Town councillor


“Do not be confused if you see my inscription in Basel today and not in my home town of Augusta Raurica. Long after my death, the high-quality, carefully worked stone was transported down the River Rhine on a barge... and thoughtlessly reused in an ordinary residential building – as if it were just some common-or-garden building block. What a disgrace! Alas, tempus fugit, time flies, and unfortunately we cannot halt its march!

The honorific inscription to me, Paternus, was originally on display in the forum at Augusta Raurica. I was the holder of various high offices there, including that of decurio, or town councillor. In order to attain this office, one must not only be a Roman citizen but also have considerable wealth and be of good character. And one must, of course, have an honourable profession. A gladiator, for example, could never become a town councillor!”

Town magistrate


“May I have your attention please? My name is Attius Gemellus; I am patronus, honorary citizen of the town. I come from an influential and wealthy upper-class family. I am enrolled in the Quirina, the voting tribe of naturalised Roman citizens. A pedestal with a beautifully carved inscription was erected in the forum in my honour. The inscription ensures that everyone can see all the offices I hold and the contributions I have made to the town. I serve the town as a duovir, which in my inscription is spelled IIVIR (the two lines, of course, mean “two” and VIR means “man”). As befits our towns and cities, the council is always led by two magistrates. Unlike your towns, I am told, where one man alone is elected as mayor. Or even a woman! I am not at all surprised that the gods have wreaked havoc on your world.”