Title: Encounters: Catilina/Cicero
Warnings: Sexual references and some adult themes.
Summary: Written in first person from Marcus Tullius Cicero's point of view looking back on his various encounters with Lucius Sergius Catilina during their time serving together under Pompeius Strabo during the social war in 89 BC.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters (/real people) I write about in this fic.
Author's notes: I'm writing pretty much from memory of this little section of the war so please feel free to point out any historical (or literary!) errors. There is a vocab list at the bottom/an explanatory passage about the Roman army.
When I first met him I was tired, cold and dirty from having marched all day weighed down by my war equipment. He looked as if the day was just starting. Immediately I hated him.
Why is it that some people are naturally gifted for war whereas others, such as me, recoil from the very mention of the word? At least now I can take comfort in my natural gift of oratory but back then I felt wretched and inadequate compared to the audacious men surrounding me. Well anyway I was there, in the war, and there was nothing I could do about it.
'Fulvius!' He was greeting, slapping a fellow of my contubernium on the back and flashing him an exhilarated smile. 'I found you!'
I knew little about Fulvius, despite having marched with him for my entire service, but it didn't surprise me that his companion saw finding him as an achievement; not only was Fulvius an unremarkable man to look at but he was one of just under five thousand men in our legion.
'Oh!' And then Fulvius' companion turned his bright eyes on me and cocked his head, considered me. His eyes flashed suddenly and then he was all charm, a winning smile lighting up his face with practiced ease. 'Marcus Tullius Cicero!' Taking advantage of my shock that this handsome but otherwise unimportant legionary I had never seen before knew my name he stepped closer and, for a moment, his smile faltered. 'I am right, aren't I?'
I cleared my throat, nodded warily, and a moment later I was being crushed against a chain-mail covered torso with a strength that squeezed the air out of me.
'I knew I was right!' My assaulter crowed once he'd released me although who he was speaking to was unclear. 'Sorry,' he grinned back at me - a little slyly I thought. 'I've wanted to meet you for some time.'
I finally found my voice. 'And to wh-who do I owe the pleasure…?' My stutter, an unfortunate habit of mine, is something I've never been able to fully rid myself of but it is subtle for the most part and I shan't dwell on it in this memoir.
'You don't know?' At first he affected injury in a playful manner I was to become used to in time. He couldn't keep the act up for long though and laughed at my awkward expression as I tried to place his features. 'No I was joking,' he explained, amused. 'I'm Lucius Sergius Catilina.' He paused for a moment, wondering whether the name would ring a bell, but when it obviously didn't he shrugged lightly and added, 'A pleasure.'
I agreed and was about to ask how he knew me but Fulvius called him over and after a short conversation with the legionary he left.
'Sergius, Sergius, Sergius,' I muttered to myself under my breath as I marched several days later within my contubernium. I did recognise the name but I couldn't place it. I'd decided that it must be an old family, patrician, if I had heard of it but the man still puzzled me though I hadn't seem him since and his name had begun to annoy me.
I had sent a letter to Atticus, an eloquent and intelligent friend of mine I had met during my education (and, indeed, am still friends with!), asking, among other things, what he knew of Lucius Sergius Catilina and the Sergii line in general but as of yet he hadn't replied.
It was that night, after the camp had been erected with all it's tents and ditches and fence-surroundings, that I discovered how the enigmatic legionary had known my name. I visited Gnaeus Pompeius (not yet Magnus), son of our general, because I had formed a friendship with him I had so far found invaluable during the campaign - and whilst there I casually mentioned Catilina.
'Oh Catilina!' Pompeius laughed; 'Funny you should mention him; he was asking about you just the other day!'
That offset me. 'Really? Asking what?'
'Just-' The blonde youth stopped himself, bit his tongue. 'Just which century you were in.'
Sensing that Pompeius was holding something back I was tempted to press him for answers - sure that I could trick him with words into telling me what I wanted to know - but his friendship meant a lot to me and so I refrained. Instead, just before I left, I asked him which century Catilina was in - 'So I might be as well informed as he is.'
Pompeius blinked at me, bemused. 'He's in your century. Didn't you know?'
The next time I saw Catilina I had received Atticus' reply to my letter and thought I was prepared for him. Our contubernia had ended up next to each other when digging the trench surrounding the make-shift camp for the army and, upon seeing me, he effortlessly switched places with the legionary next to me so we could talk.
'Long time no see, Cicero!'
