In Britain, as in their other provinces, the Romans constructed a comprehensive network of paved trunk roads
Marcus Lucius barely knew his father. There weren’t many opportunities to spend time together, even if they lived in one place for a year. Once, Marcus Lucius was taken to Britannia by his father. It was a long, fascinating journey with many short, but remarkable memories. Marcus Lucius saw snow for the very first time in his life. The surrounding had another shadow of green and the sky was mostly clouded. Even the blue sky looked different there. He loved the rain and the sun. He loved the free spaces there. He was ten years old, had two months of fascinating journey between Rome and Britannia behind, and he had to work like a real legionnaire.
His father gave him to the regular temp full of soldiers and send for him just every now and then. Maximus didn’t visibly intervene in the daily routine of his son and relied on the supervision of his friends. One of them was Appius, a tall, slim and bony man with shrill tone, when he was unsatisfied. He threw comments, orders and straight looks. He was hard, but fair. His advices were always adjusted, even if communicated in a brutal, direct, short way. Appius reminded Marcus Lucius on slave driver. Appius used to scream every now and then, because his look said more than thousand words. Marcus Lucius tried as hard as he could not to attract negative attention. It was quite hard to move the heavy sword properly, but every further day of training made it easier to handle to weapon. Mostly, he was good, but just good enough for his age. Compared to other legionnaires, he was simply too young. A ten years old boy couldn’t really contest with trained 20 years old ones. They were bigger, stronger and they have been training since years. Already during the first day, he had to sweep the stakes, even if he tried to deal blows as well. He lost every combat during the first training, but he always stood up and was ready to fight further. He had so many bruises and some wounds, but it didn’t matter. He stood heavily breathing and looking patiently and respectfully around.
-You’re a brave little man. – said Appius when he came closer to him. – You’re a brave little man.
Marcus Lucius didn’t feel proudly or satisfied. He lost every battle and he wanted his revenge. Suddenly, his father appeared behind him and Marcus Lucius heard how Appius welcomed Maximus in the training camp. You just simply knew that Maximus was around, because his charisma was in the air.
-You can be proud of your little boy. He doesn’t lose the overview in the hardest situations and he acts with honour. I never have seen such a spirit in such a small body.
Maximus laughed and slapped his son on the back. Only then, Marcus Lucius felt better.
While returning to the tent, where the soldiers were sleeping, Marcus Lucius didn’t expect his father talking with him. However, Maximus didn’t keep silence. He walked proudly, made big, self-conscious steps, and talked with his engaging, manly voice:
-Stay focussed. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you. You fought well, even if you lost. You can learn more from one lose than from thousand victories. You have to stay focussed more next time.
Marcus Lucius nodded with understanding and enjoyed the short personal contact to his father. Some days later, his father appeared again at the end of the training and slapped him friendly on the back.
-Stay focussed, my boy. – He repeated and Marcus Lucius was sure that he won’t hear anything else from his father.