"Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit."

C. Iulius Caesar - Commentarii de Bello Civili Bk III.68

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Rotten entrails

The elections in Nova Roma have concluded. This year they were a wretched affair in many respects, due in no small part to the abysmal failure to follow some very simple procedural rules. Of course if one cleaves to the idea that Nova Roma should be more about “people” than procedure, this will be irrelevant.

The problem with not following the laws of Nova Roma is that it provides scope for someone to claim that the elections were invalid, which in turn would lead to the claim that the successful candidates had not in fact been elected. This issue highlights the current dilemma we face, namely whether Nova Roman law can be interpreted, amended or supplanted by the mos maiorum.

Here then is the problem. Nova Roma is formed from two entities struggling to wear the same hat, Nova Roma the corporation and Nova Roma the republic. The law of the State of Maine governs Nova Roma the corporation, while its own laws govern Nova Roma the republic. The former barely permits the latter and certainly doesn’t allow for the mos maiorum, since the governing document of Nova Roma the corporation is the constitution.

The by-laws of the corporation are the various clauses of the constitution and nowhere in that document does it allow for the mos maiorum to be utilized to make sense of inept or contradictory clauses of that document, let alone the ordinary laws of Nova Roma.

Seen from the perspective of the republic the problem remains the same, since the constitution is a part of the collective law of Nova Roma, as defined in the chain of legal precedence, and its supremacy (except over the edicts of a dictator) is clearly established.

Therefore anything that interprets that document has to be held to be illegal under both our law and the law of the State of Maine, unless the document allows for an individual, group, instrument or concept to do so. Since the document does not allow anyone to tamper with the constitution in this manner, then it is inviolate.

In the elections the failure to follow the procedures proscribed by law cannot be brushed aside by the Tribunes, who have under the constitution only the power to administer the law as distinct from interpreting it. The presiding Consul failed to abide by the law and that fact is stark and simple and neither requires nor permits interpretation. Since neither the constitution nor the individual laws governing the conduct of elections allows us to fall back on the mos maiorum, we cannot just acknowledge that while the procedure laid down in our law was abrogated, the results remains valid.

Once again we are faced with the dilemma of either acting within the rigid scope of our constitution and holding fresh elections, or we can ignore the supremacy of the constitution and the chain of legal authority and follow the mos maiorum. Clearly the only sensible course of action is the latter, but by doing so not only have we nailed the lid of the constitution’s coffin down ever more tightly, we also potentially risk a legal challenge either inside or outside of Nova Roma.

The likelihood of a challenge through the US legal system is remote and the chances of one succeeding inside Nova Roma is highly unlikely since the concerted strength of vested interest would ensure that it was killed off. We cannot proceed however by ignoring these possibilities, for that would be tempting fate, imprudent and a poor example to set for citizens. When magistrates ignore the law we are a few steps closer to institutionalized dictatorship.

Clearly the irregularities in the various elections highlight the need to remove the supremacy of the constitution, absorb its relevant contents into one or more laws and return the law in general, and thus the people, to its historic and proper position of supremacy.

At the same time we need to accommodate the mos maiorum into the system. In republican Rome it was a constant, much like the sun rising and setting each day, omnipresent and deeply rooted in the psyche of the people. In Nova Roma, as usual, things are not that simple and there needs to be some thought given to how we imbed it into the order of legal precedence.

If we fail to address these issues, we will continue to have to wink at blatant breaches of our supreme legal document and our laws. The claim to be a society governed by the rule of law will prove to be one built on quicksand and charges of hypocrisy and nepotism will be self-evidently justified.

By remaining silent we will encourage more frequent and serious breaches of the law, until such time as we descend into the anarchy of just another on-line guild in a second rate RPG. It will be interesting to note any reactions from our (soon to be) two new consuls as their election was equally procedurally flawed.

This is hardly an auspicious start to the new year.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The nature of Nova Roma

This question has frequently raised itself on the Main List. It may seem to some a rather trite debate, but to answer this question to our own satisfaction is to define why each of us is here.

We are Romans. We think we are Roman, and therefore we are. The standards of Romanitas may dictate how successful we are in the view of others in our individual claim to be Roman, but that claim cannot be expunged. It can be denied. It can be challenged. It can be held to be wanting, but it cannot be eradicated.

There are those who live in the Eternal City today who no doubt feel that merely asserting that one is Roman is insufficient, and that one must actually be born in Rome to be Roman. Some of us may not have the benefit of being born in the shadows of Rome itself, a Roman city or a Roman colonia and of strolling in our formative years amongst these ruins. Some of us though were lucky enough to be able to experience this, but this was a mere accident of birth. The commonality that we all have inside us though is the spirit of ancient Rome, which transcends time, distance and nationality.

Nova Roma is able to function in large part due to the Internet. This technological marvel allows us the ability to link across thousands of miles and unites the disparate peoples that comprise Nova Roma. While citizens occasionally meet at an individual, family, provincial or continental level, it is the glue of the Internet that binds us and supports us. It provides the skeletal structure for the body politic of Nova Roma.

We are not a nation, either in practice or in theory. We have no territory (I discount that patch of scrubland purchased as a symbol of a dream) and no other nation recognizes us as such but I would go further and say that we should never lay claim to nationhood for both practical and philosophical reasons.

Practically we live in an age where subversive elements seek to destroy the countries and cultures that nurtured us. Their causes are legion and their aims destructive and murderous. I cannot, and never would, disavow my nationality or the oaths of allegiance I have sworn in the course of my life. My experiences have shaped me, but so too have my family and social environs which in turn were shaped by the social conventions and history of the land I was born into.

To deny that would be a futile effort, because to attempt to deny or discard the nation and culture of one’s birth is to deny the essence of what one is. It would also be treasonable to the memory of the thousands that laid down their lives to shape, expand and defend my country. Someone recently said to me on the subject of death that he explained to his young son “death is not an end to everything but that people really die when they get forgotten”. Those who died in the service of their country only truly die when the memory of their sacrifices fade.

Ceremonies such as that at the Menin Gate or on Armistice Day at the Cenotaph keep alive the spirit of sacrifice. Trafalgar day, the anniversary of Waterloo, of Agincourt and Crecy, of Senlac Hill are less well known and more sparsely observed, but even now centuries later the anniversaries of these pivotal battles are still venerated. As time marches on other key events and examples of heroism and sacrifice take their place alongside these defining moments, for example 9/11, a day of infamy, is now etched into the psyche of Americans. How could one deny one’s nationality without denying the very existence and ultimate pain and death of 3000 or so victims of that atrocity? What sort of person could cast those events to one side and renounce their birth nation?

