Calpurnia would laugh at him. "How long do you think it takes to find a friend like Felix? I'm not really good at making them yet," said Titus, just a bit glumly. "There's Calpurnia, but she's a sister, so that's different." The truth was that his lack of a strong, internalized secure base from which to explore his world meant that he found it intimidating to let people get too close -- there was always something he wasn't telling someone, which meant that he'd never really forged a profound bond with anyone other than his sibling, whose closeness to him was mostly a function of the fact she was the small Calpurnia and those were little and fwubsy (which was for sure a word) and needed him. Already people he knew talked about 'liking' girls or boys or whatever in some mystical, arcane kind of 'that way'; he didn't get it. What did they mean, that way? There was just liking, like you meet and you go oh that's a neat person, and then there was brother-type liking, like he liked the small Calpurnia even though sometimes she was annoying, and then there was parent type liking, like Mama liked him, and then there was marriage liking, like Grandfather and Grandmother, or like his mother and father. Also drama liking, like when someone in a story liked someone else's wife and wanted for her to be his wife and they couldn't just share because it was illegal. Surely that was already enough likings for people? What was this 'like that' liking that had his playmates segregating themselves into single-gender groups to whisper about it? Was he just ... dumb? No, he had some vague inkling of an idea, but it hadn't quite come in yet, like his understanding of poetry.
  2. Hillel ben Elazar, alias Tertius Rufus Helios. 26 | 24 october 48 CE / 18 cheshvan 3808 AM | Equite | Rabbi | I don't think he knows any more about his sexuality than any of us do | Original | FC pending <600x300> Personality. Hillel is relatively serene and unflappable as a person, having seen more than enough to stop being surprised by many things. He's fairly quiet and seems to constantly be watching and analyzing the world when he's emotionally present; when he's not, he can be somewhat dense, walking into things and calling people by the wrong names. Although he's insistent in arguments, he seems tactful enough, and hesitates in general to raise his voice at anyone. He's definitely one of the types of people who are scariest in their lower decibel range. He does have a strong capacity for empathy and is fairly secure in himself and his identity, but he quickly gets impatient with people whose choices and conversational flow don't seem to be internally coherent and socially correct to him, having got used to a certain kind of civilized, informed debate that's just quite hard to replicate outside the academic context. Likely because of the same, he tends to make oblique and somewhat indirect insults that don't necessarily translate well across the cultural context; a proper Roman would go for something Catullean in tone and scope, and Hillel will sound like he's declaiming oratory (part of this is because of how non-native speakers in general tend to formality, and part is just a class thing). "Pathice! Cinaede!" "My most esteemed interlocutor, it is said that it is the height of ignobility to speak of what is done in the privacy of one's own home, which cannot be known with any certainty by those uninvited within at the time of its doing... which is just as well, for were I to begin a list of your own dishonourable acts, which were done in my sight or the sight of reliable witnesses, I should still be writing it on the arrival of the Messiah." On the other hand, he's oblivious to his own eccentricities and does tend towards a superstitious kind of paranoia; during conversations he can keep it in check pretty well, but he makes his own protective charms and isn't particularly shy about handing them out to people he doesn't want to see hurt. There's some imposter syndrome sitting in there somewhere, but he keeps it under control and it usually shows up solely by comparison to more successful people in his own family; in general, people can choke, as long as they're not people who know to compare him to siblings or cousins to get under his skin. For the most part his ritualized demon-warding, strictly organized prayer, fastidious obsession with ritual cleanliness, carrying of a curved dagger strapped somewhere on his person at all times, lack of awareness (for the moment) of things that Urban Aristocracy Does Not Do, and insistence on personal space seems perfectly commonsense ... to Judeans and Syrians. Romans likely see it as the provincial superstition of a variety of person that hasn't quite internalized what it means to be a high-class citizen yet, and look at it in the same way that people swept up in the Konmari craze would look at someone with a hoarding complex inherited from Eastern European immigrant grandparents. Never mind that technically his family have been citizens since Hasmonean times, when a bunch of local aristocracy was handed citizenships to keep them in line -- that was ages ago and barely anyone is actually keeping track, especially among upper-crust rabbinical families, who pretty much looked at their new papers, shrugged, and proceeded to use the scrollcases as paperweights, all the while mispronouncing their citizen names. At the moment, he seems to be in a sort of fit of melancholy or mourning, but in general when he's at his best he emanates the same sort of non-fool-suffering I-am-as-I-am energy as, say, Verka Serduchka. Appearance Hillel is fairly tall for somebody at the time, just about five feet eight inches or so, and has a sort of warm honey-coloured skin tone, dark enough to be clearly recognizable as Foreign. He's also intersex (though socially mostly male), with an androgynous willowy body shape, feminine hands, and hips and shoulders both slightly broader than his waist. He doesn't seem to have strongly expressed secondary sexual characteristics of any kind; no beard yet, even at his age, though he does have thin, dark hair on his forearms and what some have described as a Tender Gaze (tm). His eyes are a dark brown like beach glass, set such that he's got that "natural eyeshadow" look going, and his nose is straight, not imparting any particular degree of socially desirable birdlikeness to his face at all no matter where you look from. His hair seems to do what it wants to do; though it curls close to his head, as it gets longer (like it's been allowed to do for religious reasons in front of his ears) it sort of does a dramatic wavey thing that defies all attempts to keep it in place short of actually braiding it. There's just not any helping the stuff. As for colour, he seems to have inherited some interesting phenotypical silliness, with dark hairs interspersed fairly evenly with cinnamon-coloured ones and sometimes the same hair banded differently in different places along the strand; it's more noticeable at the temples, such that it looks like he's got agouti sidelocks. It's clearly predominantly clothing that distinguishes his performed gender; if he were to pin his long strands back behind his head and put on a veil, as opposed to wearing a tunic, man's kaftan or over-robe and some sort of headcover as appropriate to the occasion, people would quite naturally assume they were looking at a lady. Family Father: one R" Elazar (having a citizen's name C. Rufus Aristiades or something such) Mother: Ruhama (who knows what her legal name was -- she certainly has never used it in her life outside of court, which she never went to because her culture has a whole thing about snitches getting stitches and rabbinical courts having primacy) Siblings: Many, but none of them were particularly close. They'll come up sporadically, but probably not ever really end up in wanteds. I promise to keep them straight and dutifully edit them in here. Spouse: Hillel was ordained with the understanding that he'd soon thereafter marry someone who was picked for him in childhood, but she died of cholera, so that was fun. No spouses yet. Children: No children yet. Extended family: The family Hillel is aware of has a number of branches, all granted citizenships at