One way is by being a gracious host -- both to impress powerful men -- officers, politicians, land owners, lords, senators, mayors ... a list as long as your arm -- both to impress them and to ingratiate herself to the real power behind the power -- the wives.
Rome, for all its bluster, was really a matriarchy -- power and inheritance came through the mother, not the father. Sons and husbands were more like the hired chief executives of modern day corporations -- as long as they perform, they're rewarded ... and allowed to think they're really in charge. But fuck up and the rug is pulled out from under.
And while women generally preferred to have men in the "hired" position of political and military managers, they also allowed the women who really wanted to to work in the world outside the home. Ambition, in other words, was frowned upon but allowed. And truly ambitious women could and did become mayors and governors.
This is story is about one such woman ... and ambitious woman who enjoyed the trappings of power. Especially giving parties -- for those important people who really mattered.
Junetta, governor of Aquitania, was celebrating the Feast of Mars with a private dinner for her friends and a few business associates. It was as good an excuse for a dinner celebration as any. -- Any of the three hundred religious holidays would have done. It was just this was the Feast of Mars.
The governor, Junetta Agripina Vestuvia, daughter of Senator Luscious Julian Nerva Qaton, was wife of the former governor, Cassius Lucillus Viator, who died of the fever just seven months after taking the post.
XxxxHe had been a faithful servant of the Emperor, a self made man of considerable power and influence. The Emperor gave him the governorship as a wedding gift -- not so much to reward him for his faithful service, more to curry favor with the Senator Qaton.
XxxxJunette became temporary governor upon her husband's death. But she had been rising in the Roman hierarchy on her own and was appointed governor in her own right and has maintained peace and prosperity as well as any man had -- through ruthlessly efficient administration and being a woman of her word -- she stood behind her edicts, never backing down, always willing to call upon the army to decimate a town's male citizenry for the slightest show of resistence.
XxxxShe was also ambitious. She wanted to become more than just a regional governor. And the best way to do that was to become everyone's 'friend'. -- Everyone's friend that mattered, that is. Being a good host with extravagant parties -- that was just part of the job.
So Junetta was always ready to entertain guests -- especially with that kind of show that had become the symbol of Rome's power -- at home but even more here in the provinces -- gladiatorial combat.
Junetta was lawfully commissioned to offer up sacrifices to the gods in the name of the people -- in private as well as in public. Consequently she had official sanction to have combats at her villa at her whim -- and the state would pay -- as long as she didn't overly abuse the privilege.
Naturally, Junetta found many excuses to have combats. There was nothing she enjoyed more than the specter of having young men fight for their lives for her entertainment -- unless it was to have them fight for their lives as 'casual' entertainment for her guests.
Casius was a devotee to the sport -- especially the intimate combats with two or four adversaries in a small arena or dining room -- while he could enjoy the comforts of his villa or those of neighboring friends and the fighters desperately struggled for life.
Casius had arranged what he thought would be a predictable entertainment -- his fighter had the advantage and by all indications would be the victor. But this was to be expected. After all, Junetta was the governor -- and who wants to anger the governor! Or even an angry friend!
Casius' fighter had been selected earlier in the day -- from a stable of select young athletes he maintained for his own personal amusement -- his personally chosen elite athletes from the state's schools.
Junetta kept her men as nominal charges of the state -- responsible to her alone. While they were pledged to the emperor and state, they maintained their personal allegiance as slaves to her.
Junetta enjoyed her power.
She especially enjoyed her absolute power over her stable of athletes -- the absolute servitude of such perfect young athletes. Her life-and-death power. -- One word from her and anyone of them would die -- by her own hand or by the hand of another -- no questions asked -- no responsibility to answer to anyone -- not even in Rome.
It was the heady power of the elite of Rome -- the power that is the true aphrodisiac of time -- absolute control of the lives and deaths of healthy, perfect men.
Junetta's good friend, Ulpius, would also be Casius' guest -- and 'opponent through proxy' this evening.
Ulpius was a wealthy business man who dealt in wine. He had come to the villa on a visit as he traveled north to Lutetia to see his vineyards. Knowing how Junetta loved 'private games', Ulpius had brought with him a special slave to pit against the one chosen by his host's host, Casius.
The slave brought by Ulpius was about eighteen or nineteen -- it was often impossible to determine absolutely the age of any slave. In any case, it was an especially attractive, athletic young man he had picked up at a port slave market a year before.
