Provincia Britannia - Minutes - 2005 Newcastle (Nova Roma)

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Minutes of the provincial meeting prid. Non. Mar. Fr. Apulo C. Laenate cos. MMDCCLVIII a.u.c.

Taken by A. Apollonius Cordus.



Incorporation & taxes

At the previous meeting, the idea had been discussed of incorporating the province as a legal non-profit corporation or charity. The governor and Salvius had both agreed to look into the options. They reported that it costs £20 to create a limited company; a company can only be registered as a charity if it has an annual turnover of more than £1,000, so this is not an option at the moment. A limited company must have articles of incorporation, a secretary, and a director; the secretary must file paperwork annually at Companies House at a cost of £15 per year.

The advantages of incorporation would be the ability to possess a provincial bank account, the financial protection for individuals, and the extra appearance of professionalism which would help with fund-raising.

We would need to think carefully about such questions as who may be a member of the company, whether additional membership fees would be charges, how the company would be constituted, how it would relate to the central government of Nova Roma, and so on. Cordus pointed out that any new tax would probably need to be approved by the senate, since in Roman law creating a new tax without authority was considered an act of treason!

It was agreed that volunteers would be invited to form a working party to draw up a rough proposal, which can then be discussed at future provincial meetings and / or on this list.

Citizenship certificates

At the previous meeting, Cordus had been mandated to investigate historical practices which might be used or adapted as things to give new citizens to mark their acquisition of citizenship. He reported that in the republican period the only official register of citizens was that drawn up by the censores every five years. The citizen presented himself in person to the censores and made an oral declaration of his identity and property; he did not receive any written proof of his citizenship. Under Augustus a new system was created under which new-born children were registered and the parents given a copy of the record of registration.

There were diplomata - folding bronze tablets sealed by the seals of seven witnesses - which were given to retiring Roman soldiers as proof of their citizenship, but these were exclusively military. At the previous meeting we had also talked about rings; Cordus reported that, according to Pliny the elder, iron rings were originally only worn by senatores; over the course of the republic the wearing of iron rings became more widespread, and at the same time gold rings became common among senatores (and, in the late republic, equites); but it was only well into the empire that the gold ring became a mark of Roman citizenship.

So there are no direct republican equivalents, but the nearest thing would be a certificate based on the census, since the census was the event which defined Roman citizenship during the republic. It was agreed that Cordus would do more research into the procedures of the census and would mock up a certificate of registration based on these procedures.

New citizens

There was a discussion of the current way in which new citizens were processed, and the governor expressed the view that it would be better for applications to be handled by, or at least in collaboration with, the governor of the applicant's province. This would encourage new citizens to get involved in provincial life (several of Britannia's newest citizens have been very quiet since they joined).

Laureatus said that it would be no problem for the rogatores to institute a new policy of referring applicants to the relevant governors in the first instance, and said that he would discuss the idea with his colleague.

The governor also mentioned that some new citizens had not yet subscribed to the provincial e-mail list. It was agreed that from now on new citizens would be automatically subscribed to the list and that the governor would post a message to the list introducing the new citizen.

Provincial e-mail list

It was pointed out that one reason why new citizens are quiet or do not join the provincial list might be that the provincial list had not been very interesting recently! Some ideas to enliven it were suggested, including the idea of having a new topic of conversation every month, or of starting a book-club with a new book every month or two, discussed on the list.

Inter Alia

At the previous meeting it had been agreed that the editors of Inter Alia would bring forward some proposals to set on a firmer footing the relationship between the publication and the provincial government. The editors gave the governor their detailed proposals, and at the meeting they explained the outlines of the idea, namely, that Inter Alia should be an official publication of the province but should be accountable directly to the members of the province rather than to the provincial government. They said that they would post the more detailed proposals to the e-mail list for a general discussion.

They also proposed that Inter Alia should be a non-political publication, and that Quid Novi would therefore be dissociated from Inter Alia and be published by Cordus directly to the provincial e-mail list. Cordus said that he would try to make it a monthly item.

On the subject of Inter Alia's format, it was agreed that it would remain an online publication, as it had been before, until the end of the year; next year it would move to a more regular quarterly publication-date and would probably be published in paper form. Nearer the time, the editors will consider the costs of paper publication and the sources of funding.


It had been agreed at the previous meeting that the governor would draw up a list of the different jobs which needed to be done in order to organize the Conventus effectively. She had done this, and had posted the list of jobs on the provincial e-mail list to ask for volunteers.

The jobs were: Supervision, Timetabling, & Website; Travel Agency; Accommodation & Facilities; General Logistics; Catering; Religion; Education; Music & Drama; Excursions; Reenactment; Games.

But few of the jobs had been filled in this way, and it was decided to take a rather more aggressive approach. Most of the jobs were filled at the meeting, but it was agreed that these appointments were not set in stone, and if anyone else wanted to to anything they would be more than welcome. It was also emphasized that the people in these jobs were only responsible for making sure that everything under that heading was done - it wasn't necessary for them to do it all themselves. Essentially these people were to form a committee to supervise the Conventus, but no doubt many other people would also contribute to the Conventus.

Supervision, Timetabling, & Website will be taken by the governor, who will also take charge of Education. Laureatus will do Games and Catering; Reenactment was added to Music & Drama and given to Cordus along with Religion; Aureliana will do Accommodation & Facilities; Salvius will do Logistics. This leaves Excursions and Travel Agency still up for grabs, and of course if anyone really wants to do any of the other jobs they are probably still subject to negotiation.

It was decided that the committee would aim to come up with a big list of ideas for activities &c. by the end of April, and that after that the best ideas could be picked out and a rough idea of schedule formed. All ideas are, of course, welcome.

Aureliana had prepared an impressive assessment of Carlisle as a possible base, and it was agreed that it seemed a very good option. It was considered a good idea to be based in a city for most of the time, since this would allow people to occupy themselves some of the time, rather than the organizers having to provide activities all the time. Carlisle is accessible and provides good access to the Wall, including the "Hadrian's Chariot" bus service. There is self-catering accommodation available at St Martin's College. There is also a possibility of a night at Birdoswald Roman fort on the Wall.

The two possible weeks are the 9th to the 15th of August and the 3rd to the 9th of August. Each one is equally suitable as far as the religious calendar is concerned. It was agreed that the decision would be made after a discussion on the provincial list, and that as soon as the week had been decided a provisional booking would be made for 20 people at St Martin's.

The governor also proposed to encourage all members of the province to equip themselves with Roman clothes for the Conventus, and suggested that we collaborate on patterns, designs, and fabrics.


Whereas previously the minutes of provincial meetings had been placed as a single document on the website and in the 'files' section of the e-mail list, it was decided that from now on the minutes would also be published by e-mail to the list, one item per e-mail. It was hoped that this would make the minutes more accessible and would encourage discussion on the list.

Next Meeting

It was pointed out that the South is warm; but also that in summer accommodation would be harder to find there. It was proposed to have the next meeting in June, and one more later in the year. Since most of the places where active citizens live have already been used, it was decided that we would look into other locations.

Salvius was to investigate Bath; Meridius Leicester; Cordus Caerleon; Aureliana Wroxeter; Laureatus Bournemouth; and it was proposed that Oppius Gellius Marcellus be asked about York.

Oxford was suggested as a possible location for the later meeting, perhaps around November.

Any other business

There was no other business.

There being no further business, the meeting was closed.

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