various distant historical points - one in Alexandria, one still in Judea, one in Syria and one specifically localized in Thessalonica. They haven't communicated outside of pilgrimage festivals and weddings for maybe a century now, if not longer. There is, though, Mariamne - second cousin, current host. Hillel thinks she finds him embarrassing and does his best not to interfere with whatever life she's built for herself, but he also knows, in the way you know because some kibitzing aunt has filled you in, that she has Thessalonian expectations of how her life at Rome will pan out and Thessalonica is not Rome. The behaviours she finds gratingly provincial he thinks are the bare minimum he can do out of familial piety; it's sort of a cultural disconnect. She probably doesn't even think about it, or if she does she interprets it as coldness, but he understands the two of them as potential marital partners (matchmaking is the Jewish aunt's national pastime, so probably so does the family) and tries to be modest around her accordingly. It's probable that she'll come to think he likes her because he acts like there's a grandmother watching at all times -- and there is. She's not a she but an it-singular-they-sometimes-he, and her name is G-d Almighty. Other: Ima Shalom, Dvora, Yael: mother's co-wives; married during a period of political instability, i.e. under conditions that wouldn't typically happen. Elazar probably would've been fine with just the one wife, but family connections pressured him to take in his other wives' fathers as clients under Roman law and then marry their daughters per halacha to restore some semblance of equality to the relationships. Hillel regards them as aunts and has been exposed enough to more rural regions that he doesn't think polygyny is an odd thing at all; illegal under Roman law is one thing, but that's what marrying the first one and taking the other three permitted partners as concubines is for. As long as everyone is phenotypically similar-ish, it doesn't matter who actually had the baby vs who legally is the mother, etc... It doesn't hurt shalom malchus if the country doesn't know.~ Halafta: close personal confidant, teacher, ordaining rabbi; the sort of uncle figure a person might become if he's your father's childhood study partner, which in these times is a relationship almost like sworn brotherhood. Hillel has one of those weird relationships going where your actual father is somewhat emotionally distant for work reasons (in this case because he's a rosh yeshiva, so it's really more like when your emotionally neglectful mother teaches kindergarten ... er, college ... yeah), and you end up calling him sir and avoiding him at dinner and then some random non-blood uncle gets all the fridge art and the intimate awareness of your love life. Confucius: fully C. Ventidius Confucius, this last a bastardization of a Seric full name (who knows what that may have been); the family were relations of Chinese envoys to Parthia (probably personally knew the same Gan family that produced Gan Ying) and eventually came to emigrate properly onto Roman territory, with the helpful sponsorship of political friends. Confucius is Hillel's most problematic and therefore favourite student -- his parents, having settled into their new home, were properly enthused with Judaism and promptly converted because there was no particular ban at the time, but he sort of already, you know, existed, which meant that he'd had some years already of living in a different cultural context... they, ah, weren't particularly attentive to the special needs of immigrant children, or really to any needs other than making it big in a new economy. Confucius is the reason Hillel is sulking; some time before Hillel left Judea, Confucius disappeared. He might only be about 8 years younger, but in Hillel's mind he's babey, and the world is very dangerous, and all he wants to do is learn all about plants, and heaven help him ... There is the probability that he's gone to Rome because that's the urban center of the Western world and therefore a great place to learn about oneself, but there's only so much mobility a Hillel can have, and there are gangs in the city. Yelek - Cat. Baby boye. Little goblin; often found riding on Hillel's shoulder. Hillel found him about six years ago, drowning in a jar of oil he fell into out of curiosity. He pulled him out, dried him off and kept him in relative luxury after that. He later smuggled him across terrestrial and nautical provincial borders without a declaration -- no mean feat, considering. History Jerusalem, 48 CE - Birth. Quite an unremarkable event, other than the auspicious birthdate. The mother was fine, her co-wives having midwifed; the father was absent, pacing anxiously in the atrium because the superstition had it that the father being in the room during the birth was just asking for demons, etc. Childhood, generally - likewise quite unremarkable other than the existential peril hanging over everyone financing rebels, characterized by a much stronger loyalty to Israel-the-nation than Rome. 61 - Hillel is now officially bar mitzvah'd, amid Profoundly Worrying Developments, and begins formally studying astronomy, religious law and other things typical of a high-class contemporary Jewish education with various levels of furtiveness as appropriate to the nature of the learning. The family has managed to stay largely out of direct participation in the conflict, dragging the appropriate relations out of militarized zones and to safety; they're definitely financing their side, though, and circa this point in time begin to worry about reprisals. 62 -Neeeeevermind hahahaha okay the Temple ... is gone. The Temple is gone. Mass panic. Everybody panic, as panic as you can panic. New plan: reorganize. Component of new plan: begin taking stock of who died and rearranging marriages accordingly. Okay. No problem. Let's keep him with his family while Elazar teaches; fragmenting nation needs leadership, especially now that nothing is dragging rural peasantry to show their faces in a Jewish context as frequently as they can afford. 65 - babey is rabbey. Damcign queem omly sevemteeme -- young, but not unusual for his lineage. Not that it helps. Babey is given charge of some of father's and teacher's students, and then sent with them to a town in Galilee somewhere -- ostensibly it's supposed to teach him that amei haaretz are people too, but actually it's to protect the lot of them from the suddenly increased Presence in the city. Elazar probably thought he'd be fine to stay, but Ruhama knew their son better than that. 65-72 - babey lives in Arba'a Shearim, a small and fully fictional Galilean town, running a little tiny acabemy. A proportion of people living there are deaf, because that eventually happens out in the sticks when the ideal wife has been a father's brother's daughter for that many generations, and thus babey picks up a sign language, which, to kill time while he's marooned in the void far from home and even Jewish ideas of civilization doing what amounts to humanitarian work, he proceeds to standardize. Babey could marry, if he were less scrupulous, but big-city halachic training informs him he can't marry a nonverbal deaf person, so he doesn't. He would if he could, though -- not necessarily for love so much as to provide all the deserving people there with a better life than they're having. At some point in this period, babey acquires and learns to use his knife, and also earns a byname from the elders of the village, Hardona (large lizard, monitor, crocodile -- for sedate ambush predator-like debate tactics more than any real personal aggression ). 73 - oh shit, Confucius! My fawn! My completely platonic, entirely fraternal little dove! What do you mean you're gone?! Where would you go?! 74 - Still no sign of babey, but now family has judged that it's safe to crawl out of hiding. Immediately decides to send Hillel on Business, since, of course, he's not married -- he hands his students off to his on-and-off study partner he hasn't seen in seven years, girds his loins and goes, because he can't actually directly contravene his father. Hillel Takes Broadway: The Musical: The Movie begins roughly from there.
