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The Acts of Max & Rex Born
SPQR Prologue, Forward, Author’s Note, Calendar and Contents
© 2023 James LaFond
Here I serve two Emperors for the Tokyo Times, bringing news of the most powerful of the Seven Caesarian realms at the economic heart of Rome to its furthest flung fringe. It is hoped by the Prefect of Tokyo that the beating industrial heart of Rome may be replicated at the hilt of its most easterly sword. That North Panonia, 3rd Political Seat of Rome’s Seven Realms, and the most resource rich, populous, geographically expansive, and storied, might serve as the model for the Greater Manchuko Prosperity Plan was the inspiration for the foundation of this very publication.
That New York, upon Manhattan Island, the entire island a city, serve as the vision for the New Tokyo of 2050, is the wish of Augustus Britannicus, John McClellan, Third Caesar of North Panonia and Takeda Shingen, Seventh Caesar of Oceania. Thus the three news desks of London, Augusta and New York have been linked by Airskiff Dispatch via Wyandochia [Detroit] and Oceanica [San Francisco] to the home office at Tokyo. The woodcut dispatches are scheduled to arrive in Tokyo aboard these modern marvels ten days from the time of their carving.
To set the stage for the leisure reader of Old Kyoto, as well as the eager industrialist of New Tokyo, and as well the tribunes of Manchuko who shall be charged with the glorious purpose of industrializing the fallow northern imperial possessions of the decadent Middle Kingdom, I in my humble hand, have provided the calligraphy record of this noisy realm. This noise is the vibrant thrum of the gloriously beating heart of Industrial Rome and finds expression in the artistry recorded by our troupe of animate sketchers and woodcut copyists. The devices employed to represent the sounds in which our story is suffused are to be found in a corner of each page. The position of these sound devices indicates volume according to their position:
-Deafening, Top Left
-Loud, Top Right
-Distracting, Bottom Left
-Background, Bottom Right
The sound devices are:
-Steam Billow [like the breath of the North Wind on an old mariner’s map], indicating the hissing force that drives the industry of New Rome
-Spoked Wheel, indicating the thrumming, knocking, clacking and sighing sound of iron wheels being driven by the mechanical arms powered by steam, as well as knocking pipes
-Bellows, indicating the roaring of furnaces stoked with wood and coal, powering the iron works, steel foundries and textile factories and concrete slurryworks.
-Locomotive, this icon representing the unique and overwhelming roar of the train as it makes all of the sounds above in one mighty cacophony, often at its loudest accompanied by a whistle.
The absence of such devices indicates the pseudo quiet of New York, with its many distant voices, hurried feet, cobblestone clacking hooves, distant signal whistles and near murmurs. The Senatorial class seek the quiet of the Allegheny Mountains of Inner East Panonia, as if directed there by Diocletion himself.
The above sound distinctions are intended for the quick, popular readership. The literary edition [this leather bound vellum tome being such] will have these symbols rendered in prose for the erudite reader’s serene contemplation, by myself, student of both letters, and of the awesome sounds of New Industrial Rome. [1]
-David Echigo, Kyoto Weekly, Editor at Large, New York Desk, Marsday, Sepulcher 8, 2031.
Note to the Prologue
-1. The New Industrial Rome is but a rumor, a distant rumbling leviathan, to 95 of every 100 persons living under Roman rule, Patrician, Plebe, stranger, provincial and slave. Augustus and the Seven Caesars have sponsored The Tokyo Times in this literary endeavor, in large measure due to the efficiency of our paper sketchers and wood engravers in bringing the wonders of the industrial city to the rural labor class who might, through the inspiration of the medium so like their comic and tragic stage plays and, now held to hand in theses 32 page pamphlets, might seek employment in the rising metropolis’ of London, Augusta, New York—and God Almighty willing, Tokyo.
The contents of the Acts of Max and Rex Born take place during a single week in Roman time being, the first 7 days of Sepulcher, in The Year of Our Lord 2031. The physical space encompassed by the narrative occupies a mere mile from east to west and a half mile from north to south, yet has a stage of Seven Stories. These magnificent buildings of New York are limited by censorial Code to 7 Stories, or levels, five being above ground and two consisting of the basement and catacombs.
Author’s Note
The inspiration for SPQR has two primary sources, one expansive and one concise and immediate. The first is the continuing Anglo-British Anglo-American obsession with Rome, to include the architecture of Washington D.C., the structure of USG, and most especially the prevalence of depictions and studies of ancient Rome—to include TV and movie casting and production, literature, such as I Claudius by Graves, military reenactments and scholarship—hailing from the British upper class. In light of the fact that the Romans depicted the rape of Britannia by Rome in statuary, and the actual military governor once had the daughters of the Breton queen raped and her beaten like a slave, I have long had shadows cross my mind invoking the abduction of Persephone by Hades [Pluto] and the descendant forced bride of the Underworld coming to love her rapist, suggest a Rome that survived only in Breton-Gaelic form into a possible future.
The more immediate inspiration was inspired by a Roman named Paul:
“For this very night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong…”
-Acts 27:23
Dedicated to the memory of Robert E. Howard.
-James LaFond, Monday, August 8, 2023
Days of the Roman Week
The Christian Rome of SPQR, not having conquered the Nordic heathens ad converting them and adopting Nordic name days such as Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, have applied the following names to the seven days of the ancient Babylonian week within each month of the Roman year.
-1. Ascentday [worship day, the single day of the week when the clergy may petition the Caesars or Augustus, and in which free Romans must not labor, the day that mass is conducted by bishops, cardinals and pontiffs.]
