April 28th, 2012

upside down

AKICOLJ : what DID military tribunes actually do?

Although the tribune Servius Placidus keeps wittering on in my head about how important he is really, and how it is daft to have a book that is mostly about a mere Centurion, when it could be all about HIM, I am a bit woolly about what his actual job entails.  

I'm guessing he's a Tribunus laticlavius - ie, number 1 tribune destined for a political future, given the period (around 130AD). And I know that legionary staff do a lot of detailed accounts and logistics stuff.... Is he a sort of legionary accountant or management trainee?

Any thoughts?
Wild Garden

The Cub's Pedigree

I was thinking about Placidus meeting Esca on the wolf hunt in Eagle of the Ninth, and then I started thinking about Cub again, in the context of my thoughts about wolves.  And I started thinking about animals living illicitly in country that is heavily populated by people, like these beavers and for that matter, the wild boar that are out there that I never see. And somewhere, I forget where now, I read an article about how wolves now are at the far end of a scale of wildness, because we have driven them away from people.  They were for so long symbols of ferocity whose presence could not be tolerated, that we have now created wolves which are very far from being dogs, and dogs which are very far from being wolves.

That brought me back to the idea that British wolves, eighteen hundred years ago, living half-hidden among towns and villages and farms, might not be quite the same as wild wolves as they appear to us today, in the remote places where there still are wolves.  And then I remembered that in Eagle of the Ninth, Esca said that three hunters went into the den where the cubs were hidden.  A normal wolf den is a low burrow of a thing, it would be hard to get three men into it, particularly when one of them was the elegant Placidus.

And before I knew it I had written this very short, rather sad story.

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