Marius' nota (Nova Roma)
Below is the testimony submitted by L Marius Fimbria for his nota hearing, which took place circa October-November Q. Maximo M. Minucio cos. ‡ MMDCCLIII a.u.c.. The text of the nota itself is proving elusive; it was posted on a private mailing-list, set up that year specifically for the purpose of censorial nota proceedings, to which, unfortunately, none of the current censores has been able to gain access.
OATH: I, Lucius Marius Fimbria, do solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in the course of these proceedings. In nomine Christi, amen.
STATEMENT: On two separate and distinct occasions I did impersonate Lucius Equitius Cincinnatus under the BeSeen chatroom handle 'Cincinnatus'. It is important to maintain the distinction between these two incidents, which took place almost a year apart, as their details have gotten muddied up with each other to the point where it would be difficult for a witness to both impersonations to determine for which one of them I am on trial. The one to which my accuser has most strongly objected took place in a private chat and is known to him by hearsay, including my own; whereas the incident he actually witnessed in the Forum was of so trivial a nature that only the exceptionally thin of skin could have found any serious wrongdoing in it at all.
It is also important, I think, to confine consideration in this Court to the actual impersonating of Cincinnatus, and not to any peripheral, earlier, later, real or imagined offenses I may be thought to have committed against that gentleman either before, between, or after the two instances I am about to describe.
The First Instance
In early March of 1999 (AUC 2751/2), then-Tribune of the Plebs Avidius Tullius Callidus relayed to then-Consul L Equitius Cincinnatus a series of rumors and opinions not complimentary to myself. Much to my dismay, the Consul chose to believe them; and, all attempts at clearing the misimpressions in private having gone unanswered (as, indeed, they remain to this day), my shame was such that I felt the need to go into self-imposed exile, no longer deeming myself able to lift my head in any Nova Roman public place as long as the senior Consul might take everything I did and said there as evidence of Callidus' vile accusations.
I took refuge in a private chatroom originally established by L Cornelius Sulla and Augustina Iulia Caesaria Nocturnia as their personal retreat. Several other Citizens, finding the Forum Chat inhospitable, gravitated towards Noct'a's "domus" as well; all had felt themselves aggrieved by Consul Cincinnatus in one way or another. Security issues caused us to move this chat a couple of times; it finally settled in a room called the Locus, where the first impersonation (the so-called 'suicide skit') took place.
In it I took on the handle Cincinnatus, being much amazed that the senior Consul had never thought to do so himself; and I presented myself in this disguise (complete with the trademark blood-red lettering he was using at the time) to the other inhabitants of the house of Nocturnia. These, once over their fright at having the sanctity of the place seemingly violated by their common enemy (many whispers it took on my part to persuade them that it was only I, silly old Marius, posing in Cincinnatus' effigy), they promptly fell upon 'Cin' with sword and spear, broom-handle and kitchen-knife, and did unto 'him' in pretense what none of us would have wished to attempt in real life. We staged a murder-play, and every participant ended the session in much lighter spirits than they began; the thing being crowned by Nocturnia's victorious cry, 'Look--there really IS a straight line going from his mouth to his arse!!' This being said as she play-acted the shoving of a Roman heavy javelin from the hither to the nether end of "Cincinnatus'" alimentary canal; for there was not a one of us resident in that place who had not been harmed or seen a friend harmed by the outlandish and peevish behavior of him whom we had foisted upon ourselves as Consul for the year.
Please note that the thing playacted was not Cincinnatus' suicide, but his assassination; that my impersonation of him was strictly in the line of an actor taking on a role; that it was in fact a farcical play and not a ritual of any kind; and that at no time did I either use his name to defraud anyone, nor mock any office he held at the time...only the man himself.
Also, as I'm sure our senior Censor could testify, this was hardly the only instance of a murder-play we conducted that year; this was, after all, during Cornelius Sulla's 'Heads-on-the-Rostra' phase, and he had previously (and publicly) acted out the executions of Aelius Rusticus, Triumphius (now Tullius) Cicero, and many others, none of whom seem any the worse for imaginary wear.
Finally, the murder-play took place in a private chatroom, inaccessible except by invitation, and was never witnessed by Equitius Cincinnatus at all.
The Second Instance
The second incident, by contrast--the one for which I have presumably been brought to trial--was a slight affair, only notable because (a) it took place in the public Forum chat and (b) it was actually seen by the target of my lampoon. What I did on April Fool's Day of this year in the Forum chat was simply turn up in my Cin costume and mouth several pet phrases of his: 'Read the Web site! Read the Constitution! I'm the Senior Consul--Why is everyone ignoring me?! Now stop bothering me with your ridiculous questions!!' And of course he entered the room after I'd gotten that much out; and of course he freaked...so badly that I felt sorry for him, and decided never to do it again, which I haven't.
There. That's the whole thing. My satire was based strictly on the man himself (who was not Senior Consul at the time of the prank), targeting in particular certain pet expressions and mannerisms of his. Again I did not make any comment that would have diminished any office he then held, nor did I attempt to defraud anyone or to perform faux official actions in his name. Furthermore I was not a Citizen at the time of this event, having lain down that status on 24 March of that same year.
Witnesses to the First Incident
Information about the murder-play at the Locus may be obtained from Augustina Iulia Caesaria Nocturnia, who was there; Minervina Iucundia Flavia, who I believe was also there; possible others, all of whom would have been people with access to the Locus--a list of whom will be provided upon request; and L Cornelius Sulla, who can explain the other sorts of things we play-acted during his 'Heads-on-the-Rostra' phase.
Witnesses to the Second Incident
Information regarding the (very brief) satire in the Forum chat may be gotten from those who were present at the time: L Equitius Cincinnatus himself; C Marius Merullus, who chanced to see it; and M Cassius Iulianus, with whom I shared my intention to play an April-Fool's joke of this kind.
- In fides
- -- Lucius Marius Fimbria