Anno Consulatus
Luci Equiti Cincinnati et Deci Iuni Palladi
(Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Consul Suffectus)
MMDCCLII ab urbe condita
1999 CE


The Crisis of 1999: Civil War

M. Arminius Maior

 At 13 days before the Kalends of June, the citizen Q Fabius Maximus addressed a strong critic to the immobility of the magistrates of Nova Roma, a prenounce of the crisis to come. (Message 6725)
First there was the Praetor who pissed off the Senate.  So nothing got done that month.  Then there was one mini crisis after another.  And again nothing was done.
One Censor was more interested in developing stamps for the micro nation, something that I'm sure is best classed as hobby, and nothing to do with his office, the other became a Consul which seemed to take up all his time.  And again and again nothing was done. 
A Praetor Urbanus and a Propraetor came up a workable solution which seemed to solve most of the concerns of all about implementing the tribes and centuries, yet all that happened was that the Senate called for a debate. Was there a debate?  Citizens, your guess is as good as mine.  One thing is for sure, nothing was told to us, and again nothing was done.
Now we are told that one of our Censors is on vacation, (Roman days being too strenuous no doubt), with one of the Quaestors.  The other Censor will only be heard from when he wants to congratulate his family member on her nuptials.  And again nothing has been done.
Our constitution makes the assemblies of the Tribes and Centuries very important to our elective process and our law making process.  Nova Roma has been in living, breathing existence for over a year now and still nothing has been done! 
Here, Q Fabius Maximus points to the center of the problem: the Tribes and Centurias are not formed, and so, none of the elections in Nova Roma can be considered legal.
I asked the Senate to help force the Censors to carry out their assigned task, and was told it was not their job.  They were powerless.  Again nothing was done.

We see a crime being done to our beloved Nova Roma and we do nothing.  The crime?  Inaction.  And yet we are letting the magistrates get away with it.

No more!  Since the Senate can do nothing, the second half of the SPQR - the people - must.  If we all join together in one voice and demand that Senate sees that Censors carry out their duty, they will be forced to accede to our wishes.  Because right now I think, no I know, they think that we don't care.  But that is not true, fellow citizens, we care a great deal.  It is just that we have refused to flex our muscle, our voice, because we thought it would be all taken care of.  The result?  Nothing has been done. [...]

Only then, when our magistrates realize that we, the people, demand action, will action come.  Until then, nothing will be done.  History has proven that.


Then, the Tribunus Plebis Avidius Tulius Callidus, charged with the duty of help the Censores to build the Tribes and Centurias, renounced, and their implementation is delayed once more. (Message 6775)

M Cassius Julianus says:

Ack. The latest blowup regarding the tribes and comitia got me completely off track [...] to be the announcement that Avidius Tullius Callidus, one of our Tribunes of the Plebs, resigned his Citizenship in Nova Roma. His message came through just before Roman Days, [...]
Praetor L Cornelius Sulla says:
Callidus resigned his Tribuniate?  Why?  What about him supervising the law committee?  What is the status of the Tribuinate and what ramifications does this have to the areas he is working for...and is Callidius still a citizen?
Censor M Cassius Julianus answers:
Tullius resigned with no explanation whatsoever. His parting message was very brief, cancelling his Citizenship and asking that his Gens be removed from the Nova Roma website. I can only magine that his resignation was the direct result of his plan for the Tribes and Centuries not being implemented immediately and without question. He would not hear of the fact that we were considering a half-dozen other plans, most of which were far more easily maintainable than what he had presented. As far as I am aware, any other work he was doing has left with him. 
At this day, surprisingly, the main list of Nova Roma and the site with all their facilities were closed, with no explanation. It was the eruption of the Great Crisis of 1999.
The Aedile Curule, M Martianus Gangalius, announces that the site and main list of Nova Roma were restored, and the alternative ones were deleted. (Message 6943)
Now that novaroma@o... has been restored, I believe that roma_tertia@o... no longer serves a useful purpose.  I wish to join with all Novaromani in restoring the status quo ante bellum, [...]
And again: (Message 6945)
In the spirit of, and indeed, as concrete steps in, the restoration of the status quo ante bellum, I have deleted the "Alternative News" site.
At this time, the majority of the citizens doesnt know what is happening... or what will happen.
A citizen express their confusion about the so called "coup". (Message 6947)

Amethystia Iunia Crystallina says:

Yea, I'm still upset over the whole thing.  Nova Roma was killed, then it's back, and so few knew anything about it.  May the gods forbid, but if it ever happens again, I for one hope it will be done with a great deal more respect than was shown [...]
Hopefully I will still recognize the place after this 'Civil War'.
The Tribunus Plebis Antonius Gryllus Graecus, appointed by the Senate in the Place of Av Tullius Callidus, declared that the situation is under control, but still precarious, and says that the attempt to the "coup" was sent forth by a still to be identified "comitee". (Message 6949)
Our nation almost died... And it is still in danger.
Peace was made with a very big effort on all sides, and many losses as well. I'm speaking of Patricia Cassia, Marcus Minucius Audens. These men have dedicated a big part of their time to this nation. Tears have not stopped yet. Many more are to come, for now we must work VERY HARD.

