Deco the Stonemason
“Just ask Julius Marcellus over there!”
“How can he help me?”
“He will soon go to Germania with a troop, they should replace the crew in Praetorium Agrippinae and Municipium Aelium Cananefatium.” –
“Then why should I go there?”
“Just think about it, Deco, there are already so many stonemasons here that you won’t be able to find your place among them. They all have their regular customers. Also, you come from where that troop is going to.”
The latter was indeed true, he belonged to the Sugambrians, but had been abroad for almost ten years now. His parents had long since died and his sister had married. Therefore, he had little desire to go back. On the other hand, his friend Vintus was right, his training as a stonemason was finished, now he had to find a place where his work was wanted. Thankfully, he patted Vintus’ shoulder and walked over to the man he indicated.
It turned out that he indeed could join the journey north with his troops.
Now, in midsummer, the road over the mountains was an easy passage. They had arrived in Colonia two days ago and now he wanted to look for work opportunities.
“Watch yer head!” someone shouted beside him – shook from his thoughts, he managed to jump aside just in time when a big stone fell off an upturned cart which had a broken wheel. The cart owner berated this two slaves who had been pushing the cart, then he sent them off to get an intact cart.
“Nice chunk of limestone,” Deco said to the merchant. The man looked at him in astonishment and asked: “You know immediately which type of stone that is?” Deco smiled and replied: “It would be bad for me otherwise, since I’m a stonemason.” – “Then you are certainly new here, “said his counterpart,” I’ve never seen you before. “
Deco briefly told his story. The merchant’s face cleared up. “Praise be to Nehalennia!” He cried, explaining: “I wanted to take this stone to the stonemason in order to make it a votive stone. I promised the goddess an offering on my last trip to Britain. I will gift it to the small temple in Ganuenta.”
“I’ve never heard of a settlement like this,” said Deco. “Where is it?”
“At the mouth of the river Scaldis” was the answer. “A ten day trip from here. You wouldn’t do bad to settle there because there will be orders for more stones like this one. Not far there is another harbor which also has a temple.” Deco smiled. This was his chance!
There was always enough work for a stonemason near temples.
The merchant had noticed his enthusiasm when he said: “We could make an agreement. You will travel with me to the harbor settlement, I’ll help you find a job and I‘ll pay all the costs until you’re settled in. In return you make this votive stone for me with the portrait of the goddess and a dedication written underneath.” Deco didn’t have to think a minute about it before he agreed.
Then the merchant told him where he lived and said, while making ready to leave: “Come to me with your belongings in three days by the first morning light, then we will go.”