We are the products of our nations and will ever remain so. We must always owe allegiance to our own individual nations, being ready to answer any call of duty made upon us, while at the same time, and without any contradiction, owe allegiance to the inner spirit of Romanitas that we have made our creed. It is this spirit of the ancient Romans that has flowed throughout western civilisation and which has provided the foundation for the spirit that has raised our individual cultures to the heights and supported them in pit of despair. Whether our nations have, or yet may again in the future, war upon each other, the spirit of the Romans that has flowed through time bonds us together, both as nations, as individuals and as Nova Romans.

To be Nova Roman is to express one’s allegiance not to a nation but to the idea of Rome, and while nations may rise and fall this idea will endure. We may debate and struggle inside our virtual walls over issues of religion and politics. We may loathe or love the direction that Nova Roma has, is or may yet take. The message boards may at times resemble the verbal equivalent of the gladiatorial games. People will rage and rant, weep and wail, yet above all of this will remain one constant in each of us, a love of Ancient Rome.

We may even be divided on whether we should cleave only to the legacy of the republic, and condemn the rise and rule of the Emperors. We can ignite old debates over whether Gaius Iulius Caesar was a traitor to, or a saviour of, the nascent empire. We can be at each other’s throats from morn till night, yet above all else will rise one unifying clarion call to the memory of Rome; its heroes, its culture, its monuments, its very existence and legacy.

So what are we? We are individuals, we are (to name but a few) Britons, French, Germans, Americans, Canadians, Italians, Spaniards, Brazilians, and of course Italians. These are nations to which we owe our loyalty, love and allegiance but we are also united as citizens of the mind and spirit, owing allegiance to the memory of the immemorial river of Roman culture that survived the fall of the Empire and transcended into the most unconquerable of all states of existence, an idea.

Nova Roma is our expression of that idea, the imperfect, at times verbally brutal, often silly, frequently charming, infrequently calming, existence that we enter into, escaping for too brief a time from the trials and cares of the world. It is less than a nation but its foundation, Ancient Rome, will survive longer than any nation. Nova Roma itself may yet fail and pass into the shadows, but the idea of Rome will continue to march through time, uniting at least some of the citizens of the nations that were born from its ruins, and even some of those from areas that never lived under the Pax Romana.

So what is Nova Roma? Nova Roma is a nation of the mind and spirit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Roman bronze pan saved for nation

The rare bronze pan will be shared by three museums. A rare Roman bronze pan recording the building of Hadrian's Wall has been acquired by three British museums. The Staffordshire Moorlands Pan, dating from the second century AD, was found by a member of the public in June 2003.



Sunday, June 19, 2005

Chariot races in Jerash, Jordan

The sun bears down and dust swirls as Roman centurions, followed by armour-clad legionnaires and bruised gladiators, tramp out of the ancient hippodrome to the trailing sounds of a military march.

In the seats all around, 21st century spectators in modern-day Jordan cheer and applaud the spectacle before them -- a one-hour show held in honour of Julius Caesar, and part of Jordan's newest tourist attraction.

Starting mid-July, visitors to Jordan can plunge into the past, reliving in a unique location just north of the capital Amman some of the high moments that made the Roman empire.

The setting is Jerash, the ancient Roman city and one of Jordan's better preserved archaeological sites and one of the 10 great cities during the Roman golden age.

The place is the restored hippodrome located close to the South Gate just beyond the triumphal arch that was erected as a tribute to Emperor Hadrian who visited the city in 129 AD.

Much smaller than Rome's famed Circus Maximus, the Jerash hippodrome is nevertheless endowed with 10 starting gates, original stone seats for the spectators and surrounded in the distance by olive tree-dotted rolling hills.

The show is known as "The Roman Army and Chariot Experience" or simply by its acronym RACE.



Sunday, May 29, 2005

Pompeii - ancient Roman cuisine


Archaeologists in Pompeii give visitors a taste of ancient Roman cuisine

Sauces made from fermented fish entrails. A quiche-like pastry shell filled with bay leaves and ricotta cheese. For dessert, peaches with aromatic cumin and honey.

Those tastes may not be for everyone's palate, but the specialties of ancient Pompeii are being revived for a month at the site of the ruins by a research project intended to give new insights into how the Romans lived.

Pompeii's busiest restaurant was buried with the rest of the prosperous city when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. The eruption killed thousands of people, but a 20-foot-deep cocoon of volcanic ash kept the city almost intact, providing precious information on domestic life in the ancient world.

Starting Thursday, visitors will do more than stroll around the restaurant's tables and gaze at the kitchen tools that have stayed where residents left them when they were surprised by the eruption.

Researchers have tried to revive the city's food by replanting the fruits and vegetables that were part of the Roman diet: figs and olives, plums and grapes, as well as poppy, broom (a flowery bush), bramble (a prickly shrub), and mallow (an herb).



Thursday, May 26, 2005

Off with their heads!

The long period of drought on the Main List momentarily broke today. A faint splash of acrimony fell on our heads, or to be more accurate on the head of the hapless Publius Minius Mercator.

This new and eager citizen had the temerity to not only have an idea but also tried to demonstrate the advantages of it by a test implementation of his proposed forum. Did this display of enthusiasm prompt a round of “hurrahs”? Was the list witness to posts congratulating, if not the actual idea, at least his proactive attempt at improving Nova Roma? Some posts did appear in that vein. One was not so generous.

On the Main List I encouraged people not to douse new citizens with cold water, but in reality the liquid used was in fact quite acidic. Having myself been quite responsible for dousing more established citizens with verbal solutions ranging from mild vinegar to sulphuric acid, it may seem somewhat incongruous that I appealed for mercy on behalf of Mercator.

The explanation is that while I am more than comfortable entering the arena of written (and if I had the opportunity – verbal) combat with seasoned veterans of the Nova Roman political scene as my opponents, I see absolutely no point in selecting a new citizen for such treatment. It is utterly counter-productive to continued recruitment efforts.

This was a minor incident but it is actually quite illustrative of one of the principal problems we face in recruitment. As I have said in previous articles, new citizens arrive and find that there is little direction awaiting them. Oh yes, there is the page on the Nova Roman web site that attempts to provide a guide as to “what next?” but there is little assistance on a one-to-one basis, or even an actual live “greeter”.