Nova Roma is now in a state of emmergency and its institutions are not working according to the Constitution. This was violated in two ways :
1) By the members of a so called *comitee* who I'm still not sure who they are... They have tried to impeach the Censores illegally and tried to get control of the Web site.
2) By the Censores and Senate, who in response to the attack got control of the Web site and declared the end of Nova Roma illegally.

So now the situation of Nova Roma is that Censor and Senator Marcus Cassius Julianus has absolute control over the Web site. As you can see, this corresponds to a Web Dictatorship, which in this case is the only possible agreement between the so called *comitee* and the Senate/Censores.
The novaroma@o... is re-established and should remain so. I'm still not aware of the complete state of things, but I shall be today. Beware of this situation. Pax is not an easy task. I ask everyone responsible for the events in the last 2 days to stay away from hostile statements.

Another good news. The Comitia Populi are constituted. Valete omnes

Two hours later, An Gryllus Graecus have another declaration, and says that the "coup" was only a misundestanding (Message 6952)
From my investigation, I've reached the conclusion that there was no coup at all. The climate of frustration that was due to the delay on forming the Comitia resulted into an ultimatum presented publicly to the Censores, that said they should resign their offices if the Comitia were not established by the Ides of Quinctilis.
The Censores told they had already a plan and that it had been the Tribunus Avidius Tullius Callidus that menaced to veto it. Callidus resigned.
I was appointed Tribunus by the Senate. There was by then no reason to have a coup, for I wold not veto the plan of the Comitia.

An unfortunate exchange of email between some magistrates provoked a false alarm of the part of Praetor [M Mucius] Scaevola Magister for an impeachment of the Censores. This is the prove that there was no conspiracy, for otherwise, the conspirators would have got the control of the Web site in silence. That did not happen, and another prove that there was no conspiracy was the complete disorganisation that followed the response of Censor Cassius  and the Board of Directors (BoD).

Feeling menaced by an eventual unconstitutional coup d'etat, the Senate, BoD, and Censores got the control of the NR Web site and feeling betrayed by every sife, they decided to end NR as we know it. On the other hand, having declared Nova Roma dead, the BoD justified some desperate actions and words on the part of some magistrates such as Curulis Aedilis [M Martianus] Gangalius and Consul Lucius Equitius Cincinnatus, who, being ellected by the people of NR, could not let NR die. As such they formed a regrouping party, called Roma Tertia, which kept the ellected magistracies except the Censores. On the other hand, the BoD formed another regrouping party keeping the Senate and the Censores.

In my opinion all this was a big confusion, a big misunderstanding. Nevertheless, there is still much mistrust between the conflicting parts, which must be resolved. Lets work for peace.

Now, the sovereignty of this nation resides on the people, who was abused by both parties, which - and this is the most deplorable - kept the silence or falsely built versions about the facts.
Now, we must learn again how to be a true Res Publica. Hope that the Comitia Populi can help. Lets once again learn our Constitution and swear to the Gods not to trample it again. Lets recite it at home, before sleeping, sing its articles in our soul.
The citizen Caius Aelius Ericius, however still see signs of unconstitutional actions, despite of the conclusions of the Tribune Graecus. (Message 6960)
Felt menaced by a coup that didn't exist, that was not unconstitutional since the late lamented Constitution of Nova Roma does not forbid Freedom of Speech.  So they seize the means of communication (a classic coup tactic) and declare the Constitution dead, and send elected magistrates expulsion notices.
A small group of people taking over a government in violation of that state's constitution is a coup d'etat.  De facto.  If Nova Roma is not to be a petty dictatorship or a corporate front, the Constitution of Nova Roma must be allowed to have its place as the land mark we navigate by.  Damage has been done.  We can let the government resume Its work.
So, Ericius says that a group of senators and censores, in the form of the BoD (Board of Directors) seize communications, declare constitution dead and begin to expel magistrates, as response to a coup that didnt exist.
Then, M Martianus Gangalius, Aedilis Curule, answers to the accusations. (Message 6965)
Gangalius says that the accusation of being involved in a secret plot doesnt have basis in fact, and that he was deprived from access to the web site without just cause and process.
The accusation that I was involved in a secret plot with Sulla and Fabius HAS NO BASIS IN FACT!  I had absolutely NO communication with Sulla, and to my knowledge he had no part in any of this.
 I must point out that novaroma@o... has ALWAYS been under the control of the Cassii, to the best of my knowledge. The only exception to this that I am aware of is, that when the Cassii were on vacation a few weeks ago, they temporarily transferred list moderator permissions to myself... and of all people, Audens, another alleged coup plotter!
At the same time, the citizens are confused. (Message 6966)

