Mons Aventinus Revisited

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Mons Aventinus Revisited

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat May 10, 2008 4:37 am

Salve iterum, mi Calidi, et Salvete omnes!

In another forum, on another topic, I wrote:


As to the "zoning restrictions" on Mons Aventinus, I'll work on that.

It is very important to note that MA is not a Nova Roma project, but the outgrowth of conditor Triarius' research on the topography of the ancient City. OTOH, it is the brainchild of a Nova Roman citizen. That's not insinuating anything, it's just a cultural observation. (I am an anthropologist by training; this stuff fascinates me.) If Vitellius' experience has been anything like mine, Nova Roma may be the first Roman society he's ever been a part of, so of course it would leave an imprint. If you've only ever seen a thing done one way, that becomes, for you, the way to do it. (You could almost say most NRi don't know any better.) >({|;-)

But Triarius has been very receptive to outside input. I struck up a correspondence with him before I even moved in, and secured the right of non-Novaromani to occupy most any Hill we pleased. I told him that we, too, considered ourselves populus Romanus, some of us for years before Nova Roma ever saw daylight. I also said that having Romans from all corners rub elbows on every street would make for a more authentic experience.

I am now a sysop on MA. ("Ahh, so that's where Mari slips off to when we can't find him here!") I do not make policy for the site; that's the owner's job. But I am in a good position to make suggestions. The one I will make shortly will be to open the domi, if not the villae, to anybody who wants one. (Every street has domi, even the traditionally non-Citizen areas of Trans Tiberim and the Campus Martius.)

Why not the villae? Besides that possibly being a harder sell, I got to thinking: The occupants of the villae (and of the Capitoline and Palatine Hills) are universally Nova Roman assidui. They actually have paid for the privilege, and even I think that deserves a little extra consideration.

Given time, I'm certain there will be some divergence between Nova Roma and Mons Aventinus, and perhaps that will lead to them not being so tightly intertwined. I see NR's structure as a concrete slab that was used for a foundation. It's not the basement, but it's not the whole edifice either. That's something we, the residents, will build together out of whatever materials we've got handy, with whatever tools we can bring to bear.


And, somewhat later...


I don't know that I'm all that comfortable with being considered someone who has "special access" to Lucius Vitellius. [...] His User Talk page is just as available to you as to me; and I'm going to do what you could, which is make an occasional suggestion. And Triarius has just become a Sodalis here; you'll be seeing as much of him as I do, both places; you could ask him yourself. >({|;-)

Na, I believe his idea of Roman Citizenship is plenty wide enough. (After all, he let *me* in, nonne? <g>) It's more a matter of how to express this on the Mons Aventinus site. We'd need to review the content, with an eye towards identifying and modifying any of its guidelines that may be conflicting with that broader vision. *If* that happens, it's going to take some time... But Hei, it's a Wiki! --It's *supposed* to be perpetually Under Construction.

*Mari dons his hard hat* (=|;-)

Patientia vobiscum,
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CIVIS ROMAMVS SVM

Postby Marcus Calidius Gracchus on Sun May 11, 2008 3:13 am

M•CALIDIVS•GRACCHVS•A•MARIO•PEREGRINO•S•P•D

SALVE AMICE!

Well, first can I say that no hard hat will be necessary honourable MARIVS . I will always only proffer my views sincerely, honestly, openly, with civility, respect and without personal animus. Any suggestion to the contrary even through humour, I regret to observe, actually dishonours me.

May I also say without equivocation, in all humility and sincerity that I neither sought to, knowingly made, wished to infer nor intended any dishonour to either you or LVCIVS VITELLIVS TRIARIVS - in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. However, if I have somehow unintentionally made an infraction upon your DIGNITAS or impugned your character in some way I apologise and assure you nothing of the sort was intended.

As to the issue of “special access” that is something, with respect , that you have seemed to suggest yourself in an earlier post where you wrote “But Triarius has been very receptive to outside input. I struck up a correspondence with him before I even moved in, and secured the right of non-Novaromani to occupy most any Hill we pleased” and “I do not make policy for the site; that’s the owner’s job. But I am in a good position to make suggestions.” That said, it seems that I have misunderstood.

