Ancient Roman costumes and Class Differences

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Class Differences

Roman dress differed from one class to another. The tunic was worn by plebians (common people), herdsmen and slaves was made from a coarse dark material. The tunic worn by patricians was made from white wool or linen. Magistrates wore the tunic augusticlavia, and senators wore a tunic with broad strips, tunica laticlavia. Military tunics were shorter than those worn by civilians.

Roman Men

Wigs were worn by men as a disguise and to hide baldness. Hairstyles and beards varied with the times. In early Roman times, men wore long hair and full beards. For a while, they were clean-shaven with short hair. About 1 Century AD, they had started to style their hair, and wear beards again.

Jewelry

Rings were the only jewelry worn by Roman citizen men, and good manners dictated only one ring. Of course, some men did not follow “good taste”, and wore as many as sixteen rings. Most early Roman jewelry resembled Greek and Etruscan jewelry, but Roman styles eventually developed. The Romans were fond of colored stones such as topaz, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Pendants, especially cameos in gold frames, were popular.

Ancient Roman costume 1

Source: http://www.crystalinks.com/romeclothing.html

Woman´s ilustrations of the different hat and hair styles of the Ancient Roman

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Hair has, and will always, make a statement about how you see yourself, both internally and externally. Through the ages, styles have changed, but always seem to find their way back to natural long hair for woman, and functional styles for men. Styles vary with one’s career, age, ethnic and racial backgrounds, genetic, health, among other factors. It seems that people want what they don’t have in terms of hair texture. Color can be changed as can style. Look at yourself in the mirror and decided if you like your hairstyle and what is says about who you are today. Woman´s ilustrations of the different hat and hair styles of the Ancient Roman

More at: http://www.crystalinks.com/hair.history.html

The Ionic and Doric styles formed the basis of the ancient Greek costumes

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Although we think of Greece today as a relatively small country in the east of Europe, it was at one time the ‘it’ place of its day.  It was a country of eminent thinkers and put Greece at the forefront of civilized thought and argument.  Manners and costume also helped create a Greek culture that gave additional structure to one of the greatest civilisations the earth has seen.

Consequently Greece has influenced every other nation that has risen to power since.  The ideas, philosophies and writings left behind by the Greeks and the resultant archaeological finds from old ruins have created a good source of Greek era material and especially of costume.

The Ionic and Doric styles formed the basis of the ancient Greek costumes

The Ionic and Doric styles formed the basis of the ancient Greek costumes

More about it: http://www.fashion-era.com/ancient_costume/ancient-greek-dress-chiton.htm

Clothing in ancient Rome

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Clothing in ancient Rome generally comprised the toga, the tunic, the stola, brooches for these, and breeches. The act of putting on outer garments such as the toga or pallium, was described as amicire, which led to any individual outer garment sometimes being identified as an amictus without it being thought necessary to specify which outer garment was referred to. The equivalent term for the donning of undergarments, such as the tunica, was induere (indutus).

Ancient Roman costume 2

There was a special code between the two of them. Maybe it was due to the fact that they both learned under the command of Appius.

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Marble equestrian statue of Emperor Gaius Caligula (made AD 1 - 50) in the Great Court of the British Museum

Marble equestrian statue of Emperor Gaius Caligula (made AD 1 – 50) in the Great Court of the British Museum

When they arrived at Gesoriacum (also Bononia), a Roman port city on the English Channel important for Classis Britannica, where Caligula stayed over, before he travelled to the island, Julia saw a light house built based on directions of Caligula. Julia had already seen some port cities in her life, but she was always impressed by the great architecture and technical progress of the Romans.

When Octavian stepped into the wagon, Julia retreated to the furthest corner as she usually did. He was convinced that she was scared of him and he didn’t intend to hurt her at all. He noticed some bruises on her arms that she got after he pushed her away twice, and he was ashamed of it. He didn’t apologize, because he simply couldn’t find suitable words. However, Julia wasn’t scared, but rather ashamed that she wasn’t able to say Octavian how sorry she was for her silly resistance.

