Hello! Is anybody there? Would you like to chat?
[[Hello! Who am I talking to?]]
Hi! Im Enica.
Thanks for chatting. How are you today?
This is me with my paddle.
story.showDelayed("enicapic");%> That's good. I'm OK too, thanks. Where are you talking from?
[[I'm sitting at my desk. Where are you?]]
[[I'm in the garden. Where are you?]]
[[I'm in the classroom. Where are you?]]
Oh dear. Why are you sad?
[[It's all the bad news we have. People are fighting each other, or getting sick, or going hungry... I sometimes wish I could go back in time and fix it all!]]
[[It's the weather. It's raining again and I want to go outside!]]Here, it's about 500 summers before the Roman army arrives in the south - or at least that's what someone from your future time told me.<%
I have 10 summers so far. My little brother has 7. My grandma is so old she has stopped counting. But she remembers lots about her life and tells good stories.
story.showDelayed("count1");%> I was when I first found out. But now I have some friends who live in Roman times, and they seem OK. I suppose lots of different people will come here eventually, and they will all bring new ways of doing things.
story.showDelayed("fright1");%> Uh? Oh – I keep forgetting that you future people don’t know much about us. A crannog is a house made of wood, built on wooden posts near the edge of the loch. It has a walkway leading to the shore. It is warm and keeps us and our animals safe. But we do get a lot of insects biting us sometimes. Dad is mending the roof now – he’s waving!
Here's a picture:
It is! I love my home!
[[It's so nice to see the past and chat with you. I don't know much about Iron Age people]]
It's called 'Chatterpast'. I don’t really know how it works, but I’m using my special writing tablet - I gave three rabbit skins for it, to a trader from the south. He said that the people he got it from used it to help them remember things but I didn't really know how to use it.
<%story.showDelayed("tab1");%> I'm sitting by the loch, eating nuts and watching my dad mend the roof. What date is it where you are?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]That sounds awful. In my world people get sick too – my grandfather died because he cut his hand on a sharp stone.<%
story.showDelayed("bad1");%> Mmm...I’m not sure I want any future people looking at my bones!
[[I can understand that. I think I would feel the same! But it has helped us to understand more about our past – and get the story in the right order.]]
That is important. Stories need to go in the right order. I get a bit confused when I talk to future people!
[[How do you keep track of time in your world?]]We don’t really count the years like you do – we just follow the moon as it changes shape, and watch the sun as the days get longer and warmer and then shorter and colder. That’s how we know when to plant things.<%
I have some other friends who live in what you people call ‘The Roman Period’ because it is after the Romans came to live in the south. But they are not all Romans! You really do have odd ways of naming things in the future!
[[I suppose we do! Where do you live, Enica?]]
I live in the north, by a big loch in the mountains. There is a river that goes from our loch all the way to the Northern Seas!
[[Ah, I think maybe you live in what we call Scotland?]]
Well, that’s not what we call it! The Romans call it Caledonia - but my people are the Venicones.
Yes. I like it when new people come to the loch and tell me about where they have been and the things they've seen. Sometimes they bring new food that I have not tried before, too!
story.showDelayed("travel1");%> It is good to meet you too! I learn so much about the world when I chat with you future people.
[[How is it that we can talk to each other like this?]]So what about all the summers - I mean years - before this person was born? What about my time?
[[We count backwards for those years, and put ‘BC’ to show that it was ’Before Christ’ – Christ was the name of the leader. It’s a bit complicated!]]It certainly is! Do you know about the people who lived here even before me?
[[We have some idea – we sometimes find things they left behind. Like their houses, and their monuments, and their tools. Especially if they are made from stone.]]I’ve seen some of their stones. Some have strange marks on them, and sometimes they are in a circle, just like my family round our hearth. Our storytellers say the Ancients once used them to follow the sun and the moon. But we don’t know how to use them like that, now.
[[How do you keep track of time in your world?]]OK. It was nice to meet you. We should be able to chat on your tablet anywhere now that we have a connection. I hope you come back to meet my friends. Bye for now!
Some of them were around just before you arrived. I’ll see if they are still here...
Marcus and Catia are on the Blue channel, and Maelli and Mandu are on Green. Oh, and Vin and Bel have just appeared on Red. Who should we talk to?
[[Let's switch to Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Green]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]
So, when we cut down the tree, its spirit slowly starts to leave, but there is still some left, even in your world? And you can measure how much? Wow!
[[That’s right! It’s the same for people. We can work out when they died by testing their bones.]]Yes please! What sort of magic do you use?
[[Well, it isn’t quite magic, but you do have to imagine and believe, because you can’t see how it works.]] I think that your people call my time ‘The Iron Age’ because we know how to make things out of iron! That’s silly because most of our stuff is made out of wood!<%
Yes please! I get confused by all your dates!
[[Today in Britain we count forwards from when an important religious leader was born – but that was only 43 summers (we call them ‘years’) before the Romans came here so it’s almost the same.]]It rains a lot here, too. But I like the rain! It makes our crops grow so we're not hungry. I like to go outside when it rains.
Is it winter in your world?
[[No, but it feels like it is. Why do you say 'Your world'? Are you not in my world?]]
What's a garden? I don't know that word!
[[It's a bit of ground next to my house with flowers and trees, and where we sometimes grow things to eat - like vegetables.]]
[[It's where I like to sit in the sunshine and listen to the birds when I've finished my work.]]Oh! I like to sit on a rock by the loch and watch the birds. I like the ducks when they bob up and down! What year is it where you are?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]
Oh! It sounds like our fields. There are flowers and trees there too, and we grow wheat and barley. What year is it where you are?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]Well...yes and no!
It is the same world, but a different time. What year is it where you are?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]What's a classroom?
[[It's where children come together to learn things. Don't you go to school?]]That sounds fun. We don't have 'classrooms' in my time. I'd like to go to school.
[[What do you mean 'in my time'? Is your time different to my time?]]I think so. What year is it for you?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]I didn't know anything about the Roman people before I used Chatterpast, but now my friends have told me all about them and all the things they will do. I suppose that in your time they did those things a long time ago!<%
Marcus says that talking to us has changed how he thinks about all the people in his world who aren't Roman - the ones who lived near his town before the Romans came, and the people his father owns.
And now Mandu knows that the people who live on the other side of her big wall aren't all scary warriors who want to attack her. Some are like me and my family and just want to trade their grain!
%> Chatterpast is great! I love chatting with my new friends. Their lives are so different to mine, but lots of things are the same even though we live so far apart.
[[Tell me more!]]Then Mandu and Vin are about 100 summers after him, and Bel is 100 summers after them. Can you convert all that into your way of counting 'years'?<%
story.showDelayed("chat3");%> Next is Catia – we think she lives about 50 summers after the Romans soldiers come, then Marcus is around 60 summers after her.<%
They said that people who study the past had been to where I live and found my paddle and my whistle, and lots of bits of wood from my house, all lying in the water.<%
story.showDelayed("Enica2");%> They had a magical way of finding out how old they were! The future must be an exciting place!
[[Ah - that must be about ‘450 BC’, the way we count. Should I explain?]]
[[ It is very clever how we can find the dates of things. Should I explain?]]
[[That is a long time ago! Tell me more about your life]]And we are sometimes hungry in winter if the weather is bad.
story.showDelayed("bad2");%> But we usually have plenty stored and there is good hunting and fishing in the valley.<%
story.showDelayed("bad3");%> It’s sad that people are still fighting each other. I know all about that from chatting with my friends.<%
story.showDelayed("bad4");%> What date is it in your world?
[[It's the 2020s here. Are you in a different time?]]My friend Maelli lives in the 'Iron Age', too - but in my future.<%
I didn’t think much about the past or the future until I started chatting to my friends in different times. I know a bit about the past from my grandma – and I did wonder what it might be like to be grown up and have my own children – but I didn’t think about what might happen to their children’s children!
story.showDelayed("time2");%> My dad taught me numbers up to what you call ‘20’ – that’s how many fingers and toes I have. For numbers bigger than that, I put a stone in my pocket and start again. I would need a lot of stones to count the number of summers that you are ahead of me!
[[That’s a good system! How many summers have you seen?]]Hello Marcus. I made another friend in the 2020s!<%
%> Wow - there are lots of people with Chatterpast in the 2020s!