I know I am probably stating the obvious here but in life today as in antiquity, there have always been those who are better or best placed to suggest, obtain or influence matters or events - that is the way of the world. To recognise such is not of itself to suggest impropriety or dishonour, indeed, when such people conduct themselves with propriety and honour their involvement is desirable. With this in mind, I merely meant to suggest that if you were such a person in such a position then you might do good things to help resolve this issue again I believe I may have presumed wrongly. No sleight was intended.

I think I should just also make it clear, in the circumstances, that I am not suggesting in any way that TRIARIVS is either susceptible to, complicit in or inclined towards improper, inappropriate or dishonourable practices or conduct in this or any matter. I do not know TRIARIVS, I have never corresponded with him nor have I had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, but, perhaps, I will get that opportunity now that he is a SODALIS and, as you suggest, discuss some of the issues that surround wider Roman citizenship and the very worthwhile MONS AVENTINVS project.

We do need to have that dialogue with him since there are some apparent contradictions. You have stated again in an earlier post that “It is very important to note that MA is not a Nova Roma project, but the outgrowth of conditor Triarius' research on the topography of the ancient City. OTOH, it is the brainchild of a Nova Roman citizen. That's not insinuating anything, it's just a cultural observation.”.

However, the fact remains that the main page of MA declares it to be “ A Nova Roman online community” and “If you are not yet a citizen of Nova Roma, we invite you to join us by moving in on one of our streets in the Campus Martius or Trans Tiberim communities. These areas of ancient Rome we tradionally non-citizen areas and where many foreign monuments, temples and buildings were constructed.”

The primacy of one particular Roman organisation, NOVA ROMA, is further reinforced when it is stated “Since it has an international following and global organizational perspective, the Nova Roma organization was chosen to be the representative "government" for the Mons Aventinus community project. While everyone is welcome to live here, work here, and study here. The magisterial and religious offices you find here will be those of Nova Roma. Want to be a Tribune, Quaestor, Pontiff, Senator, etc? All you have to do is become a member of Nova Roma! Unless you intend to run for office or be appointed as a Magistrate, IT IS FREE TO BE A MEMBER! If you do seek to expand your Roman resume, you will have to be a tax paying citizen of Nova Roma (about $15.00 US per year). Tax rates for the different countries vary, determined by GNP, and you can find them on the main Nova Roma website. If you cannot or choose not pay taxes (membership fees) to Nova Roma, you can still participate in all of our events, both online and offline. ” [ My Emphasis]

To me if MA project is in truth a NR project then yes they are of course free and open to set the rules for their members in whatever way they see fit, however, unequal or unfair we may or may not consider those rules to be. But if, in fact, it is the genuine desire and aim of the MA project to create a virtual VRBS open to ALL Romans i.e. those Roman citizens and wider Roman community not part of NR as well then it must surely be on the basis of equality for all. A partnership/brotherhood where all Roman organisations and citizens are equally entitled, valued and considered. For this reason, I truly see no case even for fee paying members of NR to receive preferential treatment even if only for VILLÆ.

Of course, all of this is just my humble opinion for whatever that is worth; an opinion I am happy to relate to LVCIVS VITELLIVS TRIARIVS constructively .

In the meantime, honourable MARIVS, please be assured I hold nothing but the highest regard, motives, respect and esteem for you.


BENE VALE

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Auctoritas?

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun May 11, 2008 8:36 am

Salve, mi Calidi, et Salvete omnes...

(Eheu...now I've got everybody in a rumple.)

*pulls fragmented thought-processes together...bene, at least now they're all standing in the same stadium*

I would seem to have sown my fair share of confusion in this thread. Re vera, now even *I'm* confused (not that that's very hard to do). Maybe I should go tweak the graphics already before I really get in over my head. "Cobbler, stick to thy last."

But you haven't offended me; that is notoriously hard to do; after ten years of everything, I did not finally find it in myself to go completely off on Nova Roma until just this spring. So we can talk about my Confuzzlement without anyone worrying that Marius is upset.


> As to the issue of “special access” that is something, with respect , that you have seemed to suggest yourself in an earlier post...