The young man was from Tarraco in Hispania. Ulpius had never determined exactly how this young man had become a slave. But that was not his concern -- so many beautiful young men from all over the world were slaves these days -- slaves to Romans. All that mattered to Ulpius was he had the money and slaves were for sale.
He had had this young man trained at Tarraco in a lunista, a fighting school -- one of the better schools, at least by their own 'admission'.
The handsome young man had been trained as a retiarius -- a fighter who is skilled in the use of a net to ensnare his opponent before killing him.
All of this preparation had taken a lot of advance planning -- quite a few merchants had gladiators in their entourage, but this was in addition -- a special, one time 'throw' for his visit to Casius, really to Junetta.
The dinner party, celebrating the Feast had been going on since dusk. Exotic dishes -- expensive, exotic dishes was the de rigur show of status in Rome. Status demanded banquets; and banquets demanded exotic foods.
Fresh fish that had been run up from the
bay below -- literally run up -- by runners, to assure freshness. Soft-boiled
nearly hatched quail eggs were served in nests of woven flamingo feathers.
And, of course, Junetta's favorite, stuffed dormice, were served inside
the bellies of pickled black snakes.
Attending to all details for Casius' guests were serving slaves -- from the perpetually small, young looking Khamir,(footnote 1) far to the east of the Roman world. The perpetually pubescent looking male serving slaves brought trays of food, pitchers of wine, and sometimes found themselves on the couches for the guests as well.
Merriment reigned, and Junetta was pleased by the event.
Dessert was simple, some dates from Africa stuffed with sour creom, apricots from Armenia powdered with dried, grated honey, and very sweet wine from Egypt, flavored with softening dried honey pellets and diced fermented dates.
Casius was typical Roman -- he enjoyed showing off to his guests, especially when his guest was the local governor, Junetta.
He laughed as one of his guests pulled a serving 'boy' onto his couch, dribbled some honeyed wine on his smooth chest and licked, then bit his nipple, drawing blood.
The slave screamed and tried to push away as the other guests laughed and joked. Junetta was especially amused. The mood was wild and bawdy -- in true orge fashion -- pleasure and 'gratification' were the guest's only necessity.
Along with dessert came the entertainment that Junetta was so well known for having at her own parties.
In mock solemnity, a priest announced the combat -- to honor the god of war, Mars. At tomorrow's party, it would be another god or goddess. And when there was no religious holiday, the combat would be in honor of some relative or luminary who had been born or died on this date -- extensive records were kept for just such 'excuses'.
Ulpius young fighter was described in lurid detail to expectant guests. Then Casius' veteran. Their fighting styles and training were mentioned. And, of course, the demand that the fight would be to the death was announced -- a sacrifice to the tranquility of the region.
Curtains were drawn open in the triclinium where the dining couches had been arranged into a semi-circle. The pit area, slightly below the floor level of the room was cleared.
From the doorway on the side Casius' fighter was brought in by a guard.
Even in his body-shrouding cloak, Casius' fighter looked large and strong. He looked proud, assured -- he stood confidently. He had none of those tiny fidgets so typical of most men in stressful situations.
He was one of the veterans of the stable Junetta maintained, chosen by Casius for his private stable within a stable. He had been taken in a raid into Germania as a boy -- eight years old, maybe nine, maybe seven.
XxxxHe had been raised as a slave. At the age of thirteen he had gotten into a fight and killed another boy his age. He was sent off to work in mines, but his sentence was commuted after six weeks on account of his age.
XxxxHe was then sent to work on a farm, where he got into another fight and bit off the ear of one young man several years older, and broke the neck of another boy his own age.
XxxxHe was then sent off to be an oar slave on a galley, which is where Junetta discovered him.
XxxxAt anchor on the first night out on a trip out of Hispania, the ship's captain offered a little entertainment for Junetta -- two rather quarrelsome oarslaves were to fight. They did, and this one young man was an especially vicious and eager fighter -- seeming to take absolute delight in inflicting the killing thrust after Junetta ordered it.
XxxxJunetta, of course, had the young man released into her custody and trained as a fighter. Junetta had him fight on a number of special occasions -- including an octabule at her own wedding -- a fight in which four pairs of men fought to the death, the four survivors then fought, and those two survivors fought -- so only one man of the eight survived.
XxxxNow not particularly handsome, this gladiator was a well seasoned, experienced fighter -- a veteran of more than fifty 'parlor games' at twenty-four -- an enthusiastic killer of more than seventy men.
