Cato Wants To Adopt Gaius Antonius As His Son And Heir:
After the Senate declared war on Carthage, Cato summoned Gaius Antonius back to his house on Palatine Hill. As his niece and social hostess, Lavinia met Gaius at the door and threw her arms around him in welcome. She hugged him to her and kissed both his cheeks. She whispered into his ear, “We are to be married very soon.”
Is that what Cato was going to tell him? Gaius was very surprised. But he would reserve his judgement to see what the elder senator brought up. He proceeded directly through the atrium into the garden where Cato was awaiting him at a table set up with refreshments. He could see Lavinia still behind him hanging around a Doric pillar watching everything he did with intense interest.
“I suspect we must choose a general and be off,” Cato waved his arms about. “But before you set off as all the young men must do all with new military ranks, I want to adopt you, Gaius Antonius, as my son and heir.”
Gaius Antonius’s mouth fell open in surprise. He had certainly not expected anything like this to happen! To be adopted by the leading man of his time, the most famous of all living Romans, the author of the first prose work in Latin to boot! It was a Roman custom and was not all that rare to adopt as a son and heir a young man who had just grown up and was the right age even when his own father was still living. But Gaius had certainly never thought it would be happening to him of all people.
Cato held up his hand. “We can deal with all the surprise reactions later, but for me this is serious. I am now old enough to be practically the only man serving in the Senate who actually fought in the Second Punic War. I am no general and I am too old to fight again. After all, I am now in my late seventies and almost eighty! I have no wife and no son of my own, and considering the part I have played in the early stages of this war already . . . “
Gaius Antonius broke out in exclamation, “Of course you have practically guided and directed it more than even a general could. If it had not been for you, the Carthaginians would be building ships behind our noses and who knows what would happen!” he said. “By the time anybody else besides you detected what the problem was it might be too late. The Carthaginians might be at Ostia with their fleet. They might find another Hannibal to bring more elephants across the Alps Mountains into Italy and start attacking all our allies and all our fellow city states. And this time we might actually get defeated because of our own stupidity.”
Cato again held up his hand. “Many besides me have whispered to themselves about this festering problem with the Carthaginians. But only I have had the oratorical skills and the position in the state to bring about where we are now.”
“That is what I have said, no more no less!” Gaius broke out.
“I think it is fitting you go into battle representing me because of the way you have assisted me so far in preparing for this war and because of the way you just risked your life going to New Carthage and rescuing that map that you drew yourself,” Cato spoke. “So you can represent not only your own real father but me as well. That is why I want to adopt you.”
Lavinia sneaked into the room uninvited and waited only a few steps away for Gaius Antonius’s response. She had her hands tightly clutched together in suspense.
Cato and Lavinia traded looks. After all, Lavinia was his niece.
Gaius became aware that they were both waiting for his response. “Of course I accept!” he managed to stammer out. “I would be crazy to refuse such an offer.” He knew that his own real father who was only a minor senator would be very pleased if Gaius took on Cato’s name.
Cato nodded as if he had expected as much. “Of course we will have to hold the ceremony amidst all the bustle of war preparation.” He looked towards his niece. “And I think we will hold a wedding as well.”
Lavinia flew at Gaius Antonius and threw herself into his arms as he stood up to embrace her.
“We will invite all the senators and their relatives and use the banquet as another means of war preparation,” Gaius could see the great man’s brain turning and making plans with every happening and every turn of fate.
Gaius went home that evening and announced the amazing piece of good luck to his real mother and father. They were so overjoyed to hear that Cato wanted to adopt their son that they could hardly contain themselves. Now his father would be recognized as one of Cato’s chief friends and allies and would take precedence at all banquets and be seated next to the great man. Best of all, he could move his seat in the Senate House next to Cato’s. Everyone would envy his piece of good luck to have bred and raised a son like Gaius Antonius to make the Antonii clan famous. It would now be mentioned prominently in all the historical records of Rome and by historians long after his time.
Gaius took Lavinia with him for the first time to meet her new in laws. They were wowed by her education and graces and hosted her as a guest overnight, the woman who was soon to become their daughter-in-law.
That night as Gaius retired to be he thought of his habit of sketching everything and drawing and what had come of it. He thought of the map he had made of Carthage and of the Carthaginian ship. It was obviously the most important thing he had ever done in his life. And if he had two lifetimes, it was the most important thing in both. He would have to think of what to do next to honor his new name, Cato.
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Cato Sends Gaius to Carthage To Make Drawings:
Gaius Antonius sat there in amazement as the senators crowded around Cato at the conclusion of the Senate session. They were all gossipping about the last war and all their family memories that Gaius did not share because he was too young to remember. His father directed attention to him by telling another senator that he had brought Gaius along just in case there was a declaration of war today and he could volunteer his son as a recruit.
Gaius hung back until he was all alone in the Forum. He took a new way home and instead of returning to his house on the Palatine Hill in Rome he saddled up and took off for his country house outside town near the port of Ostia.
He sat there sketching the scenery to quiet his mind. He was joined by the daughter of the local mayor whom he had befriended recently. She questioned him what brought him here today. He spilled out his troubles to her.
She seemed disturbed. “Rome won’t quit until there is no other power in the Mediterranean,” she lamented. “They want to wipe out the Carthaginians just like they wiped us out too a while back.”
The girl who was descended from a local Etruscan family. The Etruscans had preceded the Romans in this area of Italy. Now hardly anyone spoke the original language which had practically died out during the past several generations.
“The Romans want the Carthaginians to speak Latin,” she said.
“But I guess there is a certain danger letting the Carthaginians make war against a neighboring city state,” Gaius lamented.
She shook her head sadly and disappeared. “You are just a Roman like the rest of them. And here I thought you were different!”