You know, I winced even as I posted that because I was afraid it would suggest that very thing? But I couldn't think of a way to word it any better. I don't think I was sure, when I was writing it, exactly what I was trying to say. So, like a lot of things I do, it's not the best; just the best that I could get out of me at that moment. I am in a good position to make suggestions, to a lot of people, about a lot of things. But so is everybody here. "I can...(fill in the blank)." You can too. And him, and her, and that other fellow. Even Webmastering is no exception; there's an eight-part HTML primer right here in the General forum from early on ('long about December 2004) for anyone who'd like to study to be my successor. >({|;-)

Triarius likes and respects me. The Curatores like and respect me. The Nova Roma Wiki staff likes and respects me. I didn't plan it that way, it just sort of happened. I do consider it a good thing, if a little awkward at times; I have a poor sense of balance. I don't think (I *hope* not!) that they like or respect me more than, or to the exclusion of, anybody else. Their liking and respect have led to me being placed in positions of trust. I don't think of myself as having a special "in" with any of these folks, and if I were to speak or behave as if I did, it could cost me that same trust. The notion distresses me. If it came to pass, something in me would perish.

Mons Aventinus: The Main Page calls it "An independent Nova Roman online community". I am not sure to what extent "independent" and "Nova Roman" may prove to be mutually exclusive. I'm still feeling my way around all that. My gut feeling, not worth more than anybody else's, is that to be truly a home to Romans from all over, MA may have to shed much or most of its "Nova Roman-ness". I believe this will happen over time regardless, especially if the Independents should begin to outnumber the Nova Romans. I also believe that, at present, its Nova Romanitas is integral to it. I don't think that has to be a bad thing; but I don't know how to work it into my own experience of the site. And I don't know how far it will stretch in the "independent" direction without rupturing. I like MA; I have ideas for it; but I don't want to break the thing.

Most of all, I believe it best for all concerned to discuss these things with Triarius and the "community prefects" at the outset, so that whatever direction MA grows in, it can do so in an orderly way.

And, rather than mobbing Triarius the first moment he sticks his head in here, may I suggest that anyone planning to work on MA might subscribe to the [MAWiki] Yahoo group? So far it's just Triarius and myself; I wish more residents were on it. Then maybe we could get some articles once everyone's done refurbishing their homes, of whatever size. >({|:-)

Lastly, my gratitude to you, mi Calide, for finding and listing the "guidelines that may be conflicting with that broader vision". You have saved me from having to go look them up myself. Phew!

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Query

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu May 15, 2008 7:10 am

Salvete, amici Romani!

Y'all need to know this.

The other day I posted our housing concerns to Triarius on the [MAWiki] Yahoo list:


Salve, Triari magister!

Much earlier than I expected, I think Mons Aventinus is approaching a tipping-point.

I've been getting "pinged" all week by SVR Sodales, including MA residents and prospectives, in the SVR Forum and privately, and they all want to know the same thing: Why can only Novaromani occupy a domus or a villa?

It may seem a small thing now...but, like the old "non-Citizen" Hill zoning, it has implications. MA's great appeal is that it is meant for all Romans, everybody. But some of the site's policies do accord preferential status to Nova Romans. I don't think that's intentional; the site, like anything that changes, is a product of its own history, and for Mons Aventinus that started with NR. But as long as differences in policy remain, questions of this nature are going to arise, and I thought it might be better to hammer something out while the Project is still young.

In general, is it desirable to maintain a distinction between Nova Romans and all others? If we do (and I could see it in some ways; see below about the villae), is it possible to do it in a way that will not seem (or be) actively discriminatory?

This begs an even larger question. The site takes pains to point out that Nova Roma and Mons Aventinus are two separate things. Right now, MA is pretty tightly bound to Nova Roman regulations and structures. (Heia, it had to start somewhere.) But they are bound to diverge at some point, probably pretty soon, as new blood and its accompanying outside influence make themselves felt. Wouldn't it be wiser for us to make provision for that separation from the beginning?

Personally, I think Nova Roma itself threw its gates open before it was really ready. It began as part of the Julian Society's Religio Romana revival movement. The Society concluded that a state religion really needed a state if it was going to be accurately restored. Nova Roma's chief mission early on was to reconstruct and promote the Religio, with as much of the rest of Roman society as might be needed to put that into context.