This time, there was no routine in Octavian’s acting. He stayed in the middle of the wagon watching Marcus Lucius sleep.

-We’ll go to the ship directly. – He said silently.

-A ship? – She seemed to be worried.

-Yes, it’s the fastest way to get to Eboracum. – Octavian confirmed and started at her curiously. He wondered what scared her more: he or the suggested means of transport. – If we would stay here, on the land, we would have to stay in the camp over night. The probability that we could be demasked is higher here. On the ship, you’ll get a cabin and have your privacy. Ina few minutes, my men will come here and you’ll get a litter carried by local slaves. We’ll put Marcus Lucius on it and you’ll get the second litter.

Octavian’s had a determined look, but not as cold as usually. Julia wondered what happened to him in the last days.

-I don’t need a special litter. I’ll go next to him.

Octavian wasn’t happy about it, but he didn’t intend to argue with her. He nodded once and stepped closer to Marcus Lucius. Within seconds, he woke the wounded man up and described the situation to him. Marcus Lucius showed his understanding of the plan.

-Are you doing better? – Octavian asked quietly, almost too quiet for Julia to hear.

Marcus Lucius nodded slightly. There was a special code between the two of them. Maybe it was due to the fact that they both learned under the command of Appius. Maybe it was just a sign of their special predisposition to understand each other.

Julia stood just a few steps away and didn’t understand the communication between them. She waited for the litter and then, as it was brought, she observed how Octavian helped to lift Marcus Lucius and shift him on the litter. Then he came to Julia and took her widest ribbon away. She wondered whether she should start struggling or let Octavian do what he wanted to do. As he went away with the ribbon, she was confused. She wanted an explanation, and got it in form of his action. Octavian put the ribbon on Marcus Lucius’s head and covered his face with it. The material was transparent enough to let him breath, but it didn’t allow strangers and uninitiated people recognise the face. Even though the litter had a kind of baldachin protecting Marcus Lucius from the unknown witnesses, Octavian wanted to double the protection. It wasn’t just about the one wounded man, but about possible collateral damages involving many people, who were important to Octavian.

He, personally, accompanied the litter to the ship and noticed how insecure Julia’s steps became the closer she came to the water. It was possible that nobody else noticed her tentativeness, but Octavian saw the girl already a couple of times in different situations and was able to judge whether she felt good or not while doing something. Even if he was just few meters away from her, he was able to feel her tension.

Therefore, he wondered what happened next. As Julia’s fragility increased and her legs became shaky just some centimetres in front of the wooden, provisory bridge between the ship and the land, a hand came out of the material curtain of the litter’s baldachin. The strong, determined fingers grasped Julia’s dainty hand. Marcus Lucius hold her carefully, but decisively. She wasn’t able to see his face, she wasn’t able to speak with him, but they communicated in the most secret way every human being could use: it was intuition and empathy. Or, you could say it was Marcus Lucius’s highly developed, sharp sense of observation.

Julia didn’t oppose and she didn’t change her mimic. However, Octavian saw a sign of relief in her eyes. She looked anxiously around every now and then, but her step became steadier and less shaky. She held Marcus Lucius’s hand as strong as she could. It was hard for her to let lose when Marcus Lucius had to be brought to the cabin and lifted onto the bed there. She was unsteady and waggly again, leaning on the wooden walls of the ship, thinking about every step. The ship wasn’t sinking. It almost didn’t move, but she acted as if the end of the world would come any moment.

Octavian made sure that Marcus Lucius laid safely in the bed and wasn’t recognized by anybody, then he sent away all guards and slaves from the room. They passed Julia on the stairs and greeted her for goodbye. She didn’t answer and kept grasping on any kind of stable surface. She trembled and was convinced she would vomit immediately. As the last person passing by, Julia saw Octavian. He didn’t pass her, but stretched his hand out to her. It was a peaceful offer, but Julia didn’t easily accept it.