[[Hello Marcus! Nice to meet you. Where do you live?]]Hello! I live in Aquae Sulis. Do you know it? It’s a big Roman town with hot spring waters and baths, and a huge temple dedicated to Sulis Minerva. The local people call her Sulis, but she is really our Roman goddess Minerva, who makes sick people well.
[[Yes, I know it! It’s called ‘Bath’ today, after the Roman baths. They are still there!]]Really? They are well built! My father manages them. We used to live in Londinium - but mother and I got sick. Father brought us here to get healed by making offerings in the temple and bathing in the waters.<%
But it didn’t work. Mother died when I was five. I have never been able to walk properly. But Father says we must keep making offerings and he makes me go to the hot baths every day.
[[I’m so sorry about your mum – and that you have trouble walking.]]
He just told me to keep bathing and to eat rhubarb! It’s disgusting! - And now I have to eat it all the time!<%
I wish I lived in your time. I bet that you have a cure for everything.
[[Well, we do have lots of medicines, and we can cure lots of diseases.]] [[But like you, people in my time still have illnesses or injuries that they have to live with. We do try to make sure that they can do everything they want to do, but we don’t always get it right.]] [[Do you manage OK?]]Well, I can’t run around with the other children - and sometimes they call me names.
[[I’m sorry you get teased. It can happen here too.]][[Are there any doctors in Aquae Sulis?]]
[[How do you get around?]]Do you mean the medicus from the fort? He was no help! And very expensive!<%
My slave, Nabu, goes everywhere with me, and I get taken to the baths in a litter – that’s a chair that is carried. He is very kind to me, even when I get bad tempered!
<%story.showDelayed("nabu1");%> [[But we also celebrate people with disabilities with a competition like your Olympic Games in Greece. But only contestants with different abilities can enter.]]
Maybe we could do something like that, too. I know lots of our soldiers have injuries from fighting – some lost their legs or can’t see anymore.
[[That sounds like a great idea.]] But now you have told me about your Paralympics, I will pay more attention.<%
%> That sounds great! Could I compete in your games? Are girls allowed too? I think Enica would be really good!
[[Of course you could, Marcus, and of course girls are included!]] [[We call it the Paralympic Games. Sometimes people race in special chairs with wheels!]] [[But Enica would have to compete in the Olympic Games]]I know I’m not sick like Marcus but I do use my left hand for everything – would that count? All my friends use their right hands, and they think I’m odd...
[[No, Enica, you would still have to enter the Olympics! But I’m sure you would both win lots of prizes.]][[Marcus, have you heard about the Olympic Games?]]
[[Does being left-handed make things harder for you, Enica, or do you not like being different?]]Oh yes! My father was born in Greece where it all started and he has been to the Games. I never really listened to his stories because I knew I could never be part of it.<%
%> I don’t mind being left-handed – but I am a bit different to most of my friends. I have red hair and freckles - and blue eyes! I don’t know anyone else like that, but my dad has blue eyes and my mum has red hair so I’m a mixture of both of them, which is nice.
<%story.showDelayed("leftie");%> [[I’m sure that everyone could be good at something, if you make the rules fair. People who are not able to do one thing are often very good at something else.]]I know what you mean! There is an old soldier who sits outside the Baths, asking for food. Sometimes they have to retire, but other times that keep on working as soldiers.<%
%> He can’t see anything, but he hears everything! No-one can get near to steal his food!<%
Your soldier would be a very good hunter. You need to be very quiet and listen to the spirits of the forest.
%> He could help me track animals. We could use my eyes and his ears!<%
%> That's a bit like my slave Nabu. He is strong because he has to push me around. But he wouldn't know where to go if I didn't tell him!
%> We work better as a team. I just shout 'dexter' and 'sinister' like the soldiers when they march.
[[Oh Marcus! That’s not very nice!]]
[[Poor Nabu. It must be hard for him, looking after you if you are mean to him!]]
I suppose I should be kinder to him. I wouldn't be able to go anywhere without him.
But I think our friend, Catia, is here on Blue, now. Shall we talk to her or would you like to meet some other friends?
[[Let's stay on Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Green]][[We have a saying in my time: It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice!]][[Here in the 2020s, people who can't see sometimes have trained dogs to guide them around. They work as a team like Marcus and Nabu.]]Dogs? Do you mean like wolves? I’m not sure I’d want a wolf leading me around. They can be dangerous – and they howl!<%
Hi everyone! I'm Catia. I'm in the garden.
Hi Maelli and Mandu! Are you there?
<%story.showDelayed("mae1");%> Hi Catia. We've talked about all sorts of things. Marcus was just telling our new friend from the future about his slave, and we were thinking about how we all have different coloured hair, and eyes and skin.<%
%> It’s odd that you are a slave too. I think the whole idea is horrible. I wouldn’t want someone doing things for me all the time. It wouldn’t be much fun!<%
%> It must be awful for you, following orders and not being allowed to do what you want or go where you like. My parents are strict but only to keep me safe!<%
Hi Enica! It isn’t too bad for me, really. I live in a lovely villa. Not in the grandest rooms, though! Ours are much smaller.<%
But I am surrounded by beautiful things. It’s very comfortable – and the garden is lovely. My dad is the cook, so the food is pretty good too!
[[Hello Catia. Greetings from the future!]][[Your home sounds wonderful. Tell me more about it.]]
[[Tell me about your gardens, Catia. What do you grow?]]It is right on the south coast – near to the port that the Romans call Noviomagus. Someone on Chatterpast told me they call it 'Chichester' in the future. The house is huge – bigger than most villas, even in Rome!
It is very pretty – and really useful! My mum knows all about plants. She is teaching me the Latin names of everything as well as our own names for them. She grows fruit, vegetables and herbs in the gardens, too.
<%story.showDelayed("garden1");%> It has lots of rooms, and some of the walls and floors are all lovely and hot, even in the winter!
<%story.showDelayed("fish2");%> My brother works hard to keep fires burning so the house stays warm.
[[That must be hard work for him. Are your family's rooms heated too?]]My crannog has a nice cooking fire, too. I don’t think I’d like to live in a house made of stone! Stone is so cold. Wood, and fur, and wool are much nicer.<%story.showDelayed("fish4");%>
But don’t the floors get a bit dirty, Enica? Stone floors are much cleaner. Or they would be if our slave Rusina ever used a brush...<%story.showDelayed("fish5");%> Marcus! I thought you were going to be nice to Rusina! She sounds just like my little sister. If she is scared of you she will never be able to do her work properly.
<%story.showDelayed("fish6");%> My mistress here is very kind to me, and she shows me how to do things. It makes me want to try harder. Maybe you should try that with Rusina!
[[I think you are right, Catia. Maybe Marcus should try saying 'thank you' to Rusina a bit more often.]] [[Do you have to sweep the floors, too, Catia?]]I clean them every day! I love to sweep the floors because there are beautiful pictures on them - made from lots of tiny pieces of coloured stone.
<%story.showDelayed("mosaic1");%> Oh no – just the important rooms. But I sometimes have to go into them to clean or to serve my master and mistress. My family sleeps near the kitchens, though, so they are quite warm with all the cooking fires!
<%story.showDelayed("fish3");%> There is one with the Roman god Cupid riding on the back of an enormous fish! My dad says it’s called a ‘dolphin’. I’ve never seen one in the sea.
Here's a picture!
<img src="https://raw.githubusercontent.com/phivk/chatterpast/main/assets/img/dolphin.png ">
[[Tell me, Catia, are your parents both enslaved, too?]]
[[Tell me about your master, Catia. Is he an important man?]]Mum and Dad are slaves too, but they are both trusted to look after things here, and we are well treated compared to some of the slaves I know.
[[Are you allowed out of the villa?]]He's the leader of the local people here, the Atrebates. He’s called Togidubnus. I don’t really see much of him, but he seems OK.
[[How come you live in a Roman villa, but this ‘Toggy’-person isn’t Roman?]]We have a lot of freedom, really. We go to the market in Noviomagus every week and see all the ships in the port.
I suppose I can never go any further than that, but I like to look at all the market stalls.
[[What can you buy in the market?]]There are things from all over the world! Strange foods, spices, wine, cloth, and jewellery – and other slaves of course.