I smiled. 'A legion has a lot of men.'
'But our century has only one hundred.'
I had no answer to that. A century, by the very nature of the word, could only be one hundred men strong - why state the obvious?
'We're getting near to Asculum,' he informed me as if I hadn't talked to Pompeius and discovered this for myself. When I glanced at him, my back protesting at the manual labour, he looked pleased. 'Finally a battle!' He chuckled, flashing me a grin when he realised I was looking. Quickly I returned to digging.
'More bloodshed,' I rephrased, unable to hide my disdain.
'Are you squeamish, Cicero?' It was, I realised, a rhetorical question. 'But it doesn't matter to you, surely, since you won't be there to see it?' The words were spoken quietly so that only I could hear, the soldier grabbing my arm to hold me still whilst he leant in to say them, and when he pulled back his smirk was almost wicked. My stomach churned uneasily.
It was true, what he said, because my friendship with Pompeius had secured me leave to stay in the camp during fights. Ostentatiously this was because I managed the army's accounts and was too valuable to lose on the field but really it was because I abhorred the violence of battle. I'd had to endure some of the fighting before I had ingratiated myself with Pompeius and I still shiver at the memory. The fact that Catilina knew about this unnerved me; I liked to keep quiet about my abstinence from battles, fearful of the stigma of 'coward', despite Pompeius' assurances that he would protect my name from such slights.
I pulled my arm from Catilina's grip, returned to fortifying the camp with renewed vigour, and was glad when he spoke no more.
Cooking over a campfire is a slow business, not least because you have to obtain fire from somewhere first, and I often missed the simplicity of having a cook place food in front of me back home. As my contubernium ate though and chatted and laughed around the fire I sat quietly and stared down the row of tents that belonged to our century; which tent did Catilina sleep in?
The Roman army is very organised - which is part of the reason for it's great success - and so perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised at seeing the legionary who had been occupying so much of my thoughts standing inside my tent when I left the campfire early; our contubernium always pitched our tent a certain number from the centurion's.
'C-Catilina!' I stuttered upon seeing him. He jolted, hadn't been aware of me entering the tent, and immediately straightened and took a step back in a guilty fashion. When I let my eyes take in the situation fully I saw that he had been leaning over the small writing desk I was allowed to carry from camp to camp so I could sort out the finances. Lying on the table were the army's financial records.
'Cicero,' he greeted back warmly, having recovered. 'You have a good head for figures.' He had seen me glance at the desk, obviously, and knew there was little point in trying to hide what he had been doing.
'And you have a good hand for spying, it seems,' I replied tersely, walking towards him and stopping next to the desk, glancing down at the records to see which bit he had been looking at.
'Not good enough obviously!' He laughed, apparently nonplussed about being caught. 'No, actually, I just got bored waiting for you.'
I looked at him dubiously, then with some confusion. 'Waiting for me?'
He shrugged. 'One hundred men. You'd think it wouldn't be hard to find one in a hundred, Cicero! But I often can't see you in the century. Then I realised why; you always scurry off as soon as the necessary tasks, such as eating, are done with and you never stay to socialise!' He smirked and, once again, I thought he looked a little sly. 'So I thought I'd scurry off first this time.'
'Have you eaten?' Out of all the questions whirling in my mind this was perhaps the most mundane but I didn't think before speaking. He looked amused, shook his head.
'I can live without for one night.'
I stared back down at the records uneasily and busied myself with sorting them back into how they were before Catilina had touched them.
'Oh don't ignore me, Cicero!' He was affecting hurt again, I thought, like he had the first time we had met - but this time he didn't laugh it off and I was forced to look at him. He looked serious.
'What do you want?' I was both wary and resigned, cautious and intrigued. He looked relieved that I had acknowledged him and, as he spoke, he took my left wrist firmly and led me out of the tent.
'I want to talk to you.'
'Men don't sleep on an empty stomach just to talk to another man,' I grouched, disbelieving and very self-conscious of the hand on my wrist.
'What do you want me to say then?' We were walking down the line of tents for our century, away from the fire and towards the temporary ditch-and-stake fortification of the camp. He slipped his hand on my wrist lower so he could entwine our fingers; 'That I want to make love to you?'
I stopped walking, felt sick at having my fears spoken aloud in such a soft, unconcerned voice. I couldn't speak but I looked up at him timidly (he was half a foot taller than me) to see him frowning. His eyes were passive though and I felt no threat.