  3. @Sharpie It clicked. A little later than it ought to have done, but he was thirteen, and more or less swept up in being parented; when it did, he felt the oddest mix of oh, I'm stupid and wow, I'm pretty clever if I do say so myself. The intellectual side of things was rather quickly sidelined by the aforementioned awareness of sonhood; Titus took another bite of placenta and unconsciously sidled closer to Aulus' hip so as to be squished closer to him, from where he could probably better absorb the important message about difficult choices. Yeah. "I guess it's good that that sort of thing doesn't happen often. I hope I don't have to make choices like that any time soon... I'm kind of not sure what they might be, but as of now, um, when I have to decide important things I sort of freeze up for a while. I think it would be pretty bad to freeze up if I had to decide anything that decided anything about someone's life, you know ... ?" The confession took a bit of effort, but less than earlier -- he was a broadly trusting sort of child, even if there was a deep-rooted suspicion in there somewhere that happy things were temporary, born of craving stability for so long. If he'd made a couple mistakes or rambled a few times and his father was still here, then that meant that he was generally forgiving enough that Titus could loosen up just a bit. "Where did you get all that courage and decisiveness? I bet it took a lot. I've just been assuming it comes with age, but I'm already thirteen years old and I can't even quickly decide that I want placenta, you know? Like, what if you don't like placenta, and then I only find out because I'm here eating and you want a snack too but you don't like mine and," quieter for Aulus' dignity's sake, "you don't want to openly buy like a huge box of globuli for just yourself?" Another bite -- it was good darn pastry, and it helped ground him when he was talking about something uncertain like this, like a socially acceptable fidgeting outlet.
  4. Titus didn't have hands big enough to hold all these pastries, and didn't really want to get any honey on his tunic -- it was water-soluble and all, but he just hated feeling grimy. The urge to be strong and self-sufficient was also firmly entrenched in his psyche, so it was kind of a struggle deciding. In the end he figured that his father would want him to think practically and only make sacrifices for the sake of social face when they were genuinely important; pastries were not quite so very vital to continued survival as that, though they did make it more fun, so he solemnly handed them off, making brief eye contact as though daring the very gods to find an objection. Lucius Junius Brutus ... umm, hmm. Oh! "He founded the republic," the boy said solemnly, at length. "He was called Brutus because he pretended to be stupid so that the king wouldn't know that he was upset that he executed a lot of people they were both related to, because I guess Tarquinius really was stupid and didn't think anyone would be, but he really wasn't stupid - it turned out to be an ironic cognomen, like in a story or something. He was just waiting for the right time to, you know, find... found the republic. And the reason that we know that the gods were behind it is because Tarquinius' sons, you know the king's, they went with Brutus to the oracle at Delphi. And they asked her who would be king next, and she said, the first one of you to kiss your mother will be the most powerful one in Rome. So everyone thinks she means the king, and also their actual mother, but Brutus pretended to trip and kissed the ground, like mother earth, and then after he overthrew the monarchy and became the first consul. So it was like a sign. Yeah." This somewhat sanitized account wasn't really a product of the educational system so much as it was Titus wanting not to discuss anything too unbecoming (being a young boy, topics like ravishments and takeovers tended to drive him to embellish when he did talk about them, a byproduct of age and also liking to play Romans and Barbarians) -- and just to be extra sure, he took and bit into a square of placenta. Can't drive me into conversational territory I'm bad at sounding like a grownup in if I can't talk! Just as good as he thought it would be, here. Like ambrosia, by comparison to the stuff out in Raetia... but then that was kind of to be expected, since sweets were always better when the tribe that made them up made them. Or maybe things were just best when they were Roman, in general.
  5. @SharpieTitus listened quietly. He'd heard the story of why Tatta had to leave before, but never from him, for obvious reasons, and hearing it told from his perspective that way was ... sort of eye-opening. Tatta was just like the heroes in the stories from his childhood - which made sense, considering most of them were direct ancestors, some of whom shared his combination of praenomen, nomen and cognomen, but still! He'd always told himself that the reasons were noble and he shouldn't be too upset, but now that he knew just how strongly his father felt about that sort of thing, it was a bit easier to feel open with him. Titus would probably have done the same thing. Of course he would've done the same thing, actually -- it would be the honourable thing to do. Especially if your friend the emperor your commander needed you. "Yes, I've heard of Marcus Junius Brutus..." And now he was comparing Marcus Junius Brutus' plot to assassinate Caesar to a Euripidean play! Titus was sure that there were more educated and cooler comparisons to make, because obviously his father had studied more, but he was trying to explain things at his level, which most adults did only if they were being a) awful (something Titus could completely rule out from Aulus) or b) trying to include him in adult things (which was probably happening now). It was ... so ... good. He almost missed the offer of victuals, though his nose led him to the conclusion that that was what they'd stopped for, anyways -- he made a little 'oh' of surprise and joy, then scrutinized the baker's stall for edibles, checking behind his back as furtively as he could to see if his father approved of his choice. He wasn't no little punk with no little punk tastes! Honey cakes ... globuli ... honey cakes ... globuli... placenta! A whole baking sheet of squares of placenta! Definitely not little punk tastes. "Before you start on Brutus so that I don't interrupt you, let's have a few squares of placenta, all right?" His best sweet, wholesome Ganymedean beseeching glance -- small Calpurnia would be proud. Not that he was lacking in the right emotion to put behind it; he just wasn't confident that if he let himself grin like he normally would, it wouldn't come out like some gap-toothed barbarian abomination expression. ... Not that he really minded at tis age if it did. Anything for quality layered dough pastry! It must be even better here than in Augusta Vindelicorum!