I always hope they are bought by kind owners, but I know that some are treated very badly.
<%story.showDelayed("market2");%> I could never own a person! It seems so wrong and cruel. I hope you are freed one day, Catia.
I’m not sure, Enica. If I were free, maybe I wouldn’t have such nice food – or any food at all! It can be hard to survive in the Roman towns.
My mum told me there were slaves here even before the Romans came.
Our people have always fought each other, stealing land and food – and people!<%story.showDelayed("market5");%>
My dad says the Roman Empire is huge already. Why do they have to invade Britannia, too? Do people still fight over land in the 2020s?
[[Oh yes – that hasn’t really changed at all.]]I don’t know why the Romans have to keep fighting for more land. Don’t they have enough?
<%story.showDelayed("market6");%> [[There are still people who want to rule over the whole world, or to make all the people think the same way that they do.]]
[[Sometimes they battle over land, sometimes religion, and sometimes the way people look!]]I don’t understand. We have all we need, right here in the valley.
And it would be very boring if everyone thought exactly the same as me!
But talking to my new friends on Chatterpast is making me wonder. It must be horrible to be invaded.
<%story.showDelayed("fight2");%> I’m glad I will never have to be a soldier and get sent away somewhere to kill people I don’t even know.
[[I'm glad too, Marcus. I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you]]
But even though we all like different teams we don't kill each other!
My friend Bel wants to attack the Romans where he lives, but I told him it’s no use. They are too strong – and the Roman gods are stronger than his gods.
We all have different gods – but I think some of them are the same really. In Aquae Sulis, our Roman goddess Minerva is the same as the goddess Sulis that people here worshipped before the Romans came.<%story.showDelayed("temple1");%>
We certainly do! And you’ve only met a few of us! Would you like to meet our other friends now? Maelli and Mandu are on Green and Vin and Bel are on Red. Or maybe we should say goodbye for now?
[[Let's switch to Green]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]
[[Let's say goodbye for now]]I’m hungry…I wonder when Rusina will bring me some food?
There is a big temple with a scary priest, called the haruspex. He looks for messages from the gods in the insides of dead animals!
<%story.showDelayed("temple2");%>It's because you talk so much, Marcus! Let's give our new friend in the future a chance!
<%story.showDelayed("fight8");%> [[Thanks, Catia!]]
[[Tell me more about these gods, Marcus]]
[[What do you like to eat, Marcus?]]That’s disgusting! We have a temple to Minerva and Neptune in Noviomagus. And here in the palace, there are lots of statues of Roman gods and goddesses, and pictures of them in the mosaics, like Cupid on the dolphin.
My parents prefer the old gods like Cernunnos. He has antlers and looks after things like fruit and crops. And there’s Lugh: he’s like your Roman god Mercury. My master lets us go to the festival for him every summer!
[[How about you Enica. Do you have gods too?]]We have wicked spirits too: the cuachag is a water sprite and she is always playing tricks – like hiding things so I can’t find them!
Romans have gods everywhere, too. I think they are probably all the same but with different names.
Here, our gods and goddesses are all around us, in the hills, the trees, and the loch. Our river is the home of my favourite goddess, Tava. We sometimes throw precious things into the water as offerings to her.
<%story.showDelayed("temple4");%> But I’m not sure they have much power. They didn’t help my mother, and they never seem to punish bad people – even when we write special prayers and ask for help at the temple.
[[What do you think, Catia?]]
My people’s gods only interfere when we ask them for help. I keep making offerings to them – both the old gods and the new Roman ones. But I’ve never met one!
[[It’s good that you can all believe in so many gods in lots of ways.]] I have heard stories about the Roman gods. They seem to like visiting people and messing things up for them. I think they are a bit mean.
<%story.showDelayed("gods1");%> [[In my time, people who don't think the same about things like that sometimes don’t get along very well.]][[You each have very different lives, don’t you!]]I eat most things – but not the awful porridge and ale that the Britons eat! Roman food is a bit different. I like oysters the most. They are ordered especially from Camulodunum – that’s where Maelli lives.
<%story.showDelayed("sauce");%> I’d like you to meet Bel and Vin. I’ll let them introduce themselves.
<%story.showDelayed("introred");%> The others have gone now but before I leave too, I just wanted to say thank you for chatting to us today. It is good to hear about the future and know that you care about us in the past.
[[We are very interested in you and how you lived.]]I spend most of the time at home with my grammaticus. He is really old and makes me do mathematics and grammar. He used to be a slave, too but my father freed him because he had served him well for a long time.
[[Do you really keep people enslaved, Marcus? The idea of owning another person doesn't seem right to me.]]We own a few. There is Nabu of course, and a girl, Rusonia, who is supposed to cook for us.
Her family come from a village in Gaul (you call it France, I think).
Her parents were so poor that they couldn’t look after her and they sold her to my father. She never speaks. And she keeps running away!
[[That’s sad, Marcus. I hope you treat Nabu and Rusonia well.]]I treat them better since I have been talking to my friends on Chatterpast. Have you met Catia? She is a slave, and after talking to her, I realised that she is no different to me, really. She was born enslaved - it just happened like that. It could have been me!
<%story.showDelayed("slave2");%> And my other friend, Maelli, told me about some of the slaves she knows. Some of her family were captured and taken away by Roman soldiers.
Nabu is really more my friend than my slave. He helps me a lot and we play checkers together. He is clever and has learnt Latin and Greek. I think he would be a good Roman citizen. Maybe one day I’ll be able to free him.
[[I hope so, Marcus.]] [[Rusonia is probably very frightened and missing her mum and dad.]][[Maybe you and Nabu could teach her some Latin so that she could talk to you?]]Great idea – you could use the Chatterpast tablet so she could understand! Being able to talk really helps us get to know each other better.
OK, Enica – I’ll give it a try.
Nabu sounds nice. But some slaves have horrid lives. Maelli told us.
[[Enslavement is a terrible thing. Who is Maelli?]]
But I think Catia is here, now. She will be able to tell you more about what it’s like being owned by someone. Would you like to meet her? She lives in a palace!
[[Let's stay on Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Green]]You can talk to her on the Green channel if you like.
<%story.showDelayed("slave5");%> I quite like that I'm not the same as everyone else. I once saw a traveller with really curly white hair and a very long beard. Do people in your time all have brown hair?
[[No, people in the 2020s all look very different to each other too.]]
[[Our skin, hair, and eyes are all different colours (and sometimes we change them!) and we are all shapes and sizes, just like in your time.]]A couple of kids think that because I don't look like them, I might be a water spirit and have magical powers.
[[Really? It’s sad but certain people in my time still sometimes treat others differently because of the way we think they look. I love your red hair, Enica!]][[Marcus - do you look like your father?]]I suppose so. People say we look alike! My father came from Greece but he travelled around a lot.
<%story.showDelayed("empire1");%> The Roman Empire is enormous. The army has conquered lots of people. My grammaticus told me about a place called Africa where people have really dark skin, the colour of ripe olives – (I really like olives!) – and if you travel a long way to the east, the people look different there, too.
<%story.showDelayed("empire1a");%> Nabu's skin is the colour of a hen’s egg!
<%story.showDelayed("empire3");%> I used to think that the Britons looked a bit scary with their long hair and big moustaches - but now I know a few of them, I think they are OK.
Our friend Vin looks different too. His hair is the colour of wheat – and his face goes pink in the summer!
<%story.showDelayed("empire5");%> He’s on the Red channel if you would like to chat with him. Or our friend Catia has joined us on Blue.
[[Let's stay on Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]I like the rosemary – the Latin is ‘Salvia rosmarinus’ – because it smells good.
<%story.showDelayed("garden2");%> There are long hedges everywhere that I used to hide behind when I was little!
<%story.showDelayed("garden2a");%> Some of them don’t normally grow this far north because it's too cold and wet, but my mum looks after them well. We have peas, celery and cabbages – and garlic, which is very smelly.
<%story.showDelayed("garden4");%> I don’t think any of those grew here before my master ordered them to be planted.
<%story.showDelayed("garden5");%> That sounds amazing, Catia. And very tasty!
[[What do you like to eat, Marcus?]]And everything tastes better with garum – that’s a fish sauce. We have to import that from Rome.
