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Trethiwr

Spying on Caesar

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OK, this is a rather broad query with a few corollaries I can envisage and one or two perhaps that I can't.

 

In my first novel I had three Celtic brothers visit Rome with a female guide and mentor.

 

 

Her name is Gwenn, she's tall, strong, and beautiful.

Also she has magic powers but she is not supposed to be seen using them.

 

In the set up for the sequel, I had her agree to go and keep tabs on Julius Caesar because a prophesy suggests that he may one day be a threat to the Gauls and the Britons. (that's not a spoiler right?)

 

I've been reading Andrew Goldsworthy's biography and trying to envisage how this woman who, at least in theory stands out like a granny in the grenadiers might get close to Caesar. 

 

The sequel begins after 84 BC and the timeline of the whole book would include Sulla's proscriptions, the alleged King of Bythnia thing, kidnapping by pirates, and possibly, Spartacus' servile war. 

 

I've assumed for starters that a well dressed traveler with enough money to spend can at least enter Rome and move about without being immediately marked out as "hostis"; although, if she is recognised from their previous visit she's in trouble. 

 

There's no absolute bar (from my point of view) to her having a man with her, perhaps from a client state north of the Po? or from any part of the empire who might legitimately have business in Rome. 

 

Another possibility is that she might get caught out, or kidnapped and sold into slavery, either before she gets there or while trying to spy on Caesar. 

If so, could she realistically end up bought by Caesar, who I understand had a propensity for buying beautiful slave girls for far too much money.

 

I had another idea of her dressing like a statue of Venus and simply standing perfectly still while Caesar walked past. Is that utterly ridiculous? I think it probably is, but it has a nice imagery about it.

 

Coming back to the slave idea, he's only going to be after one thing from her. She's not going to enjoy it, but I think she could endure it for the sake of being able to find more out about him. 

 

Escaping would be no problem, but she'd need to be in a very tight spot to justify using magic, and I won't allow her to use any magic where a reliable witness could see it. (because history cannot be denied even in fiction)

 

Sorry, massive topic and all a bit nebulous. I don't seek for anyone to write my book for me, but only to avoid writing an impossibly implausible story. (notwithstanding the whole magic thing)

 

Just in case anyone does want to see the first book it is online here (well 23 chapters of 25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caesar had an eye for the ladies but remember he was also a man of some status - not only from a good family, he reportedly claimed ancestory from the Gods, and having consorted with the Queen of Egypt (and the King of another state if rumours were true), clearly he was a man who liked to be seen with celebrities. Whether Caesar indulged in the Roman male habit of having sex with slaves (they were property - he had every right) isn't known. Whilst his dalliances are part of Roman legend he was also a very motivated and busy man.

 

It certasinly isn't impossible that a woman could attract a Caesar (Sulla had been bewitched by a lady at the games) and the exploits of the later Caesars demonstrates that virile pursuits were a perk they tended to enjoy to the max. I would point out that Caesar was a very ambitious man, one who had political domination as his goal from the very start, and also a man who was not shy of ordering death and injury should it suit his puroposes. For instance, during the Gallic War he had Gaul prisoners released with their right hand chopped off - a clear startement and propaganda device - and had Cleopatra's younger sister Assinoe - who had tried to grab power and failed - publicly humiliated with a view to ritual killing later to please his important paramour. Caesar cancelled the execution when the crowd sympathised with the poor girl.

 

So - how would a girl turn Caesars head? Firstly, she is going to have be somewhere where she will get noticed. Then she must find a means of getting noticed. If she's really serious about this, she may well want something else to tempt Caesar besides good looks and skimpy clothes. What can she offer politically? Militarily? Financially? In terms of social status? Ambitious girls are better at these sort of machinations than me :) but I think you get the picture.

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Yep, to be honest, she's probably not trying to attract his attention really. 

I'm just concerned that it won't be easy for her to move freely in Rome. 

The period we are talking about is early in his life before he even began his political career. 

Only just married to Cornelia, and his first real challenge is the return of Sulla. 

 

Nobody knows for sure what he got up to sexually at that time, but I'm going by Goldsworthy saying that he had a reputation for paying over the odds for the prettiest slave girls. 
One can only make assumptions and they may well be false ones. 

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Movement in Rome wasm't really restricted. The wealthiest people often lived alongside the poorest across the city, although the Palatine was a fairly upmarket area. Bearing in mind how many slaves were active in Rome in that era it's hardly likely anyone would give her a second glance other than occaisional male interest - but of course, if she's a slave, she's the property of someone else, and a dalliance without dpermission from the owner invites legal recompense. The Romans hae a practical but extremely chauvanistic attitude toward relationships at this time too. A woman of good character would ordinarily be in the company of a chaperone, a guardian, or a family member. This was of course exactly the same time when lots of leiosure time and available wealth meant that women of more daring character were starting to get up to some serious malarkey when no-one was looking. Women deemed of poor character were fair game I'm afraid. One lad of high status was tried in court of raping a prostitute. Not because he'd forced himself upon her - she was a whore by trade for crying out loud - but because the drunken young man had kicked in her front door to reach her.

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