  6. Julia Mariamne 22 |Tu b'Av 3812 / 29 July, 52AD| Equite - no tenable relation to the patrician branch of gens Julia; the family was sponsored into citizenship centuries ago | upscale landlady, jeweller, dealer in luxury goods | Asexual| Original | Sharon Fauster "that's a nice inn" "her eyes are crooked" " B O I " Personality. A very commonsense sort of individual, unlikely to be swayed by either threats or attempts at ingratiation. Mariamne figures that if you're going to do something, you should do it on purpose and with intent to succeed or not do it at all; she has an intrinsic pragmatism about her, but if she ever succumbs to hedonism she does it ... bigly. Not, obviously, to an immodest extent -- okay, actually, yes to an immodest extent if you consult Judean Jews, but her family has been so far removed from them for so long that, you know, she's a little past the point where she's asking anyone. We're borderline talking about different traditional customs here; she'd never think about eating a locust (so many legs!), she's interculturally competent, reasonably educated, and has never actually dealt with anything that the rabbinical class in Judea and Syria dealt with on any meaningful scale. No Trauma Here. No particular inclination to hand out graces just because people have been traumatized, either; war is war, and you've got to pick yourself up and make the best of your situation, and she'll help, but not if all you want to do is feel sorry for yourself. Mariamne is a very free spirit and can be lazy, theatrical and even somewhat emotionally volatile at times; she acts mostly in the same way towards everyone she encounters, minus the obligatory reverances due to the higher classes of the society she benefits from. Although completely naive to whatever physical charms she might have -- which are not inconsiderable -- she is aware that the classy surroundings she tends to attract value certain traits, and can display them for protracted lengths of time as necessity arises. It helps that she has no interest in the sorts of things that would drive someone to be immodest deliberately. She seems to generally be a very fair person, forming close attachments without concern about distinctions in social class; it's likely she'll come to personally know her renters and set aside bits of income to help them through tough times, probably even seek authorization from family to patronize some of them and help the peregrini to citizenship. She might not actually get it, depending on the family ledger and her budget at the time, but she'll sure try. Appearance A Hellenized Jew from Thessalonica whose family gained their income-bracket citizenship pretty much a generation after Rome showed up, which was, oh, centuries ago -- and shows in how well-fed and generally aesthetic she is. Neither particularly slim nor particularly broad, although well-endowed, she has hips and shoulders slightly wider than her waist, relatively but not in an absolute sense thin wrists and ankles, and a well-proportioned face with a straight nose, defined lips and thick brows. Mariamne has strikingly blue eyes, which might look green or grey in certain lights, and keeps nearly-black-but-not-quite hair in a haphazardly pinned up braided bun for efficiency. Her skin is pale with time spent indoors, with a yellow undertone and the potential to tan gold if she'd just stop carrying a parasol everywhere in the traditional belief that looking like an indoor gremlin is beautiful. She dresses well and has a distinctly Thessalonian-merchant-family fashion sense characterized by pairing together imported clothing items that wouldn't be paired in their native lands (if they'd be seen on the same person at all), which is no problem at Rome, where a sort of equivalent to Chinoiserie, if tastefully done, shows refinement, class and considerable wealth. All of these she has -- though not really just "she" but the family at large, which sent her to Rome to manage property on a recently deceased in-law's behalf. You can tell she really likes draping fabrics and layers, and two-pieces paired with shawls to cover the head and arms seem to be her Thing. Family Father: Tiberius Julius Phaedo, son of Ozymandias Mother: Julia Berenice, daughter of Alexander [ parents were cousins ] Siblings: Gaius Cassius Hemina Ozymandias - thirty; roundly pragmatic; skyrocketed socially via a solid patron (one Aulus Cassius Hemina) and close family friend who adopted him legally. He then married Scribonia Hirundo, who converted more or less for that reason, since his olive orchards and naval insurance business were producing a steady income and he was rich to begin with (also because P. Scribonius Hirundo said so). Alas, 'twas not to be. She's dead. Ozy is... not taking it well, frequently writes Mariamne rambling letters. Several stillborn siblings in between. Lucius Tiberius Nehemias - sixteen; dreams big dreams, hopes big hopes, but hasn't been allowed to leave home in Thessalonica despite the legal adulthood because he's too immature to handle himself outside and people are afraid he'll do something silly like start a detective consultancy, or contract an exogamous marriage (or a venereal disease). He doesn't mind; it gives him more time to bully Herodias and chase girls. He's also kind of more of a person than that, but no one really wants to see it past all the idealization inherent to surviving children after several stillbirths. Herodias - named after that Herodias, and deeply resentful of it, because she's all of fourteen years old and you cannot inflict that on a child of that age, come on Berenice. Spouse: Mariamne's steadily refused to get married thus far; at home she said it was because she loved her father and didn't want to leave his house, and now she tells people it's because no one around is Jewish. She cultivates a sort of mystical-pragmatic aura to try to discourage people from making suits. Children: zip Extended family: Hillel ben Elazar, alias Tertius Rufus Helios - twenty-six-year-old second cousin; the family's branches (father and mother's branches, Hillel's branch, and some Alexandrians somewhere in the void) haven't really communicated with any more frequency than during festivals for about a century. Mariamne privately thinks that's great; Hillel seems like a rabid fanatic to her, with his insistence on not touching women or easily letting her go anywhere alone, his staunch refusal to eat with "idolaters" even if she says he can just eat the vegetarian entrees, and his quietly resentful attitude towards government. Why be so salty about something you can't change? She understands that he's gone through a lot, but she can't know what unless he opens up, damn it. His family was intimately involved with the Temple and quietly (as politically-savvy folk are wont to do) provided aid to Their Boys during the Jewish War. After Jerusalem fell, they went on pretending to just be reasonably wealthy merchants and moneylenders; after all, what else could one do if that was one's image? They even accepted the sort of offers of citizenship extended to client aristocracy during the Hasmonean period - there's no undoing that. Hillel was understandably raised quite committed to perpetuating the tradition and deepening the social chasm between amei haaretz (the sort of quasi-committed superstitious Jews that most people were, Mariamne's family included) and talmidei