Provincia Britannia - Minutes - 2004 Chester (Nova Roma)
Taken by A. Apollonius Cordus.
Present: C. Fabia Livia (Governor & chair), A. Apollonius Cordus (taking minutes), C. Flavia Aureliana, A. Gratius Garseius Avitus, C. Moravius Laureatus, and Michael Schofield (observing but not voting).
Appointment of legates
The Governor C. Fabia Livia confirmed her edict, first given the previous night, appointing as legates C. Moravius Laureatus and A. Apollonius Cordus.
Designs for a provincial emblem, & mottos
As agreed at the last provincial meeting, Cordus had produced various designs for a provincial emblem based on the constellation of the Great Bear, which the Romans believed to be located directly above Britain and of a similar shape. The general preference was for design 3c (see figure 1), though 2c, 4c, and 2f were also mentioned. It was also agreed that Cordus would try to make the laurels a bit less chunky, and would try to produce some versions with the constellation placed on its end, so as to look more like Britain.
At the last meeting there had also been discussion of a provincial motto, and it had been decided to defer the decision until an emblem had been chosen. Various quotations concerning the Great Bear were suggested, including ones from Homer, Vitruvius, and Ovid, but the choice fell upon the phrase "facta hominum, mores, pietatem et fidem noscamus" from the prologue to Plautus' play Rudens ("The Rope"), which Avitus translated as "let us learn about the deeds of men, their customs, piety, and faithfulness". The prologue as a whole is spoken by the star Arcturus, and explains that Jupiter has placed the stars in the sky to watch the actions of humans and submit evidence to Jupiter, who acts as judge. It was thought that the phrase served a useful double purpose of reminding us that our deeds are observed (always a useful thing for a government to remember) and as a literal description of what we do in Nova Roma - learn the deeds of men, &c. It can also be shortened to make a punchier version, "facta hominum noscamus" ("let us study the deeds of men"), to go with the emblem. Cordus agreed to make some versions of the emblem with the motto attached, preferably in the elegant typeface so often used by Curius Saturninus.
The emblem, motto, and the reasoning behind both will appear on the website.
The Governor applauded the newsletters so far, and their editors Laureatus and Aureliana.
It was agreed that in due course paper copies ought to be made available to give to prospective citizens, to show the concrete benefits of citizenship and the real-world presence of the province. Copies could also be included in 'welcome packs' for new citizens, along with other useful things. Printed copies could also be put in bookshops, museums, and libraries.
The editors agreed to include a report of the provincial meeting in the next issue.
Cordus agreed to send the emblem design to the editors for use in future newsletters.
Laureatus commented that it was hard to get submissions.
It was suggested that a copy be posted to current British citizens to drum up support, but the Governor mentioned that, owing to the current lack of a central webmaster (after the resignation of Octavius Germanicus), she had not yet been given the addresses of British citizens. Laureatus said that he would try to get this information for her in his capacity as assistant to the Censor.
With great enthusiasm, all agreed that it would good for the next meeting to be a big one, with as many people as possible.
London was agreed as the location. The possibility of taking in a production of Iphigenia At Aulis, or A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, both in the current season at the National Theatre, was mentioned, and Cordus and Livia agreed to investigate when those productions would be showing. Cordus strongly recommended Forum (a musical by Stephen Sondheim based on the plays of Plautus) to anyone who hadn't seen it, pointing out that the film, with Zero Mostel, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford & others, was available on video.
Autumn was agreed as the best period, with November looking most likely.
Laureatus said that he would be able to book rooms at one of the several London Hiltons.
It was suggested that the agenda for any administrative business should be published in advance, and that this should be done for all future meetings if possible.
The Governor explained that the website was not at that time under her control, as it was still hosted by Iunia Laeca, who hopes soon to hand it over. She also said that there was plenty of cheap hosting available, and that this would be a good use for some of the share of the province's taxes which the province is allowed to claim back from the central treasury. The province could also buy its own domain name. Avitus offered to translate the website into Latin.
