(Julius Caesar’s letter to the citizens/subjects regarding frontier checkpoints)
Salutations, esteemed fellow Romans!
I write you from Gaul, site of another of our many legions’ encampments around the world. The auguries tell me that there are growing objections, both in the Forum and Senate, to the system of searches upon travelers coming into our territories from barbarian regions along our expansive periphery, especially southern Arabia and Mesopotamia.
Securitas Republicae, a part of Rome’s government akin to our legions, has ordered these searches to better safeguard our freedoms from those who hate us for those freedoms. This, I’m sure you will agree, will improve the safety and wellbeing of the citizens of our Republic, ignorant and churlish and ungrateful though they be. [Strike that last part? -JC]
In recent weeks these security measures have been stepped up as barbarian threats have become more pronounced. Accordingly, at many checkpoints along the Rhine, Rhone, Danube, Jordan, Nile, Niger, Tigris, Euphrates, and Potomac [check that last one -JC] we are requiring travelers to lift their togas or in some cases to allow one of my shorter legionaries to look up their togas ”“ a procedure I have named the Veni Vidi. [I can’t think of a third ”œV” word just now -JC]
In certain casi we will be performing the Circumspectus Caviti ”“ again for your protection. Naturally my legionaries are well-trained professionals who wear protective leather gloves and bathe on a weekly basis.
These measures, I feel, are reasonable ”“ and effective as well. After all, when was the last time someone was, oh say, stabbed outside the Senate? I’d say it’s been a while. They constitute a small price to pay for the honor and glory of keeping our legions in far-flung parts of the world, including those of the discontented peoples who do not yet appreciate the Pax we are imposing on them. It should be seen as part of the Securitas Republicae program that includes forging pacts with our loyal Vandal, Visigoth, and Hun allies, listening in on your conloquii, reading your epistulae, and, if need be (or if it’s a slow day), holding your head sub aqua.
Most people who go through our checkpoints exhibit no more complaint than do the thousand of sheep who also pass through on their way to. . . . Well, never mind where they are headed.
I would be remiss in my duty as Pro-consul with Plenipotentiary Powers and aspiring Imperator if I did not mention my concern with those who speak out against efforts to protect you and your liberties. It may be necessary to divide the Populi into three parts: the guilty, the suspects, and the lean and hungry. It worked in Gaul, it will work on you.
Semper reminiscor, you don’t have the right to shout tyrannus in a crowded coliseum.
Indeed, it is difficult to avoid concluding that those who oppose our enhanced search techniques are, ipso facto, themselves dangers to the Republic. Quite possibly they are guilty of Seditio and in league with the Persians, StammvÃ¶lker, Belgae, Picts, Frisians, Batavians, Britons, Helvetians, Gauls, Averni, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Slavs, Berbers, Scythians, Spartacists, Andorrans, Cat Stevens, and others who oppose our Republic. [Should I just call it an Empire now? -JC] Sic, it may be necessary to see that my Vox is louder than that of the Populi.
This last point is only a possibility and not a decree. The die is not yet cast. I look forward to discussing this and other matters with the Senatus and Populi when I return to Rome just as soon as our wars abroad are concluded. Alas, a precise date cannot be set but I’d say March might be chiseled in on the kalenda. I look forward to crossing the Rubicon.
Â©2010 Brian M Downing
Brian M Downing took duo anno of Latin back in the MCMLXs and can be reached at email@example.com, just as soon as the Internetum is invented.