I'm not sure if that actually helps with the explaining.
Please don't expect
b) much of a plot.
and if you start thinking about this as a real slave-holding society, the whole thing quickly becomes somewhat disturbing, but let us ignore that.
One day, Marcus Flavius Eagle and his friend Esca went to the horse market. They looked at all the horses, but they could not find any that they wanted to buy. Some of the horses were too young and silly, and some were too small.
Marcus liked a chestnut mare, but Esca said that it was too delicate looking and would not do well in the winter. Then Esca liked a big black horse, but Marcus thought it looked too fierce, with its flashing eyes and pounding hooves.
Finally Marcus and Esca found themselves in a distant corner of the market where a small sad person was holding a small group of ponies by their bridles. When Marcus saw these ponies he could not take his eyes off them.
"Esca!" he said "I MUST buy these! Look at them! They are the most wonderful ponies ever!"
Esca looked doubtful "I'm not sure.." he began to say.
But Marcus had already turned to the small sad person to ask eagerly; "How much???"
"Look, Cottia! Look at these wonderful ponies!" Marcus said, when they got home. "Aren't they amazing?"
But Cottia was not impressed.
"Marcus! Look at them! They have short legs and dumpy necks! Who will buy ponies like that? People want horses like mine! Proper Iceni horses! "
It was true that when Marcus looked at Cottia's horse, he was very tall and elegant compared with the ponies that he had bought, with a fine flaring mane and long feathers on his legs.
"But look at the colours, Cottia! They are like no ponies ever seen before!"
But Cottia just sniffed dismissively and rode on.
Marcus was determined to make a success of the pretty ponies. He and Esca fed and trained and groomed them, and soon they had bred a good herd of brightly coloured ponies.
But Cottia was right. Nobody wanted to buy the colourful ponies, with their short legs and tubby stomachs.
Cottia did not say anything when they came home from the market without having sold any ponies.
But the neighbours laughed at Marcus for keeping the strange ponies that nobody would buy.
Marcus did not know what to do. He was still sure that the ponies were wonderful. But everyone in Britain seemed to agree with Cottia that they were not any good.
Then Marcus had an idea!
Esca! I've got it! We will take the ponies to Gaul and sell them there! The Gauls love bright colours!
Esca looked unsure. He had never been to Gaul. But he agreed it was worth a try. So the next day, they set off for the coast with some of the ponies.
The ponies seemed to like travelling by ship and peered over the side to look at the waves and the fish swimming past. Marcus enjoyed it too, and sat right on the stern so he could keep a lookout.
Esca did not like it so much. He got seasick, and looked very mournful. He was very pleased when they arrived at last in Gaul.
They unloaded the ponies and set off to find a horse market. But before they even got to the market, they were surrounded by Gauls, looking excitedly at the ponies and asking questions about them!
Soon they were able to find all the ponies lovely new owners, who bought them at a very good price.
Marcus and Esca were delighted that at last their pony-breeding was a success.
They carried their big bag of money back to the ship, and set sail back to Britain, to tell Cottia all about it.
historical notes (yes, really)
The ship (apart from the rainbow ponies) is based on an excavation of a real historical first-century ship that was found in the Thames.
Apparently British ships were larger and considerably more impressive than the Roman ones, and Britain already had an impressive navy in the days of Julius Caesar. Unluckily for the British, the weather went against them: it sounds like they ended up doing a bit of a Spanish Armada? Unfortunate.
I'm sorry about the Gauls. They are all wild boars because apparently Gauls had a particular liking for boar imagery. But it was probably a bit mean to decide that meant they were a *whole nation* of piggly things. One of the Gauls is of course very romanised, in accordance with the second-century setting, and has joined the army. :-D