L Sergius Australicus says:

Just exactly what "bellum" are we "ante"???? I must have failed to receive an awful lot of list traffic. The list goes quiet for a day or two and suddenly there are announcements that a civil war is ending, a valuable civil servant is resigning in disgust, an alternative mailing list is being closed down, and order is being restored??? 
Just what the Hell has been going on? Where are the Praetorian cohorts when we need them? [...] Will somebody please explain -- inquiring citizens want to know.
And Lucina Iunia Cypria:
Please let me join Sergius Australicus in expressing my confusion. [...] Please explain what happened instead of trying to push it under the rug.
I tseems that only the involved magistrates know what happened, with the majority are awaiting what to do.
Suddenly, Senatrix Flavia Claudia Iuliana drops a explosive lettter, with denouncements involving various magistrates in a "coup d'Etat", and renounces from his duties and citizenship. (Messsage 6970)
[...] it was supposed to be kept a secret until a 7-page "indictment"of [the Censores] Cassius and Palladius [the censores] appeared, out of the blue, on the list, calling for their "impeachment." This had been going on for months, behind the scenes, with the "coalition" writing the indictment [...]

This was done by a "coalition of priests and magistrates" put together by Cincinnatus. Or -- at least -- with Cincinnatus' name on it, so that he could take the heat if something went wrong, which it did. The three of us who were made aware of it and were supposed to publicly sign it (not the same people who drafted it) were told that we "could guess who the priests and magistrates were".
We sure could. It was supposed to have been an "open letter" that we were being asked to sign. Instead, we were forwarded this silly "indictment". I'd post it, but it was pretty much a character assassination of Cassius and Palladius. If Cassius wouldn't resign as Censor, he was threatened
with forcible removal as Pontifex Maximus. We front men should have caught on the minute we were told "but, this isn't a coup d'etat!". [...]

If you folks think the Senate is secretive, you should have known about THESE backstage maneuvers. And now the main perpetrators are crying that they knew nothing about anything. The plan was that Cassus and Palladius be removed from government, that Cincinnatus would take over as sole Consul, that Sulla would be the next Consul, and that Fabius would be his co-consul, and Gangalius would
control the website and the e-list.

The whole thing never got to the list because the coup failed before it could be posted. The "articles of impeachment" got to Cassius and Palladius (who werent' supposed to have been informed beforehand, so the entire enterprise would have a better chance of succeeding).

Now the perpetrators are informing us almost hourly of their innocence. Sulla even goes so far to plead that he has no online access at home recently. [...]

How do I know? I WAS THERE, FOLKS! I was supposed to be one of the four "front men" who would actually SIGN the "impeachment articles", thereby putting OUR names on it while Sulla, Gangalius and Fabius sat back and protested innocence, then came forward to "save Nova Roma." It took only about an hour for them to form a new list, a new website, and a new group called "Roma
Respublica". [...]
Oh, and trying to convince honorable but gullible Graecus (who knew nothing about this beforehand, like almost all of you) that they were innocent, so he'd stick up for them and lend them credibility.

Cassi and the corporate owners of the list (who are responsible and accountable to the State of Maine, especially for the funds collected by Nova Roma) shut down the website and list temporarily in order to try to decide what to do. I don't think it's unfair to expect that Cassi was very, very hurt and reacted accordingly.

It was really kind of slick. And if Cassius and Palladius hadn't found out, none of us would be having this conversation. Instead, we'd be hailing the new Triumverate. The thing is: they did this just for shits and grins, to prove they could and to play power games.

The Senator Formerly Known As Flavia Claudia

Consul Lucius Equitius Ciincinnatus denies from being creating the group called Roma Tertia, and demands the return of Aedile Curule M Martianus Gangalius to the control of web site. (Message 6972)
Now I call for the return of the necessary tools for the webmaster to do his appointed duty. [...] Curule Aedile Marcus Martianus Gangalius was appointed to be webmaster by the Elected Consules, Decius Iunius Palladius and myself. I have vetoed the action of any change. Restore the website and it's functions. 
I had no need to form any "regrouping party, called Roma Tertia". Let's get this straight once and for all, Decius Iunius Palladius and Lucius Equitius Cincinnatus ARE THE CONSULES of Nova Roma. I invite you all to read the CONSTITUTION!
I do this stubbornly not for myself (my consulship is half over and I have been able to accomplish little, for that I am sorry), but for the Consules who will follow. How will they fair if they are left powerless? Will Nova Roma continue to run at the whim of one? Do your votes, your time, your efforts, your dreams all mean nothing? Romans are civilized and live by law (or are we barbarians who follow a King?)
Tribunus Graecus says that investigations should put forth. (Message 6973)
For now, NR is still living, and that is very good taking into consideration the dimension of the recent events. Cassius and Gangalius agreed to have direct talks.
An inquiry is now running to find the promoters of the illegal impeachment. Those who are to be found guilty shall be condemned accordingly, although this can only happen upon the return of NR to the Constitutional status. No summary trials shall be made. Justice shall be put to work according with the Constitution.

