Image – A Roman Slave Market by Jean Léon Gérome
The “Delicia Scrolls” are the wild and salacious memoirs of Aurelia Livia Helenus or “Delicia” (her more widely used slave name) who was imprisoned and enslaved on the order of the Emperor Tiberius after her family was accused of conspiracy and treason.
Delicia was renowned for her beauty and it was said that “any man who cast eyes upon her would immediately be smitten by her charms.”
After her father’s death she was held captive by the Emperor in the cells of his Palace in Rome to be tortured at his pleasure. Then as a further act of punishment and, it was said, in order to humiliate her even more, the Emperor banished her from Rome and imprisoned her as a sex slave on Capri, his private Island, which at that time was infamous for its debauchery, wild orgies and sex games.
Somehow she survived to tell her tale.
Delicia often dictated to a scribe and her style is chatty and discursive. She was widely read in the ancient world after the death of Nero, during whose reign the scrolls were written while Delicia was living in Egypt. She was especially popular with Roman legionaries to whom she became a kind of heroine. However the scrolls were probably read furtively or in secret as they were considered immoral and even seditious. Copies have been found in Pompeii, Egypt, Southern France and Spain. The contents are very explicit however they have have not been edited or censored in any way here.
Delicia begins with a description of her sale at the slave auction in Rome.
Image – Jean Léon Gérome
… The auction room was much bigger than I had expected. And much noisier. Everyone seemed to be shouting at once. There was a constant drone of voices and an air of barely organized chaos. I could hardly hear myself think. This was no ordinary auction after all. Slave auctions are always lively affairs and many people just come to watch the spectacle. Today’s crowd was a big one.
I do not wish to appear vain but my family’s recently acquired infamy and my own fall from grace into shame and ignominy probably had a lot do to with the size of the crowd. It occurred to me that quite a few of those present might even know me personally, had once been my friends and had come especially to watch my humiliation.
I was standing in a queue of naked slaves at the side of the platform. Waiting to be called out. We were a varied lot. Both sexes. Mostly girls. Mostly young. All of us from every part of the empire. There was a tall dark skinned girl from Egypt in front of me who was real beauty. I thought she was sure to fetch the day’s highest price.
I was actually very scared though of course I tried not to show it. I was naked and I felt incredibly vulnerable and there was the anxious fear of not knowing what was going to happen next. I was also very tired. I had not eaten much and had barely slept in days. I had also been on the receiving end of two whippings. One quite severe. So I just stared down at my feet not daring to look anywhere else and tried to keep calm.
Of course they’d stripped us all naked. Loin cloths or whatever skimpy garments we’d been wearing were roughly removed by the guards, all of whom seemed to be in a permanent bad temper and more than ready to use their whips on us. To them we were just slaves. No better than animals. What right had we to be clothed? They even drove us like cattle, yelling and slapping and whipping us for very little reason.
Each sale usually barely lasted a minute or two. It was very like a show in the theater. When a slave came out onto the platform there would be cheers from the crowd. Every now and then someone would crack a puerile joke about some physical aspect of the slave about to be sold – the shape of a girl’s breasts or the size of a boy’s cock – and there would be loud guffaws and cheers which the auctioneer would have to silence. It was as cruel as it was deliberate. They jeered at us in order to humiliate and shame us. To demonstrate their superiority over us.
We’d been told in no uncertain terms to keep our eyes down at all times whilst on the stage. Look at no one. Especially in the eye. The auctioneer would handle everything and we must follow his instructions instantly and to the letter or expect to feel the crack of his whip on our bare backsides.
Image – Purchase of a Slave, by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Indeed whippings at auctions were quite commonplace and were often considered to be part of the entertainment.
When people bought slaves they usually had a specific purpose or job for the slave in mind e.g. a laborer, a carpenter or a scribe. Very good looking girls were often snapped up as pleasure slaves by the rich. If a slave was very beautiful, a potential buyer could demand to see her whipped just to see how she looked under the lash. Just to get an idea of her placidity or willingness to submit. No one wanted a stroppy difficult slave after all. The auctioneer was more than happy to comply. If the buyers were sufficiently pleased (and perhaps even aroused) by what they saw, it could add considerably to the slave’s final price tag. People do love to see a pretty girl being whipped don’t they?
And it wasn’t always the girls either. All tastes were catered to. It was not unusual for a boy to get a cock whipping if he was handsome enough and had an impressively sized member. Sometimes a female slave would brought on to play with his his cock and give him an erection so that the full majesty of his member could be judged by all. If he managed to keep it hard while it was whipped (with his hands obviously tied behind his back) there was applause from the crowd who would take bets on if or how soon the boy would ejaculate. If he did manage it there would be thunderous roars of approval.
As I said before I’ve been whipped twice already. Once, most cruelly, at my interrogation at the hands of the emperor’s men, and then again, more for show than anything else, when I arrived at the slave compound. Two slaves had been randomly selected to be whipped as an example to the others. I was chosen with another boy and we were both tied to a high wooden frame and whipped if view of the other slaves.
My ass was sore and a little red for a while but actually it hadn’t been too bad. Not as bad as during the interrogation anyway. Maybe they’d just been playing with us. After all, they didn’t want to spoil any potentially valuable merchandise by whipping us completely to shreds did they?
The whippings stung horribly but I also found them strangely invigorating. When I was younger I’d whipped one of the male slaves on our estate and rather enjoyed it. My brother and I had been out riding one afternoon and we found a lazy slave dozing under a tree. We thought it would be a laugh to strip him naked and punish him for his idleness there and then. So, ignoring his cowardly pleas for mercy, we tied him to a tree and used our horsewhips on him.
It started as a laugh but I soon found I liked the feeling of power it gave me. I also thought the way the boy groaned and writhed very beautiful and immensely arousing. Obviously I’d seen slaves whipped for punishment before but this one was not much older than me and was very fit with a mop of long dark hair which fell over his eyes. His physique was very pleasing indeed and I loved the way his taut sinewy muscles flexed and bulged as he struggled, pulling ever more vainly on the ropes, whilst we, in fits of excited giggles, lashed his smooth tanned back and shapely muscular buttocks. I saw for the first time the cruel sensuous beauty of a whipping and I felt it spoke to me of something very powerful within my own sexual being.
I had wondered afterwards if I wasn’t depraved in some way but my brother, already experienced in these matters, set me straight in no uncertain terms. He said the gods had given us life to explore and experience everything in the world. If that meant exploring the darker realms of our being in order to live more intensely so be it. The gods would admire us for our sense of adventure and fearlessness.
I remembered those words now. The fates had twisted and turned and had changed completely and it was I who was the whipped slave now.
I couldn’t help but wonder. What did the gods have in store for me and what exactly did the future hold for me now?
I must be fearless.
Let the adventure begin.