'I shan't rape you,' he assured calmly then and turning his face back to the edge of the camp he began to walk again, my feet following unbidden though my fingers twitched a little in his grip. Sensing my unease he let my hand go and his lips curled up at one side at my obvious relief. 'I hear you'd like to become a lawyer.'
Glad for the change of subject I agreed. 'It's good practice for oratory.'
'Practice,' he muttered, almost to himself. 'So what is the ultimate goal? A political career? Tribune of the plebs, perhaps?'
'I want to work my way up the cursus honorum.'
He paused for a moment, had to think a little. 'You'd be a novus homo, wouldn't you? Or am I being ignorant about your ancestors?'
'No, that's right.'
'Good for you!' He smiled and I had no reason to believe then that it wasn't genuine. 'I wish you luck.'
'Thank you.' For a few seconds we walked in silence. I forced myself to speak. 'What do you intend to do from now on? Become a great general?'
'Only in the context of governor of a province.'
'So the cursus honorum for you as well.'
'And the consulship.'
'And a triumph?' I chuckled and when the legionary shrugged in reply as if to say why not? I added; 'You're very ambitious.'
'Is that bad?'
'I suppose not, so long as you achieve what you want.'
'But it brings disappointment if you fail,' Catilina finished for me. We had reached the ditch and now he turned, stood with his arms crossed staring back up the long column of dark tents to where the campfire was flickering and throwing up sparks. We were far enough away now for the chill of the night air to bite at my exposed skin but I was too shy to hug myself for warmth in front of Catilina.
'How can you like war?' I wondered after some time, the potent smell of earth and sweat and smoke and animals filling my nostrils. I had no need to pretend bravery in front of him since he'd already made it clear that he knew I stayed behind during the battles.
'How can you not?' He replied, faintly amused. 'The camaraderie, the struggle, the thrill, the relief, the power…'
'The homesickness, the pain, the fear, the mourning, the defeats…' I countered.
He blinked, shook himself and then grinned at me. 'I object; you're being overly negative!'
'And you overly positive!' I protested. He sobered a little.
'Yes there are two sides to the coin of war just as, I imagine, there is to politics - but you have to admit that it is potent. It shapes lives; robs men of life in some cases but in others you could say it gives men life.'
'Because it makes them who they are. It shapes them and sets them apart and determines the kind of life they are to live in the future.'
'I don't think that's entirely true. I wanted to be a politician before joining the war and I haven't changed my mind here.'
'But I bet it has made you develop a love for oratory which was previously just a like. I bet when you return to Rome you will have a much stronger attachment to her than when you left.'
I was silent for a while after that because I thought he was right. Men were beginning to leave the campfire and make their way back to their tents and I shivered involuntarily as a cold breeze fingered my naked neck. 'I need to finish the accounts,' I lied. I wasn't generally a very good fibber but this time it worked and, before long, I was standing outside my contubernium's tent.
'Good night, Catilina.' I turned to leave but my forearm was caught and I swivelled back around to face him, heart skipping a beat.
'Wait,' Catilina muttered, looking down the line of tents towards the ditch. I followed his gaze but could see nothing spectacular. 'My contubernium always pitches tent so it is the seventh from the centurion's.' He pointed. 'Can you see it?'
My tent was always second from the centurion's so I traced five tents down from mine and nodded, my heartbeat calming.
'Well,' he shrugged, letting me go and stepping back. 'It would be nice if you would honour me with a visit at some point. Good night, Cicero.'
We had only one more day's march before we set up a more-permanent camp outside Asculum and during the journey I kept glancing around, searching throughout the century with my eyes for Catilina. When I spotted him I observed him for most of the march, my eyes unable to stop straying over to him.
He was popular with his fellow legionaries, I realised, and by their manner it looked as if many of them pandered to him for want of his attention - though, that said, I don't mean to make him sound aloof because he most certainly wasn't. It made me wonder; why had Catilina actively sought me out and even gone to the lengths of missing a meal and waiting in my tent for me when there were so many surrounding him that were practically begging for it?
I remember that he looked over once, near the end of the march, and caught my eye. I looked away and didn't chance another look at him until we were set to constructing the camp - and by that time he was gone.
