February 18, 2013

Overheard: Morituri Te Salutant

As is said of Italians, they identify not as much with the modern nation-state that is the Republic of Italy, but with their particular historical regions and even neighborhoods. This exceedingly random conversation provides an example:

An Italian friar, playing--I hope--comes at me with a knife.

Me: You may kill me on May 29.

Italian: Why May 29?

Me: On May 29, the prova will be complete.

(The prova is my one-year trial period in this assignment. According to my interpretation of my letter of obedience, once it is completed I am free to declare myself free of the assignment and hence, of any particular holy obedience. Thus, I could be free to die in good conscience, at least as far as religious obedience goes.)

Italian: I could not kill you on May 29.

Me: Why?

Italian: May 29 is the day we were liberated from the aggression of Frederick Barbarossa!

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