Until now there is evidence that there was a movement to force the Censores to resign their offices if they did not implement the Comitia Populi. This you all know because it was PUBLICLY brought to the list. 
Now the question is WHO. Who gave the order to Praetor Saevola Magister in order to gather the magistrates for the impeachment action? WHO?

Praetor Magister says that the conspiration was a result of paranoid fears, and asks everyone for reunite.
(Message 6975)
[...] This whole mess has come about because of paranoid fears 
- among some of us so-called "conspirators", that the Censors were NEVER going to set up the Comitia so that NR would be forever run by the Senate 
- and on the other side, from some of the Censors' side, the paranoid fears expressed by Flavia Claudia's mail that people were being asked to front for a conspiracy to get rid of the Founders.

Let's forget the paranoia and get on with constituting the Comitia and running NR according to its Constitution. If we work by the rules, we don't need to fear each other.

Here, Praetor Sulla accuses Fl Claudia Iuliana of creating conspiration theories and lying. (Message 6987)
How funny talk about conspiracy theories....You are the best Flavia! Gotta love ya!  Everyone who I have talked to knows that I am NOT running for office this year! about blaming someone who has done nothing in this. But hey! what can we say, this came from Claudia!
Claudia why dont you take your Conspiracy theories and go home.....and leave the lies to someone better.
And Q Fabius Maximus answers the accusations (Messages 6993 and 6994)
[...]I'm pleased to say that my banishment has been rescinded.  The Trib of the Plebs investigated, and cleared me of any wrong doing. [...]

[...] I was upset at F. Claudia's accusations and was posting to Back Alley to vent.  But truth be told I had nothing to do with wed, and I never signed anything.  However since I wasn't a magistrate, or a priest in NR, I couldn't anyway.  That is all I'm going to say about the matter.

Here, citizen G Marius Merullus asks for Praetor M Mucius Scaevola Magister to take care of the investigations. Magister answers that he is disqualified for that. (Message 6995)

Merullus writes:

If you don't mind my asking, to what extent were you involved in the "impeachment discussion", and did that discussion call for fracturing or destroying Nova Roma?  If no to the latter question, then I think that you remain qualified to investigate the matter.
Magister answers:
1) "To what extent"? As far as I can see from the correspondence, this episode started with my suggesting on the main list (somewhen just before 15th June) that it was the Censors' principal duty to constitute the Comitia, and that if they positively refused to do so they could be deemed to have resigned under the relevant principles of the modern law of corporations and unincorporated associations. Martianus then suggested that the Censors should be given a deadline to act. The issue died temporarily when we were told [...] that constitution of the Comitia was imminent, and was then revived by L. Equitius when it appeared to him that the Censors were still stalling. I did not draft the proposed articles of impeachment and in fact advised that impeachment had no constitutional basis, and that the original idea of proposing a deadline was preferable to going for immediate proceedings of any sort. However, I was deeply involved and Cassius & co-thinkers would certainly be entitled under the principles of both Roman and modern law (cf. the Pinochet case!) to reject me as a judge.
2) "Did that discussion call for fracturing of destroying NR"? NO. All the participants were concerned solely with the question: how to get the Comitia formed, so that NR could function constitutionally. However, we underestimated the extent to which Cassius and friends would see the use of threats of legal action as a personal attack, were unaware of the paranoid fantasy of a conspiracy which was in circulation among them (Flavia Claudia's email) and did not imagine the lengths to which they would go to prevent it.
3) "You remain qualified". I think not, for the reasons given at the end of (1). Certainly, if I did uncover evidence of a Californian conspiracy which sought to use me and others as front-men, I would happily see the offenders prosecuted, and to that extent there is not actual bias. But the other side are entitled to the avoidance of the APPEARANCE of bias (see the Pinochet case); so I am disqualified.
As we see, the situation is confuse. With magistrates and citizens accusing themselves of pertaining to the "other side", persecutions and uncertainty, someone can expect that there will be a lot of time after the things settle. And the problem of  the Tribes and Centuries is still there, requiring a lot of discussion and cooperation.

The solution found was the First Dictatorship.

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