While on the one hand I shudder at the thought that we may have to sink to the level of Wal-Mart and have someone pressing the flesh of new citizens and leading them on some virtual induction tour, some guidance and contact is necessary. Currently we offer perfunctory congratulations on their probationary citizenship and then open the door of the Censor’s office and usher them into the forum and then close that door firmly behind them. If like Mercator you have the temerity to have an idea and act on it you may hear the clink of the nails as someone starts preparing the cross they intend to crucify you on.

We could of course expect new citizens to remain silent and unseen as they dutifully plough through the annals of Nova Roma, on the now defunct web forum, the old Yahoo Main List and the current Main List. Possibly by the time their tax payment came due the following year they may have at least assimilated 75% of the information. In reality though expecting people to play the role of the dormouse in our version of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is unrealistic. New citizens are fired up and want to become involved. This does inevitably result in some of our citizens feeling as though Ground Hog day has struck again. So we are faced with two choices; patiently explain the background and previous discussion threads, or, start drenching them in acid rain. I think anyone who is relatively sane and rational will agree that the former is the only choice.

This anal retentive obsession with petty fogging details is a hallmark of where Nova Roma currently rests its sagging bottom. Process and protocol are important but if we as a “state” make so little effort to officially provide new citizens with the tools necessary to master those aspects of life in Nova Roma, then how on earth can we be surprised when some eager and keen new citizen drops a “clanger”?

As “clangers” go this one could not be classified as horrendous, dangerous, let alone as was suggested subversive. Even the reaction didn’t even register on the scale of Nova Roma eruptions – for us as onlookers or third party participants. For Mercator though, he may have been left feeling as though he was caught in the leading edge of a storm, and possibly that he should like the dormouse have climbed into the teapot and hid from view for at least six months. I would be most surprised if he didn’t feel he had fallen down Alice’s hole. We came close, very close, to having the Queen of Hearts appear shrieking “Off with their heads!”

So what is the solution? Possibly the only practical thing we can do is recommend that new citizens equip themselves with a copy of “Alice in Wonderland” and use it as a survival guide to the insanity that is life in Nova Roma.

Alice: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”

Ah Alice – your dream has become reality – well virtual reality. From the wreckage and flotsam of what was once Nova Roma now arises Nova Womaland, where everything is back to front.

Alice: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

After a few months in Nova Womaland Alice would quickly realise that having things make sense would be an even more unlikely event than her being able to grow and shrink in size

So let me provide, through of course a slight alteration in dialogue, an insight into how a simple act of enthusiasm becomes an act of sedition in our topsy-turvy world:

Queen of Hearts: Who's been using my Nova Roman flag? WHO'S BEEN USING MY NOVA ROMAN FLAG? / Who dares to hate through vulgar imitate / The royal communication gag? / For using my Nova Roman flag / Someone's head will fall in the bag.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Beware the Dogs of Life

Press Release Source: AuthorHouse

Author Takes Readers on Enthralling Epic through the Ancient World

In a new novel set against the backdrop of the Roman Empire, Cave Canem (Beware of Dog) (now available through AuthorHouse), author Richard B. Schmidt presents an epic of the interweaving destiny of three lives.

Set in the first century, the book follows the exploits of three characters whose very different lives intertwine in an ironic tapestry of fate woven around several compelling mysteries that do not unravel until the climatic end.



Sunday, May 22, 2005

Rebirth of the Roman villa

VICENZA, Italy There are over 3,500 historic villas in the Veneto and Friuli regions of northeastern Italy, many of them built in the Palladian style. The number of houses and public buildings in the rest of the world inspired by the 16th-century architect would be impossible to calculate.



Monday, May 09, 2005

Roman treasure in Suffolk, UK

For nearly 2,000 years a treasure trove of Roman coins lay hidden just below the surface of an Ipswich field.

But today around 1,000 coins are being examined at the British Museum after being unearthed by two metal detecting enthusiasts.

After Suffolk had thundered to the sound of the Roman legions, the coins lay undisturbed through two world wars, invasions of the Saxons and Vikings and the reigns of numerous kings and queens.....

And all it took to unearth them was two men from Chantry with a metal detector.



Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bring back the games!

Part of Nova Roma’s problem of retaining people stems from the age we live in. This is the age of instant gratification. At the press of a button we can get power, water, electricity, music, television, radio, automotive power, to name but a few conveniences. Computer software has become ever more glitzy and snappy, offering increasing degrees of realistic animation – the precursor no doubt to the holodeck of Star Trek fame. In the Western world we are spoon-fed from birth to death. Then we stumble upon Nova Roma.

Nova Roma relies on people to use the more cerebral elements of their imagination, unaided by any props, except a few web pages of varying degrees of amateurism and a mass of text. I know many new citizens that have landed in Nova Roma, having fought their way through the bramble bushes of the naming conventions and absent paters, only to ask, “what happens now?” That is a very good question, what does happen now?

If they are lucky there will be a full-blown political free-for-all in progress on the Main List, with copious amounts of verbal blood letting. Savage comments will be traded back and forth and from the stands of our virtual amphitheatre there may come the appreciative “ooohs” and “aaahhs” of the watching crowd (probably all 50 of them). There will be the usual wailing about how terrible it is that the list has sunk to its usual level, charges, counter-charges, threats of prosecutions, resignations, peace lists being formed (and disbanded and re-formed), whole groups of people labelled as revolutionaries and plotters, others as modernistic subversives, or Christian evangelists. The whole scene is thoroughly gripping to a new citizen. Just another day in the forum of Ancient Rome! This is spectacular entertainment that you cannot put a price on.

If they are unlucky the list will be as it is now, thoroughly and odiously pleasant. People will be polite to each other and post voluminously on un-edifying topics. It will be just another day on any old Yahoo list. It will require people to think, to read and to construct semi-intellectual posts. In short there will be a total absence of instant gratification.

Are we so different from the Ancient Romans? The nobility of Rome identified the appeal of gladiatorial combats and their usefulness in keeping the citizenry distracted. Between the grain dole, free feasts, and the amphitheatres, they provided the plebs with enough of a narcotic to keep them sedated, most of the time, and if they did break loose in bloody riots in the forum it was usually at the behest of a noble patron or demagogue. Even in disorder there was order and control. Are the citizens of Nova Roma that much different?

The intellectuals amongst us would be horrified at the thought that they need to be stimulated by the base appeal of verbal combat on the Main List, but look what happened when the conflict between the Boni and Moderati / Libra alliance was at its height. People had a purpose, a goal. Break the Boni! Defend the Collegium! Expel Drusus! Save Drusus! Expel Maior! Save Maior! Prosecute Scaurus! Defend Scaurus! On and on went the rallying calls. Everyone participated in the debates, either publicly or behind the scenes in their factions. Advice was tendered by the bucket full and strategies were laid down and tactics devised and revised. Nova Roma bubbled with life and passion. The stands of the amphitheatre were always full.

