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The Imperial Box


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The Imperial Box

The Imperial box is where the Imperial family and notable nobles would likely sit (or they would sit close in the hopes of being invited in!). No doubt there would be interesting topics of conversation happening here. 

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The games were mixed for her.

She loved the muscled men and women of the arena, the excitement and finding a sadness with the aftermath. That being said, Claudia enjoyed the socialisation of the games and the feasting that would come with it. She was elegantly dressed for the games. Her hair curled and coiled, and she felt an increasing sensation that someday she would be married or engaged to someone to serve the family interests. The social norm. Her chiton and palla was blue in colour, all to highlight her eye colour and she sat with Volusa, her body slave behind her. Decimus, her recovering bodyguard and Cynane, her gladiatrix. 

Claudia leaned in chatting with Veturia Cicurina, her best friend and now in the later stages of pregnancy. She wondered who would be invited into the Imperial booth and who by. There was also the option for she herself to invite people in to get up and close with the members of the Imperial family in attendance. 

"I didn't see the list. Do you know which gladiators are competing?" 

OOC: Prominent Senators, etc. Are also welcome! @Sharpie
@Anna @Sarah @Chris

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Aulus and his family were sitting near the Imperial box, so close that he could hold a conversation with those sitting in it. Sitting so close to the Imperial family was a mark of great favour, and the family was arrayed in their best finery, Horatia Justina in a deep vibrant cherry red stola and palla that suited her fine complexion and dark hair. Aulus himself was in his senatorial tunic and toga, as befit such an occasion.

Someone within the Imperial box asked a question, but it was not answered right away. Aulus looked over and saw that the others seemed to be in conversation and had not heard. 

"The first fighters are a pair of gladiatrices," he said, and laid his copy of the list on the marble edge of the box so that the questioner, the Imperial princess Claudia Caesaris, could see it. "Thessala and Ino. I know nothing of the latter, but the former is a formidable fighter by all accounts."

 

@Anna @Chris @Sarah @Gothic (and anyone else in the vicinity)

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Tiberius, dressed in a gleamingly white toga over a tunic edged in gold and purple, was sitting quietly as his twin sister chatted with her friend, watching the comings and goings around them. One could learn a lot by watching whom people did and didn't speak to. He was accompanied only by Tigris, an older man who was his body slave, and the usual Praetorian guards that surrounded the Imperial presences.

Claudia asked about the upcoming bout, and from the nearest seats a Senator he recognised spoke up. Aulus had been a staunch supporter of their uncle, Caesar Quintus, for much of his life, so the trusted position of his family, so close to the Imperials, had been well earned. "Thank you, Senator." He smiled politely at the man, taking the list and passing it to his sister so that she could peruse it, before handing it back.

"One trusts that your return to Rome has been pleasant." He said to Aulus, with a glance and a faint smile of acknowledgement for his lady wife. The man had been governing in the provinces, if Tiberius recalled correctly. An honour, but he was was quite likely slated for greater things still.

@Anna@Chris@Sharpie@Gothic

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While not necessarily a huge fan of the gladiatorial games due to the blood and guts, it was a good way to keep bridges built with the larger Roman community. Julia knew she was in the unusual place of being widowed- she knew socially people were encouraged to re-marry after a death, but Julia was still on her own. She enjoyed being out on the outskirts of Rome, enjoying the free air and the horse farm.

 

Julia arrived at the games venue and headed towards the Imperial & Senatorial box. She saw that Claudia and Tiberius were in the Imperial section interacting with one of the many Senators that were nearby. She cast a smile in their direction and found an empty spot. Settling in, she took a look at the roster that was being passed around then passed it on to another person.

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Quintus Caesar arrived at the games with the full entourage of his family and the Praetorians who escorted them on parade from the palace to the still new coliseum. The procession of so many imperials had become a small spectacle of its own, and - ever a man of the people - Caesar had showered the onlookers with coins and bid them go watch the games and enjoy a few drinks on him.

After the proper portents and speeches had been given, with dedications given to Caesar and the imperials, the first match of the day was set to begin. As soon as the required ceremonies were finished, Caesar quickly had his hands full... though not in political discourse as expected. His youngest son, Drusus - in his typical confounding way - had developed a love of the games, even though he still had a distaste for the bloodshed that accompanied them. He was nearly falling over the front wall of the imperial box, pining to get a closer look.

"Pater..." he started, in a tone that preceded a question. Quintus simply raised his brows, a look that told the boy that his father was listening. "We make the rules for the empire, do we not?"

"We do," he said.