chachamim (the sorts of devout people who would only be lionized for their efforts at cultural preservation after they died and, while alive, were apt to bribe police to not arrest them for subversive political activity). He's also a whole entire rabbi with big boy opinions, which ... you know, it kind of doesn't bode well. They decided against taking chances and, having heard that one of cousin Phaedo's children was taking over a fortuitously gained Roman property, decided it'd be a great opportunity for him to increase their social standing -- at least as far as Mariamne knows. They didn't take into account that this could be Phaedo's daughter, and not his son. But hey! It's nice that it is! She seems like a good girl! Maybe she'll marry their boy and he can teach Torah somewhere, um, else! Other: Scribonia Hirundo - proselyte, distant branch descendant of a centuries-ago governor (her branch of the family remained in Macedonia and established a noble presence there -- I'm doing the inventy-cousiny thing that a lot of shows do to justify random equites crawling out of the woodwork). Married Ozymandias, Mariamne's brother, then had a daughter, then inherited property at Rome, then died in labour. She anticipated this and left her inherited property at Rome to Mariamne out of sororal fondness - and possibly more, though she's dead, so we can't know that. In that period it seemed to be acceptable for proselytes not to take on any sort of distinguishing name; the sage Onkelos (possibly the same person as Aquila of Sinope, definitely an Aramaization of some derivative of Aquila) didn't bother, and neither did Hirundo. Fido ("loyal" - Latin ) - five-year-old molosser, given to her as a guard dog but presently kept a bit more companionably. Yelek ("locust nymph"; slight pun on "Yeled", 'boy') - technically Hillel's cat, but nothing is stopping Mariamne from pampering him to death. She'd have preferred he be a stoat or something else fashionable, but what can one do? Cassia Anna - five-year-old niece, placed under her guardianship for stability and out of her parents' desperation to awaken something like a nurturing instinct in there somewhere. Slaves - hairdresser, esthetician, accountant, nursemaid, housekeeper, personal bodyguards, security who may have been previously attached to Scribonia's rental buildings. Might eventually get tossed up as wanteds, if enough people like her to be that close to her. History 52 CE - birth. The family was well-placed, the father eschewing a political career for something more stable, and Mariamne's mother spent most of her time in Thessalonica, so she had time to grow attached to it as "her" city and make plenty of friends as appropriate to her social station. She grew up speaking Greek (code-switching freely between the Macedonian and prestige dialect depending on if she was talking to locals) and learning Latin. Her fondest memories are of playing rich merchants with her brothers, and learning the ins and outs of running a business by watching; the family's diverse investments meant they had a lot of different socialite friends with distinctive social and cultural backgrounds. Some of those friends and many of their slaves spoke languages that weren't spoken in Thessalonica but were thought to be potentially useful later; thus Mariamne picked up Syriac/Aramaic, rudiments of Gaulish, snatches of what the native Egyptian language had come to and Nubian. 64 CE - considered to have come of age; parents began searching for marriage proposals, father decides he'll teach her what he knows of religious scholarship, being that plenty of perfectly eligible people would be emigrating from the Homeland (tm) right about then and they tended to look for pious wives. She took it seriously, she promises. She just didn't want to make more lifestyle changes on top of the stringencies her family already observed. VAGUELY ONWARD - Mariamne rejected a few people, horribly embarrassed herself in front of one or two of the people she actually liked, and just generally was Mariamne. She was well educated, with a focus on natural sciences that some might have found eccentric, and at least in theory could competently provide medical care/talk about the stars/have literary discussions/do her own taxes. At some point, a relative taught her to work with gems and precious metals, and she started generating income with her craft, as one does. Sometime in 68, Ozymandias got married to an heiress and she came to know his wife well, helping name her niece and generally being a good relative to have. Circa 73, Ozymandias' wife died, and it took until 74 for the family to finally hear back from the law about the execution of her will. Mariamne got the apartments and office at Rome and Scribonia's diary; Ozymandias got the vineyards and accompanying latifundium that her father gave her as a dowry; Nehemias got a court-ordered smack on the wrist (it was in the will), a letter of recommendation to a relative with friends in the legal profession who could set him up for that criminal investigator career he wants, and a letter (read out in public, to the great amusement of the court) urging him to stop being babey; Herodias got some hairpins and the other things that were technically Scribonia's to give were summarily handed around to relatives in the gens of her birth. Mariamne then travelled to Rome, settling in the Piscina Publica neighbourhood; she lives with her slaves, her niece and Country Cousin [tm] in the spacious, ornately decorated flat above her store building, partly on an allowance from family and partly on what income she can generate already. She considers this, rightfully, living below her means -- but being in the city on such short notice and neither having the slaves nor being able to quickly collect the assets to purchase a domus can do that to you. It's not that she minds, really. She also rents out a classy housing complex and some shops in the nearby subura to build up capital. This is a great way for characters of any class Equite or below to meet her -- although renting property from her might be, let's say, a bit pricey for destitute plebeians. Her lower-class contacts are likely to come to her because they run protection rackets she has no qualms with paying into. She probably is also trying to make as many high-status friends as she can, and has internalized the general adage that if you overdress for a party you weren't invited to, people will make the assumption that you're stopping in to say hello to fashionable friends before hurrying somewhere better. Mim | EST | Discord
