Blood of Rome
Valentina Junia Seneca
Let this thought be ever present to thy mind: that all that now takes place took place in time past in exactly the same fashion; and doubt not the future will see the like
Born: 301 AD
Lived: 18 yrs
Died: 319 AD
Current: 320 AD
Sire: Macellarious Corbulo
Patron Gods: Juno, Diana, Bona Dea
Havens: The Julii Promenade
Dreams: Of a Rome at her greatest and hopes to bring about the circumstances under which she can again triumph. To escape the power of Macellarious
Family: Valentina inherits a noble lineage although her family line has recently regained its wealth and standing in patrition society. The death of her father Publius Seneca saw the families’ fortunes in the hand of his youngest brother Tibis who has taken up Seneca’s, now the families, hereditary senate seat. Valentina’s immediate family consists of her two brothers and sister; she was the third surviving child of seven.
Eldest brother, Publius Secundus Seneca; Eldest sister, Junia Livilla Seneca; Youngest brother Julius Acquilus Seneca.
Valentina Junia Seneca was born on a bright day of summer. The fifth child and the third girl to be born to Seneca and his second wife Junia, she was none the less a welcome addition to the large family. Seneca was a proud man who held a tight rein on his family as he inexorably and tenaciously eked out power and acclaim. He became the Pater of his family line after the unfortunate hunting accident of his own father and he used this opportunity to consolidate the families’ holdings and gain a seat in the senate. His surviving two brothers and sister were supportive of his plans as they saw the opportunities that a higher social position afforded them all. Although they were pawns in his plans they were willing pawns and so it was with many people Seneca dealt with including Valentina.
Valentina was not the last child to be born to the family but she was the last girl as Seneca chose to exercise his right to have all other girls left for dead which is perhaps why Bona Dea did not bless him with many more children. She grew up in comfortable surrounds with all the benefits of a senator’s daughter, education, wealth and social standing. Valentina excelled at being the perfect daughter and was Seneca’s crowning achievement, his pride and joy. She obeyed all of his commands and did everything in her power to achieve all he wanted of her.
She was initially married off to another senator, Penatis Grigori, at the age of 12, a move by her father to obtain a political alliance between the two families. It mattered little to him that Grigori was well past his prime and his family corrupted by foreign influence, Seneca would sell his own soul time and again for the glint of gold. Penatis Grigori was from a family who had achieved power and prestige through the war and loyal service to the Empire. The family originated from one of the captured provinces where they were a noble ruling family who had helped the transition to Roman rule putting many of their own dissenting citizens to death. It was their success in the Empires armies that saw them rise to power in Rome. Penatis had none of the better qualities of his family and his excessive behaviour was often a source of embarrassment to them. He loved the life of a senatorial family, the power and prestige it afforded him as well as the parties and young men he had access to. Valentina was his second wife and he felt encumbered with her by his family, particularly his Senator brother Julius Severus Grigori who made the marriage agreement with Seneca. He had provided the family with heirs during his first marriage and as his children had been married off and his first wife dead he felt himself due the indulgences he sought in his later years, he had he felt paid his dues to his families ambitions.
Her marriage lasted a little over two and a half years during which time the marriage was never consummated and there was as a consequence no issue of children. It should not have been an easy thing to retain her virtue in face of her duties as wife however the tastes of her husband soon proved him uninterested in her body’s delights and repulsed by her religious fervour. When Grigori died as a result of his indolent and treasonous lifestyle, Valentina at a sign from the gods poisoned his wine with herbs she found growing in Diana’s Grove; Seneca brought her back to his own villa and installed her as matron as his own wife Junia had died recently. He was proud of Valentina’s achievement and loyalty to her family and took pleasure in spending his evenings discussing politics, philosophy and religion with her.
She was from a very early age a religious person of great conviction. She literally felt the presence of the Gods and Lares and often received messages from them. Juno, mother of Rome, Diana, virgin huntress and protector and Bona Dea, the earth herself were the three main gods she communed with although she knew the appropriate rites for many others. All of life pulsed to the touch of the gods and it was with their blessings family fortunes increased and without which families and Rome would cease to be. It was the signs of the gods which directed her life, more so than her father’s will, a happy coincidence for them all that their wishes so often combined.
It was Seneca’s pride in his daughter that was their undoing, a tragedy to match history and prove that nothing is new on this earth. A late night bragging at a party of influential citizens bought the noble Valentina under the gaze of a hideous monster, and the more he gazed the more he desired and hatched his plans to take this beautiful flower of Rome as his wife. Macellarious Corbulo heard all Seneca had to say of his daughter, her beauty and intelligence, noble bearing and virtue. He demanded Seneca show them his virtuous daughter and prove that she is not like the other whores of Rome, painted smile and poisoned chalice. Seneca took them to his villa and showed them Valentina, intent at her prayers and devotion. He paraded her in front of his companions, having her serve wine to the already drunk men and proving her knowledge of the finer points of philosophy and political issues of the day.
Macellarious Corbulo came back the next evening and demanded Seneca hand her over to him, that he had plans to make her his wife. Seneca being in no position to reject his demands agreed to their marriage, believing he was making a similar deal to her first marriage. Without consultation Valentina again found herself betrothed to a hideous man and it took three months for her to discover what all other citizens in Rome apparently overlooked, Macellarious was no man at all. Once his secret was betrayed he offered her a choice, that he gave her a choice at all demonstrated the effect she had on him, she could become of his family or die. The gods had warned her of this as they had warned her of his true nature and so it was without hesitation that she consigned herself to undeath. For if she did not die today then she would surely die tomorrow and if she could not survive then there was no hope at all for Rome. To say that Seneca was disappointed with his daughter’s decision to stay with Macellarious, and not kill him as he had hoped she would, would be an understatement. His broken heart would have been the end of his brilliant career if it were not for the fall from the balcony that broke his head instead. Valentina’s first and only act of defiance against him.
Valentina loathes and loves Macellarious in equal measure; she is well aware of his power over her and treats him with the respect she showed her own father. Whilst she dreams of caving his head in too she knows her own heart would betray her in the act. Macellarious has a strong hold on his noble wife and will not let her go easily. Valentina prays for the Gods continued guidance as she tries to survive in this newer deadlier world.