"And we enforce them, right?" Quintus nodded and Drusus continued. "And you are first among your peers, which means that your family is also first among other families, does it not?"

"I suppose that's true," Quintus said.

"Then why do we have to sit up here, where it's so far away from the action that I have to squint to see? Shouldn't we have a closer seat befitting our status?"

Quintus smirked. "Your grammaticus has started teaching the Socratic method has he?" Quintus tussled Drusus' hair, and then gave him an answer to contemplate. "You are right that we hold a power and prestige above all others. Prestige which was earned by my efforts against Rome's enemies. But do you think I fought in wars and won battles just to see another fight from a good vantage?"

Drusus frowned a little. "I guess not... but what about me?"

"Well, my little warrior, you have yet to win any battles."

"So when I win a battle, I can give the order to have the imperial box moved closer to the sand?"

Quintus watched his son, whose eyes were transfixed on the fight. "I suppose you could, but the true measure of a ruler is not what he takes for himself, but what he gives to better his country. Even now if you wanted to see any of these fighters, we could give the order at any time of day or night to have them brought to the palace, to your very room even. None of the people down there have that privilege, and they never will. So we give them this enjoyment to better their spirits, which in the end lends to their support of our family."

"But we can still go see the gladiators after today's matches are over, right?"

Caesar shook his head - more from endearment than annoyance - at his son's lack of attention to the lesson he was trying to impart. "Yes, we can. But step away from the wall."

@Gothic @Anna @Sharpie @Sarah

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Once again, Lucius would bear witness to another disgusting round of senseless killing. To think that he used to like this sort of Roman past time befitting a senatore, but now when he'd seen and heard about the 'enlightened truth' which resulted in his  converting to Christianity, the young senator couldn't help but feel disdain towards blood, limbs and intestines being splattered all over the arena whilst people are happily cheering without any pity or shame within themselves. However he had to put aside those personal feelings, considering the fact that keeping up with appearances and maintaining close connections with a powerful institution such as the Imperial Family was more important. 

Wearing what custom dictated, namely a senatorial tunic and toga with a flair identifying him as a Praetor, Lucius was currently sitting in a Senatorial box close to the Imperial one so he could chat with anyone within the viccinity if necessary, alongside the usual company of Lictors acting as his personal bodyguards. It wasn't just prestige which compelled him to attend, as his sponsored gladiator from Britannia Turi/Ambrosius was going to have his own opportunity to fight & shine without dying...hopefully. 

@Anna@Chris@Sharpie@Gothic@Sarah@Jenn + Anyone else!

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When Lucius told him he was to accompany him to the gladiatorial games and sit with him in the senatorial box, he thought he was crazy. He laughed, tears flowed and his stomach felt like someone had just punched him, only to realise Lucius wasn’t at all joking. For one, Lucius didn’t seem the type to be interested in such games. Secondly, he was a freedman, probably smelt of elderberries, and was simply a charioteer. He wasn’t fancy by any means, regardless of his background before everything where he was rather privileged. But, of course, Lucius probably wanted to introduce him to some important people. Could have been pity or it could have been a genuine gesture to prompt his character or career. What was he to do, sit, smile and look pretty?

If Bassus was nervous, sweating waterfalls from his armpits, or felt like a complete outsider, he certainly didn’t show it. Instead, he appeared confident and proud as usual. He was dressed his best, hair clean and brushed, clothing spotless, fresh and unwrinkled. If he was going to be amongst the best in society, he wanted to look good.

“I still think you’ve lost it,” whispered Bassus jokingly to his friend, offering him a smile.

@The Young Pope + others!

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The games came around again, and Rome flocked towards the grand Colosseum as they always did for such excitement. Men and women, not all in their prime, were fighting below in a twisted show to entertain the masses who screamed and cheered. The imperial box was starting to fill up with family and those that had influence within the senate.

Drusilla did not share her young son's enthusiasm towards the 'games' being played down below. The violence and bloodshed was more suited for a battlefield, not for entertainment. At least that was her opinion, one she would keep to herself for now as she sat beside her husband. Listening to the lesson he was trying to bestow upon Drusus at that very moment. And keeping an eye on the child in case he decided to run off and away from them to get a closer look.

Or worse. 

A sigh, matching Quintus', left her and she leaned forward, tugging her boy back by his clothing and into her lap. "Listen to your pater when he's trying to teach you things, little one." Her voice was soft, just above a whisper, but it was not scolding as she felt the excited child struggle against her hold for a moment. A huff leaving him before he surrendered as she ruffled his hair fondly and cast her husband a fond smile, "I would suggest a rope around his waist to keep him near, but people might get the wrong idea." she jested lightly, sighing once more but in frustration as Drusus left his lap to try to scale the edge again to see the fighting. 

