Life at the Paedagogium
How I miss you! It has been many days since my first letter and
I am sorry for it. You are not forgotten. There have been many demands
put upon me in my training and the days are full and very tiring.
We are up from the first snort of Abraxas well before he is hitched
to the chariot of Helios and are only liberated when he is near
to the sea. I will tell you of my life here which is hard and there
are many times I wonder what I am doing here and if it will ever
I am living with all the other boys at the Caput Africae in the
middle of many wealthy homes atop the Caelian Hill. It is a quick
walk down to the Circus Maximus and to Flavian’s Crown where
the wild beasts roar! I have not yet seen any games but will tell
you of them when I do. I have been to the Circus a few times to
buy breads for myself and watch the people shop. There are so many
people in Rome!
school we take lessons in Latin and Greek. Because most of the boys
are from Rome they are already good at Latin and not so good at
Greek. For me it is the other way around. But by being out and about
the city whenever I am able I am learning my Latin much quicker
than they are learning their Greek and so I am ahead of them ha
ha. Also we are learning how to write and to make our words sing.
My teacher Maltinus tells me I am doing very well and I have never
been beaten once by his rod. There are numbers and arithmetic too
which I can do well enough but do not find as fun to learn as the
I have made a friend here and his name is Trenus. He is a boy
who is quiet like me and so we knew that could be friends. You would
like him Lysicles for he speaks with a very funny voice. He told
me in secret that his family is Christian and begged me not to tell
anyone. I promised him I would not and I have kept my promise even
if I am telling you but I know that you will keep his secret too.
Trenus is not like the Christians we have heard tell of for he is
a good person and has promised me he would never eat babies. I like
him very much and I think that you would too.
Carisius is still an evil fellow and takes whatever chance he
can to tease and trick me. He has pulled about him two other boys
who are named Servilius and Falconius. I do not like any of them
because they delight in making my life even more hard than it already
is. They will sometimes come together and corner me like a cat.
Sometimes I find my claws but sometimes they skin me! I have not
told Maltinus of it but I am sure he knows even if he does nothing
to stop it. Trenus said to me that Falconius is from a very wealthy
family and that is why he is allowed to do what he does without
punishment. It makes me angry sometimes but I know it is the way
of things and so I do my best to live with a stout heart.
Every few weeks Gryllus returns from his travels to find me and
fancies himself my protector. I do not know why he thinks I need
to be protected except if Maltinus is telling him of my troubles
with Carisius. But why would he? My troubles are my own and I do
not need any man’s protection. Gryllus is cunning. He finds
ways to get me alone and I think he must have the help of the Paedagogiarch
to do so. He has his way with me and I have no choice but to let
him for I know if I do not my life here will become even harder.
He tells me it is good training for me as my role at court will
be the same. Then he says like it is a warning that I may never
get to court except if I behave for him and do his bidding. What
choice have I? This poor Antinous has no parents who should command
Gryllus to stop. Thus ever I endure.
Maltinus is a good man. He has agreed once again to see to it
that this letter reaches you and is happy that I take the extra
time to write it. If the seal is broken when you receive it please
tell me and I will know that he is reading it. Not that there is
anything here that speaks ill of him but there are secrets that
should not get out. I suppose I should not have told them until
I know for sure if the letters are finding you but it is too late
now for paper is not cheap and time is scarce too and I should be
very upset to have to start over again after all this work! I must
therefore trust in the wink of Hermes.
That I endure this toil it is for thinking of you who sustains