XxxxJunetta had great faith in this fighter who had served her well in the past. Tonight, of course, would be like so many of the matches -- totally unequal -- more an execution than a fight. Of course the other young man would fight desperately, but he would lose and be executed -- hopefully imaginatively.
Junetta mused whether Casius and Ulpius had conspired the match-up because they knew what she liked so much. She rose from her couch, walked to the pit area and began to remove Casius' man's armor and clothing -- after all, he did belong to her, she had only loaned him to Casius' stable.
Casius and his other guests knew that all of the man's covering would be stripped from him, except for a tight leather helmet which partially covered his face. Embossed on the leather helmet was the representation of a fish called 'murma'. This signified him as a mirmillo, the 'fish' the 'net fighter' tried to catch in his net then gaff with his trident.
The applause from Casius and his guests was for the number of victories, which Junetta proudly announced, and for his scars, which she also proudly pointed out.
Drawing her finger across a tiny scar across the man's abdomen, just above the mons-Venus, Junetta glibbed,
"This one ... a very large, Herculean Macedonian got this little scrape in ... with his honed finger-nails as his own belly was ripped open by steel, his intestines falling out in gray-pink coils, like a gutted pig. That was kill number forty-three. Or was that forty-two?''Junetta grabbed at the slave's crotch, running her hand under his slave's skirt and into his leather pouch, grabbing his testicles and gave them a twisting squeeze as she kissed the young man's lips. Then she laughed and bragged to her fellow guests,
"Yes, kill number forty-three. And this little scar where his nipple-nib should be, that's where I bit it off in ecstasy, after that superb kill!''
"I inflicted more scars than any of the fighters! They so rarely get a chance before death strikes from his lightening quick sword!''Even so, the few sword scars do prove the German's frequent appearances in the arena. He would now fight with a medium length sword, but without the customary shield. And without the genital pouch he'd have to wear if the fight was a public one within the city limits of Rome. Junetta mused at how prudish they had to be in the capital city!(footnote 2)
Junetta unbuckled the leather belt holding his cotton skirt in place, then jerked and broke the leather thong that held his genital pouch. Slowly, the penis and testicles unwrinkled and unfolded, filling out their dimensions like a moth emerging from its chrysalis.
Playfully Junetta grabbed his nuts. She turned to the assembled guests, smiling; she squeezed the tender bag. The German didn't flinch, the unexpected move, the pain, he had been trained to endure. Again she yanked, not even a blink from the German. Junetta beamed as the guests applauded and showed their approval of her gladiator, the one Casius had chosen as his fighter for the evening -- his stamina, and training.
It was obvious that although she was technically a guest, Junetta was really the host of this party -- she was the governor, and in a way she was the host of every party, every state-related party, whether she attended or not. And every party with gladiators had to be state sanctioned. So every party with gladiators was her party. Casius wondered whether he should assert his sponsorship of tonight's doings, but thought better of it -- he may be paying, but letting Junetta become the party giver actually was for the best -- she would remember and she always rewarded those who pleased her.
When the youth Ulpius had brought to the villa was presented it caused more of stir among the guests. The youth was handsome, well built, and very young for a fighter.
Since Junetta had stripped her host's contestant, Ulpius followed suit, stripping the fighter of all clothing. Ulpius removed the broad leather belt, the customary protection worn by retiarius, then the cotton strip that had been wound around the youth's belly and through his legs. He paused for a moment, after he jerked the cotton strip that freed the youth's cock and balls. Ulpius had not remembered the young man's genitals being so large.
It pleased him to hear the sighs and approval from the other guests, especially the governor, as the youth's cock bobbed from side to side, then settled. When Junetta commented on the youth's endowments, Ulpius knew his gift was a fine physical specimen, handsome young male flesh to wager against the seasoned fighter of his friend ... which ever's fighter it was -- Casius' or Junetta's.
Ulpius cupped his hand under the young man's ample balls and felt the two eggs. Tugging on the tender orbs he made the youth aware of his power over him, his ownership. He whispered to the youth to fight well, be proud of his training, and to make him the proud owner of a champion fighter. He wished him the luck of the gods for the fight.
The youth simply replied,
"Yes, my Lord."The fight went well, but was far too short. The German tasted victory from the start. The guests had been enthusiastic, trying to encourage the younger fighter to win. Then, when the net was gone, when the German had thrown it against the pit wall all was lost for the retiarius. The German had managed to trip his opponent and he was kneeling on the sands. The combat was over.