Now the stands are empty. The plebs can find no great debates, no blood on the sand, not even a pinprick of claret. Now they have to think if they want to participate on the Main List. Threads on reproduction Roman furniture, where and how best to learn Latin, our virtual chariot races, all worthy and noble but not very “gripping”. A mild titter raised over the association of the Gens Minia’s new group, Neo Roma, with sanitary equipment or mild amusement at a post headed “Wet girls”, the product of a re-mailer virus, is the best that can be managed.

If instead of trying to purge the Main List of any passion whatsoever and instilling a mish-mash of Victorian values, some of Nova Roma’s notables could encourage free and bloody speech, if they could seize a few citizens and toss them into the arena and tell them to stab each other with the product of their keyboards, then we may see some vibrant life begin to bubble again in Nova Roma. Then we may retain more citizens, since then they would see a purpose and reason to log on.

It is time to acknowledge that our citizens are no different from our spiritual ancestors who “ooohed” and “aaahed” all day under a beating hot sun as men duelled to the death or were shredded by wild beasts. We think we have progressed so far, have become so civilised, but that is because the arena is brought into our houses by the touch of a button. Television is the arena of this age, providing technicolor images of death and gore, both real and fictional, at the touch of a button. In fact we have become so advanced that we can freeze the moment of death on a CD or even on live TV, make popcorn and return to gorge both our stomachs and our appetites for blood. How the Ancient Romans would have appreciated that function!

So in Nova Roma let us not hide behind this myth that people want an anodyne list, that they want this veneer of civility. Everyone revelled in the gore when it flowed freely and often. Certainly it is necessary to explain to the more “sensitive” new citizen the ways of the Main List, lest they be terrified, shocked, appalled (insert the adjective most used by Nova Roma’s nannies) and run shrieking for the gates and the far beyond, but let us not be so duplicitous and mealy-mouthed that we cannot salute those that are prepared to be beaten by a keyboard for the edification of the masses.

Once more let the cry rip through Nova Roma; “Those who are about to libel and be libelled salute you!”

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The barge of the dead

The Gens Minia has apparently emigrated from Nova Roma to found a new organisation. This group, I forget its name and have no intention of looking it up, intends to best Nova Roma at its own game, by being home to just about anyone. No viewpoint, ideology, belief, goal or time period is outside the scope of this barge of the dead.

No doubt it will stagger across the e-waves, initially born slightly faster than it deserves, navigating the choppy waters of imperial rule, constitutions, laws and issues over religions. Eventually though it will strike the rock of reality and spill its cargo of cadavers into the waters of the Internet, forever to be sundered and lost in recriminations, dashed dreams and petty squabbles. Could I be wrong? Of course, but given the fate of most Internet based groups I doubt it.

The actual event itself is utterly irrelevant to Nova Roma. There has already been a range of views expressed, from outright sarcasm and references to an association with sanitary equipment, to a request from Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus for a more sombre approach to the matter.

I say let them sail on, no doubt tipping overboard the corpses of those who either actually find something concrete to believe in, or those who fall prey to the caprices of their “Imperator”. They should all greet him on some message board with the phrase “Those who are already dead and just unburied salute you!” Imperator of what? What absolute fatuous, and predictable, childish nonsense.

This event only serves to demonstrate that Nova Roma cannot become all things to all people without becoming equally ridiculous. There is a real issue underpinning this though, and that is purpose. What is the purpose of Nova Roma? The long term goals have been fairly well enunciated, debated, fought over, buried, exhumed, re-buried and generally praised or vilified, without much critical thinking in-between.

Citizens need to be given immediate goals to work towards. The Senate needs to give leadership, vision and direction in this respect. The Senate is the key to the success, or failure, of Nova Roma. The model of republican government is exactly what a volunteer Internet community needs, for nothing else makes sense or has a basis in adult and rational thought.

The citizens of Nova Roma may elect buffoons, or they may elect non-entities, but the Senate is the counter-point to the insanities that maybe perpetrated on us by our magistrates. That is the well-established theory, and one that I subscribe to wholeheartedly. Transforming the theoretical into reality may prove somewhat harder.

If the Senate is content to sit and debate the minor issues of Nova Roman life, rather than deal with the lack of immediate purpose for citizens, then the people in time honoured fashion will turn their idle hands to each others throats.

A certain amount of political carnage is healthy and very Roman, but were this Rome of antiquity at some point, normally when the forum became so drenched in blood, the Senate would have to stir itself to act. Most worrying of all is that the people are now so lethargic that they cannot even summon up enough energy to cut each other to shreds on the lists.

A complete lack of purpose, other than reading the ramblings on various lists and ogling at the latest crisis or drama (and as they go this latest one has been pretty third rate entertainment), grips our citizens. They have no “work” to do. I wonder how many citizens at times struggle to find a reason to log onto the Main List? Just what is the reason for paying that tax?

I know that some people think that many of our citizens only expect to receive a benefit, rather than contribute one iota of creativity. Such is the curse of modernity that undoubtedly many do expect to receive rather than give. The concept of service is sadly lacking in many quarters of Nova Roma.

This is not however an entirely fair portrayal of our citizens. Many expect to join and be given a task, a role; a function. Titles do indeed abound in Nova Roma, but once one is either gifted one, or wins one through election, the reality sets in that few above them in the Nova Roman pecking order have a clue what their “staff” should be doing.

If the Senate cannot formulate short and medium term goals for Nova Roma then we will continue to stagnate. I say the Senate since the stability of that body, not being subject to re-election, could ensure continuity of sound policies even in the face of incompetent or invisible magistrates.

Determining what “work” could be assigned, that benefits Nova Roma, advances its long term goals and increases the citizen base, is another matter. The first step is a general recognition that if we don’t want more disenchanted citizens to seek some sort of activity or purpose elsewhere, then the Senate needs to bestir itself and propose, debate and pass resolutions on firm policies for the here and now.

The Senate needs to take this lead if the trickle of emigrants leaving our gates is not to grow into a stream, then a river and finally a tsunami as people rush to the next barge of the dead to be built, to escape the eruption of terminal boredom that threatens to smother us all in the ash of inactivity and meaningless existence.