That night after we had all eaten and most of us had retired to our tents to either talk or sleep I fidgeted and, after a restless while, I allowed rashness to conquer me and I slipped out of the tent. I counted the tents as I walked past them. I stopped outside the fifth from mine. I would have entered straight away before I could form misgivings but a loud laugh froze me in my tracks and then, as I strained my ears, I heard the sound of a scuffle and various voices whispering fitfully.
I parted one of the tent flaps silently, just enough for me to peer into the darkness, but before my eyes had adjusted the flap was yanked open fully from inside to reveal me. Usually bright eyes dulled now by drink stared at me for a moment and then the man chuckled - a familiar sound. I was pulled into the tent.
'It's only Cicero,' I heard Catilina explaining to his companions in hushed tones as he led me a little to one side and sat down. Unbalanced, I awkwardly followed his example and stared around me at the utter darkness of the tent. I couldn't see anything but I felt a wineskin pressed into my hands. Immediately I wanted to leave.
Others around me began to talk in whispers and I realised that there were more than eight men in the tent. I turned my head towards the heat I could feel beside me, wineskin held limply in my hands. 'Catilina-' I started, intending to excuse myself somehow, but I saw the shadows move (my eyes were beginning to adjust to the poor light) and then his arm snaked around my shoulders.
'Shush,' he muttered. 'Drink.'
Obediently I took a mouthful of wine, wondering as I did so where they had got it from because it was neat. 'What if Asculum attacks us tomorrow?' I hissed at him.
'Well you won't be fighting so that shouldn't concern you.' He spoke low enough, I was gratified to hear, for only me to be able to catch the words.
Squeezing my shoulders gently he leant in close enough for his breath to heat my ear. 'I'm pleased you came,' he murmured then, completely changing the subject. 'I didn't expect you this soon. I'm happy.'
'You're drunk,' I retorted quietly, trying to sound disgusted but failing because despite myself I was charmed by his spoken sentiments. I drank more of the wine, annoyed at myself for refusing to shrug his arm off of me but enjoying the comfort it offered in a situation where I felt so out of place.
'Only a little,' he agreed, lowering his head so his breath fanned my neck. My eyes had adjusted fully to the dimness now and I saw that there were probably about fifteen men in the small tent including myself. A few were lying down; asleep or unconscious or aroused I wasn't sure and didn't really want to know. The rest were sitting huddled in groups of two or three or four holding hushed conversations and sharing a wineskin. Occasionally one would raise his voice too loud and the others would cover his mouth and hiss at him to be quiet.
I'd been so busy studying the other legionaries cramped into the small space that I'd hardly noticed the warm, dry touch of Catilina's lips on my neck but when he nipped the sensitive skin there and flicked his tongue over the spot I jolted, shocked, and tensed. His right arm contracted protectively around my shoulders and his hand stroked my upper arm reassuringly but I forced myself to stay rigid, forced myself not to relax.
'Sorry,' he sighed finally after a few long seconds of trying to soothe me physically. He rested his head on my left shoulder but made no more moves to seduce me for a long time and eventually I couldn't hold my muscles tight any longer. I shuddered a little when I relaxed and then I lifted the wineskin to my lips with a shaking hand. We were near the tent flap and small breezes kept sneaking in to ghost over my legs and arms. I shivered.
'It's okay,' he placated verbally when he felt me tense again, his left arm having slithered around my front, 'you're cold and I'm just sharing body warmth.'
'What you said earlier-' I stopped, frowned. 'I mean yesterday. About wanting to-to-' I stopped again. Either the wine or embarrassment was stopping me from finishing; and I'd realised, also, that the wine had increased my stutter and made it more noticeable. He waited patiently. I took a deep breath. Then I forced it out in a rushed whisper; 'You said you-you-youwantedtomakelovetome. Is that true?'
He made a soft, choked noise and lifted his head from my shoulder so he could pull me towards him and hug me fiercely against his tunic-covered chest. 'Can you really be a man, Cicero?'
I should have taken it as an insult but I felt as if it wasn't actually meant as one. Anyway I was too busy trying to breathe to be offended. Sensing my struggle for air he loosened his hold somewhat and I panted shallowly. 'I should go back,' I managed somewhere in between my short breaths.
'Already?' He was upset and, although he did not crush me like before, he did tighten his grip. 'No. Stay a while longer.'
I tried to think of an argument as to why I had to go but all I could think of were reasons to stay. It was warmer with Catilina and I was becoming apathetic due to the wine - plus if I returned to my own contubernium now they might still be awake and ask where I'd been.