-I don’t need your help. – She sounded proud.

-You do. Come along. – He answered in his typical cold way.

She refused again. He remembered that he had mostly pushed her away or ignored her, so she had a good reason not to accept his offer, but she was indeed in need. As neither his statement nor a kind of order helped, he added what Marcus Lucius told him in the cabin just a moment ago:

-It’s Marcus Lucius’s will.

It was like ‘open, O sesame’, a magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” from One Thousand and One Nights. Julia stood frozen for a moment showing disbelief, then, she stretched out the hand and allowed Octavian to help her. His hand was rough as Marcus Lucius’s. Surprisingly enough for Julia, Octavian was warm and pleasant to touch. She wondered when the resources of ice melted and changed into a pleasant surface.

Octavian accompanied her to the cabin’s door. He was pleased by her touch. Even though she didn’t look at him and rather followed the wooden bars, he savoured her closeness. She smelled good, even though she didn’t wash herself for days. Her hands were dainty and he could feel her bones. He wondered whether she was so bony from the moment he met her. She didn’t look well, but it could be caused of her anxiety of being on a ship. He couldn’t understand it, but he knew even soldiers who were scared in such situations.

He got the illuminative impression that the more he tried to run away the more troubles were combined with the escape. It was obvious that he had to accept the circumstances.

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Hadrian's Wall, England constructed in 122 AD to mark the northern border of the Roman Empire in Britain, the wall stretched across the width of Great Britain just south of the present day border with Scotland

Hadrian’s Wall, England constructed in 122 AD to mark the northern border of the Roman Empire in Britain, the wall stretched across the width of Great Britain just south of the present day border with Scotland

Nerva was used to be on the run in a chaotic, energetic way. Usually, he was the messenger of really good or totally bad news. He was trained to be a fighter, but he didn’t have any occasion to prove himself in any combat until he settled down in Eboracum. Appius used to say that Nerva had to focus on the tasks of great responsibility. Bringing the news and being a communication channel had the same high priority as swinging the sword on a battlefield. However, the training hours were part of Nerva’s exercises. Being a messenger was risky as well. Appius was sure that Nerva had to be prepared for any kind of action, reaction, decision. On the long trips, Nerva visited many different places and didn’t graft his soul anywhere. He wasn’t like a planted tree that knew where its roots were. He was like the seeds from an orchid family that are generally blown off like dust particles or spores after ripening. Nerva was here and there, but he had no home to return to. Most soldiers preferred a place or a chosen location to call their home. Nerva didn’t. He loved to be in motion, from one point to another. He loved small talks. He loved new faces and scratching the surface of the world. He didn’t feel related to places, but he felt connected to people. His relation to Appius and Octavian was Nerva’s only point of reference. Octavian and he were like brothers. Appius and he were like the master and scholar. With Marcus Lucius he started building a strong friendship.

In Britannia, through the daily routine including riding the same routes and looking at the same trees, frozen bayous and other elements of the surrounding, Nerva discovered that being in one place could calm you down and bring some rest into the soul. However, he needed some days to settle down his thoughts and doubts. Only then, a kind of unknown, but welcomed silence flew through him. He understood this the evening, he got wounded. He inveighed against the entire world and was close to snapping any moment. It wasn’t the pain in the body that annoyed him so much. It was the awareness of being captured in a rainy, unhappy, immutable place, the furthest, the less interesting part of the empire instead of having a talk here or there. Nerva noticed that Marcus Lucius had killed the rest of the offenders and in the moment, when the little fight was over, Marcus Lucius changed from the enormously fast, active, outstanding warrior into a calm, peaceful man watching the sunset at the horizon. Nerva looked in the same direction and the last sun rays brought a new thought: the place was impressive with its masterfully synchronized colours of the sky, woods and the road ahead.