<%story.showDelayed("food1");%> I like hazelnuts. There are loads around the loch so I’m never hungry! But my favourite is cloudberries. They grow in the hills quite a long way from here, but it’s worth the walk because they are delicious.
<%story.showDelayed("food2");%> My mum makes nice cheese too, from the milk our goat gives us. She has a special wooden dish that my dad made. It’s my job to milk the goat.
[[How about you, Catia?]]I am lucky here because my dad is the cook so I get to taste all kinds of things!
My master also likes to drink wine and we use an awful lot of olive oil. Those come to the port on the ships from far across Oceanus.
<%story.showDelayed("food4");%> We sometimes get spices, too, from lands far away. They make my tongue sizzle!
<%story.showDelayed("food6");%> We all seem to like different things. I don’t think I would want to try your fish sauce, Marcus, or your garlic, Catia. But maybe the plums and cherries.
<%story.showDelayed("food7");%> I wish we could all meet and bring food to share!
[[Now I’m hungry too!]][[I can tell you that some of that Roman food will be around for a long time...but maybe not the fish sauce. We prefer sauce made with tomatoes!]]
[[You each have very different lives, don’t you!]]You say it ‘toggi-dub-nuss’! He thinks he is Roman! My mum says he might as well be. He even has some Roman names: ‘Tiberius Claudius Togidubnus’!
<%story.showDelayed("toggy1");%> I think he was friends with the Roman Emperor before the army invaded, and he helped the army when they came. Now he runs the place for the Roman leaders. I think the house was his reward.
[[He sounds very important. How is it that he owns you? Are your mum and dad enslaved?]]
My mum and dad both belong to the Atrebates people, but they were born in Gaul (I think you call it France), across Oceanus.
<%story.showDelayed("toggy2");%> They were each enslaved when the Romans attacked, and they met in the slave market. They were bought together and then sent here as a gift for Togidubnus!
[[So are you an Atrebates person too?]]
I was born here at the villa, so I’m not sure!
<%story.showDelayed("toggy3");%>Mum and Dad try to tell me about their history and traditions, but I mostly live in a Roman way now. I just know that I belong to Togidubnus.
<%story.showDelayed("toggy4");%>Maybe one day I will be able to save up enough wages to buy my freedom – my dad has almost done that. Or perhaps my master will free me if I work really, really, hard.
[[I hope so, Catia. Everyone deserves their freedom!]]Marcus! I keep telling you that you need to be kinder to Rusina. I'm sure her food isn't so bad!
Or you could marry! My uncle freed his slave so he could marry her! Maybe I’ll marry our slave Rusina ...but she won’t even talk to me! And she makes awful food.
I think she makes the food that she used to eat in her old home. There isn't enough salt!
Maybe you like salt more than she does, Marcus! Have you talked to her about it?
You are right, Enica. Maybe I'll try and explain to her.
I hadn’t really thought much about her until I met you and Catia. Now I try to be nice and say ‘Thank you’, even when the food isn't very tasty.
That’s good, Marcus! Do you have slaves in the 2020s, future person?
[[I’m afraid we do – although the enslavement of people has been banned in Britain for almost 200 years.]]I’d like to do those things too! But I get tired just walking to my couch in the dining room.
<%story.showDelayed("free3");%> [[Around the world, there are lots of enslaved peopled!]][[Sometimes even children are made to work for no pay or to marry people they don't want to.]]It’s sad that it has lasted so long! I know there are still slaves in Marcus’ time, but I was hoping that my children’s children would eventually be free.
I’d like them to see the whole world - like Enica saw from her mountain. I would love to climb up high or sail on a ship and maybe see one of those dolphin fish!
<%story.showDelayed("free2");%> And my father doesn’t let me go anywhere on my own. You are so lucky, Enica!
<%story.showDelayed("free4");%> I suppose I am. There are no Romans around here just now (no offence, Marcus!). Just bears and wolves!
[[You each have very different lives, don’t you!]][[But sometimes we have exaggerated ideas about the past, because, like you, we like stories to be exciting and find it easier to have very good people set against very bad people, when the reality is a bit more complicated.]][[By talking with you and your friends I’ve learnt that life in the past was just as mixed up as it is in my time – things are never straightforward!]]
We’re all a bit different - but that’s what makes it fun. Chatting means I understand better why they think the way they do.
<%story.showDelayed("end2");%> That’s true! My friends have taught me that there are lots of ways of being ‘Roman’ or being ‘Iron Age’ (I still think that’s a daft name for my time!) – they all seem to have bits of both.
<%story.showDelayed("end1");%> But I’m quite glad that I don’t have to worry about being invaded or getting enslaved here on my loch!
[[You know, some people in my time often use the past to explain their views.]][[I’m sure that if they talked to people like you, they might not do that so much!]]Yes. And they might realise that being different isn’t such a bad thing! It can be good to be different – and to meet people who are different to you, whether they are from the past, present or future!
<%story.showDelayed("end3");%> I really must go now and get the eggs, but come back soon and we’ll chat again 😊
<%story.showDelayed("end4");%> [[Sometimes, when they build a new border, they talk about the big wall near Mandu's home, or when a country is invaded, they might mention the Roman Empire.]] Hello Enica. We're both here. Do you like my new dress? My mum is very good at stitching!
I'm here, Enica! Isn't Maelli's dress nice? I like the blue trims! My mum makes things for me, too. Sometimes she sells them to the soldiers' wives here. They like our bright colours.
Here's a picture.
<%story.showDelayed("manpic");%> [[Where and when do you each live?]]Maelli here. You say that ‘May-lee’. Future people keep calling me ‘My-lee’! They told me there is a famous person in your time called that – but I don’t think I’m very much like her!
<%story.showDelayed("mae3");%> I live in Camulodunon. I think in your time it is called Colchester? We worked out that my time is about 20 summers before the Romans come and stay here.
<%story.showDelayed("mae4");%> But my people have lived here for a long, long time - before things were written down and the years were counted. <%story.showDelayed("mae5");%> My village is in the south, near the sea where the ships come from Gaul. It’s a long way from where Mandu lives and even further from Enica’s loch.
[[Lovely to meet you Maelli. How about you, Mandu?]]
I live around 200 summers after the Romans arrived in the south – a bit later than Maelli and a long time after Enica. It’s sad to think that they are both long gone in my time, but I sometimes wonder if I might meet Maelli’s great, great grandchildren one day.<%story.showDelayed("man3");%> I live in a place called Vindolanda, about halfway up Britannia. There is a big Roman fortress here, and we are very close to the big wall that goes right across the land from one sea to the other.<%story.showDelayed("man4");%> Enica is the only one of my friends who lives on the other side of the wall. It’s good to hear from her about the world up there. It sounds very different to life here in the fort!
<%story.showDelayed("man5");%> Future person, is there anything you’d like to ask Maelli and Mandu?
[[Yes, lots!]][[Maelli – you mentioned the Romans. Do you know much about them?]]
[[Mandu – you live at Vindolanda. Are you a Roman?]]I never met one – except for Marcus and Mandu. Their fathers are both Roman citizens even though they don't come from Rome. They have told me lots about how the Roman people live.
<%story.showDelayed("mae6");%> I’m pretty much Roman I think - my dad and my grandad are both Roman citizens, and we live in the Roman fort.
<%story.showDelayed("man6");%> My grandma remembers when Julius Caesar tried to invade, but that was a while ago. Our leader, King Cunobelinus is friends with the Romans. He even puts the word ‘Rex’ on his coins – that means ‘king’ in the Roman language.
The merchants in the port buy lots of things from the Romans – like pottery and wine, and we sell them grain, iron, silver, salt, and hunting dogs.
<%story.showDelayed("mae8");%> And slaves. But sometimes they just take those.
[[Goodness! That is terrible! You must be frightened!]]I am. But I will be a grown up when the Romans invade us again. I think I will learn how to defend myself before then. And maybe I will get a big hunting dog to chase them if they come near me!<%story.showDelayed("dog1");%> I have a hunting dog but she is a puppy! She is called Lupa. She was the smallest of a litter that my dad bred so he let me keep her. He says hunting dogs from Britannia are the best in the world!
<%story.showDelayed("dog2");%> We have wolves here in the forests. I’m not sure I’d want to get very close to one! They howl and snarl and bite!
