"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

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Arms against a sea of troubles?

It will be interesting to see the volume of legislation introduced to the people by our new consuls. Fabius Buteo has always been sceptical of the need for volumes of laws and his appointment of Marcus Octavius Germanicus as accensus should mean that an even more doughty foe of needless laws will bolster Fabius Buteo’s resolve.

It will be equally interesting to see what legislation, if any, his colleague P. Minucia-Tiberia Strabo throws her weight behind. She is probably less fettered by previous pronouncements decrying excessive legislation, and one suspects already has a draft agenda prepared. In her declaration of candidacy she stated, “reforms might be merited to prevent unnecessary alienation of those seeking the counsel and example of the CP.”

If the declarations of candidates’ intentions mean more in Nova Roma than they do in the macronational world, then this would appear to be a clear indication that the rudiments of a plan have already been devised. Yet in the same declaration she says “I leave these issues in the hands of the Pontifices”.

To observers of the Nova Roman “political” scene this means that she will leave the promulgation of reforms to those pontifices that would favour such measures and once they have secured a majority vote in the Collegium Pontificum they will no doubt take that result to Strabo for the introduction of, or support for, legislation. Even if they remain in the minority they could still ask for the matter to be put to the people. What would that legislation be?

The answer can probably be found in the attempts in 2757 to promote legislation to have pontifices elected rather than appointed. As the numbers stack up in the Collegium one could predict a slight majority in favour of the more conservative element likely to oppose such moves. As it is highly unlikely that they will willingly allow the balance of power in the Collegium to be eroded by the appointment of new pontifices more in tune with the “reformers”, one assumes they will block any such attempts.

In this event the only solution of course for the “reformers” would be to see one or more of the conservative pontifices leave Nova Roma or be removed as citizens, for once they surrender or are stripped of their citizenship they could not be members of the Collegium. An alternative strategy was publicly promulgated by the Pontifex Maximus, namely one of cooperation with the conservative block on issues which all the pontifices agree need to be resolved, which is a sensible and practical alternative.

As the Pontifex Maximus is also an accensus of Buteo, does this mean that the latter also favours this approach, or does it mean that both agree “something” has to be done to alter the voting power of the conservative element? It could mean that neither agrees with each other, a state that both have experienced in the recent past. What degree of agreement exists between Strabo and Buteo, if any, on the need for “reform”?

If this year comes and goes without any movement on “reform” will some of its proponents give up hope and leave for greener pastures? This year could mark the final chance for the “reformers” to produce tangible results and both Consuls have an a considerable amount of their own auctoritas, not to mention dignitas, tied up with making good on a year of public statements about the need to alter the status quo in the Collegium.

If they fail to make any tangible attempt that could considerably damage any degree of influence they have built up. At the moment the odds are still in the favour of the conservative pontifices and it is far from certain the “reformers” can prevail.