When Marcus Lucius stitched him later that night, Nerva felt good for the very first time. He calmed down after he drunk a sea of wine. Actually, he wanted to drink to forget his thoughts, instead, he made peace with the situation. He got the illuminative impression that the more he tried to run away the more troubles were combined with the escape. It was obvious that he had to accept the circumstances. He hadn’t forced himself to like it, but he could learn to tolerate it. It was a step into a good direction.

Continuous ups and downs used to give him adrenaline shocks in the blood. He liked the kick, because it distracted him from thoughts coming from the deepest corner of the heart. During the two weeks with Marcus Lucius, a special kind of inner peace established itself in his soul. He started paying attention to the dark, gloomy, but calm places around him that became the perfect environment for him. Just the rain ruined the idealistically sombre climate.

Nerva wasn’t informed how long the delay with Julia’s travel should take. Marcus Lucius hadn’t explained anything – neither directly after the talk with Cornelius, nor in the following two weeks. Marcus Lucius said he wanted to talk with Julia later, and “later” was so undefined that it could take years before a talk would take place. Marcus Lucius looked tired, sad, as if he would be forced to carry a heavy load on his shoulders. Nerva felt it through his sleekly rough skin. From the very beginning, from the day he came back from a journey that never took place, Marcus Lucius asked Nerva to stay in Britannia. He didn’t define any tasks, he didn’t describe anything, he simply expressed a question that had to be answered with something like “Yes, I do” or even “Of course, I do”. Marcus Lucius didn’t have any right to decree anything, but his appearance forced Nerva to behave friendly and stay supportive. When Nerva asked which kind of help was needed, Marcus Lucius shook his head with refusal. When Nerva asked whether he had to go to Appius, Marcus Lucius refused again.

-I need you here. We’ll wait for Octavian to come back with news and advice from Appius. Then, we’ll decide what to do next. We have a month for trainings and patrols.

Even though they didn’t talk at all, there was a special kind of connection that bounded them together.

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Ancient Ruins, Llyn Dwyarchen, North Wales

Ancient Ruins, Llyn Dwyarchen, North Wales

Because Julia didn’t see Marcus Lucius for days, she assumed that he spent all the hours training with the legionnaires as Nerva once mentioned. No other information was available to Julia which made her feel increasingly insecure. Nobody had even the slightest idea where Marcus Lucius and Nerva spent their time and it wasn’t supportive to ask any legionnaire of Cornelius, because it could just raise unnecessary questions. She was increasingly tensed and stressed. It wasn’t a nice, comfortable state of soul. Therefore, she preferred to stay in cold, empty rooms, because she could deceive her senses and guide her thoughts to her basic instincts.

Nerva was unsettled and orbited around Julia’s bedroom. He couldn’t find his peace, especially when he remembered the last days, lacking understanding of the local language, not following the concept of Marcus Lucius and the wound he got. He wasn’t used to be injured. Additionally, he wasn’t sure what to do. He needed instructions. The best strategy to come to a conclusion was to step back and go to the basics. He thought about the day after Octavian left Eboracum, when Marcus Lucius spoke with Cornelius. It was a private talk, but Nerva was just a few meters away from them and could hear every word that was said. Cornelius had sent all his men away, but Marcus Lucius ordered Nerva to stay, so Nerva stayed and listened carefully. Cornelius confirmed the deal of the last day as if he wasn’t sure that Marcus Lucius really didn’t intend to take the official leading position.

-I called off my soldiers. – Cornelius added quietly.

-I’ve noticed. Thank you. – Marcus Lucius confirmed.

-What do you plan to do? – Cornelius was interested and stressed. His tension was visible.

Marcus Lucius didn’t show anything that could provoke Cornelius.

-We have to be prepared. The legionnaires have to train. I’ll overtake it. In a month, they’ll start patrolling the surrounding. – Marcus Lucius’s words were short, quickly spoken.

-What do you plan to do during the month? We can get attacked again! – Cornelius sounded ruffled and angry.