On the sand of the pit they were in the bright light of torches and candles. Like two sculptures, living, panting, sweating, their muscles highlighted by the reflections -- the two were breathtaking, two naked men facing one another, one with a sword, the winner.
Holding his sword at the base of the retiarius's neck, the German stooped and picked up the leather cord that had been the one holding his genital pouch when he entered the pit. He used it to tie the young fighter's hands behind his back. The German could have finished the youth off with a thrust of his sword into the young muscular neck, or in his belly, slicing him open like a butchered goat.
But the German was a veteran, he knew better. He knew from glancing at the governor, Junetta, that would not do. Since the fight was so short, some drama was needed to salvage the event of the evening. A quick kill would not be a good show.
When the fight ended so quickly, Junetta was lying on her couch fingers shoving the silk of her tunica into her genital cleft, manipulating her throbbing lips and what was inside, sliding the silk deep inside.
She saw the youth kneeling at the German's feet, his chin uncomfortably raised by the sword edge, she wanted more. As she made eye contact with the German, Junetta took her thumb and extended it, then moved it in an arc at her crotch.
Castrate -- the silent command was given. The other guests were either busy with their own gratification, or concentrating on the struggle between the youth and the German mirmillo. The victory, the castration of a handsome young man as the spoils of the combat would be a fitting close to the contest. Junetta was pleased with her decision -- Mars would be honored to have so handsome a youth sacrificed to him.
The defeated youth remained kneeling in the sand, his legs spread wide apart, his cock and balls dangling freely, swinging slightly, his testicles squirming like they had a life of their own and were afraid of what they knew was coming. He moved his arms as if to test his bonds, the cords that were wrapped around his wrists. They were there, they held him.
Ulpius raised his cup in a silent single toast to the youth hoped would win, but really hadn't expected it -- the boy was more a gift to the governor than a real challenge to her fighter -- or, rather, Casius', whom he must have suspected when he accepted the invitation, was going to have one of the governor's personal champions. He could have brought a less pretty youth, but he was glad he had brought this boy -- he had not fought well, but he would make a beautiful death, and that would curry favor for him.
The young man looked to his master, then away. Ulpius sipped the sweet wine and savored the young man's death. It is fate -- he should die.
Junetta called the German to the edge of the pit. She reached out and handed him her personal dagger, the one she kept under the pillow of her couch. This could be a dangerous move -- reaching out to such a powerful killer -- he could grab the dagger with one hand while grabbing her arm with the other and jerk her into the arena and slit her throat before the guards could fill him with arrows. But he knew he was the governor's favorite and she knew he knew it -- she also knew he knew he would be richly rewarded for a good show, so the danger was very small.
The dagger was a beautiful weapon, gold
and ivory, and a special metal from Asia Minor imbedded in the cutting
edge. The weapon had been a gift to her husband when he was living in Syria,
his first government station. He had given it to her on their wedding night,
and she had used it to slit the throat of the seventh gladiator of the
octabule -- as the German, this very fighter, held him steady. There was
history to this dagger -- both for the governor and for her champion.
The German returned to the kneeling youth. With his toes he nudged the youth's cock, then again. The member began to swell, and the mushroom head made its appearance from beneath the foreskin. The German then took the youth's pony-tail(footnote 3) in his hand and jerked his head back. The young man's Adam's apple pointed towards the ceiling of the room, taut, inviting -- undulating slowly as he swallowed.
Everyone in the room, except Junetta and her fighter, expected the German to slit the young man's throat. The German looked around to all the guests in the room, the concentration and the pending excitement caused an eerie silence. Some of the guests watched blankly, a few had a slight smile on their lips, wishing they were the one to slit the handsome throat. One matron, a wealthy, buxom lady, mouthed to the German victor she was in love and wanted him.
The German played with his victim. Still holding the pony-tail, he let the youth's head return to the normal position. He let the point of the dagger trace a line down the jugular then across the cleft between the youth's pectorals, then to the side until the point was at the heart nipple. Keeping his grasp on the pony-tail, he flicked the sharp point of the dagger, cutting the hard kernel of the tit, letting a rivulet of blood trickle down the youth's chest and abdomen.
The young man winced, he struggles against his bonds, his belly tightened, undulating like there were huge snakes under his skin. The German steadied him by yanking on his pony-tail, shaking the boy's head.