  7. @Sharpie Titus trailed after Aulus mostly in silence after that, admiring the fact that they existed in the same space and separately anxious about how he should act so as to not lose what limited favour he thought he had. Or had he already lost it going off like that? Was that too much in too short a span of time? He didn't frequently see actual relatives because the bulk of them - even the new ones he was only now meeting - had careers to attend to and were busy doing things that he was still too young to do. He didn't know. He kind of thought he might win it back if he was quiet and a little more reserved. Occasionally they would pass something that he'd definitely never seen before, and Titus would keep his awe to himself, because -- and he'd known that before, but now it was attenuated -- it was kind of boorish to express too much of it. Except maybe in poetry, but he didn't really get that yet. When his father finally spoke up again it startled him out of a sort of daze, and he did his best to pretend that he hadn't been in that either, scrambling mentally for answers but outwardly trying to stay composed. "I like to think I'm not a bad student." Was that a good answer? He really wasn't -- he could do arithmetic fine, even 'very well', and had put one of the few things he'd had time to learn personally from his grandfather (i.e. the place-memory trick) to very good use memorizing speeches and poems, and he was attentive to lectures even when the topics seemed to have nothing to do with anything. He suspected that was quickly becoming not enough -- before the move to Rome, which had begun sort of a Dog Days period of not really doing much in an educational context, his tutor in Raetia had told him he should begin to read didactic texts about poetry. He'd been good about going through them, and they were interesting even though the "click" of understanding and internalization hadn't really dawned on him yet. "Do you like ... um," despite his awareness that filler words weren't good, it was this or swallow his tongue, "literary criticism? I don't remember you ever really talking about that with me before, but maybe I just didn't get there yet. I read 'Phoenician Women' for my tutor a bit before we came and, um, I don't get what the point was of making it so ... tragic. I understand that it's supposed to be about how it's difficult to balance duty to family with duty to the state and, um, the pursuit of happiness... but it's just so dismal. Why did Euripides choose to write it that way? I don't think we're supposed to do meta stuff yet, that's supposed to be for ... well, technically now, as in starting this year, but ... did ... um, do you know if he was in a big war or something like that? Was he in a situation where he had to choose between those things? Or do you not have to have lived something on that kind of scale to write about it? I thought ... you might know, since you did all this ages ago and, um," he glanced up doeishly, "you've seen... a lot of this kind of thing for real."
  8. "I remember the house," said Titus truthfully; maybe it was best to branch out and begin from there. That was how Grandfather taught him to memorize things -- pick a long walk and imagine the ideas as objects along it, that you can see and touch. If he started at the house, then he would definitely recall something contextually appropriate...! "You know, the house. Ours." It occurred to him that all his memories of it weren't really dignified enough to bother his father with -- there was watching baby Calpurnia to make sure that she didn't fall in the impluvium and drown (as Calpurnias, Titus imagined, were wont to do if one but gave them a second's time to do it, nevermind that it wasn't really that deep), and then playing with the guard dog, and that time that he fell asleep in the lararium, and that time that he knocked a bust into the impluvium (he maintained that that wasn't his fault)... but all of that was so mundane. He didn't remember doing anything cool in there. To be fair he'd been nine at the time -- but then, when 'the time' was only a couple years ago, one never really was able to judge oneself-from-the-past as a different person with different immediate definitions of cool. "Well and there was the bath and the subura but we never really went there because it's just a subura, you know? There's that temple in the neighbourhood too that Grandfather seems to not approve of and Mamma has never been to," something about people drinking and partying with someone named Orgia in there (seemed like a Greek name), though what she'd done that was so undignified escaped Titus at the moment and he was above gossip, "and then ... oh!" As much as he'd been trying to maintain the appropriate level of gravitas, he was excited to finally be remembering something. "So if this is our house," he said, drawing a loose square in the dust with one pointed sandaled foot, "then here's these other houses -- that one's the domus Petronii Aquilini, I kind of remember them," or rather kind of remember they exist and hear their names around sometimes, but not if we've ever met before literally this year and am now terribly ashamed but doing a great job of hiding it. "And then there's the subura, which means the public pool is here, and the bath is that way..." He thus lost himself for a few moments sketching out a map with his foot of the limited areas of the city he knew -- an oval shape for the immediate neighbourhood of their family home, then vague circles off to the side for places he knew were geographically probably related to other places that had their own circles. He'd never been to them, so he couldn't confirm -- he indicated the non-domus places he HAD physically been, a grand total of three he remembered because they were very close to the house. "I know there's more because I've read about it, but I've seen none of it because I'm not allowed to go too far from the house on my own because it's Rome not Augusta Vind'licorum," he explained, parroting his mother's admonition, "and Mamma says I'll only be allowed to do that in Rome when I'm properly grown. House rule," he added apologetically, as though it being a Rule He Had To Follow somehow made up for how totally wimpy that must sound to an adult with Freedom. (But then was even Aulus really free from Mamma's influence? And besides -- it did. If you weren't a law-abiding citizen then you were a crook and you'd get angry letters from the government.) "I just want to see everything, you know? Now that I have you," still uncertainly, still as if that wasn't a given, "we can do that, right? We can just ... go and see the sights and buy sweet rolls and things." If he were asked to be honest -- completely honest -- and he could somehow find it in himself to comply, Titus would be forced to admit that it wasn't really that he particularly wanted to walk around doing nothing. But every hour he spent walking around doing nothing was an hour of time to talk to his father, to learn what kind of person he was and bask in this weird ephemeral feeling of paternal love; part of him was anxious that it wouldn't be the same watching a gladiator fight or a chariot race or a play, because gladiator fights and chariot races and plays were all cooler than Titi. Titus recognized that, felt dwarfed by the history and the... happening around him. @Sharpie