-They’ll start patrolling the surrounding in a month. – Marcus Lucius repeated with the emphasis on “they”. – We’ll start patrolling immediately.

Nerva wondered about the strict, exact, emotionless tone and. He appeared confident and masterfully on another, unknown level. When Nerva had met Marcus Lucius for the very first time, he saw a wounded lion that fought for a good thing. Even when he lay on the ground unarmed like a child, he emitted a kind of seriousness and power. Nerva was impressed by the generous gesture of Marcus Lucius when he allowed him to sleep in his bed in his wagon, while he himself stayed sitting on the floor. During the following weeks, there were not many contacts between them. During the last days, Nerva used to look at Marcus Lucius as a buddy, great, reliable, but silent companion.

But in the moment when Marcus Lucius and Cornelius talked, something changed. In a natural, acceptable way Marcus Lucius became a leader. He was no tyrant, who forces you to proceed with all possible means. On the opposite, Marcus Lucius didn’t need to force anyone to rule the situation. Appius had foreseen this strength when he once said that Marcus Lucius had to grow up to become the real son of Maximus. In this one scene, it was really the case. A man stepped down from the way he was following before.

Nerva was relieved to finally have someone close to him, who knew what to do, how to behave, which orders were needed. It was a good feeling, even though there were some doubts about Marcus Lucius’s identity and Octavian’s ride to Appius. Appius was the ultimate decision maker and consulter.

During the following days, Marcus Lucius kept silent and the patrolling started again. In the rainy days, evenings and even nights, they were on the road stepping by villages in the locality of Eboracum. The village inhabitants kept their distance, even though their strange talks were louder. Nerva didn’t understand a word and he didn’t feel comfortable when someone obviously was talking about him but he couldn’t grasp the context. The ambiguous facial expressions of the locals weren’t supportive.

Not the weather, which was clearly worse than in any other part of the Empire, was the most tiring thing. It was the constant silence during the time spent patrolling, that was most annoying. Therefore, Nerva enjoyed the moments when he got a report from Rufus, a good companion on the battle fields and during the trainings, but the worst friend in the private life. Rufus didn’t participate in any celebration, he didn’t pray, he didn’t drink, he didn’t go to the women to have sex. Octavian wasn’t good with such things, either, but Octavian – at least – tried to settle in.

Nerva needed a consultation for future actions. When Julia asked what happened, Nerva kept silence and referred her to Marcus Lucius. He didn’t want to tell her what further steps Marcus Lucius had planned, because he wasn’t informed about it. On the way back to the villa after the talk with Cornelius two weeks ago, Marcus Lucius had mentioned he was thinking about sending Julia to Naples with delay. After he sent a messenger to her father to give the note about the change of plans, he started the daily routine of patrols. As cause for Julia’s delay, Marcus Lucius mentioned the latest occurrences and the higher risk of travelling these days without describing anything in particular. Nerva wasn’t sure whether Julia was involved in these plans. It was rather less probable. Nerva wondered when Marcus Lucius would find time for it. For more than two weeks, Marcus Lucius was just on the road and Nerva became his best companion. Even though they didn’t talk at all, there was a special kind of connection that bounded them together.

Marcus Lucius nodded and left the camp every day with a good feeling about the progress of the legionnaires. The less amused they were about the trainings the more convinced Marcus Lucius was that Rufus’s methods were right.

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Ancient Britain - The Ancient Cultures of Britain. Map of Ancient Britain, showing the Celtic tribes, and Roman roads, 369NE

Ancient Britain – The Ancient Cultures of Britain. Map of Ancient Britain, showing the Celtic tribes, and Roman roads, 369 AD

Marcus Lucius nodded and left the camp every day with a good feeling about the progress of the legionnaires. The less amused they were about the trainings the more convinced Marcus Lucius was that Rufus’s methods were right. Relieved and with a short movement of the hand, Marcus Lucius indicated to Nerva to follow him for the second round of patrolling. They got new horses and rode away.