Gaius tried to follow her. But a messenger arrived from his father. He directed Gaius to follow the messenger back to Rome. Cato wanted to speak to him.
Marcus Porcius Cato? That was enough to wipe the memory of the Etruscan girl from his mind. Feeling very nervous he followed the messenger back to Rome to the imposing house of Cato not far from his own on Palatine Hill.
He entered the great man’s study in trepidation. He was amazed that the great man had even paid attention to his lowly presence in the Senate Chamber. But then Cato had seemed to pay attention to everyone great and small. That was part of his genius as he put down his pen and stopped working on his history of Roman customs and the life of a Roman country gentleman, the first prose work anyone had ever attempted to write in Latin before.
Cato smiled at Gaius, which surprised him even more. Given his stern face with all the lines, he was surprised if the older man could smile at all. He seemed to scowl at everyone all the time.
“Do you know why I didn’t call for a vote for war today?” Cato asked.
Gaius shook his head “no”.
“Because I wanted you to precede that vote. You must go to Carthage for us and make drawings of the buildings there in the harbor and around town so we know what we are confronting. We will find a pretext for you to leave Rome during our next session of the Senate.”
Gaius nodded nervously, not knowing how to say no to Cato.
“Perhaps we will ask them to send hostages as a show of good faith, that they are not making war against our interests,” Cato suggested to him.
He could not believe what was happening when Cato then invited him to lunch with him in his garden. Even more amazing, he introduced him to his granddaughter, who expressed a great interest in his drawings and examined them one by one very carefully.
“I like knowing you,” she smiled. “You seem like the man of the moment.” She gazed into his eyes.
Gaius was so overcome with her scintillating smile that at once he thought he would do anything to please her. He knew what his mission would be.
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Julia Visits The Forum in Julia: A Romance:
One of the most perennial Roman monuments associated with the days of the Republic and Empire was the Roman Forum, or Forum Romanum in Latin. It was located in the valley between the Capitoline Hill and the Palatine Hill where all the aristocrats and the Emperor lived. This was the central meeting place of the city where the Senate House was located as well as numerous shops. Triumphal processions were held here by conquering generals. This was where Roman citizens came to vote for candidates for office. Public speeches were also held here where everyone gathered around to listen. It was the site of criminal trials even those politically motivated such as Catiline. Even gladiatorial matches could be held here. And nearby and convenient to the Forum were the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. And important temples such as the Temple to the Vestal Virgins were nearby.
In the romantic historic thriller Julia: A Romance, the heroine makes many trips to the Forum and through the Forum in her efforts to evade either her evil, interfering mother, Octavia, or the man who wants to marry her at all costs, Marcus Sisenna, the second most powerful man in Rome. It is also a good place to hide since it was so crowded. It is part of the color of such novels that they are set against the backdrop of such historic settings where the likes of Juliius Caesar and Augustus Caesar walked.
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Knossos And Julia: A Romance:
When Julia marries Marcus Sisenna through an arranged marriage that her father, Senator Rufus, brokered, she had no idea about all the new experiences and responsibilities that she is taking on. She goes from being a girl who liked to sit in her father’s library in their expansive house on Palatine Hill in Rome to a woman of the world. Just as the Roman Empire extended to the boundaries of the known world, so would Julia’s new horizons.
The man she is marrying is the second most powerful man in Rome, Marcus Sisenna, Sulla’s right-hand man. When there is a plot Sisenna is immediately put in charge of investigating it. The Greeks rebel, so they end up in Greece. Since Sulla had just conquered Athens, the natives are restless.
Julia finds herself in the Palace of Knossos of all places! She can see bare chested priestesses with flounced skirts depicted in statuary. Whispers go on around her, the voices of the rebels.
Take your armchair tour of Greece and the Roman world. Read Julia: A Romance next year.
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Two Mediterranean Cruises That Dora And Edward Would Like:
Dora and Edward would want to visit Rome and Venice for certain and Gibraltar thrown in would not be a bad addition. So we would recommend that they sign up for the Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 50th anniversary cruise Q729 offered by Cunard Lines this autumn starting on September 8. Not only does the Mediterranean cruise stop in Venice which is a must see for the couple who spent so many fretful hours there fighting Hitler, it also stops in Gibraltar as a last stop before reaching Southampton and England once again. Edward and Dora would enjoy taking a motor launch across the Venetian lagoon. They might even revisit the beach at the Lido where they spent some nervous hours at the famous hotel trying to figure out how to escape the island. Dora eventually hired a private yacht to take her, her husband, and her daughter to Paris to meet Winston Churchill at the Ritz Hotel.
Another possible Mediterranean cruise for the well-heeled, well-traveled couple might be a second Cunard offering for late this summer. This cruise is also aboard the Queen Elizabeth, the newest offering of the Cunard Line which ought to be overly familiar to Dora and bring back memories of her time on the Lusitania in 1915. This cruise is aptly named Mediterranean Highlights. This cruise stops in Citavecchia, the new port for Rome now that Ostia has silted up. They can take a tour and explore the haunts of Edward’s long-ago ancestors in the time of the late Republic and early Empire. They might even visit the Forum on a bus tour or on a romantic horse and buggy ride or perhaps via the Roma Train from the cruise port. They could gawk at the House of Augustus on Palatine Hill where Edward’s ancestor once dined with the first Emperor of Rome while discussing the rebellious Germans who were to do in Augustus’s legions in 9AD.
At another port of call in Naples they can visit the Vesuvius volcano that lends its name to one of the historical thrillers in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series, the Vesuvius Plot. They can go ashore and visit Herculaneum and/or Pompeii, very nearby Pliny the Elder’s villa. Why Pliny the Elder? Find out how the great Roman writer is tied into the series by reading the upcoming Old Faithful Plot and the Vesuvius Plot soon.
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