Suggested content included a map of Roman sites in Britain, and a clickable map which could be used to find citizens in one's local area, with links to their album civium pages. Also a calendar of events, historical information, statistics about the province, and an area reserved for citizens, or perhaps only for assidui citizens. Avitus could advertise his Latin-speaking meetings on the website also.
The Governor suggested setting up a provincial library. Any British citizen would be free to add his or her own books, journals, &c. to the catalogue, which would be available on the website. Then anyone who wanted to borrow a book would be able to contact the owner and ask to borrow it (either by post or in person) for a certain length of time, agreeing to pay for any damage or loss. Books could also be sold through the library. It could also contain an archive of minutes of previous provincial meetings.
Laureatus suggested thinking about a mission statement for the province. We discussed who the province serves (Roman Britons, or British Romans), and what specific services it could provide (the newsletter, the library). We discussed what it ought to do (encourage & support people, promote Romanitas). The importance of extending our appeal beyond academics and students was emphasized. Festivals and parties were suggested as future possibilities. It was agreed that the province provided five main types of service: events (such as meetings), facilities (such as the library), information (e.g. through the website), and support and encouragement for existing citizens, and recruitment of new citizens.
It was suggested that charitable status might be useful, as might a provincial address or mail box service - the Governor will investigate these ideas. It was thought that headed paper might be nice.
Further discussion of a mission statement was deferred until the next meeting.
The Governor said she would like to make it more British, and reduce the spam. She explained that she currently had no control of the list, since it was owned by Cassius Iulianus (S, C, PM, PP). Former governor Silanus, who is currently the moderator, has asked Iulianus twice to hand over ownership of the list to Livia. She said that if that failed she was minded to start a new list, with multiple owners to make sure such things couldn't happen again.
Either when in control of the current list or after starting a new one, the Governor said she would begin by putting everyone on moderated status, to cut out spam. She was also thinking of saying that current non-citizen subscribers would be deleted in two months unless they posted (so that British non-citizens could come to observe the list but wouldn't stay on for ages doing nothing).
The question was raised whether non-Britons ought to be on the list at all. The possibility of having two lists - one for Britons only, the other open to all - was dismissed as unwieldy. It was decided that it was good for non-Britons to be welcome, but that they ought to be placed on permanent moderation.
The idea of a pan-European list was mooted, to make organizing rallies easier and to foster ties among European provinces; the Governor agreed to talk to other European governors about the idea. [Nota bene – we have since discovered that there already is such a list, and the Governor is going to talk to its owner, Apollonius Cicatrix.]
It was felt that it would soon be Britain's turn to host the European Rally. The Governor pointed out that there was a move afoot to establish some rules for deciding where the rallies will take place in the future.
Accommodation, activities, and access were identified as important elements. It was felt that the most distinctive and unique Roman feature in Britain would be Hadrian's Wall, and that therefore Newcastle or Carlisle would be good sites.
It was asked whether funds were available for the host province, but no one was sure.
The Governor said she would make a list of ideas for possible activities for a rally, and that anyone who thought of anything ought to e-mail her. Aureliana said that she and Michael could investigate the facilities available when they go to visit the Wall.
In competitive spirit, it was suggested that it would be good to top the previous rallies by holding a full week's worth of activities - this would allow people to come for the whole time, or at the beginning or the end, and therefore might increase attendance. But it was also agreed that next year would be too soon, and that 2006 or 7 were more realistic goals.
Any Other Business
Laureatus suggested a provincial census, and said that he would be able to do it in the second half of October. We could contact all British citizens to inform them about upcoming events, and perhaps post them a copy of the newsletter.
After a trip to the bar to order lunch, it was suggested that for the next meeting there ought to be a fund set up at the beginning, to which everyone present could contribute, and out of which food, drinks, bus tickets &c. could be bought, to make things fairer. This led to suggestions of an extra provincial tax, or a fee to use the members' area of the website, but nothing firm was decided in this regard.
There being no further business, the meeting was closed.