During the first days, the locals were very suspicious about the two strangers on horses. The rumours spread like thunder and some residents from the villages walked miles to see the Romans suspicious to them. At first, Marcus Lucius could only understand single words. Then, he understood the context, even though he wasn’t able to listen and grasp every word. He wasn’t sure when he had learnt the local language. He could make out at least three dialects. It was possible that he had inhaled the unknown language when he was a boy. He didn’t grasp it with purpose.

The local inhabitants commented louder and louder what they were thinking about the soldiers with the shiny helmets. They nagged about the missing security and the guff of having a Roman camp so close to their houses and so unpractical for protecting the people from the tribes from the North. They were afraid of increasing incidents with the men from the North. They wished to have more protection, and if the Romans would not protect them, then they didn’t wish to have them around. The popular discontent ruled in the eyes of the locals. It sounded the same way disharmonious like the preference of Prokofiev for daring dissonances and unusual chord combinations.

Marcus Lucius and Nerva didn’t comment on anything, they didn’t exchange any remarks while patrolling. The locals were loud and visibly showed their unhappiness while standing in the doors of their small, stony, houses with thatched roofs. Marcus Lucius listened carefully and Nerva couldn’t lose the impression that he was planning something. It was unusual for Marcus Lucius being quiet for so long. He didn’t utter any welcoming words or any commands. His orders were communicated with limited gestures. It was a very uncomfortable state and Nerva hoped it would change soon. He was not the greatest listener himself, but he needed contact with others as every human being. After two weeks of mutual observation without talking, something strange and unconventional happened.

Octavian wasn’t satisfied with Marcus Lucius’s efforts and found it too strenuously to exercise so soon with fresh wounds. However, he accompanied Marcus Lucius who was determined to start exercising

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Hadrians Wall, Northumberland, England 1

Hadrians Wall, Northumberland, England

At first, he took walks. Octavian wasn’t satisfied with Marcus Lucius’s efforts and found it too strenuously to exercise so soon with fresh wounds. However, he accompanied Marcus Lucius who was determined to start exercising. Together, they walked towards the woods, then they went along the line of trees. Finally, they reached the moors in Southern North. They changed direction and went some hundred meters towards the West and came back to the villa from the North-Western side. They were followed by three or four of Cornelius’s legionnaires, even though they kept their distance.

At first the walk took the whole day due to many pauses. In the first days they walked for almost twenty to twenty five kilometres. Octavian niggled every time they left the mansion and it was rather a sign of care than complaining about exertions. For him, the walks were rather a nice diversion or supplement to the normal trainings. Nerva, if he was in the villa, took it more easy and with humour. Therefore, Marcus Lucius preferred to go out with Nerva. They could talk every now and then, but mostly, they just savoured the silence of woods and the green, wet nature around them.

Later, Marcus Lucius wanted to discuss this and that with Octavian. There were so many possibilities to talk about so many things. But instead, they kept silent and Octavian breathed heavily, because he was slightly offended by the fact that Marcus Lucius didn’t listen to anyone. Marcus Lucius’s wounds could break open easily after too much exercise. At the beginning his breath was regular but started being irregular when they reached the tenth kilometre. His hands weren’t sweaty, but his back was wet and he could get easily cold or catch a fever or chest symptoms. However, pneumonia was regarded as “the captain of the men of death” by William Osler in the 19th century only. In Roman times, it wasn’t known that infectious agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. There was no antibiotic therapy that radically improved the survival of infections. There were undefined, invisible, moody gods, who decided spontaneously who would survive and who would die. It was like in today’s third world that pneumonia remained a leading cause of death no matter of the age. Octavian didn’t raise the topic of death rates and more care about the own health, because it wasn’t supportive to Marcus Lucius. Therefore, Octavian was totally unsatisfied about the trips they made.

