Marcus Aurelius, our departed deified emperor emeritus, would not be happy if he looked down from his heavenly abode and witnessed the current state of his formerly glorious empire: war rages across ‘our sea’; dangerous cults proliferate within our borders; provinces are breaking away and, due to the poor state of the roads on the Roman periphery, it takes over a fortnight for word to reach us of the outcome of our brave legionnaires’ battles! An exhausted rider has just returned from far-off Goatstown with this despatch:
Mount Anville was once again the setting for the ‘Ides of March’ Classics and Latin Teachers Table Quiz and, once again, the panis et circenses were staged with the most pleasant hospitality. But do not let the camaraderie amongst the small and tight Classics set fool you: this was a battle royale and no quarter was expected or given! St. Conleth’s always shows up with strength of numbers for these affairs and this time we fielded three strong teams: Sixth Years Paul Ralph, Eoin MacNally, Cian O’Mahony and Sterre Van Egmond formed a solid testudo-formation phalanx to do the grunt infantry work. Fifth Years Johnny Barry and Andrew Latvis united with Third Year ‘Ancient Wars Wunderkind’ Matthew O’Farrell and polymath Hugh Etchingham-Coll (called up from the Chemistry auxilia) to perform a function befitting their equestrian status, outflanking many of the barbarians and scouting for future engagements. TY Zachary Carr bravely took on a legate’s roll with one of the more outlandish barbarian outfits, St. Mary’s of Drogheda, though the language difference did hamper communications amongst this motley crew. And let us not forget the all-important rear guard: Fifth Years Maria Azzia and Diletta Santuari (from the Roman ‘home’ counties), dogged TY Joe ‘One Poem’ Downing and another Chem Kid Auxiliary, Oisín Gilligan, intentionally took up a position at the back of the legion to enable the vanguard make a grab for the laurels and the lucre. In the end, all of our teams did the eagle proud but we just could not match the zealots of Gonzaga where, reputedly (as in ancient Sparta) their hatchlings are cast into a Renalagh ravine if they cannot name the six rivers of Hades soon after birth.