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What does "SPQR" mean?

Senatus Populusque Romanus - the Senate and Roman People; also usually quoted as "the Senate and People of Rome". The "que" suffix is "and"; "Romanus" is an adjective. Professor Silvia Giorcelli Bersani explains more.

Do I have to practice Roman religion to join?

Absolutely not. We have absolutely no interest in the private religious lives of any of our citizens. All that's required is a love of all things Roman. Although most of our citizens are currently Polytheists of one ilk or another, and the public "State" religion of Nova Roma is the Religio Romana, we do not require ordinary citizens to practice Roman Polytheism. Magistrates, because they are not only civil servants but also have functions within the Religio Romana, are responsible for ensuring that religious functions are performed either by themselves or an appropriate delegate. While personal adherence to the ancient ways and traditions, especially as expressed through magisterial participation in religious ritual, is an ideal that is encouraged and valued, there is no legal requirement for it.

Do I have to be of Roman or Italian heritage to join?

As before, absolutely not! Just as persons of any race or nationality could become Roman citizens, so too is the right of Nova Roman citizenship open to all.

How do the rights of woman in Nova Roma compare to that of ancient Rome?

Ancient Roman society was rather patriarchal. While we are endeavoring to recreate most aspects of classical Roman culture, we are updating some of the more backwards views of our illustrious ancestors (slavery being the other big one — we wouldn't allow it even if it were legal). Women in Nova Roma are completely free to vote, hold office, become members of the Senate, and so forth. As far as the Religio Romana goes, there are some offices that are women-only, some that are men-only, and some that are open to both. While we recognize the differences between women and men, neither is held to be superior to the other.

Do I have to know Latin or Greek to join?

Not at all. While a cursory knowledge of Latin might be helpful in understanding some of the terms and phrases you'll see both on our web site and in some of our publications, it is in no way required. Several Latin courses are now taught online at Academia Thules.

Are you serious about the sovereignty thing?

Yes, we are completely serious about our declaration of sovereignty. However, we are also very realistic and do not expect to function as an actual sovereign nation with our own territory in the foreseeable future. We look at it in three ways; as a long-term goal towards which we can reach, as a very convenient way to organize the administration of Nova Roma (especially given our Roman orientation), and as necessary for the full and complete restoration of the Religio Romana (since many religious duties were inherently tied to the State).

Is this just some kind of role-playing game?

No. We're far more than some "role-playing" game! The culture and knowledge left by classical Rome can still make a positive contribution to the modern world. Nova Roma is a serious attempt to provide a place where those interested in the various aspects of the classical world can begin to turn that cultural legacy into a living system once again.

With good fortune, Nova Roma is growing into something very "real" indeed. We are gaining citizens at a steady (and increasing) rate, and more and more "local real world" meetings and events are becoming possible. There are now over a thousand Nova Romans... running real-world classical-oriented businesses through the ordo equester, hosting public gatherings such as Roman Days and the annual Conventus Novae Romae in Europa, organizing sodalitates (clubs) around classical subjects concerning everything from brewing to philosophy, holding legal religious services, helping to fund serious archaeological digs, and even participating in real-world politics as an international "culture and people".

Can I be a patrician?

With very few exceptions, new citizens will join the plebeian class. Access to the patrician class is by birth or adoption into a patrician family.

So what's the difference between patrician and plebeian?

Functionally, almost nothing at all. In fact, there are a few magistracies (such as the tribunus plebis) that can only be occupied by citizens of the plebeian class. Patrician status was really included as a way to honor those families which came on-board at a very early stage of Nova Roma and were therefore instrumental in our early history.

What's a spelt cake (or far cake)?

One sometimes encounters the term "spelt cake" in texts about Roman religious rituals. It is a cake made from the grain far, traditionally used as an offering given agricultural deities such as Ceres or Tellus. Note that the word "spelt" is a mistranslation of the Latin word "far", which in fact is the grain which in English is called emmer.

May I form a collegium of Buddhism or of Asatru, Islam, etc.?

The simple answer is, you can't. Strictly speaking, the official collegia are based on historical Roman models and are specifically involved in the practice of the revival of the historical religio Romana. While the Senate can officially recognize religious institutions outside of the religio Romana, they will only do so for historical reconstructionist groups of traditions that were actually present during the classical Roman era (such as the Mithraic mysteries, the cult of Isis, the cult of Dionysus, etc.). Since Buddhism, Asatru, Islam, Amerindian religion, etc. weren't known to the classical Romans, they really have no place in the public religious life of Nova Roma. This in no way says that citizens cannot practice these faiths in their private religious life; this restriction is strictly applied to "official" public religious expression.

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