From a Roman Wall #40

romanscribe“Whatever happened to your young brother, Octavius?” Zoophilus the explorer asked Secundus.

The group of Romans at the Forum Cafeterium looked up from the important morning task of drinking from their steaming beakers of caffeinus.

“I was wondering that myself, last night.” said Libertinus. “He was the life of many convivios, parties, but he has disappeared of the scene.”

Secundus looked sadly at his friends. “He sold off his inheritance and bought a small farm. He now spends his time herding sheep and goats.”

“Why did he do that?” asked the ever-curious librarian,Literatus.

“Why on earth not?” asked Nellus Ursus, the barristerus. “He had such a lovely voice. Why, he could make any girl  – - – -.” Her voice trailed off as she blushed.

“We have no idea.” said Secundus. “I don’t think he speaks with anybody at all! He is now a hermit out on his farm. He certainly never speaks to us these days even when we go out to see him.”

“Of course he doesn’t speak any more.” said Verbo Ipsum.

He looked at the enquiring faces, now all turned to him, “He is now pastoral.”

roman graffiti

Sid and Sod #588


From a Roman Wall #39

graphics-romans-528700“Salve, Good Morning.” Literatus greeted his friends at Forum Cafeterium. He took his beaker of steaming caffeinus from the barristerus, Nellus and walked over to the tabula.

“Salve, Literatus,” said the explorer, Zoophilus. “How is life in the Library? Received any good scrolls lately?”

“Yes, I have. They are a bit disturbing, though.”

Secundus asked, “What is wrong? Is it an Empire problem?”

“I think it is. I’ve been receiving news from some of our African outposts. In the Southern jungles there are tribes of cannibals. We can deal with most of them but there is one tribe which seems untouchable.” Literatus looked puzzled as he continued. “This tribe does not eat the peditatus, the foot soldiers. Just the Centurion. Or the Legate if he was a part of the Legion which was captured.”

“And they let all the others go?” asked Zoophilus. “Why didn’t they go back and finish the job?”

“That was the first tactic.” replied Literatus. “However, it seems that pretty soon, no one wanted to lead the cohort into battle. There were no soldiers who wanted to lead and then be eaten. The whole situation is very strange”

“It seems an effective defensive strategy.”  Said Zoophilus. “Without leaders, no attacking force can succeed. By eating the leaders eventually the army will give up.”

“It is an old jungle game.” said Verbo Ipsum. “It’s called swallow the leader.”





roman graffiti

Sid and Sod #587


It Tickled Granny’s Fancy

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Lots of Fun


In the 1930′s & 1940′s when these were published in The Western Mail,

PCishness was not a consideration


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From a Roman Wall #38


“I’m sorry Citizens.” Nellus announced to the customers at her Forum Cafeterium. “The pistrino, the bakery, has told me there will be no small loaves of panum, bread, today.”

“Well what are we going to have with our caffeinus today?” asked Zoophilus.

“I enjoy these Turkish sweets most mornings.” said Libertinus.

“We can see that.” remarked Secundus cruelly, looking at Libertinus’ growing girth. “But the rest of us enjoy a plain lump of panum with our caffeinus. After a convivio, a banquet, the previous night we need something bland to settle our stomachs.”

“And last night’s convivio was a really good one. The entertainments were breathtaking. That Greek Comedy was excellent. There are some marvellous Greek actors in Modern Rome.” Literatus the Librarian added. “But I do enjoy a small crusty panum in the mornings.”

“I didn’t want to start a riot,” apologised Nellus. “It is just that the baker has decided there isn’t enough profit in the few little loaves they make.”

Verbo Ipsum noticed the two different lines the conversations were going.

In his obscure way, he commented “That’s quite understandable. In bakeries those buns just pay small roles.”



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Sid and Sod


From a Roman Wall #37

graphics-romans-528700“Ave, Good Morning.” Libertinus greeted his friends at the Forum Cafeterium. “We obviously need to convince Caesar to give the populace more bread and circuses. I only just made it home last night. There were riots on the Via’s, the Streets.”

“I’ve been watching these events with interest,” said Literatus the Librarian. “The middle class life style is being squeezed down by the increased taxes Caesar keeps imposing.”

Secundus added, “Some of those middle class rioters are talking a lot of sense. There is a new generation of orators being discovered in these troubled times.”

“Even in the lower classes we are hearing some stirring speeches.” Zoophilus the explorer commented. “It seems all parts of society have their own orators and they are making stirring speeches. Many are listening to them, even the lower class speakers.”

Verbo Ipsum carefully put his beaker of steaming caffeinus down on the tabula and thoughtfully said, “I have heard some of these speeches and by far the worst are the ones made by the homeless! They are just vague rants.”



roman graffiti

It Tickled Granny’s Fancy

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Sid and Sod #585


Lots of Fun



In the 1930′s & 1940′s when these were published in The Western Mail,

PCishness was not a consideration

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From a Roman Wall #36


“AVE, Salve! Good Morning.” Zoophilus greeted his friends as he arrived for his mid-morning caffeinus. “What are we talking about this morning?”

“Scrolls” said Literatus the Librarian. “We are discussing the scrolls we are reading at the moment.”

“That’s interesting.” Zoophilus replied. “I’m reading a scroll by Plato the Greek about his travels to Egypt. He knows where fabled Atlantis once stood.”

“I only read good Roman writers.” exclaimed Libertinus the man about town. “I’m reading a scroll by Ovid at the moment. He knows a thing or two about – - -” he fell silent as Nellus the Barristerus approached the table.

“I should think a little reticence about Ovid would be a good thing!” she said disapprovingly. “He is a most disgusting writer!”

Trying to deflect the conversation away from himself, Libertinus foolishly asked Verbo Ipsum what he was reading.

Verbo replied, “I’m reading a scroll about mazes, I got lost in it.”


roman graffiti

Sid and Sod #584


From a Roman Wall #35


“It is a wet one today.” Libertinus was looking at the rain pouring off the awning over Nellus’ Forum Cafeterium.

“At least the caffeinus is still hot.” Zoophilus slurped at his beaker with appreciation. “I haven’t seen rain like this since I was in India during the monsoon.”

Literatus asked about those monsoonal downpours and how big the floods were afterwards.

“Oh, some of those rivers flooded higher than the temples. All the farms were covered in water. Very much like the Egyptian floods. The difference is that the monsoons come without any warning and the rivers flood some time later. It is all very confusing and it is no wonder they cannot build a civilisation to match our modern Rome.” Zoophilus became expansive about one of his famous journeys of discovery. “I told Casaer it was not worth conquering them as they are all washed away every year.”

“Well, just so long as we are not washed away.” said Nellus. “It is certainly imbrem felium et canum, raining cats and dogs.”

Verbo Ipsum said, “Well, as long as it doesn’t reindeer.”



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