<%story.showDelayed("dog3");%>Maelli, you mentioned 'coins' earlier. What is a ‘coin’? I’ve never seen one!
[[Yes, Maelli. Tell us about your coins]]Sorry, Enica. I forget that things are different in your time. Coins are small discs made from gold, silver and bronze. They have little pictures on them, and a few letters. I like the ones with horses.
<%story.showDelayed("coin1");%>Sometimes they have people’s faces on them - but I’m not sure they really look like that!
<%story.showDelayed("coin2");%>It must be hard to make a picture look like a real person! Our Chatterpast tablets are like magic – making pictures for us!
[[I had never seen a real person from so far in the past before I chatted to you!]] Really? I didn’t know what I looked like until I saw my Chatterpast picture! In the loch, my face looks all wrinkled.
<%story.showDelayed("coin4");%>Maelli, coins sound nice to look at - but what are they for?
Dad once showed me a coin with the face of our king on it. I’ve only seen him from a distance, so I don’t know if the picture was very good.
<%story.showDelayed("coin7");%>Our rulers exchange them as gifts, and sometimes they are buried in the ground as offerings to the gods.
[[Do you have a lot?]]
We have coins at Vindolanda too – but they are used to buy things. And the soldiers get paid with coins. I think the Commander is rich because he has lots of them in a special room guarded by a soldier.
<%story.showDelayed("coin8");%>Do you have coins in the 2020s? Are you rich?
[[Yes, we do have coins but no, I’m not rich!]][[We pay for things with coins like you, Mandu, or give them as gifts.]] [[But recently people have found a way to use the same power that makes our tablets work to buy things, and we don’t really need coins anymore.]][[Mandu, tell me more about the big wall.]]But I enjoy spending time with my grandmother’s people, the Brigantes, and they like to live mostly as they did before the Romans came.
[[Where do they live, Mandu?]]
He met my grandma in Vindolanda and they settled here. Grandad became a cobbler, making shoes and sandals.
My mum and my Uncle Secundus were both born here at Vindolanda.
Uncle Secundus is a soldier too.
[[I thought that being Roman meant you came from Rome!]]
They sent their leader to the fort to talk to the Commander but it was no good. The Roman builders like to go in straight lines if they can!
And the Commander said that the villagers could all move to the south of the wall if they wanted to be protected by the soldiers.
[[That must have been a difficult decision]]
Some of them live on the other side of the Roman wall so I don’t see them very often. The wall went right through the middle of their land, and they got separated from us!
[[That's awful, Mandu! They must have been furious!]]
Didn't the Brigantes people try to stop them, Mandu?
<%story.showDelayed("wall1");%> My mum and dad argue about it a lot!
My dad says it's not about fighting the northern peoples. He says that they just want to control who comes and goes. You know - to make them pay taxes and stuff.
Having the soldiers around makes me feel safe. But I think most people coming here just want to sell things to the soldiers. My grandma says it was different when the Romans first came.
I can’t imagine being around all those fierce warriors. It must be scary living in a fort!
<%story.showDelayed("wall5");%> I can’t believe that Romans soldiers are going to come back here and this time they will stay!
I don’t think many of the soldiers here actually come from Rome!
[[And I didn't know that people born in Britain could join the Roman Army!]]I think that anyone who is not enslaved can join, wherever they come from. But they have to be the right age, and strong enough - and they have to pass a test. My uncle is very clever and very tall!
<%story.showDelayed("wall4");%> I know that it won’t be for a few years yet, but I’m worried about my children and grandchildren in the future.
Maybe I will leave Camulodunum and go far away to the north. Mandu says that the Romans aren’t as strong beyond their wall.
[[I’m sorry, Maelli. It must be hard for you thinking about what might happen in your part of Britannia.]]
It goes all the way from one sea to the other! There was already a road right across so that the soldiers could get around quickly and control us. My home, Vindolanda, is on that road. <%story.showDelayed("wall8");%>
[[Some of the people who want to come to live here are escaping from wars and hunger. Others would like to be free to live as they want to.]]
I think I understand. There must be a lot more people in your time!
Your Britannia must be a good place to live if so many want to move there.
[[It is mostly pretty good, Mandu, although we have our problems. And yes, there are millions of people here now!]]But then the soldiers built a stone wall, with forts all the way along it. It isn't far from here. It’s as tall as the trees and even wider than our road!
<%story.showDelayed("wall9");%> My dad told me it will help the soldiers know who comes in and out. There are gates in the wall, so we can visit my grandma’s village on the other side.
<%story.showDelayed("wall10");%>It takes ages to get through all the checks when we come back – the soldiers are very careful who they let through, and we have to pay them, so we don’t go very often but it's fun when we do. There are lots of traders around the gates.
[[It sounds as though the wall divides people, but maybe also connects them because everyone has to pass through at the same places!]]
I bet the Roman soldiers won’t know how to find their way around our mountains and forests! Mandu says they like to go in straight lines, but we don’t have any here!
Mandu, didn't you say that there will be an important battle not far from my loch, where your mother's ancestors had to go and defend their land?
<%story.showDelayed("cal3");%> But I suppose land is important to my people, the Trinovantes, too. My grandma remembers when the Catuvellauni people from the west took some of our territories from them, but a Roman leader came and set everything straight. <%story.showDelayed("cuno3");%> Later, the Catuvellauni leader, Cunobelinus, married the daughter of our leader Addedomarus – I'm sorry about all the long names!
<%story.showDelayed("cuno4");%> Then Addedomarus died – his burial mound is so high it blocks out the sun!
<%story.showDelayed("cuno5");%> That's right, Enica. A great leader called Calgacus brought all the northern peoples together. They were defeated, but the Romans lost control of the land there and retreated south.
<%story.showDelayed("cal4");%> I’m pleased the northern people won in the end, Mandu, and I’m also happy that your ancestors were OK – or maybe you wouldn’t be here talking to me! It’s good that your mum married your dad even though he is a Roman soldier and her family once fought against the Roman army - or will do in my future!
[[You are right, Enica. We shouldn't blame people in the present for things that happened long ago in the past.]]
I don't like the idea that my people won’t be allowed to travel where they want to in the future. I’m not surprised that they will resist the Roman invasion and do everything they can to keep their land.
<%story.showDelayed("cal1");%> I still don't understand why the Romans built their wall, Mandu. They must like to be in control of everything!
And now Cunobelinus is our leader too, and there is no more fighting. He still has to pay taxes to the Roman emperor though. Is it like that in the 2020s?
[[Not quite, but we still have borders and have to pay taxes!]] [[In my time, some people want to come here to Britain: there is no war here, and people can be free to think and say what they want...most of the time!]]It must be nice to meet lots of people from different places. I see travellers from all over in our port.
<%story.showDelayed("port1");%> I like to look at their interesting faces and their colourful clothes, and to listen to them talking!
<%story.showDelayed("port2");%> I don’t know what they say but I watch them trading and somehow they manage to make each other understand – even without Chatterpast! I suppose we all know what a nod or smile means.
<%story.showDelayed("words1");%> I know what you mean! There are lots of languages and different accents here, too.
<%story.showDelayed("words2");%> My Uncle Secundus is teaching me Latin. He gave me my tablet to practice on. I don’t think he realised it was a special Chatterpast one!
<%story.showDelayed("words3");%> Girls aren’t really supposed to go to school, but I wanted to learn what all the letters meant.
[[That's great, Mandu. Girls should be able to go to school, just like boys!]]
[[Tell me more about your languages.]]
[[Are girls and boys treated very differently?]]My dad knows some Latin. He needs to, to make his coins. He has to make sure the letters are in the right order! He taught me how to count like the Romans do, with I’s and V’s and X’s. I tried drawing them on my tablet.
<%story.showDelayed("words4");%> Well, I wouldn’t be able to join the army like my dad and my uncle! I’d like to ride horses, but Dad says I’m not very good at following orders...and I wouldn’t want to be sent into battle against Enica’s people!
<%story.showDelayed("gen1");%> Around the loch we all understand each other. My dad isn’t from here, and he says the same words as me and my mum, but in a funny way. And he has a few special words for things that we don’t know!
<%story.showDelayed("words5");%> If people come up the river from further away, we sometimes can't tell what they are saying! But I like to find out what is happening everywhere, so I try to learn new words. My friends on Chatterpast have told me a few.