If the Senate chooses to do nothing in this respect, then it should at least place an order for more Nova Roman coins to be minted so that it can have them ready to pay the ferryman as more of our citizens depart into the shadows.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Martyrs of the Molehill

If recently I have haven’t written much it is not through lack of interest, but rather a lack of anything that was fundamentally noteworthy and new as an issue. One issue is however now noteworthy, but sadly not really new, namely the increasing use of the veto by some of our Tribunes.

Given the current lack of any real distinction between patricians and plebeians and certainly no “class war” or suppression of the rights of plebeians by predatory patricians, there really isn’t much for our Tribunes to do in Nova Roma, which is no doubt the reason why, in an effort to give meaning to their existence, it was decided to graft onto their historic role that of curators of the constitution.

This function, combined with the personalities of some of our current Tribunes, is the root cause for the increase in the use of the veto. Instead of protecting an individual from magisterial abuse, our Tribunes concentrate on the finite details of the constitution; it says black but does that mean black or does it really mean dark purple? If it says black does it actually mean it can never be white? This recently culminated in one Tribune trying to infer that public games which required the use of the English language were in fact discriminatory towards non-English speaking citizens and particularly those who were weak in written English skills.

Had the Tribune that interposed this veto done this in Rome of antiquity he probably wouldn’t have made it back to his house alive. The plebeians, the very people he was meant to protect, would in all likelihood have lynched him. It would have been a fundamentally brave or fundamentally stupid Tribune that deprived the Romans of their entertainment. The very fact that our Nova Roman Tribune could even contemplate doing this is indicative of the disassociation that exists between the plebeians in Nova Roma and the Tribunes. The Tribunes feel no instinctive reluctance to do something that would harm the very social order they are meant to protect, and the plebeians didn’t rise as one to protest this, as they really don’t have any inherent identity as plebeians.

In Rome patricians were a distinct group, as were plebeians and despite the rise of some plebeians into the Senate and somewhat of a blurring of the distinction over the course of generations for such a select few plebeian families, in general the divide was obvious. In Nova Roma there was once nothing that marked a patrician or a plebeian other than a nomen that was either one or the other. Now with the passage of the Lex Equitia de Familia, a very necessary reform, there isn’t even that obvious distinction.

So our Tribunes have no historic role to play in Nova Roma, and the unhistoric one they have been assigned could have been beneficial had some of them shown more restraint recently. Had these Tribunes adopted the restraint shown by a constitutional monarchy, where the sovereign has the power to dismiss parliament in extreme circumstances, such as a tyrannical abuse of power, and only exercises that rarely and judiciously, then they would have brought more honour to their role than is currently the case.

The possession of the veto is a great responsibility and it calls for its careful and selective use. Instead it has been employed on the last occasion to enforce a very silly position, namely that it is discriminatory to use English in public games as the constitution only mandates its use for government matters or day-to-day business. The games, apparently, don’t fall into either category.

That quintessential pragmatic Roman approach to such questions was absent, again indicative of how few steps we have collectively taken towards a mastery of Romanitas. A Roman of antiquity would not even have been led down this path of tortuous reasoning, but even assuming they had the solution would have lain in what was the fundamental purpose of a Tribune and was this a hill to die on?

Sadly for Nova Roma some of our current Tribunes are all too content to seize on a molehill and terraform it into Mt. Everest and then proceed to huff and puff all the way to the top of it, dragging the rest of us reluctantly along, and there on its highest peak fall on their swords in “defence of the constitution”. If there was ever a single example that best demonstrates why the constitution has become a millstone around our necks and as far removed from being a document that preserves our rights, as the Earth is from Alpha Centauri, then this is it. A document that is meant to protect us in fact oppresses us, encouraging through its convoluted and imprecise language ludicrous upsets such as the “English, no English” debate.

From this latest unhappy example of why some people equate being Roman with a profligate use of tools that the Romans designed, in this case the veto, what conclusions can one draw? Firstly that we need to create a real separation of the social orders in a historic manner as possible, and focus the Tribunes on their traditional role. Secondly, and in conjunction with the first lesson, that we need to scrap the constitution and restore the traditional supremacy of the law, as determined by the people, and remove the excuse for all this grandstanding that is currently the hallmark of a number of the Tribunes this year; not all, but a significant enough number for their actions to go from being farcical to pointlessly obstructive.

It is time for a number of our Tribunes to start being Tribunes of Nova Roma, rather than Martyrs of the Molehill.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Go Roman!

The Nova Roman census is approaching and it seems certain that the end result will be a drastic pruning of the citizen rolls. One hopes, against all the evidence, that otherwise dormant citizens will identify themselves and stave off the inevitable.

Some may not want to pay the tax, others may not want to vote, and others will not want to do either but out of all three groups of the “disappeared” there will be those that still want to be classed as citizens. These will not be enough though to redress the flow out of Nova Roma.

Here we reach the dichotomy, for some citizens at least. A strong and active Nova Roma is the common goal of those still with enough faith in the possibilities for the future, but that may come at too greater price for them. Increased citizens do not necessarily mean increasing the numbers of those that adhere to the Religio as their own personal religion.

Nova Roma could become more secular, and in fact since there is no wellspring of adherents outside Nova Roma, just isolated pockets and individuals, that is quite likely if citizen numbers increase. What is important though is that the Religio is protected and supported by all new citizens, since this will allow it to gradually grow. The more people who join and dedicate themselves to this then the stronger the Religio will become.

The Go Roman! project is a viable and proactive method of increasing the citizen base, from within universities in all provinces of Nova Roma. If we are to counter the drain of citizens we need to seriously and consistently attempt to attract new citizens. There are sufficient traditions and historic evidence that Rome, right from its inception, did not sit passively by and just wait for people to drift in, and neither should Nova Roma.

Increasing the citizen base will increase taxes, the proportion probably similar to that payed now, and offer Nova Roma fresh opportunities to expand. The next few months will be critical and supporting Go Roman! is equivalent to supporting the existence and growth of Nova Roma.

When Go Roman! is put before the Senate and people of Nova Roma it should be wholeheartedly supported.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Narrow minded family dogma

The inevitable backlash to the Lex Equitia de Familia has commenced, with Domitius Constantinus Fuscus announcing his attention to bring before the people a law amending the way in which familiae can be created within a gens. He has given us all a hint in Main List post 33859 as to what that law will not focus on, namely that he will not give the “original name holder”, which one assumes is the founder and paterfamilias, any power over people “wearing” his name. Other than that snippet details are currently vague to non-existent.

This obviously is an attempt to fundamentally alter the current historically correct manner in which new citizens select a name. Fuscus is upset that any Tom, Dick or Harry can simply choose Constantinus as a nomen. This is his macro surname, so he feels somewhat protective of it. That is all utterly irrelevant though, as new citizens in Rome could take any nomen they pleased and Nova Roma should be no different.