If the new Republic had left it at that and only admitted Roman religionists, they might have turned out all right. But they decided to accept almost anyone with an interest in Ancient Rome. Admirable, yes; but I don't think NR quite thought it out, let alone decided how to deal with the changes brought on by the sudden influx of so many other worldviews. They seem to have gotten a better handle on this in recent times. Still, the tensions between pagans and non-pagans, founding members and "new hires", Americans and Europeans, priests, politicos, academics and culturalists are affecting the experience there to this day.

This could serve us as a cautionary tale. I think we can do better...but it'll require some thought. I see the NR elements as a foundation, but only that; it's not the weedy lot, surely, but neither is it the whole edifice. What Mons Aventinus will be when it grows up depends on the residents--and it may not closely resemble anything either of us was thinking! >({|8-)

OK, the housing situation in particular:

FWIW, I'd like to see at least the domi open up to more people. This, I think, would alleviate a lot of the feeling of "housing discrimination" that's going around. If we decide to keep some sort of requirement for occupying a domus, it could be something unrelated to NR Citizenship--perhaps being an active member of one's own group (NR or otherwise), or having lived on MA for a certain length of time before qualifying, or writing at least a minimum number of articles for the site. (We need articles...)

The villae are, understandably, a special case. I know that the residents of the villae in particular are all NR assidui and have thus, in a way, paid for the privilege. I respect that, and I agree that people who have given financial support should be given some form of preference. But if this project works as well as we'd like it to, eventually some of the paying members will be non-Nova Romans, contributing towards site fees and such. Would they be eligible for a villa as well?

I wouldn't be bugging you if I didn't believe in what you're doing, and wish the best for it, and desire to head off possible problems before they arise. Mons Aventinus is very young, still finding itself as a community. We have time to get it right. >({|:-)


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Response

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu May 15, 2008 7:21 am

And he said...:

Salve Mari,

Yes, I agree. I think MA is beginning to develop on its own, which is what I have always wanted to happen with the site. I have pondered the NR situation and agree with you about the neutrality MA must maintain if it is to grow beyond what it is. I originally envisioned it as a place where NR activities could be housed, but only some of the groups have used the site, and not as many as the SVR gang. We are seeing some from other organizations as well. My problem is that I have taken a new job, coupled with my family's business, and for the mast couple of months, I have been up to my ears in it. If you can formulate the changes and go ahead and start rewording everything, I will jump in as soon as I get a handle on things here. Also, if you know anyone else who would like to help edit, recruit them.

Also, my NR boss, P. Memmius Albucius, has started a gaming club or something and located I think on the via Lata in the Campus Martius. He is trying to get a team together for online roman game sites. If you know any gamers in SVR, they could band together to occupy a site next to the NR gamers and start building a gaming street. Call it good old fashioned competition!

Vale optime,
Triarius


Bene, it looks like I have the go-ahead. But I'm not going to do this by myself. Calide amice has highlighted the more obvious differences between current means and desired ends. I intend to ask this more places than here, but: Can anyone offer me guidance on these and other possible areas to look at?

Related question: Would you prefer to help me hash this out on the [MAWiki] List?
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Re: Mons Aventinus Revisited

Postby Annia Minucia Marcella on Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:06 am

I just wanted to give out my MA Villa link:

Villa of Annia Minucia Marcella

I'm not too sure if I'm supposed to have a Villa anymore since I resigned from NR, but I don't feel like moving so there.
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Re: Mons Aventinus Revisited

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:09 pm

Salve, mi Marcella!

Bein's I'm "the Other Admin", I don't reckon anyone's going to throw you out anytime soon. I haven't been active on the site in a while; but I do check in sometimes, and if any pages (like yours) need to be reverted or restored I can do that.

I'll keep a closer eye on the situation now. But Mons Aventinus is open to Romans of all organisational affiliations, including none at all, and if you're not in there on Nova Roma's coat-tails, why, the SVR's are plenty long enough!

Keep on editing, magistra. I might even drop you a gift. >({|:-)

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