Does everyone speak the Roman language, Latin, in the 2020s? The Romans were around for such a long time!
[[No, no-one really speaks Latin anymore! Although some people learn it so that they can understand things written in the past.]]
[[The language spoken the most here is ‘English’, which is made up of lots of different languages, including Latin, and some of the words that you use. Lots of people came to settle here after the Romans left and they all brought new words!]]
[[But there are lots of other languages too, spoken by the different people who live here today.]][[Do you think you would all understand each other without Chatterpast?]]
[[Do you know how to write words?]]We wouldn’t understand Marcus very well because he only speaks Latin.
<%story.showDelayed("lang1");%> I don’t. The Chatterpast table just seems to read my thoughts and then lots of strange symbols appear. It’s doing it now! Then when someone replies, I just seem to know in my head what the symbols mean. It’s very clever!
<%story.showDelayed("letter1");%> I think Maelli wants to be a warrior and fight the Romans when she is older, don’t you Maelli!
<%story.showDelayed("gen2");%> All the important Roman leaders seem to be men. We have queens, too, and they are just as good as our kings.
[[We have some women leading us here in the 2020s too. But it wasn't always like that.]]
I do! Mandu, it was when you told me about that Queen called Boudicca who will live not far from me one day. She will be very brave and lead many of the southern peoples against the Romans when they demand more taxes and take their land.
<%story.showDelayed("gen3");%> Mandu, you said that will happen around 20 summers after the Roman army comes, so about 40 summers from now. I will be too old, by then, to join her - but I want to do everything I can to help. <%story.showDelayed("gen4");%> Some of our leaders in my time are women, too. But at home, my mum and dad mostly divide up the work between them. They both look after the wheat, and the animals.
<%story.showDelayed("jobs2");%> It’s my job to spin the wool from the sheep, and to milk the goat. My dad built our crannog – he knows all about wood. He told me that you have to use the right kind of tree for each thing. I would like to build a crannog myself when I am older.
<%story.showDelayed("jobs4");%> [[For a long time, girls could only become queen if they had no brothers when their father or mother died. Boys always came first.]]
[[But we have still had some very important queens. Our current queen, Elizabeth, has ruled for over 70 summers!]]Wow! She must be very, very old! I don't know anyone that old!
<%story.showDelayed("jobs1");%> My mum looked after me when I was very little, but now we all share the chores. I think my mum catches more fish than my dad, and her weaving and sewing is neater – but my dad makes great cheese from the goats’ milk.
<%story.showDelayed("jobs3");%> Do men and women do different jobs in your time and place, future person?
[[You all have such very busy lives! In my time and place, we are trying to make it so that men and woman can both do whatever they would like to do and are treated the same.]]
[[But it wasn’t like that in the past, and we still have a lot to improve..]]
[[Not too long ago, women weren’t allowed to own land or houses, and only men could choose our leaders. And women who got married often had to give up their jobs and look after their families instead!]]
Some boys can be annoying, but some are OK! Have you met Marcus, and Vin and Bel? They probably think we girls are annoying too, sometimes!
<%story.showDelayed("boys2");%>I'm glad girls can go to school!
[[Women can join the army if they want to – and they are very good at being soldiers. They can be doctors, or teachers, or artists, or traders, or explorers. Having choices is very important to us.]]
[[But in some cases, and in other parts of the world things are very different - girls still aren’t allowed to go to school and their lives have more restrictions than those of men.]]
I’m glad things are getting more equal in your world. But it’s awful that in some situations and in some places girls have a more difficult life! We should all have a chance to try things, and to find out what we are good at. In my time, we don't have schools - we just learn by doing things.
<%story.showDelayed("boys");%> That doesn't sound very fair!
[[But now things are much more equal, at least here in Britain. All girls should go to school and can do pretty much whatever job they like.]]You can talk to them on the other channels if you want to.
Marcus is on the Blue channel, and Vin and Bel are on Red. Or you could stay with us on Green...
[[Let's stay on Green]]
[[Let's switch to Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]
Thanks for staying on Green! There's still so much to talk about!
[[It's really interesting finding out about you all]]Hi Erica! Marcus here. You still chatting?
This is me in my favourite chair!
I know some Latin words from my dad and my uncle, but they say them differently to Marcus! I could help translate, because I know the language that my mum's Brigante people use. Enica's language is a lot like that - but she sounds a bit different. Maybe it's because she is quite far away and lives a long time ago.
I think Vin is like me, and knows some Latin as well as his own people's words. But Bel refuses to learn any Latin words!
<%story.showDelayed("lang3");%> Without Chatterpast it would be hard to know what everyone is saying! But I like to listen to different voices so it might be fun to learn their ways of talking.
<%story.showDelayed("lang4");%> I don’t think I should have to learn Latin! The Roman soldiers could learn our languages too! It’s good to hear that you have new languages in the future – and that English includes some of our words. Do you know any?
[[We still use some of your words for things in the landscape. We use ‘torr’ for hills, and ‘carr’ for rocks.]]
[[And some animal names too: like ‘brock’ for badger and ‘hog’ for pig, and ‘ass’ for donkey. I hope Chatterpast translated those properly!]]
[[And in some places, farmers still use your words to count their sheep! Enica, I think you might recognise ‘Yan, tan, tether’?]]I do! Our words aren't quite the same, but then my dad’s words are different too. I know all the counting words up to ‘giggot’ (my dad says ‘jigget’!) – you call that ‘twenty’.
<%story.showDelayed("numbers1");%> Roman counting is really hard – all those different letters. I get very confused about what order they go in.
<%story.showDelayed("numbers2");%> I know! My dad showed them to me on his coins. I prefer our old numbers. They are like yours Enica, but our ‘twenty’ is ‘wikanti’ – it sounds a bit similar!
<%story.showDelayed("numbers3");%> My mum uses counting words for her weaving and knitting. She has rhymes that she sings. We all have different things to count, and we each do it in our own way!
<%story.showDelayed("numbers4");%> I’m glad some of the future people still use our counting words! It’s nice that you value some things from my time, just like we respect our ancestors from long ago.
[[We certainly do! We even have big buildings called 'museums' where people can go and see things from a long time ago – even from before your time, Enica.]]
I see that some of our other friends have come onto Chatterpast now. Catia and Marcus are on the Blue channel, and Bel and Vin and on Red. Would you like to talk to them (I will come and introduce you) or would you like to stay here on Green?
[[Let's stay on Green]]
[[Let's switch to Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]
I am learning my letters and I practice making them in the wax. But I do the same as Enica – I just send my thoughts!
<%story.showDelayed("letter2");%> When my dad showed me his coins I tried copying the marks with a stick in the dirt. It was hard to do the round ones. Do you know all the letters, future person?
[[In my time, we all learn how to write when we go to school. But we write on something call ‘paper’, which is made from trees! And we use something called a ‘pen’ to make the marks.]]
I think if I’d met my friends Bel or Marcus for real, I would have been a bit scared to talk to them. But now we have chatted I know that even though they are not exactly like me, that's OK!
<%story.showDelayed("letter4");%> [[But lately, people have started making letters by pressing buttons so that they appear on something like the Chatterpast tablet.]]
[[I’ve never been able to just ‘think’ and have my words appear! Maybe in the future everyone will chat like this!]]It’s fun, isn’t it! When we understand each other it’s easier to explain things and to make friends.
<%story.showDelayed("letter3");%> They are fun to hang out with. And we are all scared of the same things! And we all laugh at the same things!
[[Yes, I know what you mean. Talking to people can really make you think differently.]]
I’m scared of the dark. My lamp makes shadows on the walls and I think bad spirits have come to attack me. But I know my hound, Lupa will protect me!
My Uncle Secundus makes me laugh. He does squeaky voices, paints his face, and says he's a wild barbarian from the far north! He calls them 'Brittunculi' - but I think that's a bit rude!
[[I'd love to hear the songs your mum sings, Maelli. Do you like music?]]Mum has a very nice voice. She used to sing to me when I was little. I like songs with stories in them. They are sometimes about people long ago and the adventures they had.
<%story.showDelayed("music1");%> [[I’m really enjoying chatting with you and your friends – I want to go and find out more about your times and the places you lived.]]
[[But first tell me more about those things that scare you and those that make you laugh.]][[What are you scared of?]]
