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BARBICAN LIFE


Afterthoughts


Letters recently unearthed by the Museum of London and freely translated by Kevin Kiernan the well known Barbican scribe and bon viveur.


Kevin Kiernan


Londinium 212 AD From: Virius Lupus Governor of Britannia To: Septimius Severus, Emperor of Rome


Sir, Try as I might I cannot seem to drive any sense into the Caledonians. They utterly fail to appreciate the value of union with Rome, or even with the rest of Britannia. We shall soon have to fall back to Hadrian’s Wall. Is there any chance we could stage the annual Roman Games in Londinium this year? It might emphasise the value of the Empire and, of course, the common currency.


From: Atticus, PA to SS, Emperor To: VL Gov Br


Virius, got your parchment, thanks, The Emperor is away on a name rebranding course.


‘Severus’ isn’t polling well


apparently. Anyway, your idea might have legs. Cash is tight here, so if you can fund it, why not? We can supply the Lions – I assume you can source a good stock of Christians locally – avoid the martyrs, the crowd will want to see a bit of running away and pointless resistance. Have you thought of a site?


From: Virius Lupus To: Atticus


Atticus, Bona News, Multas Gratias. The area just to the North of the Londinium Wall looks suitable. Bit of a wasteland after a few Germanic tribes popped across causing trouble a few years ago. Plenty particularly


of Christians from Hibernia.


around, The


Britannic Christians a bit diffident, not quite sure what they believe in. We will need builders from Polonia and points east, of course.


From: Virius Lupus To: Sebastius Coeus, Games Organiser


I hereby appoint you as Locogus


Maximus and Chief Red Coat. We could fund the Games from a Lottery. And a Long Term Privatum Financium Initiative. By the time the bills come in the Visigoths will probably have invaded and I would like to see anybody get a


48


From: Virius Lupus To: Atticus


Re security have erected a few ballista on a couple of nearby hills. Can’t quite see what the problem is, where the solution


repayment out of them. I will leave the detail to you, but broadly we need an opening and closing ceremony. Christians vs Lions is a must of course and I have always wondered who would win a Crocodile vs Hippo fight. Then some intervening athletics. I think the Roman variant on Javelin, Hammer and Shot Put – making them one-on-one duels to the death is a vast improvement on the Greek system. It also cuts down on beds in the Athletes village. Also include ‘Tossing a large wooden


beam’ – apparently the Caledonians like doing it! Landscape a couple of Lakes and two


lawns. The Food Concession will have to go


Magnus Macus – not my taste exactly – but I still owe him for my daughter’s wedding. His offering will be: Nettles and sorrel Snails salted and stewed – (you can’t say th


at’s fast food!),


Pigs’ ears, peacock ash


s and swans


Watch out for competitors trying to sell Sea urch


W ed down with wine and h ins, dormice and th


rush es. Local


favourite but we have to respect Macus’s concession.


From: Atticus, PA to SC!!, Emperor To: VL Gov Br


The Emperor is now back from the rebranding clinic. He is trying out ‘Constantinus’. I will have to change all the letter-heads. He is banging on about Legacy for your Games site – getting a bit maudlin. I almost wish Caligula was back. Did I mention ticketing? Could you allocate the best seats for the Roman VIPs? Send me the allocation so I can distribute at the next State Orgy. They probably won’t come - they have heard about your weather. They will almost certainly want to resell the tickets on the black market – could you suggest a reliable tout?


oney.


would be a great lump of rock flying through the air, but I suppose it shows willing. Very embarrassing I know, but our


arrangements for security guards have come unstuck. Can you supply some Praetorian Guards at short notice. We had earmarked a few locals but there is a competing popular music event on the Isle of Wight – T Rex etc. If there is one thing the Brits


like it is covering


themselves in Woad and rolling around in mud. I said it was Madness, but they said that’s the supporting act. It’s another world up here. Re Ticketing, tell the Senators to try a


tout called Vlad the Visigoth – he does not know the meaning of the word ‘late- payment’ – possibly because he is illiterate! Re Legacy: We can keep the athletes’ village – it might be quite a desirable residential site once we have rounded up the lions. Possibly an Arts Centre – first show – Up Pompeii? Nothing too cultural - this is Londinium 212 after all! Historical Note. Th


appened to be a Ch owever


, to impress th R


ome retreated to Hadrian’s W afterwards. Th disuse – th during th th


e two lak recently been brough


glory…and, finally, records sh Hippo won.


Games were a great success unless you h h


e Games’ site quick ly fell into


e Arts Centre proved unpopular e Dark Ages. However traces of es and lawns remained and h t back to th


ow th


eir former at th


ave e


e 212 Londinium ristian. Th


e Caledonians and all sh


ey failed, ortly


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