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Spurius Antius Claudus


Spurius Antius Claudus
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Spurius Antius Claudus

43 | 12 April 33AD | Plebeian | Slaver | Heterosexual | Original | Tobias Menzies

 

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Personality

Sometimes it is difficult to know the real Spurius. To the world he is the perfect salesman; polite, charming, sympathetic and silver-tongued; always ready to do the right thing by his customer (and by himself at the same time). Amongst his friends he is genial and charming.

At home, the man behind the mask is rather different. Somewhat soul-tired, he appreciates the finer things in life but moderates this with a certain austerity, despite his commercial success. He prefers a simple life, using few slaves of his own, all of which are good Roman slaves and which he treats and cares for like good furniture.

Although successful now, Spurius has regrets in his past which have jaded him, and he worries that the repercussions have ruined him for the future. He particularly dislikes barbarian foreigners, likely why he mostly trades in them. He has a shrewd eye for a bargain and excellent business sense.

 

Appearance

Tall and lean with mousy, mid-brown hair, Spurius is neither handsome nor ugly. Tanned from time out of doors, he has the physique of a retired soldier; reasonable muscle and the beginnings of a gut. Shrewd hazel eyes watch the world from under heavy brows and the frown lines between those brows are deep, as are the others that mark his long, somewhat equine face.

Usually dressed in a fine linen tunica and toga of undyed wool, Spurius is the image of a Plebian on the up and up, a successful businessman. Unusually, he always carries a heavy staff, the end carved into an ornate hook not unlike a shepherd's crook. He uses it to moves slaves around, but he also leans on it heavily, and walks with a distinct limp.

 

Family

Father: Marcus Antius

Mother: Ovidia Juliana

Siblings: Gaius Antius (b. 31), Antia Marcilla (b.35), Antia Julianilla (B. 37)

Spouse: None

Children: None

Extended family: Julius Antius (Uncle)

Slaves: Romulus, Remus, Corva, Linus

Other:

 

History

CHILDHOOD [36AD-46AD]:

Spurius's childhood was simple if relatively uneventful, growing up with his older brother Gaius and sisters Antia Marcilla and Antia Julia. Their father Marcus was a trader in exotic goods from across the Empire, particularly south to Aegyptus, and was often absent for months at a time, but when he returned he would always bring his wife and children little gifts, and spend time with his sons. Their mother Ovidia was a warm and caring woman, if a little saddened every time her husband left on his travels. They were comfortable if not fabulously wealthy, and Spurius recalls a house full of odd little trinkets brought back from distant lands. Spurius was a cheerful child, winsome and interested in the world.

These years saw the death of Caligula and the rise of Drusus Claudius Sabucius as Caesar, as well as the death of his first son and heir, Gaius. Being only young at the time, Spurius doesn't remember the politics of the time affecting him much.

TEENAGE TO EARLY ADULT [46AD-54AD]:

Spurius's early teenage years were still relatively peaceful and prosperous, and he was an apt enough student both in grammaticus and in his father's business. Marcus was keen to see that both his sons learned the trade, as he saw horizons to expand into and wealth to be made. His younger son particularly seemed to inherit his charisma, developing into a warm and charming personality. His father foresaw success in the family business, even though his mother thought he was a gentle soul and might do better in academia. Spurius however was on his dad's side and his first opportunity to accompany his father on a business journey south was one of his happiest. He recalls the marriage of Caesar Claudius to Lucilla in those years.

Regretably, that golden age was not to last. Revolts in Aegyptus and Achaea cut off trade routes for months at a time and significantly damaged business prospects. As Marcus primarily traded to the southern provinces, the family's financial situation began to sour. Perhaps the Empire itself was souring, as Claudius was poisoned and his adopted son gained power, only to be exiled when Caesar awoke.