Normally, he would appreciate the walks through woods, because it was indeed relaxing and kept him in shape. He didn’t like to be involved in the first line of attack on the battlefield. He rather stayed at the back and waited for the last offenders, who would break the lines of defence. It wasn’t easy to stay calm and look powerful when the soldiers you knew were fighting. He was seen as the last man standing.

Then, he didn’t like the Britannia. He preferred the warm lands of the Roman Empire. There, he could sleep during the nights without needing a blanket. There, he could eat meat the way he loved it. Britannia was just good for two reasons. One, he appreciated the trust of Appius. This mission was the best proof that Octavian was the solid, reliable man, he always wanted to be. Two, he was close to Julia. He was entranced by her from the very first moment he saw her. She was Appius’s guest, who practically hosted an old friend and new husband in one person. Octavian heard some stories about Maxentius’s miserable army career. There was a story that Maxentius held a sword like a girl. There was another story that Maxentius was scared to death when he was supposed to go to his first battle. When Octavian saw Maxentius for the very first time, he noticed the extremely tender, but wrinkled skin of a man, who dabbled with battles, but had enough power to beat a weak and defenceless being. Octavian had already seen beaten women, while they rested as a team in different places. He noticed women visiting their man, soldiers, who were stationed in camps, and overreacting after days or weeks of broken contact to their families. Octavian observed how much these women suffered in silence, how their eyes became dashed off and how their moves lost the vigorous dynamic. The same symptoms, he noticed with Julia. She still had a kind of fire, but it wasn’t a fire that could burn for ages. Instinctively, he wanted to protect her. His first reflex was to kill the man, who was supposed to watch over his own wife. Affected by unexpected emotions, Octavian got shaky hands. He noticed that Appius registered the tension, but not the reason behind it. Sending Octavian as the leader of the convoy to Britannia could have two different explanations. Either Appius knew what really happened in Octavian’s mind and wanted to him to learn a lesson or Appius knew that of all soldiers, Octavian would fulfil his task with the strongest motivation. Either way, it showed Appius’s trust in Octavian.

After a month, the walk took just the half the time and Marcus Lucius started his first trainings in the back yard, when he came back to villa after noon. The signs of autumn were already present outside and it wasn’t clever to leave the villa for a longer while, if it wasn’t necessary. The days became shorter and the amount of water in the air increased. It was too unpleasant outside. The danger of slipping combined with the probability of the wounds getting worse was too high. For that reason, Marcus Lucius shortened the march distance and spent more time in the inner yard, where he trained at least three hours a day. Octavian welcomed it.

An air of nervousness and insecurity was around during the entire afternoon. Marcus Lucius didn’t agree to the plan until Julia asked him to trust her.

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House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii

House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii

Marcus Lucius briefly flinched a bit, but long enough to raise suspicion. The old commander didn’t comment anything. It wasn’t necessary. Then, he added surprisingly:

-Julius didn’t tell me much about you.

Marcus Lucius was almost sure that the idea of pretending to be Maxentius was a complete flop. He was sure that the hint was a part of a series of checks to identify and confirm the real nature. Apparently, the puzzles of information that Cornelius had about Maxentius didn’t match.

-Everyone says it to me. – Marcus Lucius lied without batting an eye. – It’s the marriage, I guess.

Cornelius seemed to be relieved and somewhat happy about how the situation developed. Marcus Lucius judged that he was convincing enough. He couldn’t remember Maxentius at all. He saw a dead, bloody body dressed according the status of a noble, Roman man. There hadn’t been enough time to look at the details and then, Marcus Lucius was too injured. He had never spoken about Maxentius with Julia or Appius’s soldiers. It came to his mind only in the moment when Cornelius marked his hands. Marcus Lucius regretted that he didn’t take it into consideration. It could disturb the entire plan. After waiting a moment, Marcus Lucius had the feeling that Cornelius was all right. He couldn’t be sure about it, but his intuition that saved him from getting killed for years told him quietly to trust that Cornelius accepted the remark as being true.