-2. Caesarsday [auspicious for action, traditionally the day reserved for the Seven Caesars to petition Augustus, make declarations and pass decrees]
-3. Marsday [auspicious far war under Archangel Martial, once the pagan god Mars, who now fights for Christ]
-4. Fishday [Along with Breadday, held mid week in honor of Christ and his miracle of the loafs and fishes, when flesh may not be eaten, except of fish]
-5. Breadday [when new loaves are baked, and eucharist wafers, churches, chapels and other sacred sites are blessed]
-6. Wineday [when wine is casked and bottled, holy water is blessed and when Sundown mass is held by priests, chaplains, presbyrs and deacons]
-7. Carnival [Meat day, the day of civic rites, such as munera, trials and punishments are conducted under the auspices of Augustus, and sponsored by Censors (representative of the People) or Tribunes (representatives of the Senate), the former being a man of senatorial rank but sworn benefactor of the poor, traditionally opposed to the interests of his own class who collect and pay taxes from the plebes of their jurisdiction.]
Months of the Roman Year
The ancient pagan names of the year honoring those defeated gods consigned to Demonry by the Holy Trinity, have been gradually replaced by the Church and Augustus. Each month is sacred to one of the 12 Houses Munera, when that crusading order is granted pride of place in carnival as well as battle. In brackets is the month to which the reader is consigned, following by the gladiatorial house honored during that month.
-1. Nativity [December] Dimacherius or Welshman or Knifeman
-2. Winter [January] Thrax or Thracian or Highlander or Scots
-3. Advent [February] Pugilarius or Boxer
-4. Conception [March] Sagisarius or Archer or Cupidius
-5. Easter [April] Prococatuer or Challenger
-6. Spring [May] Myrmillo or Marine
-7. Mary [June] Secutor or Chaser
-8. Caesar [July] Retiarius or Boarder or Netman or Catcher
-9. Augustus [August] Equis or Knights or Sarmatians
-10. Sepulcher [September] Gladiator or Swordsman
-11. Decline [October] Bestiarius or Huntsman
-12. Fall [November] Rudiarius or Stickman or Rodman
Times of Day [literary/religious] in 3 hour [industrial] blocks
-Advent [High Mass, Father]
-Ascent [Christ Mass, Son]
-Descent [Penitent Mass, Holy Ghost]
-Internment [Funerary Mass]
The New Roman Day begins at Dawn, not at the rise of scheming Night and Her many-headed devilresses.
The Acts of Max and Rex Born
Each Act is Titled according to its nature.
Each Act is then subtitled according to the perspective of the Witness.
The time and date is then recorded.
BarleyMan in a Can
Act 1: Increase Publico, Censor of New York
Dusk, Ascentday, First Day of Sepulcher
Increase Publico’s Gentile Fault
Act 2: Orpheus Synchronus, Unbranded Slave of the Censor
Descent, Ascentday, First Day of Sepulcher
Increase Publico’s Patrimony Draught
Act 3: Nymphalia Synchronus, Unbranded Slave of the Censor
Night, Ascentday, First Day of Sepulcher
First Sword of All Rome
Act 4: Ernest O’Neal, Under Barrister of the House Gladiarius, First Knights of Christ
Noon, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Tyke of Pipes
Act 5: Tyke of the Orphan Pipes
Ascent, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Under Hellsong Pipes
Act 6: Tyke of the Orphan Pipes
Dusk, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Storm of Bawdy Spites
Act 7: Bruno the Younger, Lictor at the Gate of Pipes
Dusk, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Of Iron Gripes
Act 8: Bruno the Younger, Lictor at the Gate of Pipes
Dusk, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Brand of Victors
Act 9: Antonius Sixt, Conductor of Plebes
Descent, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Phoenix of Motes
Act 10: Jubal McClinton, Notary of Oaths
Dawn, Marsday, Third Day of Sepulcher
Dandy Man of Notes
Act 11: Beatrice Flynn, Mother of Nuns Under Chapel Station
Advent, Marsday, Third Day of Sepulcher
Flaxen-Haired Lady of Stropes
Act 12: Minicus Thrax, Fresh Sword of Scots
Night, Fishday, Fourth Day of Sepulcher
Clyde of Taps
Act 13: Nymphalia Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Dusk, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
Bride of Traps
Act 14: Nymphalia Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Night, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
Occulator Nimbus
Act 15: Pictus Trent, Camera Obscurist of The Manhattan Daily
Internment, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
The Train to Litigation
Act 16: Vestus O’Connor, Coach Attendant
Advent, Wineday, Sixth Day of Sepulcher
Uplift Station
Act 17: Kent Regis, Barber of Uplift Station
Descent, Wineday, Sixth Day of Sepulcher
Tantallus of Snipes
Act 18: Tantallus Prince of Snipes
Night, Wineday, Sixth Day of Sepulcher
Bloody Gold
Act 19: Gentile Publius, Censor and Editor
Dawn, Carnival, Seventh Day of Sepulcher
Death Served Cold
Act 20: Dray Porter, Lanista at Barelyman Sands
Advent, Carnival, Seventh Day of Sepulcher
First Born
Act 21: Nubio Atlas, Eunuch at Barleyman Sands
Noon, Carnival, Seventh Day of Sepulcher
‘Over a Damned Pictocan?’
Epilogue: John McClellan, Third Caesar, Imperator of North Pannonia
Ascent, Seventh Day of Sepulcher
Voice of Britannic Rome
spqr a novel
BarleyMan in a Can
search for an american spartacus
book of nightmares
winter of a fighting life
masculine axis
solo boxing
the greatest boxer
dark, distant futures
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