  9. @Sharpie Titus didn't remember much of Rome -- he'd been nine when he left, so the strongest snatches of memory were specific if hazy tableaux that didn't do much to contribute to a general impression. Some of the things stashed away in his memory were doomed to be forgotten; four years was a long time for the heart of the world, and as much as there were constants, many of the bits that would be noticeable to a child and call back the memories attached to them were variable for the simple reason that adults had ceased to find them noteworthy. Others changed because the people responsible for them changed, for various reasons; Rome seemed to Titus a colder city than Augusta Vindelicorum in spirit, and the climate, in a child's imagination that still tended to anthropomorphism, must have warmed specifically to compensate. This didn't mean he didn't want to remember, though. His grandfather kept Vindelician and Raetian house slaves -- somethingeth generation, not really expecting much change in life -- who had treated Titus warmly enough, even taught him what they knew of the local speech, but although Raetia the place (at least Grandfather's residence there and the nearby city) felt like home, Raetians the people seemed to treat him and his as sort of outsiders. He didn't really blame them -- poor folk were like that with rich folk. The divide seemed superficially narrower in the provinces, but although everyone clearly thought of Rome in theory as something aspirational, Rome in practice was far away and beyond most people's reach. And because people had sort of ... treated him specifically as a Roman, both citizen and unbelonging city slicker, for most of his living memory, there was something in Titus that wished he identified more with the city -- with what he'd comforted himself would welcome him a bit more warmly than local kids. He'd thought he would, but ... so far things were kind of ... hard to identify with. Very loud. And he'd grown a foreign accent while he was away, to boot, which he was really trying to lose -- it was working, but not near fast enough. It would come with time, maybe. Hopefully. Maybe there was a transformative moment when you offered up your bulla and suddenly some benevolent genius loci appeared in your dreams to tell you all about how to experience patriotism, rather than the vague overwhelm and fear of not measuring up that weighed on his shoulders now. For the moment, he nodded up at Aulus -- his father, this almost larger-than-life figure that had re-entered his life -- and managed an expression of owl-eyed, guarded reciprocal fondness. If he showed too obviously that he cared what he thought of him, that this feeling of being loved this way, this ... paternal sympathy had been missing for so long and he'd never even known, some irrational part of him still thought it might disappear again. And maybe it would; maybe the gods were apt to get exactly that disappointed in him. Maybe there'd be a revolt in stupid Britannia or something -- not that Titus was sure why, but it was the butt of a lot of dark adult jokes, so obviously there were solid reasons to revolt there. "Not really," he said quietly, finally, by way of response. "I was a kid when we left, so I don't think I have much to remember it by." Oops. "I-I mean, by which to remember it." Darn provincial way of talking -- Titus straightened his back and pretended to be looking out at one of the temples so as to hide the big ol' honkin' thorn of embarrassment pricking at him. (Big... ol'... honkin'? That definitely wasn't in any of the texts that had formed the basis of his education -- not even the theatrical comedies.) "... I suppose I'll have plenty of opportunities to re... familiarize myself with Rome now." And with you. But he would never dare say that yet, just the same as he'd been careful not to call Aulus "tatta". Because that would be immature, and excessively chummy, and wouldn't he think he was weird if he was almost a whole grownup and still using baby words? (It was different with Mamma, obviously. Mamma was still sort of like a timeless entity beyond reproach and change in form of address.)
  10. Mim

    Mim's plotter

    Hi, welcome! This plotter is a bit threadbare at the moment, but there are a few fun things to see nonetheless! Titus Calpurnius Praetextatus Senatore Child Sexuality in discernment Presently at Rome Very much trying to be a model oldest son, very sweet and dear if also slightly a prat; should definitely meet family and also as many useful family contacts as he can, in preparation for the early stages of his career. Has tons of people to plot with by default, but I guess he's one way for people to meet Aulus, his father, or Calpurnia Praetextata , his aunt -- not that I think he's actually met Calpurnia yet, but, you know. <u< Would also be interesting to have him meet friends his age in the context of inter- and intra-familial business; he's old enough and now close enough geographically that he's going to have to deal with introductions ... and whatever plans the family has for him. I don't imagine that the family was fussed about finding him a prospective spouse for social connection-related reasons, being that they had other things to worry about up to now, but it's possible that an advantageous match will materialize from the woodwork and some authoritative ancestor of Titus', if not specifically Titus' father, will have thoughts about that. If Aulus has any politician friends that Titus can do paperwork and favours for once he's officially an adult -- or if Aulus wants to make such friends for those purposes -- that'll also be fun! <u<
  11. TITUS CALPURNIUS PRAETEXTATUS 13 | 7th october, 61CE | Scion of a senatorial family | Child | In discernment | Wanted - Sharpie| FC: Thomas Brodie-Sangster in The Last Legion (no idea what he'll grow into but this is more than wholesome enough) Personality. Titus is very inquisitive and intelligent -- which, given that he's a child, you'd think would lead to problems. As an oldest son, though, and especially the oldest son of a Senator, he's internalized an understanding of his place in the familia and sort-of-kind-of in the broader gens, as far as he can keep straight at the age of 13. He does have a charmingly old-fashioned, slightly naive outlook on mores -- the sort of thing that would come from spending much of early memory in one's grandfather's house, and be strengthened by the abiding sense of uncertainty generated by moving with as much relative frequency as Titus' family has. Being surrounded by stories of ancestors' accomplishments, heroic military conquests, and the glory of the state was a constant against the backdrop of a slightly tumultuous early life; it therefore hasn't occurred to him and likely won't until much later in life that the social order isn't exactly great for everyone. Or maybe it has, maybe he's overheard Tiberius' house slaves talking, or picked up something in the street -- one never does predict all the uncannily adult conclusions children can come to. Regardless, he squares a semi-denied awareness of the danger of the world around him (if not yet the scope of injustice that can happen in it) with his early childhood dreams by hoping to be the Big Man and do the Big Thing One Day, like most prepubescent aristocratic Roman boys do. Obviously Nothing Intriguey And Bad Will Happen To Him, even though it's happened to others before. His friends won't ever hurt him because he makes friends carefully. He stayed out of the way as much as he could and let the adults do adult things without snooping when he shouldn't (... mostly), so he's not a bad kid. He's a good kid. Good people make good senators, right? For the people? The other people. Yeah. The path is laid out for him and he just has to follow it -- and if he's honest and forthright and makes his offerings on schedule well then great, he's going to be a great leader and do great things and his family will be super proud of him and then he'll find a wife and build a home and live in that home forever and ever and never move. Right? Titus did put on a brave face during the family relocation he was old enough to remember, and superficially seems to have dealt well with his father's spotty presence in his life, but this kind