Fuscus ran a closed shop in his gens; closed to non-Italians. His vision was of a group all centred in Italy, all communicating in the same language and all close enough to meet.

His assertion that he as paterfamilias will not have any control over those who bear his name maybe strictly correct, but one assumes that he will exert that control indirectly through provisions in his proposed law, otherwise why bother with the law? He intends to strangle the freedom of new citizens to take a nomen of their choice. How will he try to achieve this; what alterations will he produce?

The most likely alteration is to prohibit anyone from forming a familia in a gens unless they have first been routed through an existing familia and been emancipated.

This means that Fuscus could once more close the tap tightly shut on his small gens by refusing to admit a new citizen to his familia. As a paterfamilias he can refuse to emancipate a familia member, and even though they have recourse to the Praetors, this is not a legally guaranteed relief. The matter would have to be heard and the Praetor would have to rule in favour of emancipation.

If there are others in his gens who are currently sui iuris, i.e. paters themselves, this stranglehold could still be applied if all the others refused to admit new citizens.

How charming that a new citizen’s first introduction to Nova Roma is a prohibition on taking a name due to some elitist, narrow minded and nationalistic dogma. What an absolutely stunning encounter of the third kind with such an alien and un-Roman concept.

If he does produce such a law it is to be hoped that it is voted down, resoundingly. The Lex Equitia de Familia offers new citizens the opportunity to associate themselves with a gens of their choice, and a free and unfettered choice of nomen was a historic fact and should remain so in Nova Roma.

It is very sad that Fuscus intends to use the law to defend a narrow position of self-interest. Perhaps if he spent more time on encouraging people to join his gens, whether as sui iuris or not, rather than on digging a hole, climbing into it and throwing rocks at anyone who tries to inveigle their way into his gens, then a suggestion such as he now makes might carry more moral force.

As it is, Fuscus certainly appears devoid of any credibility in this matter since he is so clearly biased.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

City of fables unearths real heroes

By Jeremy Laurence
COLCHESTER (Reuters) - It is the home of Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole and Camelot -- or so legend has it.

But archaeologists raking over the past can now go one better for the city of Colchester.

After painstaking excavation work they have proof of real heroes from the ancient world. Last month they revealed the remains of a Roman Circus, or chariot racing track.

In the past 30 years archaeologists in the city have unearthed evidence dating back to Roman rule over 2,000 years ago, rewriting British history along the way. The circus underlines the city's importance as a provincial Roman outpost.

In its heyday the track would have made an awesome sight with a straight measuring about 350 metres and stands for some 8,000 people, more than the population of the town itself.

Formerly Colonia Victricensis, meaning "City of the Victorious", Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town and its first capital.



Bloody soap in the forum

The remaining political alliances in Nova Roma appear to be in a state of flux. The debate over the status of Caius Curius Saturninus has resulted in deep divisions in the alliance of the Libra and the Moderati. Gaius Equitius Cato has spoken for the rule of law, while Pompeia Minucia-Tiberia Strabo has spoken for the rule of equity.

The debate has recently dulled to an imperceptible murmur below the surface of waters that only a few weeks ago were storm tossed and flecked with froth and the detritus of the deep. An awful lot of unnecessary garbage was hauled from the political ocean floor and thrown around, yet the issue still remains unanswered; is Saturninus a Tribune or not?

It would be thoroughly redundant to explore the whole issue again, suffice it to say in my mind he is not. Aulus Apollonius Cordus rightly suggested that surely it would be in the best interests of Saturninius to put the matter before the Plebs and yet in the face of this undeniable logic an intercessio was proclaimed.

The real issue of interest here is not the fate of Saturninus but how easily the bonds of political unity were shattered. The single unifying factor that held a very disparate group of people together was opposition to the Boni, and if ever that is doubted then look to the level of sarcasm, invective and at times barely suppressed fury that was hurled at the heads of those who stood firm in the belief that Saturninus had forfeited his office when he had his brief emotional spat and ran around the forum with his political loincloth on his head, prior to heading for the gates and exile, only (of course) to return a short while later.

As if this drama wasn’t sufficient Gaius Modius Athanasius also ripped his undergarments off and draped them on his noggin and then in a characteristic display of petulance deleted the PeaceNR list and ran not for the gates of Nova Roma, but into the shadows, unsubscribing from Main List. Then (of course) a short while later a message arrived through an intermediary that Athanasius had created another peace list which a number of us have joined, if only to be witness to the predictable displays of outrage, recanting, misery, happiness, political insincerity, deceptions, falsehoods, and general political skulduggery.

As usual after one of these orgiastic displays of communal and individual excitement, everything has gone rather limp, as the period of political rutting draws to a close. The acrimonious posts have ceased as everyone contemplates the wreckage of another fine day in the forum.

In case any of you think that this slightly sarcastic account signifies disapproval, think again. It is very Roman behaviour, and in fact these displays of temper, abuse and general written rowdiness maybe the one successful example of reconstruction that Nova Roma can lay claim to.

Yet even in the face of such outstanding "Roma resurgens", Nova Roma’s own self-appointed nanny brigade of Mary Poppins clones hovered in the wings, waiting to slap censorial notas over the mouths of some of our more outspoken protagonists. In the midst of the usual debacle in the forum the faint and irritating squeak of Victorian prurience could be heard; yes the holders of the censorial soap had arrived to wash out the mouths of all those who in their zeal to insult each other had, apparently, risked the collapse of the republic through the subsequent damage to their reputations and that of Nova Roma.

Nova Roma really is a dichotomy; on the one hand a truly Roman debate rages, while around the edges of the seething and bubbling crowd, this little annoying lap-dog dances and yaps, nipping at the heels of the combatants and piddling, in its excitement, thin and feeble streams of justification for its un-Roman stand against "rude" language.

A new act in this fascinating political play that is Nova Roma is commencing. The stagehands have long since cleared away the Boni backdrop, and now it looks as though that of the Libra Alliance is set to join the other redundant and discarded props under the stage.

Who knows what the next act will bring or even who will play the lead, but what one can say with certainty is that this certainly is a substitute for the bloodshed in the arena.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bears, honey and mice - an alternative fairy tale

There once were twenty-six bears that lived in a rather nice house called The Curia down in the depths of the woods.

One Saturday morning some of the bears decided that as everything was tidy in the house they could set off for a quiet stroll through the woods while their breakfast cooled. They left two bears fast asleep in their beds, or so they thought.