Fortunately, the statement didn’t have any consequences. However, it was a bad sign and Marcus Lucius didn’t want to risk nothing else. With an unsettled look, he went through the main room of the house, a broad, stony lobby, and gazed at Octavian every now and then. They didn’t exchange a word, but they were both edgy.

Julia stepped into the room covered in a blanket and with question marks in her eyes.

-How did it go? – She asked and Octavian summarized the meeting with Cornelius.

She hardly remembered the uncle, who was in Britannia for years already. As far as she knew, Cornelius rather stayed in Londonium, where he could easily take a ship and travel to Rome anytime. Octavian explained to her that Maxentius was supposed to take the leadership in Eboracum and Cornelius was there only temporary. The last tribune in Eboracum was killed in fights with local warriors. Generally, it was a safe area, but every now and then, some dangerous groups from North Britannia attacked Southern Britannia. Eboracum and Deva were the last camps located at the farthest ends of the empire. They marked the border and were left at the mercy of the more or less peaceful attitude of Barbarians.

Julia shook her head, but nobody was able to understand what she really thought. As she heard the suggestion to prepare a dinner for her uncle, she stepped back two steps, as if her insecurity pushed her away from the place she stood in. She was more scared of her uncle coming into her house than the Barbarians that could attack any moment. Cornelius’s presence was more perceptible in that moment. However, she understood the solemnity. After a moment of consideration, she spoke quietly with a trembling voice:

-So, we’ll prepare the dinner. My uncle wasn’t present during the wedding, so he doesn’t know how Maxentius looked like.

-Still, his soldiers could recognize Marcus Lucius, because he looks similar to his father. Maximus spent many years in Britannia and it’s probable that one of Cornelius’s guards will find out about our masquerade.

Wearing a helmet in the lobby would raise too many questions. Additionally, nobody knew how to cover Marcus Lucius’s face. Bandages were allowed, but inconvenient. The creepiness of the situation couldn’t get worse in Julia’s eyes. She had to put her mask of political correctness on and behave properly.

-The only solution is having the dinner without Marcus Lucius. – Julia spoke aloud what nobody dared to say. – When he won’t be here, he won’t be recognized.

Octavian wasn’t convinced. Finally, Marcus Lucius was bandaged the same way he appeared at Cornelius’s. Octavian wasn’t sure whether the meeting was a good idea. Too many bad consequences could follow and Octavian wasn’t happy about it. He niggled:

-How do we explain it all to Cornelius?

-I simply say that the way up to here and today’s talk was too exhausting for my husband. It’s probable enough, isn’t it?

Marcus Lucius and Octavian kept silence. The first convinced man seemed to be Marcus Lucius.

-It is. If it won’t work, then we have to prepare an alternative plan. – Marcus Lucius said. – And don’t forget the wine. I send a slave to bring as much wine as possible. Cornelius’s glass should not get empty.

An air of nervousness and insecurity was around during the entire afternoon. Marcus Lucius didn’t agree to the plan until Julia asked him to trust her. He wasn’t sure whether she was right, but she insisted to follow her plan. Marcus Lucius was able to fight against the entire world, but he wasn’t able to start a fight with the girl. She had a strange kind of power that didn’t allow him to oppose her. He would stop her, if her arguments wouldn’t be powerful enough. Her short speech was logical and rational. There was no emotional issue. It was imposing.

-How good do you know your uncle? – He asked her.

-I don’t know him at all. I heard about him. My father told some stories, but nothing worth mentioning it. – She answered slowly and using all words with purpose.

She sounded strange as if she would be far, far away with her thoughts. Marcus Lucius didn’t intend to push her. She told him the truth and it was crucial. He left her alone. She didn’t notice it at first. As she brought up her father, she became nervous. She wasn’t sure what to think about him. She wanted to be sure that Julius had given her to Maxentius with good intentions and not knowing how awful man Maxentius was. Finally, it was her father, a person whom she used to trust and she used to look up to him as if he was a kind of god. His decision was confusing and Julia struggled internally.