[[What makes you laugh?]]I heard about those from another future person. They said that in the 2020s there is a museum house near to where my crannog is! They saw my paddle and my whistle! And my mum's butter dish!
That's funny! Who wants to look at old sandals!
[[Well, we try to find out about how people lived and what they thought by looking at what they left behind!]]
Oh yes! Someone I chatted with told me there is a place like that at Vindolanda too! They said they saw lots of sandals on a wall! Why do people want to look at those? I wonder if any of them were mine? I did once lose one at the baths...
<%story.showDelayed("mus2");%> He keeps it tied around his neck. He says the spirit of his ancestor is in the stone and it helps him when he goes fishing or hunting.
[[Usually, we have to dig in the ground to find things, and not much is left after all those years. The objects we discover - even old sandals - are very precious.]]
[[They give us a special connection with the people who made them or wore them.]]
That sounds a bit like when we keep things that belonged to our ancestors. My dad has a special stone that was made by his great great grandfather.
<%story.showDelayed("mus3");%> It's good to know that my grandmother's traditions will be known about in the future, even though so much has changed here since the Romans came.
Have we changed your mind about the past?
[[Yes! Now that I've met you, I can see that we can understand a lot about what's happening in our own time by finding out what went on in yours.]][[To be honest, I used to think that the past was just piles of stones and bones - all over and done with - and that we should just look forward. I didn't realise how much of who we are today started so long ago!]] I'm so pleased that we can help. Maybe talking to us will change what you think about some things in the 2020s?
<%story.showDelayed("link1");%>I can’t sing, but I do have a whistle! My dad made it for me from a piece of wood. I’m supposed to use it if I get lost. It’s very loud and scares away all the animals! But I can make different sounds with it, too. I try to copy the birds I hear.
<%story.showDelayed("music2");%> Here in Vindolanda, the soldiers have trumpets and horns. They are so noisy I have to put my hands over my ears! But sometimes groups of musicians come to the fort and perform for the Commander’s family. I listened by the door, once! Do you have music in the 2020s future friend?
[[Yes! We still have music. It’s nice to sing and play together, and to listen, too.]] [[I think all people like some kind of music, wherever and whenever they live. It makes us feel connected to one another.]] Yes. My grandma sings songs too. She says her grandmas taught them to her! She is very old. She has seen more than 40 summers!
<%story.showDelayed("grandma");%> [[Thanks so much for chatting but with me, everyone, but I really need to go now.]]Are you sure? Maybe you would like to meet our other friends now? Marcus and Catia are on Blue and Vin and Bel are on Red. Or we should say goodbye for now and talk again soon?
[[Let's switch to Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Red]]
[[Let's say goodbye for now]]I’m a bit scared of the dark too. But I worry about being cold if the winter is bad, and being hungry if the crops fail, or my mum and dad get sick.
[[That is frightening, Maelli. I hope this is a good year for you and your family.]]
I used to be frightened of falling into the loch in the dark! Sometimes I just have to go outside – if you know what I mean! And the wolves howl at night.
<%story.showDelayed("scared3");%>But my dad taught me how to find my way by feeling different parts of the crannog, and wolves don’t like getting wet :)
[[It must help to be able to talk about your worries with your friends.]]
[[I feel like I’m starting to understand you all much better now.]]We're getting to know you, too!
[[That's good!]]I laugh when my grandad chases me. He pretends to be a Roman with a wooden sword and he puts a bucket on his head for a helmet! He is a rubbish soldier and he looks very funny!
<%story.showDelayed("laugh2");%>I laugh when my little brother gets cloudberry juice all over his face! He looks like a painted warrior, ready for battle!
[[It’s good that you have time to laugh! But maybe not if it’s unkind to other people?]] [[I'm sure that you wouldn’t like it if they made fun of you – especially if they didn’t really know you properly.]]You are right. I don't like it when the other kids on the loch make fun of my red hair!
[[That must be hard for you, Enica. But don't worry. Your lovely red hair will make people remember you. I have a feeling you will be well known on your loch one day!]]Thanks, future friend! That makes me feel better.
[[That's good!]]Hi Enica. Who is your new friend? Someone else from the future?
[[Hello, I’m from the 2020s. Are you Bel or Vin? And when and where do you live?]]
I’m Belicianus. Prince Belicianus. But you can call me Bel. Everyone else does...
Here's a picture:
I live about 300 summers after you future people start counting. Or at least that’s what Enica and Marcus told me. They are better at numbers than I am. But I’m better at shooting things with my sling!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel2");%> I live in the west, not far from the sea. My family are one of the most important around here. We live on a steep hill with big walls to protect us.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin1");%> Bel, I keep telling you that you don’t need protection from the Romans. They are OK, really.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin2");%> Hello future person, I’m Vin – that’s short for Vindicianus, but I prefer Vin. This is me with a naughty piglet!
He built a big stone villa and took over our farms. Some of our houses were pulled down to make way! But he is a nice man – and very clever – and we all work on the estate now. I have learnt a lot. We are still Brigantes but our village is much better now. We should look forwards, not backwards like Bel does!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin5");%> I live right in the middle of Britannia, near to Eboracum. I think you call that 'York'? Here, it’s 225 summers after the Romans came. My home is a small village that was here long before they arrived. My people are the Brigantes.
[[Ah! You must be in Yorkshire. That is a lovely place.]]
These Romans are odd, Vin. Some of them sound really cruel – invading and owning people – but some of them, like Marcus, and Mandu’s family, and your master, sound OK.
[[I think that each Roman person was probably different, Enica – some were cruel and some were kinder.]] [[And don’t forget that things changed a lot from when the soldiers first arrived and some people were very unhappy, to when Vin lives and things became more peaceful.]][[Bel, are there Romans near to you? Why do you need protection on your hill top?]]
[[Vin, what have you learnt on the farm?]]Yes, the Romans are here – down the valley in their big square fortress.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel3");%> I watched the Roman builders when they built the villa. It was a bit more complicated than our houses - and square instead of round. But I think I could make one if I tried.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin6");%> My parents say I have to be polite to them because they have made an agreement to stay away from our home if we do. If I were in charge, I would gather the warriors together and chase the silly red-skirts away!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel4");%> My ancestors have ruled this land for many generations. The Demetae were once a proud people but now look at us – kneeling to people who march around wearing hats and with straps on their feet!
[[Maybe your parents are worried about your future and want you to be safe?]]Maybe. My father’s people in Ireland, the Deisi, keep threatening to attack. Perhaps the Romans would help us if they did.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel5");%> My father was a famous warrior in Ireland, but he was exiled after he killed his brother. I sometimes get annoyed with my brothers too – but I would never hurt them.
[[It sounds like the Romans being around might make your Irish enemies think twice about an attack. Maybe your parents are right?]]You should listen to the future person, Bel. They may know things that you don’t!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel7");%> You might be right, but I still think I should stand up for my people. My mother’s family have ruled these lands since well before the red-skirts marched here in their silly shoes.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel8");%> I spied on them at drill but they didn’t catch me!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel9");%> I stole my Chatterpast tablet from their guard room as a dare. I didn’t know what it was until Enica started chattering at me!
[[Have you enjoyed talking with your new friends, Bel?]]
I suppose so. Enica is so lucky that she will never see any Romans. But I worry about Maelli.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel11");%> I keep warning Catia and Vin that they have almost turned into Romans! And Marcus and Mandu – well, I suppose they are OK. At least they don’t parade around and follow orders like silly sheep!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel12");%> You are so stubborn, Bel! You won’t admit that you really like Marcus and Mandu! Some Roman people are friendly and helpful! I think you have to get to know each person.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel14");%> Enica asks too many questions - and talks too much!
But she is usually right about things, even though she lives such a long time ago.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel13");%> But it’s easy for me to say that from 500 summers before they come and I do understand how you feel about your people. I would feel the same if anyone ever invaded my loch, too – or if they captured my family and sent them away.
[[I can tell that your history is important to you, Bel. Do you know much about your people?]]I come from a long line of rulers of the Demetae people. The story tellers say that we have held this western corner of the islands for as long as anyone can recall.
[[Do you know any stories?]]
