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 LETTERS TO ROME

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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: LETTERS TO ROME   Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:50 pm

C)2008 by J.E.C. All rights reserved.

LETTERS TO ROME
My Dearest Julia,

I hope this letter finds you safe and well. My every waking thought is about you and the children. Remember, if you need or want anything, go see my Uncle Claudius. He will take care of whatever it might be. Then the old miser will send me the bill. It is worth it though to know he is looking after my family while I am away.

And so, once again, I am away from you and my little ones. It tears at my heart to know we will be apart for a time. I cannot wait until the time comes when I no longer have to travel in the service of the Empire and can spend all my time with you. We finally arrived here in Palestine in mid March. It is very chilly at night but the days are mild. I hope to be able to find quarters that will allow me to bring you and the kids here. That may take some time as they are not sure yet just where my permanent duty station is going to be. Right now, I am attached to the garrison at a town called Capernaum. It is right next to a very large lake and there are some beautiful sunsets over the water.

I have not had much contact with the local populace yet. My first impression of these Jews is that they are not very friendly toward us, but not openly resentful or defiant. It is strange. The common folk know they are a conquered people but they treat us as if we were the dust on their feet. Except for their politicians. They are like politicians everywhere. They are our best friends as long as we are in power over them. But it seems to me these Jews spend most of their time arguing among themselves.

They seem to be a very industrious people during their working hours. But the rest of the time they spend arguing the meanings of different points of their religious law. It seems almost as if every law has a different meaning to every single Jew. The common folk seem very serious about their religion. Their leaders appear to be a bit more flexible in that regard.

So far Capernaum seems to be a quiet town. We did have one interesting thing happen earlier in the week. Fishing the lake is the main industry here, and like fishing everywhere else, some days the catch is good, some days it is not. We heard a loud roaring noise from a mob of people down at the docks. We went rushing down there and this is the story we were told.

Apparently, last Tuesday, the fishing boats had just come in for the day and the catch had been very poor. A stranger approached the boat of one of the leading fishermen, a man named Simon Peter, and told him to cast off again. This Simon Peter was tired after a long days work and little to show for it. He argued with the stranger for a moment but then Simon's brother Andrew took the stranger's side and convinced Simon to sail out again.

This was quite surprising because Simon Peter is a large man. I have been told he has a very fierce temper and is quite stubborn. It is said that no one changes his mind when it is made up. I don't know about all that but apparently something did change his mind and they set sail again, with the stranger setting in the bow of Simon's boat.

They were out on the lake for only a few minutes when suddenly, one of Simon's boats came in close to shore and started calling for the other boats to come and help. A few more boats went out and then, a bit later, one of them came back to get all the other boats to come out and help them. Soon all the town's boats were back out on the water.

But not for long. After a short time they all headed back to the docks and when they came in, the nets of every single boat were teeming with fish. Some boats were so overloaded they were in danger of sinking beneath the weight of all the fish. The citizens of the town said they had never seen anything like it. Apparently, there had never been a catch like this before. Simon Peter turned to ask the stranger how he had known about the fish, but in the throng of people he could not find the man. So the people were all very happy that day and we had more fish than we could eat that night. And you know that is saying something for a group of Soldiers.

Anyway, that was our big excitement for the week. I will say though it is better than standing in ranks waiting for the Gauls to attack. Still, it is boring here most of the time. They tell me that Jerusalem or Caesarea are much better posts. Maybe, if I am lucky, I will get sent to one of them.

And now I have a pleasant surprise for you. I have been made Optio. That means that I am second in command of 80 men. It also means a little more money, but not much. Still, I am glad the Centurion chose me. The men are good, mostly veterans since there has been so much trouble in this country.

We have been warned of a group that preaches open rebellion against Rome. They are called Zealots and have murdered several of our troops in different parts of the country. Mostly by ambushes and knives in the back. But they keep a very low profile most of the time and like most terrorists, they are hard to find. But do not worry. I shall not fall to any cowardly terrorist.

I close this letter now as it is late and I must get some sleep. But I want you to know that tonight, like every night, my last waking thoughts are of you. If I am very lucky, I will dream that you are laying by my side. Kiss the little ones for me.

Your loving Husband,

Marcus


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sarianna



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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:57 am

This is fabulous Boli. So crisp and filled with images. I have never thought what it must have been like for the soldiers back in biblical days only the Christians. But you make me wonder. Great story.
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Ann
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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:54 pm

I am so in accord with Sari's comment. This is some of your best writing and I absolutely love the biblical scene it conjures up in the mind.
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Passion



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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:14 am

Beautifully written and so wonderfully descriptive, dear Boli- this letter made me feel like it was an original letter written by a soldier back in the life-time of seeing Simon Peter and this certain event. You are gifted my friend!  Smile 
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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:39 pm

Dear Pash, thank you so much for your very kind words. They mean a lot to me.
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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:44 pm

Dear Ann, Thank you for your kindness. I am glad you think so.

The thing about writing this is that I wanted to portray an image of what a Roman Soldier would think and write home but at the same time I wanted there to be touches of modern times that people could relate to. Trust me when I tell you that no Roman ever used the phrase "permanent duty station." lol
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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:48 pm

Dear Sari, Thank you for your great kindness.

The idea for this lies with the fact that I am a Christian, but at one time in my life, I was also a soldier. So, I thought, let's just mix Jesus up with a soldier and see what happens. lol
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Barbi



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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:29 am

Wonderful story! Marcus came alive the more I read. You felt a sense of urgency in him but nothing immediately fearful. It also has a romantic angle to it. Smile
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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: Re: LETTERS TO ROME   Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:12 am

Dear Barb,

I laughed when I read your phrase, "a sense of urgency" because most professional soldiers have a sense of urgency about them. It is a kind of occupational hazard. "Let's get this done and move on" is a kind of standard operating proceedure. lol

Thanks for reading.
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