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Let the wine flow...


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The day was alive with the energy of festivity, Rome was often in the grips of such celebrations more often than not they were rooted in simple decadence, but not Lupercalia a ritual that had existed since the time of the Kingdom and perhaps earlier than even that, it was a sacred holiday but one of joy as the various women of the city present themselves to the Luperci in order to be struck and made fertile for their husbands whose whereabouts without a doubt would be a popinae where the wine flows.


It was already late in the celebrations, the animal sacrifices were completed and everyone had glutted upon the feast that was laid out for the citizens of Rome. Some of the more superstitious plebs made their own offerings to ward off evil spirits the aroma of burnt meat and incense filling the air as an inescapable musk compiling upon the already heavy odor of the city. It burnt Justinus' nostrils and he found himself wishing to retire to his villa for the remainder of the night, he had come only out of respect of the Gods and Romes temple, he needed to show respect where it was due of course, but these things brought him little enjoyment as he distrusted joviality except those of truly genuine nature, this seemed more a facade, a distracting from the true problems of Rome. Which it was, as people forget their poverty and misfortune to celebrate an ancient holiday.

It wasn't as though he disapproved of the event, rather he was unable to escape his own thoughts, Lucius would need a wife soon just another year and it would be important to begin searching for suitable matches for Gaius and Junia as well, though it would be years still before they were able to wed, it was always prudent to plot such things in advance. He need spouses that were higher in station at least, Junia was just a girl so it would be easier to elevate her as she wouldn't continue the Junia gens her children would inherit their Fathers name and position, but Lucius especially needed to rise higher, he wanted all his children to be better than himself and their children to be better than them, to rise ever higher and the surest way to do this seemed to ensure they were more successful than their parents. On top of familial concerns he add his duties to the senate, as well as managing his estate which he personally does ever since Plautia died, he doesn't trust others to manage it for him after all... Maybe he did need to relax a bit.

The sound of laughter drew his attention to what was clearly a popinae, he made his way towards it and his household guards once relaxed suddenly grew stern. Wine bars such as this were always reputed as places of immorality and illegality and it wouldn't do for them to stand idle while their master was robbed or threatened.

Immediately upon entering he knew he was out of place, nearly everyone in the establishment were plebs, some didn't even appear to be full citizens, yet rather than slink back out into the street he pressed on, he maintain his pride without trying to demonstrate arrogance, he was just here for some wine after-all, he wasn't superior and he didn't own the building, it was important to be casual in such places were people could easily spot a target though he briefly wondered if anyone would attempt something upon a senator, after all it would be a serious offense to accost his person, and he doubted anyone would chance such a thing for he clearly was a senator, wearing a toga slashed with red and accompanied by two guards. He took a seat off to the side of the room and once there he realized his initial assessment was wrong, these weren't immoral or criminal men, they were ordinary and some appeared to be living a wealthier lifestyle than their peers, he realized that this could be a good opportunity to learn the mood of Rome, so he made himself appear relaxed, presentable and welcoming to anyone who might be interested in talking with him while keeping his ears sharp to the conversations around him, he smiled at some jokes and focused in on grievances but always the most valuable words spoken were those in whispered complaints of the Senate, or of the Caesar which occasionally brokered a heated response by a loyalist defending the government.

Placing a single Denarius upon his table he ordered a jar of wine, and he settled into his seat.

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Cleisthenes entered the popinae, the sound of laughter and scent of heavy wine filling the air. He might have been out of place at one of these in Greece, but in Rome? His father wasn't on his back, so he could do what he wanted. 

Placing a denarius near the table with the other man, he offered him a smile, as he bought his jar of wine.


"Greetings. I am Cleisthenes, of Athens. A pleasure to meet you."




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Justinus looked to the young man, and he recognized him immediately as a Greek. He had practically been raised in Greece and knew the distinguishing features between them and Romans, while some seem to think that they are of nearly identical appearance. 

"Greetings, I am Cleisthenes, of Athens. A pleasure to meet you."

Athens? The very name reminded him of his past, his tutoring by Greek philosophers in the areas of arithmetic, geometry, Greek and oratory. It was a simpler time then, with his cousin and teachers, far from the intrigues of Rome and enjoying the white sand along the coasts.

"Athens. A beautiful city. I spent some time when I was a boy. My name is Justinus Junius Calvus and it is a pleasure to meet you as well. Tell me, what brings an Athenian to Rome?"

He took a moment to look upon the boys features, he was handsome though less masculine, he certainly didn't have the look of a soldier, or sailor, which only narrowed his professions down to either mercantile, political or scholarly.

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