The city square was thick with the dead. Truly, they hadn’t anticipated discovery in Pompeii. Though luck had long since run sour for the rebels. After the stinging defeat in Sinuessa, that drove them nearly to freezing to death, they had been seeking refuge for the many freed slaves who could not fight.

Most were still hidden outside city walls. Those who could carry swords had been dispatched to secret themselves throughout the city and uncover if it was truly worth sacking.

The distant sound of Roman trumpets, alerting the rebels to the arrival of yet more Roman fucks eager to die, proved otherwise.

“There are too many and city is not worth taking.” Agron grunted, wiping at blood that had spattered across cheek. He stood at the right hand of trusted companion. Spartacus spared him a quick glance and nodded grimly.

“It pains me to find self in agreement.” Crixus grunted, speaking before Spartacus could. Comment was met with a derisive snort.

“I cannot argue when both are of mind.” Spartacus regarded them both, shaking his head. Truly, it was terrifying when both Agron and Crixus agreed upon something. They turned and began retreat from Pompeii.

“We can continue south.” He considered the idea. Toward the sea. Away from the grasp of Rome. “Perhaps…”

And all stopped short, falling silent. A new face stood before them. As one, the three Generals drew swords and faced against the woman. At her feet lay several Roman soldiers. Whether she was friend or foe remained to be seen.


Drunkenness Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Martial, Epigrams XI.82

Notes: Sinuessa: a city in Campania famed for its hot springs and popular among vacationing Romans.  Elpenor: one of Odysseus’ crew in the
Odyssey, he fell to his death from a roof while intoxicated.

Philostratus, returning at night’s command
To his rented house after banqueting
Amidst the waters of Sinuessa,
Nearly imitated Elpenor and perished
By a cruel fate, as he plunged headlong
All the way down a long flight of steps.
O Nymphs, he wouldn’t have suffered
Such great dangers if he had drunk
Your waters instead!

A Sinuessanis conviva Philostratus undis
  conductum repetens nocte jubente larem
paene imitatus obit saevis Elpenora fatis,
  praeceps per longos dum ruit usque gradus.
Non esset, Nymphae, tam magna pericula passus
  si potius vestras ille bibisset aquas.

Odysseus encounters Elpenor in the Underworld.  Detail of an Attic red-figure pelike, attributed to the Lycaon Painter; ca. 440 BCE.  Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.