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"You have insulted me in saying that we are equals. For I am a Roman, and you are only a
Thanks for clicking! Right now you're thinking, "My, those Romans are full of themselves!" The above statement statement needs to be qualified for the sake of courtesy.
People invariably try to twist our words into whatever suits their political
ends, that's the reason for this clarification. Please understand that no disrespect was intended. It's a combination of bluster and wonderfully Roman characterization. The regal fellow standing before the Praetor was every inch a
king too. (Candidly, we were all tickled pink at his "equals" comment.) He is also a friend of ours, and was then the leader of an Ohio boffer group. Rome has several close, old friends who are
"king" of one group or another. As of this writing, we are not yet friends with any SCA
"kings." That's subject to change of course, Rome is still quite new to the SCA. Anyway, this charming fellow played along in court and was a real sport about the whole thing. We occasionally hold "Crucifixion
Parties." That's always a crowd pleaser, gods know why! It sure isn't for
the courtroom drama! We get such a line forming that Roman justice must be swift. Loitering, for instance, is a
If you know anything about Roman history, Romans regarded kings as something of a bad habit. A bad habit that Rome kicked in 509BC when Brutus and Valerius
sent Rome's last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, packing. Thus the Roman Republic was founded.
Kings possessed what Romans call
"imperium," represented by the Lictors and their fasces. Imperium represented total power over life and death. This power was divided amongst Rome's magistrates in the Republic.
Consuls, Prętors, and Ędiles all possessed imperium
in varying degrees, as did Proconsuls and Propraetors in their provinces. Their combined authority equaled that of a
king under Roman law. Romans
perceived nations ruled by kings as being decadent. And not decadent in the fun
way. The eternal city of Rome had a sacred boundary called the pomerium
that kings were never allowed to cross. So a king visiting Rome had to content
himself with nice lodgings in the suburbs and could never go site-seeing in the
Forum Romanum. Which deprived kings the opportunity of addressing the Senate
personally, unless certain Senators were willing to come and see them. A king
would have to send an agent to represent them to the Roman Senate.
Romans never bend knee to man or god. SCA kings should not infer that a Roman is demonstrating disrespect by refusing to
kneel if we ever attend court. Quite the contrary. To a Roman, such acts of supplication are as insulting to the
kneeler as they are to the reciepent. If a Roman "squares off and snaps to" with a salute, that is respect. We Romans do not kneel before our deities, we would certainly not suffer to kneel before a mortal man. Nor is this any criticism of those who do kneel in court. We all participate in the SCA for our own reasons, and we should all derive enjoyment from the niche we find. If court etiquette is a part of your medieval trip, then by all means revel in it! Being Roman is our niche. The SCA is a colorful and rich pageant of many grand cultures and traditions. We all add something by our mere presence. We hope that you will respect Rome's culture and traditions as we respect yours.