Ides of March resignations (Nova Roma)

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From Nova Roma Eagle, vol. IV, issue II



Salvete Novaromanis

We in Nova Roma suffered a sad day on the Idus of Martius. Included in this issue of The Eagle are two editorials and one very fine poem on the subject. On a brighter note, Roman Days in Maryland looks to be a wonderful time. I am taking my two teenagers in hopes they discover the wonders of ancient Rome (although they agreed to go because they've seen _Gladiator_). Hopefully many more such occasions will occur everywhere Nova Roman citizens live, so that our Republic can thrive in actual as well as virtual space.

Next year in the Forum!

Helena Galeria Aureliana
Curator Differum

Nova Roma Verses

Faring Away

From Venator in Amicitia

I say fare well, to friends unmet
On placid seas, through stormy swells
Our ships have paced, each other's paths
But now the time, for parting comes
My course remains, take ship to Rome
Your path is too, by other routes
Our dreams at base, are so alike
A dream of Her, whose Spirit calls
But different, too much, somehow
And crew tempers, have flared and sparked
Too many times, set sails alight
With bitter words, beyond recall
So travel safe, upon your way
I ask your words, of blessing too
And send a note, from time to time
Your health I'll drink, and wish you luck
For journey's worth, is not all mine
The treasured goal, is Romans' all
And at the end, of voyage long
I think we'll see, we're all at home

A Day of Resignations

Flavius Vedius Germanicus, Consul

It is, of course, unfortunate that seven of our Citizens have chosen to leave us in such a public and obviously well-choreographed manner. I fully agree with my colleague Marcus Cassius that more are likely to follow in the next day or two. I would, however, remind everyone that this is not the first time that we have suffered the loss of well-liked and contributing Citizens, nor will it be the last.

Such losses have been regular events in our history, and for the most part have a single underlying cause, whatever the stated reasons or precipitating incidents may be. When people first join Nova Roma, they are usually full of enthusiasm, having found a place which endeavors to restore Romanitas and the Roman Virtues, and all the magnificent aspects of Roman culture. In the vast majority of cases, they find just what they are looking for, and settle in as happy and contributing Citizens.

In a small minority of cases, however, some people expect to find in Nova Roma a mirror of themselves and their own preconceptions of what Rome was, or perhaps should be. Often these individuals are quite knowledgeable about things Roman, and are able to make substantial contributions to Nova Roma during their stay. However, their disappointment in not finding Nova Roma as they had envisioned it often overcomes their enthusiasm and they depart.

Is this a bad thing? No. It is simply the way things are. We should thank such individuals for the contributions they are able to make, and part on amicable terms, if they are willing. Sometimes that's the case, and sometimes not. Sometimes they re-evaluate their decision and return. In any case, Nova Roma has endured such departures, as it will these.

In the current case, the seeds of this mass walk-out were months in the making, having its roots, I believe, just before last year's elections. Indeed, if anything, it points up the devastating effect that factions can have on a society such as ours, as I had campaigned against last December.

Seeing that their own views were so far out of touch with those of the vast majority of other Nova Romans, a certain group have apparently decided to leave en masse. I should add that this is hardly a spur-of-the-moment act; the preparations have apparently been in the works for weeks, calculated to show the rest of us how "wrong" we are for not agreeing with them.

Do I regret their leaving? Yes. I would much have preferred to have their knowledge being used to help further the development of our Republic. Do I appreciate those contributions they have made hitherto? Of course; and I thank each and every one of them for what they have done on our behalf. Do I mourn their loss? No. They are doubtless going to be infinitely happier -not- in Nova Roma, and our own society will doubtless be better off without [a?] core of people who are so dissatisfied with the way things are, and their inability to alter things to their liking. Such tension is not helpful on either side.

I salute those who have left, and will leave, and thank them for what they have done on Nova Roma's behalf. I wish them, honestly, happiness in their future endeavors.

Remember the Ides of March: Another Perspective

Marcus Apollonius Formosanus
Aedilis Plebeius Novae Romae

On the Idus Martiae Nova Roma suffered a heavy blow. Several of the finest human beings among us left and shook the dust of Nova Roma from their feet. They were mostly my friends and all persons whom I admired intensely, and who had made great contributions to Nova Roma.

The timing seems to have been brought about by the symbolism of the date itself; the sense of frustration and despair had been growing in them, and the treatment at the hands of the Senate of perhaps our finest governor, Livia Marcia Aurelia, who was not reappointed to her position, had been the last straw for some.

If anyone here does not understand why they left, let me note that of all the highest six magistrates in the Respublica, five are "veterans", and only one (Diocletianus) is a homo novus. I would not contest the reality of their election nor that some advantages may accrue by having experienced persons in these positions. But I feel as did Scaevola and all who left, that the founding and older members, or some of them, have developed an old-boy network, an oligarchy if you will, and that this close association of persons has supported each other in getting their own way in almost everything that matters to them. Perhaps in some circumstances this would not matter so much, but in fact getting their own way in some cases meant mistreatment of ordinary citizens and minorities (sexual, political and linguistic for example). It was the case of Marius' wishing to change the gender of his name and being persistently refused by the censor of the day (and his predecessors) that first made me acutely aware that persecution on the basis of sexual minority status not only occurred here, but was not decisively dealt with by Senate or other magistrates.

Such behaviour on the part of magistrates is against the evident intent of our Constitution, but where there is no political will among the oligarchy to enforce this adequately, it is meaningless. And the voices of the citizenry can be ignored by the oligarchy whenever it feels a bit determined to get its own way. And because the oligarchy easily make themselves the most well-known persons in the State through the positions they already have and their mutual promotion, they can even expect to get the majorities of the (selectively weighted) votes from cives who are new or do not have the time to keep up with everything going on here in detail over the months. It is considerations like the above that made our compatriots leave. I believe that it would not have happened if:

1) We had a strong and clear Bill of Rights with effective enforcement mechanisms not in the hands of the oligarchy.
2) We could expect in a typical year that perhaps half of the top six magistracies [were?] to be held by persons who had never held one of them (for example both praetorships and one consulship). And that a variety of political opinions be among them, not just passionate disbelievers in democracy.

It is excessively difficult to bring about change at the top even when that is a moral imperative for conscientious men and women, and that will inevitably discourage conscientious men and women from wishing to stay here for life and making a bigger contribution.

I very much support Cassius' idea of a Sodalitas Virtutum. (I might even join it myself.) But virtue will not of itself remedy the effects of an oligarchic political culture and mindset. Nova Roma needs to open up to newer and different kinds of people, and power and initiative has to be shared more widely among us. And above all, if we want to exist in this century, we must meet the minimum standards of human rights and treatment of minorities - this is *Nova* Roma, after all, and is a micronation in this world and this epoch. Cassius has also promised us a Bill of Rights, and Fortunatus has a similar idea. Let us see this idea too worked on. For it would be wrong to ignore such a loss to Nova Roma as the departure of these citizens. Nova Roma *is* its citizens. And if *these* citizens could be disgusted with the problems in our political system, others of the same good character and conscientiousness will come into our Respublica in the future, and having met with the same frustrations, will also leave.

I beg everyone to take this seriously. There has to be change here on a fundamental level. We have got to open up to new blood and we have got to respect all the different sorts of people among us equally. Nova Roma is a magnificent idea. But due to excessive oligarchisation it just does not offer a stable and respectable platform for our cultural, religious, and outreach activities. And that is a great pity.

Remember the Ides of March - and please, learn something from it. Soul searching is very much in order.

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