'Fine,' I muttered, allowing myself to melt into his hold. 'A little longer.'
Wine is a curious liquid though; in some men it produces a violent fervour, in others a passionate streak and in still others it induces sleep. I am of the latter type of man and I remember little more of that drunken night in Catilina's arms except his hand rhythmically stroking my back just before I fell asleep.
We took Asculum. Or, at least, the other legionaries took Asculum whilst I sat writing to Atticus and trying to block the sounds of battle from my ears through concentration. I hadn't seen Catilina since I'd fallen asleep against him and woken back in my own tent the next morning. For a while I'd wondered if it had been a dream but my neck felt a little sore where he'd nipped at it and I was queasy although I thankfully escaped a headache. Asculum did not attack us that day.
Atticus had wanted to know why I'd asked him about Catilina but I was too embarrassed to tell him so instead I excused it as simple curiosity regarding one of the most popular legionaries in the army. At the time, of course, I didn't know Atticus' penchant for men or else perhaps I wouldn't have been so prudish.
When we took Asculum everyone was very excited and we were allowed to celebrate in the town with the consequence that almost every one of our soldiers got drunk. I found this celebration nearly as abhorrent as the fighting itself with raucous, raised voices and whoops and catcalls and fornication and violence and men hurling in the streets. Unsurprisingly I left and retreated, with my accounts clasped tightly to my chest, into a bedroom of one of the houses where I could sit alone on one of the beds and try to focus on the figures before me. I had had a little wine so as not to appear antisocial but it had been watered this time and I felt clear-headed if a little restless even.
I wished for once that I could find it in me to go back out and enjoy myself but I didn't feel comfortable in the presence of soldiers which is why I had never made any firm friends in my service so far except, perhaps, for Pompeius - but that was based more on a debt of gratitude to the young man for securing me his father's permission to manage the finances. The only other person I would have felt at all comfortable celebrating with was Catilina despite his advances but I knew that both Pompeius and Catilina were popular among the men and would be busy being the centres of attention among the partying that night.
So I was surprised when the door to the bedroom opened and a lithe figure slipped in. The soldier turned, rested his back against the door and let out a slow, relieved sigh. Then he ran a hand through his damp jet hair and lazily opened his eyes, surveyed the room, and froze and blinked when he saw me. 'Cicero?'
My mouth was probably slightly ajar, the accounts on my lap forgotten, as I stared at him agog because all he was wearing was a towel wrapped around his waist and a bemused smile on his lips. I would have cynically thought this was another un-subtle seduction technique if he hadn't been so surprised to see me there. 'C-Catilina,' I acknowledged, looked back down at my accounts bashfully.
For a moment I think he was confused at my embarrassment but then he laughed and pushed himself away from the door, walking barefoot over to the bed to sit beside me. 'I didn't have time to dress,' he apologised lightly.
'You looked like you were trying to hide in here,' I noted shrewdly, trying to ignore the fact that he was less than a foot away on the bed. He laughed again, softly, and for a moment I thought I heard bitterness.
'Yes, yes I suppose I was. Wine!' He suddenly exclaimed; 'It turns men into animals!'
'Are you drunk again?' This time I looked at him, studying his eyes for any traces of haziness. He looked mostly sober to me so I believed him when he shook his head. 'Who was the animal then?'
He blinked, then suddenly looked hurt; 'Did you think I was referring to myself when I spoke just now?' This injury was a pretence though, like the first time I had met him, and he grinned as I winced and tried to placate him. 'No, no - it doesn't matter. I was just teasing you.'
I glared at that but I couldn't be angry for long. 'Who were you talking about then?'
'You won't know him,' Catilina shrugged, looked a bit worn as he thought back on the incident. 'Some old veteran fancying some fun with a boy who could be his grandson.' Under my interrogative gaze he squirmed a little and although I hadn't spoken he answered my silent enquiry; 'Yes, that boy was me! Stop staring at me like that!'
I stopped staring, glanced back down at my accounts. 'So you grabbed a towel and fled the bath?' The image was faintly amusing. Catilina appeared to think so too because when I chanced a glance he was smirking.
'I think I drew a few gazes,' he agreed. Then, since that conversation had concluded, he glanced over my shoulder to look at the finances.
'Bored again?' I wondered dryly since that had been his excuse last time he'd studied the accounts.
'No,' he smiled charmingly; 'How could I be bored around you? I was just hoping that something more interesting than figures was keeping you away from the fun.' He paused, considered. 'Apparently not.'