On their return the bears were shocked to find that the door to The Curia had been kicked down. In fact there was so little left of the door that the bears wondered if the NRA had raided them looking for trophies. They just stood looking at the remains of their nicely polished and maintained entrance; slivers of wood and broken shards of glass lay everywhere. Fearfully the bears peered in expecting to find the bullet-ridden corpses of their two co-occupiers, but there was no sign of them.

Stepping into The Curia the bears looked in each room. In the dining room they found five extra places had been set. They tip-toed upstairs to the bedrooms of the other bears, where the shock of their lives awaited them. In a bedroom that was meant to be vacant they found a large pot marked “Censorial F avoured Honey”.

This was in fact “Censorial Flavoured Honey” which all the bears had only handed out in the past after a communal meeting of the House Council. Obviously someone had scratched out the missing “l” on the label. As they looked into the pot the bears saw a mouse squirming and wriggling in sticky gloop that was their pride and joy. They went and checked four other vacant bedrooms and to their increasing dismay they found in each, a similarly defaced pot complete with mouse.

The bears were now quite irritated but at the same time puzzled as to how the mice had destroyed the front door, they were just mice after all, so ignoring them they went to look for the missing two bears. When they opened the door of one of the bears, who was in fact a polar bear, they found them both sitting on the floor with a deck of cards dealt between them. Each card had a name of a mouse on. When asked what they were doing and what the mice were doing in the honey pots, one of them, a real GEM of a bear, replied that they were nice mice and they deserved a swim in the honey.

One of the bears said “So let me get this straight, behind our backs, without even a hint of what you were going to do, you smashed our door down and let these mice into our house? These wouldn’t be the same mice that help fund your rent here would they?"

The GEM bear roared out “You're obviously angry, and as obviously have no damn idea what you're talking about. Whose favors do you think were returned?”

Another bear said “What are you doing with all those cards?”

GEM said without a hint of embarrassment or guilt “Right now I'm in the position of horse trading.”

Polar Bear said nothing, but then he rarely did.

The other bears just sat down wearily on the floor and watched as GEM and Polar kept gambling away. Apparently they were going to parcel out the remaining rooms in The Curia, until it would be so full that the walls would bulge. It seemed certain that GEM wanted to move all these new tenants in so that he could command a majority on the House Council and be allowed to stay top bear for the remainder of his life.

So children, do you think that the Bears sorted out their differences and lived happily ever after? Well the end of this story has yet to be written, but it seems certain that GEM bear will continue handing out pots of honey to his friends.

What a marvellous Patron GEM is. I wish I were a mouse, don’t you children?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The potestas pot

As the 29th January draws close, individuals known to be either members of the Libra Alliance or the Moderati are trying to convince citizens to emancipate themselves.

One of them is in the Censor's office and would be privy to the number of requests for emancipation. One can surmise that had the majority of active citizens applied already there wouldn't have been so much consternation. The 29th is the date when the sun sets over the concept of the large all embracing gens and rises over that of the familia. The concern of these people, of course, lies with patria potestas.

The Lex Equitia de Familia enshrined formally the extent and operation of patria potestas. This was a substantial step in the direction of reconstruction. Not everyone was happy, with some existing paters decrying the attempt to create more historic structures as too much, too soon.

Since very little of major note ever happens as far as reconstruction is concerned, this is somewhat alarmist. A number of the old gens had paters who were silent, head count and even socii; they had essentially abandoned their gens. The emphasis on the familia will create a structure where there is order, structure and a sound historic basis.

What could those in the Libra Alliance and the Moderati have against the concept of patria potestas? It appears that they fear that people will be "controlled" by their pater. Of course this actually translates into their being very concerned that the familia will form voting blocks, and one also assumes that the fear is that they will vote against Moderati and Libra Alliance candidates.

We have had to endure a number of alarmist posts in this vein. Gnaeus Iulius Caesar Cornelianus attempted to rectify that imbalance by a number of posts urging that citizens be left to their own devices. All he got for his trouble was a series of confrontational posts from some of the emancipators.

The familia was the core unit around which early, regal and Republican Rome grew. Anything that promotes the familia in Nova Roma is a good thing. Patria potestas is a historic fact, and its benefits within a familia structure are obvious.

In reality the likely result after the 29th January is a mix of familia and emancipated individuals. Gradually those that are emancipated will gather familia members around them. There will be no great crisis and Nova Roma will endure and if everyone concerned applies enough wisdom, it will benefit greatly from the focus shifting to the familia.

Will those in familia vote for Moderati and Libra candidates? Who knows. A paterfamilias cannot exert his potestas in respect of voting or the membership of the Ordo Equester, so their electoral success or failure will depend, as always, on whether those factions appeal to individual voters. It is exceptionally sad that as this milestone approaches these few individuals who engaged in these alarmist posts had only the self-interest of these two political factions at heart.

To be fair there was one member of the Moderati who did his best to strike a balance in the advice he gave, and he did succeed in doing so. Others in their posts risked whipping up a maelstrom of concern and anxiety and the strong suspicion is that the motivator for doing so was concern over the electoral fortunes of their factions.

In the face of the most recent real injection of significant historical reconstruction the modernists urged a move away from the familia, the backbone of ancient Rome. The conclusion must be drawn that despite all the florid statements to the contrary, reconstruction is just too unappetising for them.

One assumes they won't be dipping into the pot of potestas, because that would be too contradictory and hypocritical - or will they?

Perhaps those paters and maters that enter into a covenant to advocate support for the Moderati and Libra factions will receive a certificate allowing the bearer to dip at will into the potestas pot?

I think I will pass on that particular dish. It would probably be poisoned anyway.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Wolves back at Rome's door

ROME (AFP) - Wolves are back at Rome's gates more than 2,000 years after the animal became a symbol of the capital, the discovery of a dead wolf in a nearby national park reviving environmentalists' hopes and farmers' fears.

Ecologists are excited by the discovery of the young wolf's carcass along a roadside, seeing it as the fruit of a 30-year protection programme after Italy's lupine population flirted with extinction in the 1970s.



Nero's buried treasure

ROME, Jan. 18 -- When the infamous emperor Nero fell from power in A.D. 68, weakened by military revolts, his successors decided no personal trace of his reign should remain. They covered with debris the giant and sumptuous Domus Aurea -- the Golden House -- that he built on a hill in central Rome. They replaced an adjacent artificial lake with the Colosseum.