of thing tends to affect children strongly, and his mother's general worry about his father and the family's social position has given him a worried kind of insecure attachment to the concept of Aulus specifically and home in general. He's very protective of his things and his relatives (particularly his little sister), and although of course he's being socialized to impassive stoicism in the face of all that worry, sometimes it manifests in face-affecting ways. This wouldn't be so bad if he'd let himself be a child and learn at his own pace, but of course, like most bright oldest sons, he's convinced that he's basically a grown-up already even though he still has a bulla and isn't technically culpable for pinching sweetcakes from the kitchens yet. As Basically A Grown-Up he needs, of course, to maintain social face. His father went to war like three years after this age! He's not letting himself look bad by comparison! That concern about face bleeds over into how he makes friends already -- he's too sweet and guileless to actually think in prejudiced terms or be deliberately mean yet, but he knows on some level which kids he's not supposed to hang out with because they're Bad Kids, and separately which kids would make bad (i.e. negative-face-generating) playmates, and on top of that he's pretty selective about who gets to get close. He already separates "rando I met" from "potentially useful acquaintance", "useful acquaintance" from "amusing acquaintance","useful associate" from "dangerous associate" and so on like an adult , filtering information he shares with each accordingly -- surely Papa would be proud. Wouldn't he? The poor thing just wants to find a permanent place to fit in and please everyone -- the trouble is that this also struggles within him with the awareness that he's supposed to sometimes make choices that hurt people to help more people, and that sometimes the best thing to do for someone you love is the thing that Doesn't please them. He probably doesn't really have a solid handle on what makes him "him" yet -- he likes studying, especially rhetoric and mathematics, but he's very hard on himself and has had his intellect emphasized all his life as his best quality, partially because he was somewhat sickly while he adjusted to Raetia. As a result, he has an unfortunate tendency to play it safe and give up on things outside that sphere if he thinks he could embarrass himself doing them, and conversely can be a bit excessively confident in his intellectual skills. He prides himself, rightfully but maybe a smidge destructively, on not being a snitch. He's also got a sore spot -- insinuating that he can't do something related to the occupation he sees himself in in the future is a quick way to upset him profoundly and maybe get punched, if you're within the narrow but well populated list of social standings he considers punchable. That's accompanied by a bit of an inflated sense of honour and patristic concern; Titus likes to assert himself as leader of whatever group he plays in, oblivious to the fact that not everyone welcomes his leadership or his little nose poking into everything. Appearance Titus is still a minor and accordingly dresses appropriately: knee-length tunic, cloak if it's cold, both made to last. He tries not to get dirty and seems a bit averse to dirt in general, but inevitably there are still mishaps. He tries to be dignified when he's out in public wearing the freeborn child's toga praetexta, at least, and he's got eating in it on formal occasions down. Mostly. He hasn't hit puberty yet, so he's small and compact, with proportionately long limbs that presage a very awkward and very lanky adolescence. He has a furtive kind of glance and fidgets under stress, but smiles easily and generally appears to be very earnest and honest. His hair is a sort of ash- or strawberry-blond, depending on the lighting, and his eyes are a bright hazel, almond-shaped. He's maybe about three foot ten and clearly still growing into both his limbs and his ears. Family Father: Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus Mother: Horatia Justina Siblings: Calpurnia Horatia Spouse: - Children: - Extended family: Tiberius Calpurnius Praetextatus, Aurelia Faustina [paternal grandparents] Calpurnia Praetextata [doting paternal aunt] Other: N/A History 61CE - Birth. 62CE - Senatorial purges. Titus' father flees Rome under cover of darkness, leaving him and his mother temporarily now to try not to be forced to leave them rather more ... permanently later. 63CE - Aulus does things that Titus has no means to comprehend yet in Germania and later Britain; meanwhile, the small Calpurnia is born. Titus is thrilled, as much as a one-and-some-to-two-year-old can be; there's oddly not much of the typical jealousy over attention. 70CE - Aulus reappears from the military campaign void, then assumes governorship of and takes the family to Raetia. Titus is nine-ish. Nine-ish is old enough to be a little shaken, and to realize that one's sister might be shaken more, on the supposition that girls and baby kids are more fragile than whole grown nine-year-old boys. 74CE -The family returns to Rome. Titus has a little bit of trouble adjusting, having picked up social norms that could be considered somewhat dated and rustic while living in Raetia, but the promise of finally seeing the place he was born and will come to join the ruling class of is enough to make it easier. He's a quick learner and has all the tutoring he could possibly need... but who knows what sort of influences he might encounter here? Mim | EST | modernist baba yaga#0721 [Discord]
  12. Mim

    hello c:

    Hey everyone! Call me Mim. I didn't really put a lot of thought into it so it's just kind of ... not a very good pseudonym, but, well, I guess the site culture allows for that and we're fine! I'm in my early twenties -- like, just-finished-bachelor's-degree twenties, but early, I promise... I live in Canada, I don't know what sleep is, and my bachelor's had nothing to do with ancient history on the face of it. :"DDDD I did end up taking a lot of classics courses just because they were there, they looked interesting and there were no scheduling conflicts, though. Some I ended up in because I took the prerequisites and figured, why not? I've been doing this writing at people thing for probably more than a decade, but that's not really a flex since, you know, you can count backwards and realize all but the last maybe five years was probably trash. Most of it was also nowhere near this public, so at least there's that going for it. Precisely because I took all those classics courses and picked up all these languages, I'm up to here in random knowledge I can use in absolutely no productive way other than making fictional Romans and then smashing them together and making them kiss, like a child playing with dolls. (Exactly like a child playing with dolls -- random decapitation and gnawing on extremities and all ) Thankfully, that's what you're all here for too, so let's entertain each other! ; u ; I should probably warn everybody that I do have religious commitments that sometimes disappear me, but it's nothing super major, just one day a week that I'm gone plus holidays sprinkled around here and there. You won't even miss me! And here we see the wild anxious mess performing a territorial display
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