Emperor Hadrian, acknowledged as the leader of the foremost civilisation of the world, has released further details of his as-yet untitled northern border wall project.
The defensive wall, several stories high and of stone block construction, will run across the full width of northern Brittania from coast to coast, separating off Caledonia entirely. For some decades, local legions have battled against incursions from unruly tribes of Picts and Celts and local feelings have been running high. During his recent successful election campaign, Hadrian’s proposal to construct a fortified wall was seen as a popular vote winner amongst the Senate, and played very well indeed with the citizens of Rome. That, together with a clear appetite for the ruthless murder of any close rivals and a lavish distribution of bread and circuses, were key factors in Hadrian’s unexpected victory over his opponent Hilarius Clinto.
During his campaign, the extremely wealthy Hadrian employed teams of thousands of scribes. Each night they carved the ‘Wall Proposal’ and numerous other of Hadrian’s seemingly bizarre and outlandish brief comments and ideas onto small stone tablets. The following morning these would be hurled indiscriminately amongst the eager waiting masses gathered in the Forum. An unorthodox communication technique, developed from his mistrust of Magistrates and commentators, Hadrian revelled in the ability to speak directly with the public, and his slogans such as ‘Murem Fecit’ , ‘Capta par Felix’ and ‘Romum ReMagnum’ would be chanted widely amongst Citizens on every street corner
Speaking from the step of Chariot One on a visit to Deva, the impressively coiffured Emperor confirmed that he had now ruled out as impractical demands for the Picts to directly fund the construction of the wall themselves. However, he did announce that a levy of forty bawbees to the denarius would be made on any trade with the Caledonians, and every third captured and enslaved tribesman would be put to work on the wall until it was finished.
In a further magnanimous gesture, in his closing remarks he ruled out the use of whipping and torture to motivate that slave army, saying: ‘After all we’re Romans, not fucking barbarians. We’ve got to show a bit of class.’
Hat-tips to Oxbridge and Johnny