@everyone 

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“This way, Domina,” Brysias said in her lilting, Parthian accent, beckoning Sestia with a delicate, olive skinned hand, towards a vacant end seat on benches reserved for noble females, in the shadow of the Imperial box. The crowds were already thronging the arena as the day’s action had begun and so it had taken Sestia’s freedwoman a long time in frantic discussions with arena attendants to find a suitable space for her mistress to sit. Gathering the hems of her Egyptian white stolla closer to her and away from the dirt of the floor, Sestia made short and tentative steps down the aisle staircase, daintily seeking to avoid the pools of spilled wine, nutshells and general rubbish already thrown into the aisle. Roman nobles had refinement but, on a day out, could be as boorish as any of the plebs who were already hooting and hollering from their serried ranks higher up in the stands.

 

The carnival atmosphere already hung heavy over the arena. Day drinking was fully endorsed. Arena slaves were running back and forth with amphorae and trays, catering to the needs of the senatorial and equite rows whilst others of their number often simply flung what was requested at punters in the plebeian stands. Wending her careful way down, she let Brysias quickly smooth and redress any slippages in her outfit before helping her mistress lower the veil-like hood of her palla. Today, conscious that she would be on show, she had ensured that her bedroom attendant slaves had straightened her naturally curly hair which, once their ministrations with hot irons were done, caused her jet black hair (a product of her Punic ancestry) to hang far down her back. This, in honour of the day, had then been elaborately woven into an array of plaits and braids, gently stacked and coiled on the back of her head with an army of pins and through which a string of pearls had been hung for effect. Whether this creation blocked the view of anyone behind her she did not much care. If it was a man the lecher would probably be too busy glutting himself on the smooth caramel skin of her neck.

 

Although not outright prohibited, it was in many ways seen as odd for senatorial women to go to the games alone. Sestia did not much mind. To her, this was an intentional decision – a sign of her own independence. She would come to the games herself – not as the wife of so-and-so, the friend of so-and-so or the mother of such-and-such. She had even intentionally not brought her sons (much to their annoyance) to make a point of her independence. The games as a social event was her main interest. Like others she could, on occasion, feel the racing of her blood as she watched the cut and thrust of the fighting below. Yes, even on some occasions she found herself clenching the edge of her seat as a lunge missed a mark by an inch; she had even whooped before when a final blow was landed. Yet she did not have the blood-lust that her late husband had had and which pulsed through the veins of most of the spectators here today, most likely.

 

She craned her neck round, trying to look into the Imperial Box – enjoying, like every other citizen, seeing the comings and goings of the Imperial family and enjoying watching the loves, rivalries, highs and lows that played out like a piece of written drama and which was meticulously recounted in the scurrilous urban news-bills and gossiped about ad infinitum in high class salons to the lowest of brothels. Her brother, who she had not yet visited since her return to Rome due to his being away on business, was married into the extended Imperial house. If he was here today he would be sat in there with his wife and children. If she had been more bold perhaps she could have tried to bluster her way in – make enough fuss with the Praetorians to see if she would be admitted on the basis of her tenuous relationship. But she had not; she was not some harpy seeking to make a scene. Besides, under the eye of the Augustus she would surely have to be on her best behaviour?

 

Tucking a rogue strand of hair behind her ear she suggested to Brysias that refreshment might be in order. If everyone else was drinking then why shouldn’t she?

 

 

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Rutiliana had been among the other Imperials has they had made their way through the city to the new coliseum. Her own retinue of friends and slaves and guards traveled in a small gathering behind her as she moved to take her seat, thankfully still petite and small enough to curl up and lounge as she picked at the fruit and other foods offered to her and sipped at the honeyed, albeit, watered down wine. 
 
She could hear the chattering of the others around her, her cousins talking to their own friends and her father and mother softly scolding Drusus for his rambunctious behavior that lead him not to listen to the lesson their father tried to bestow upon him. It left a smile on her face as she did watch it play out, before finally catching her younger brother's eyes and offering him half of her seat as well as half of the orange she was eating. 
 
"Behave." She whispered to him as she reached up tidy up his hair. Her eyes trained on the fighting down below. Two women were center stage in the arena and the young princess realized that she didn't care for such sport. The blood and violence and such a reckless lost of life made her stomach turn. And she was happy she could blame the wine or food for that if it actually did take a turn for it. 

She let out a dramatic sigh, looking away for anyone to talk to, desperate for distraction to drown the roaring of the crowd out.

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