The entombment of the palace was meant to make everyone forget Nero. Instead, it conserved, as if in amber, his residential compound as few ancient sites in Rome have been preserved. This week, almost 2,000 years after Nero's rule, Rome city officials unveiled a new find from the palace that offers a tantalizing hint of the treasures buried beneath the hill."



Monday, January 17, 2005

Long-lost star catalog discovered

An ancient mystery may have been solved by Louisiana State University Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bradley E. Schaefer.

Schaefer has discovered that the long-lost star catalog of Hipparchus, which dates back to 129 B.C., appears on a Roman statue called the Farnese Atlas. Hipparchus was one of the greatest astronomers of antiquity and his star catalog was the first in the world, as well as the most influential. The catalog was lost early in the Christian era, perhaps in the fire at the great library in Alexandria.



Monday, January 10, 2005

Van Helsing and Count Bonus

The coming year offers all of Nova Roma an opportunity to choose between two roads, one of reconstruction and the other of stagnation. Of course one could be forgiven for saying, “well you would say that Caesar, being a reconstructionist” but that assessment is not based on a narrow view of reconstruction versus modernism, but instead on an assessment of what were mooted as ideas by the modernists over the course of the previous year.

The central tenet of the Moderati and to some extent (muted and veiled though it is) of the Libra Alliance as well, is opposition to the Boni. The prospect of another year of listening to interminable speeches about the wicked Boni is mildly amusing, given the fact that the Boni are defunct. The only thing that could conceivably breathe life into that corpse is, ironically, the persistent and unyielding shrieking about Boni plots and the need for vigilance. The ferocity of the opposition is sadly not a testament to the effectiveness of the Boni, but rather to the inability of certain individuals to seize on a position other than that the monster is not dead, just sleeping.

With the fervour of Van Helsing, our collection of vampire hunters run around Nova Roma in a frenzy of Transylvanian terror, yelling to a largely uninterested populace, that Count Bonus is not dead, but has turned into a bat and flitted off to hide in the shadows, awaiting the moment to rise again. At the slightest hint of conservatism these individuals scrabble around in their carpetbag of stock speeches, trite sayings and hackneyed phrases and produce the ubiquitous political stake and hammer. An almost orgasmic rush to plunge the stake into the suspected scion of the un-dead follows but often the target is missed and instead the vampire hunter’s own foot gets neatly pinned to the Main List for all to see.

All this medieval madness is thoroughly pointless. The Boni were never the threat that its opponents painted them out to be. They were a group of very conservative citizens who saw the need to defend the primacy of the Religio as a state religion, to protect the Collegium Pontificum from attempts to either dismantle or cripple it, and to promote the mos maiorum. I wish I could say that the Boni was as organised and focused as its opponents make out, but this was not the case.

The Boni were never a political party but in an apparent triumph of propaganda the opponents of the Boni obviously have now fed well and too long on the various distortions that were deliberately propagated. The Libra and the Moderati have presented a far more unified and political platform than the Boni ever managed to do. In that respect the Boni were the most Roman of factions and its opponents have constructed a well oiled and disciplined party machine to combat a myth.

The one success of the Boni was to unknowingly befuddle its opponents into believing that it was organised, and the willing abettors in the spread of that most delicious rumour was in fact those people that form the Moderati and the Libra. The Boni have crumbled to dust and left the Moderati and Libra in full possession of the field.

The trouble is that having whipped up some of the villagers into a state of hysteria over Count Bonus and consistently maintained the Main List at a state of red alert, they now don’t believe that the monster is a small pile of dust in the corner. These people with the objective of destroying the Boni have invested too much time and effort to simply give up and go home. Life as an unemployed vampire hunter pales by comparison and certainly lacks the rush that they no doubt experienced in the full flow of combative Main List posting.

Despite the profusion of olive branches and the various statements of good intent they are still caressing their stakes and fingering their hammers. They are still rooting around in the graveyards of Nova Roman political life hoping to catch a glance of the un-dead, so they can start the whole tiresome process again.

What may happen now is that those that echo conservative views maybe pursued and pinned with a large stake for all to witness. Never mind the fact that these people never were members of the Boni. Never mind they may be new citizens. Never mind that the Libra Alliance spokesman could equally say much of what they say and suffer no verbal assaults. Our vampire hunters need targets, they have an adrenaline addiction to feed and sooner or later it will surface unless they face the reality of a post-Boni political landscape.

The way ahead for Nova Roma this year has to be to increase the numbers of its citizens, seek innovative ways to raise money, which do not involve grants thereby compromising our independence, and to make a conscious effort to stop terrifying the populace with all these tales of blood sucking wraiths lurking under the bed.

If those olive branches were genuinely proffered then the stakes and hammers have to be put away. The price we will all pay if this doesn’t happen is another year of unbridled enmity. The continued existence of two political machines, the Libra and Moderati, founded to combat the myth of an organised and effective Boni is itself a testament to how myopic some people can be.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A spoonful of sugar from Brussels?

I suppose I could start by saying that the excitement of the elections is now over, however excitement would be too dramatic an adjective. Not all positions were filled, few were actively contested and generally it remained a damp squib.

The minor distraction of Maior managing to demonstrate that she is an excellent markswoman when aiming at her own foot was the only relief in an otherwise drab affair.

It is impossible to say what lies ahead for the coming year. The Libra Alliance were short on details but long on promises to be very traditional. Only time and an insight into their legislative platform will provide hints as to the veracity of this claim.

Our new senior Consul, Franciscus Apulus Caesar seems to hanker after obtaining grants from the European Union. In order to do that he has said Nova Roma will need to be incorporated in Europe.

We don’t need grants. We need citizens that stay and participate. If all our listed citizens paid their taxes that would provide sufficient relief for the moment. We also want to avoid being subject to review by macronational governmental bodies (or is that busybodies?) interfering in our internal affairs and laying down conditions for grants or how they can be spent. Apulus Caesar may see no matters of concern here, but he is so deeply enmeshed in the European Union that he is far from objective on the matter.

As for our Praetors, it will be interesting so see if they try to extend Nova Roma’s judicial reach into columns like this one, or private lists. In keeping with Nova Victoriana that some seem so dedicated to building on the bones of Nova Roma, the “Nanny knows best” approach to life in Nova Roma continues to remain the biggest single threat to popular liberty.

The odious characters that worked Madame Guillotine all wore caps of liberty. Just because someone is plebeian and a former Tribune (or a current one) doesn’t mean that they have any real concept of popular liberty, or the value of an uncensored and politically robust community.

We don’t need Mary Poppins as Consul feeding us spoonfuls of sugar to make the medicine of censorship and enslavement to the European Union go down our throats more easily.