One of the guests shouted,
"Jugula." (Cut his throat.)Junetta and the German had their silent pack, and both reveled in the suspense and drama this was creating for the guests. The German's cock began to stir, his own bright red head was now visible, the long shaft encased by blue veins as the blood pumped into it. The excitement in the room was building, the accompanying sounds could be heard.
The German yanked on the youth's handle, the pony-tail, and pulled the young man to his feet. The youth was slightly shorter than the mirmillo. The German then readied his victim -- using his foot he made the youth spread his feet wide apart. Again, the young man's sex organs were wide open and vulnerable. His cock was now at half mast, and his balls hung in full view -- an impressive bull's sack on a handsome young man.
A matron, one of the business guests, called out to the German,
"One hundred silver denarius for his cock. And another hundred for you in my bed for an hour."The German smiled, and acknowledged the lady, then glanced at Junetta, who nodded agreement. Not only had her fighter taken the win, now she would receive one hundred silver denarius for the kill, and a bonus for one hours fucking. She wondered whether to give the gladiator the money -- it was never good for a slave to have too much money, especially a slave you didn't want buying his own freedom. But letting him have the money would tell him he was important to her -- maybe that would be good. It was a difficult decision to make -- it always was. She'd have to think about it some more.
The young fighter began to show real fear now. It was one thing to die in combat in the arena, but to die without his cock -- that was a disgrace he did not deserve! He struggled at his bonds. The German released his grip on the pony-tail and grabbed the youth's arm near the biceps. He pulled the youth close, sandwiching his erection between the youth's side and his belly.
He spoke to the youth in a soft, gentle voice, telling him it would all be over very soon. If he wanted to make it easy on himself he would not struggle. He had lost,
"Now be strong and brave. Show your owner you are a man, you are brave. Make him proud."The youth's body tensed, his nipples firmed, the wounded one again began to trickle fresh blood as he flexed his chest. He could feel the German's fist holding his arm, then the cold metal of the blade at the base of his balls, touching his inner thigh. He closed his eyes and prayed.
His scream bounced off the walls, and seemed to go on forever. The German had jerked the knife into the root of his balls, then had to saw and slice side to side, keeping the bucking young man as still as possible. Nothing could be done to stop the screaming, the guttural, almost animal sounds that brayed forth from the youth. His balls fell to the sand. The cock was hanging, blood was everywhere.
The German let the youth drop to his knees, then bending to the youth's crotch, he grasp the penis. One last simple cut, the prize was his.
One of those young-looking Khmer slave boys brought a silver tray. The German placed the bloody limp sausage in the center with mock solemnity and honor. Then he smacked the boy's ass hard enough to make it quiver and leave a reddened hand print on his left glute, heading him to the matron who had bought it. He winked at her, and she ran her tongue from side to side on her lips. Her hands were busy working in the crotch folds of her robes.
The castrated youth wavered; he struggled less at his bonds, swooning, fainting and reviving. His eyes rolled. He fought to stay upright, fearing a fall to the sand, the certain affirmation of death -- keeping yourself, your back off the sand had been stressed during his training. He had seen dozens of young men fall to the sand fatally wounded, never to rise again.
Junetta called out to his fighter,
"Jugula!"The German responded immediately. He grabbed the boy's pony-tail, pulled the kneeling youth's head back to stretch his young neck. With one swift powerful thrust, he sank the knife into the jugular on the left and sliced through the neck to the right. The victim fell forward as soon as the German released the pony-tail. The beautiful young fighter crumpled limply at the feet of his conqueror.
There was applause, congratulations, and bellows of male sexual satisfaction as some of the guests finished themselves. The few who had commandeered a serving boy finished using them for their gratification. The room became busy with conversation, and renewed servings of wine. The German was praised by the guests, then released to prepare for his commitment.
Happiest was the matron, who fingered the prize for which she had given one hundred silver coins, and had had the pleasure of watching a handsome young man destroyed so she could have it. She would keep the souvenir of the evening in a small box by her bed as a reminder of the special evening, using it as a sexual aid, stroking it while her husband made love to her, imagining the fat old man was this youth instead. To make the treasure more special, she ordered a slave boy to have the German victor bring it to her when he presented himself for her enjoyment.
The guests said good night and thank you to Junetta, then, as an after thought, to the real presenters of the evening's entertainment, Casius, their host, and Ulpius, the supplier of the young sacrifice. The matron kissed the governor then both men and thanked them for their kindness in inviting her to the villa. Everyone retired, the food, the wine, and the entertainment was exhausting, sleep was the only remedy, except for the matron -- she too would sleep, after the visit.