My hand twitched over the accounts and then I moved them to the floor beside my left foot and rested my hands in my lap. 'I don't really find this type of frenzied celebration fun.'
'No? In the same way that you dislike fighting?'
'Yes.' I smiled wryly. 'You must think me an awful bore; everything you enjoy I shy away from.'
'I don't think of you like that,' Catilina frowned but then a playful glint lit up his eyes. 'I think you're cute.'
I flushed, batted his hand away when it tried to stroke my cheek. 'Th-that's not a compliment for a man!' I complained. He smiled, caught my flailing hand.
'Anyway,' he ignored me, 'I don't think you shy away from everything I enjoy. You liked me holding you last time if I remember correctly.'
'I was inebriated.' This was hardly an excuse though since I let him pull me against him again even as I spoke. But 'Oh!' I gasped when he did so; 'You're wet!'. I felt him laugh this time as well as heard him.
'Of course I am. I grabbed a towel and ran, remember?'
'You're making my tunic damp.'
'Take it off then.'
I blushed, shook my head, and stopped my complaints. The room was lit by torches flaming upon the walls at various intervals and the flickering light they produced made the sheen of water covering Catilina's body glisten alluringly. Unlike me he was strong and fit in build, lightly tanned; what most would deem a very desirably body. Back then though I was skinny and with hardly any muscle at all, pale and almost sickly in appearance. Once again I wondered at his attention.
We stayed like that for so long that I almost fell asleep but Catilina, sensing my drowsiness, took my chin with his right thumb and forefinger and lifted it so I was looking up at him. Lowering his own head he stopped when we were close enough for our noses to brush, our breath mixing. 'Pompeius tells me you're seventeen.'
'The same age as him,' I agreed. 'And you're nineteen.'
Patrician that he was Catilina raised an aristocratic eyebrow at that. 'Oh? Who told you? Pompeius?'
I shook my head marginally, aware that it was still in his hold. 'I have other sources.'
'Do you now?' He murmured back, eyes sharp for a moment as he searched mine. He let the matter drop, moved his head imperceptibly closer so when he spoke I could feel his words on my lips. 'What do you think about relations between free-born Roman adult males?'
Which was what we were.
'I think they're abhorrent,' I breathed back, my desire growing. As I'd guessed he kissed me anyway, regardless of what I'd said, and my seventeen-year-old passion kissed back.
My belt was undone, my tunic discarded, my arousal exposed. His towel disappeared. And, naked skin against naked skin, heat on heat, need inflaming need, I lost my virginity on a strange bed in Asculum during the triumphant night of Rome's victory to the sound of drunken revelry muffled thinly by unfamiliar walls.
I look back on all this now with a strange mixture of pity, anger, regret and longing made all the more potent and bizarre by the fact that I see Catilina almost everyday at some point in the forum and spend every night composing some new accusation to throw against him in public.
Pity because I was still so young and innocent and frail and helpless that I was taken in by his seduction and cried when I realised he had no intention of making me his lover. Pity because through all of it I thought I knew better and thought I was in control. Pity because for my first and only time with a man I was used.
Anger because of the calculated cruelty with which it was done. Anger because every time I blushed he was silently mocking me, a Tullius, who believed a Sergius hungered for more than his body. Anger because he knew how much it would hurt me and didn't care.
Regret because if I had stayed pure I wouldn't have had occasion to weep in my tent twenty-five years ago until I had no more tears to shed. Regret because if I hadn't given in his glistening face and torso and sex wouldn't haunt me at night. Regret because I didn't seduce him back.
Longing to be back there again on the night that Asculum fell with my eyes black, my legs spread and my chest heaving to the rhythm of our pounding, feverish hearts.
The end! I know it's long for a one-shot but I didn't really feel like it could be nicely split up. Anyway, 6000 words or so is readable in one sitting.
Vocab/quick explanation of Roman army as promised:
A legion consisted of about 4200-8000 men. The most legions Rome owned in one go was 32.
A century consisted of one hundred men and the legions were split up into centuries. Each century was led by a centurion.
A contubernium (pl. contubernia) consisted of eight men who shared a tent and a mule and (I presume) marched/worked together. Each century was split up into contubernia.
I can answer any queries you have so please do pm me or review etc.
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Thanks for reading,
P.S. Feel free to read my other Catilina/Cicero fic by visiting my profile and following the link there.