The Imperial Legions finally quelled the uprisings and occupied Achaea, but Marcus Antius's trading position was weakened, and his collateral reduced from supporting his family through those hard times. At the same time Marcus's brother Julius gained both wealth and fame in the legions during that action, and it was he who sent word to his brother that the routes had opened again, giving him at least something of a head start.

YOUNG ADULTHOOD [54-64]:

As times became tougher, Marcus focused his time on Gaius, his elder son, taking him on longer trading journeys and teaching him the languages of the south and what wares sold best where. Spurius was keen to learn as well, but with their prospects reduced, Marcus encouraged his younger son to look elsewhere for his life's work, leaving Spurius feeling disappointed and somewhat abandoned. Marcus's wisdom was proven however, as a revolt in Judea that coincided with Emperor Darius's passing causes further difficulties.

Their Uncle Julius on the other hand prospered in the strife, and both he and Marcus encouraged Spurius to follow in his footsteps and join the legions. Spurius had never had any military leanings, but he saw the sense in the advice and swore service even as the Empire seemed to be dissolving into chaos, the life expectancy of a Caesar short indeed, until a Dictatorship was declared. Whilst the Legions were not his first choice, the pragmatism that Spurius would show in adulthood acknowledged that his prospects were better there. Twenty-five years of service could even see him made an Equite.

Perhaps it was for the best, for amongst the chaos Spurius found himself heading west for the fabled Brittania, and with any luck gold and glory. The thought of coming home with well earned salary and a little treasure to start his own business, buoyed him along, particularly if he could manage to find some trade contacts on the way. He proved a satisfactory soldier, and their initial engagements are successful; the wisdom of his father and uncle's advice seem clear. His first foray to Brittania proved profitable, and during a brief return to Rome and with coin in his pocket, Spurius enjoyed a success and popularity that he had only dreamed of. He began courting Antonia, whom he had known since childhood and had transitioned from friend's annoying younger sister to teenage crush to possible marriage prospect. She herself seemed pleased at the idea.

Campaigns into Judea saw more successful battles, Spurius advanced within the ranks of the infantry, and when the Legion once more returned to Britania under Caesar Junus, it seemed that the advice of his father and uncle had been wise indeed.

That was, until a dying barbarian warrior plunged a dagger into Spurius's thigh as he was crossing the field of the slain, nearly adding him to their number.

He wasn't expected to survive, but the legion's crotchety old field medicus was amongst the best, and survive he did. Not without a price, the wound was high, deep and initially infected, and it become clear that though he'd live, Spurius could no longer march with the Legions. He was honourably discharged and sent back to Rome to recover, but not before taking his pay in captured slaves. He was, after all, a trader.

ADULTHOOD [64-onwards]:

And he was a good one, he'd learned well from his father and seemed to have a particular eye for the barbarian 'merchandise'. With the start provided by his service to the Empire, he was able to set up a successful business. Yet those who had known him when younger noted the change his time in the Legions had wrought. Cheerful and charismatic in public, what had been his nature had become a mask, and he became quiet and even bitter in private.

Neither unnecessarily cruel nor particularly kind, he cared for his slaves like the livestock they were, knowing that those in good condition would sell well, and he gained a reputation for his quality and trustworthiness. He traded in slaves from all areas, even good Roman slaves with valuable skills, but mostly in captured barbarians, including contracts to the Ludii for the games. Yet success was not enough for some; Antonia's father turned him away, preferring an undamaged man for his son in law. He didn't speak to them again, turning his attention whole heartedly to where it was wanted.

He was particularly successful, earning a modest wealth and becoming well known around the great market, marked out by the staff he carried, like a large shepherd's crook, and his distinctive limp. His fellow merchants gave him the agnomen 'Claudus', meaning 'the lame', which he accepted with a kind of grim pride, as gifted by Fate itself.

The waves of politics have largely flowed over him, as even in times of strife there is demand for slaves. And sometimes there is greater supply.

 

Sarah | GMT+10 | CONTACT

@Gothic

Edited by Sarah
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