Aquila:The Letters of Lucius Spurius Pomonianus 1
|This article is from the Nova Roma publication "Aquila".|
|The Letters of Lucius Spurius Pomonianus 1|
|Letters of Lucius Spurius Pomonianus Story Index.|
Greetings From the Frozen Rhinus Valley:
The winter here deepens and even the snow covered silence is strange and disquieting. The Rhinus is solid now with a ice that is thick enough to take a heavy wagon out on the surface. As I stand here close by it's banks, wrapped well in two old cloaks, I can hear the river god growl even under a triple handspan of fallen snow. The river is treachurus here because as I have said one can go aross the ice at one place with a heavy weight and at another place the ice may only be the thickness of a little finger. As the river god growls in it's bed far below the ice sheet, the rest of the world lies silent under it's heavy blanket of snow seemingly awaiting the first glow of spring so very far away..
The patrols are out along the river well wrapped in furs to keep out both the seeking cold, and to maintain an ever watchful eye for those who oppose Rome and who might decide, atany time, to cross the Rhinus on the Winter's Bridge of Ice, dangerous though it might be.
Work progresses very slowly in marking the needed timber for the Spring, and the discontent in the Timber crews is growing day by day. The fear is rampant that they have violated the Earth Mother's Tree Groves, and by such action has brought her curse down upon thier heads. It is said by the germanic people here that iron profanes the Earth Mother's Temples, which are whispered to be in this country groves of trees, Tall, strong trees, which are just what the timber crews are looking for.
Actually, two bridges will be constructed. One will be a temporary timber bridge very like the one built by Caesar when he took his legions aross the Rhinus just to show that he could. This timber bridge will provide the most convienient path for the stone and materials needed to build the brige piers, and finally to put the heavy wooden framework and bridge road bed on the piers high enough to allow the passage of the vessels that ply the river, particularly those merchant vessels and patrol vessels that bring supplies to the fortress and guard the river in all season but the winter These merchant ships are now being used for voyages much further away, in warmer climes , and the patrol vessels are pulled up out of the water, within protected sheds for repair and maintenance during this period of the ice coverage.
The trees needed for both the temporary and permannt bridges, the long straight trees needed for pilings, and those which are stronger and curved to support the roadway on the stone piers are equally valued. How these fears have been generated throughout the working parties will probably never be determined, but it is surmised that some German opposed to the idea of a bridge over the Rhinius, has placed this idea into the head of one of the more succeptable workers, and it has spread through the work force like a plague. The Germans here, even those who appear to be friendly, are a suspicious, and superstious lot and prone to strange ideas and beliefs as are all barbarians. However, this particular problem seems to be a seriious one since the Earth Mother is acknowledged in many countries and in many places, under different names, to be sure, but the belief system is very similar and she is still a much respected diety particularly among the women of this provincia, and the diety appears oft-times as a shadowy much-feared Goddess to men for her Female Mysteries,and the horrendous and infamos punishments for those who have defiled her holy places.
(to be continued)