My people love stories. The ancestors raised enormous stones – there is one near my home - where they buried their dead and worshipped our gods, like Mabon and his magical horse, and Arawn, King of the Otherworld.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel15");%> Now the Romans tell us these are the same as their gods. But they are not!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel16");%>My people had great riches, once. There is gold in the mountains not far from here. My torc – that’s the band around my neck – is a made from that gold.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel17");%>It was given to me by my grandmother. She had it from her grandmother, and many generations before her. It is very ancient! Now the Romans have stolen our gold. They don’t treat the mountains with respect like my people did – they just rip the rocks open and take what they want.
<%story.showDelayed("Bel18");%>I’m sorry about your mountains, Bel. The spirits must be very angry. But it’s good that your ancestor stones are still standing. I think maybe the Romans are a little afraid of those places.
[[You may be right, Enica. What do you think, Vin?]]He likes stories though. He is always busy reading his scrolls and building new things. Once, he told me about a monster called Medusa who turned people to stone!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel20");%>Maybe. My master doesn’t seem to spend time celebrating Roman gods, and doesn’t like us to take too much time for our own feast days. He says we drink too much ale and no work gets done!
<%story.showDelayed("Bel19");%>[[A lot of the big stones are still standing in my time, too Bel. And your mountains are still there.]] [[People in my time still take things from the world without thinking about the future, but we are learning that we can’t keep doing that. The area where the remains of your houses are is now protected by laws, so no-one can damage them any more.]]
There is a picture of the monster on the big mosaic on the floor in the villa. Bel, maybe the Romans think your big stones are really people who once met Medusa!
[[Ah, yes! I think that mosaic survived to my time! It’s in a place called a museum, where lots of people can see it now.]] I’m learning loads, too! Chatterpast is great!
<%story.showDelayed("eggs1");%> [[I’m learning so much from you all]]The walls went deep into the ground, and they made a space under the floor. That’s where the hot air from the fire goes, so that the floor is always warm. I feel sorry for the boy who has to keep the fire going!
[[Yes, that would be a tough job! What is your own home like?]]In my roundhouse we have an earth floor, but we put straw down, so it isn’t too bad.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin7");%> I have to admit, that does sound good. I have to fetch water from the stream at the bottom of our hill and carry it all the way to the top! I don’t think that a prince ought to do stuff like that, but my father says it will make me strong.
[[He's right, Bel!]]
We have a thatched roof to keep out the rain and snow. The Roman builders used flat clay tiles on their roof. I watched them make the tiles. It seemed like a lot of work but the villa roof doesn’t leak at all. It must be nice to be dry and warm all day.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin8");%> Maybe you need to fix the roof on your roundhouse, Vin. My house isn’t made of stone, but it is dry and warm! Tell the future person about the water, Vin! I think that is so interesting!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin9");%> OK! The Romans can make water go anywhere! They build channels to take it from the wells, and send it all around the farm. They love water – they even like to sit in it!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin10");%> And they can make it hot, too, like their floors. It’s so much easier to look after the animals when I don’t have to fetch water all the time. And the villa always has water for cooking and laundry.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin11");%> Yes, Bel. All that carrying and walking will make you a better warrior! You know, the Romans need good drains! All those people living together make a lot of stinky waste! When I went to Eboracum last week, it was really smelly!
[[I can just imagine! Do your parents work on the farm, Vin?]]Yes. My dad works in the fields some of the year, planting and weeding, and then harvesting the wheat and barley. And there is always lots to do making flour and brewing ale. We have cattle and sheep on the farm too. I help out where I can.
[[And your mum?]]
My mum works with the wool from the sheep. We sell some of it to weavers in Eboracum, but Mum makes cloth too. And she works in the fields, sometimes, and in the big kitchen making cheese and butter. Some of it is for the family in the villa, and some goes to the market, but my master lets us have a bit, too.
[[Your master seems like a good man, Vin. Tell me more about him.]]
His name is Antonius Gargillanus. Yes, I know that’s hard to say! It's Gar-gill-ay-nus. I just call him ‘Sir’! He was a Roman prefect – that’s quite important I think – but he got too old for marching and decided to live here.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin12");%> He’s not from Rome, though. He’s from a faraway land called Numidia. He told me about it once. He doesn’t seem to care that I’m just a worker here! He seems to like talking about his life - and I like to listen.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin13");%> He has lots of scrolls in the villa – those are rolled up pages with lots of symbols on them. They tell him about all kinds of things. I wish I could understand them!
[[He must know a lot, Vin. But maybe he doesn't know some of the things that you do!]]My skin is the colour of goat's milk! Except when I run fast or paddle hard – then it goes the colour of the berries on the trees in winter! What about you, Vin?
<%story.showDelayed("Vin15");%> I bet he doesn't know how to milk a goat, Vin! I remember you told me that he looks different to most of the Roman soldiers, too – his skin is very dark brown, darker than the colour of my hazel nuts.
My skin seems to change colour! In winter it is like yours, Enica, but when the sun shines my face and my arms turn the colour of the ripe red apples. And my hair looks like straw!
I would like to see your farm, Vin. I want to know how to make the floor hot and how to send the water to where you want it to be!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin17");%>And I would like to meet your Gar-gill-ay-nus! I think he must be a bit like my grandad was. He knew lots too – but different things. Like how to build a crannog or find the best fish.
Mmmm...but I wonder how many of your Brigantes people your master killed with his army? Didn’t one of your leaders once fight against the Roman soldiers?<%story.showDelayed("Vin19");%> Well, yes. But that was a long time ago. Even before Catia’s time. My grandma tells the story over and over!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin20");%> She says that our queen, Cartimandua, made a peace deal with the Romans but her husband, Venutius, thought we should fight them and led his warriors in battle. The Romans had to rescue Cartimandua from him and he became king for a while.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin21");%> Things are different now. I don’t think my master’s soldiers killed many people here. They built a few things though, like roads and temples, and bath houses.
[[The story of Cartimandua and Venutius is still told in my time because a Roman called Tacitus wrote all about it!]] [[But sometimes Roman writers make things up so that they sound braver or cleverer than the people in the places they invaded. We have to be careful when we read their stories.]]
I see. They probably wanted to make the story more exciting. My grandad sometimes did that. He said the fish he caught was much bigger, or the deer was faster!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin22");%> I’m not surprised the Romans make things up. They say they are here to keep the peace but I’m sure they will attack us if they get the chance! I keep my sling ready just in case.
<%story.showDelayed("Vin23");%> Oh Bel, you are obsessed with fighting the Romans!
[[I’m afraid Vin might be right, Bel. ]][[But I can understand why you would want to defend your land and your history.]] [[Don’t worry too much because even in my time your people and your traditions are remembered. Some people even rebuilt your village – right in the same place! They try to learn about your people by making things just like they did.]]
Really? They rebuilt my village in your time? You future people must be very interested in my family! I bet they got it all wrong!
[[Maybe if you tell me more, I could go and check!]]
[[I’m learning so much from you all]]Oh no - I’m sorry everyone, but my dad is calling me, and I have to go. I forgot to collect the eggs for my mum, and supper will be late! Let’s talk again soon.
<%story.showDelayed("eggs2");%>Sorry, Bel – maybe next time?
<%story.showDelayed("eggs5");%>I should probably get back to work too. But it was good to meet you, future person!
<%story.showDelayed("eggs3");%>But we didn’t talk about my plans to attack the fort! I’ve been hoarding sling shots in a secret place.
<%story.showDelayed("eggs4");%>Future person, we all have to go, now, but you could switch channels and I will introduce you to Marcus and Catia on Blue or Maelli and Mandu on Green if you like. Or we can say goodbye for now? It was great chatting!
[[Let's switch to Blue]]
[[Let's switch to Green]]
[[Let's say goodbye for now]]Well we do have good soils here, and we have always grown crops. When the Romans built Eboracum, my ancestors sold the harvest to the army. They made good profits! Then one of the important Roman soldiers retired and bought the land from my people’s leader – including my village!
<%story.showDelayed("Vin4");%> [[All things that are alive – like the wood from your house when it was part of a tree – have something called ‘carbon-14’ in them.]]So, this ‘carbon-14’ stuff is in all living things? Is it in me? Is it in my hazelnuts?
[[Yes, that’s right – it’s in you and your hazelnuts! But after living things like trees die, the amount of carbon-14 in them gets less and less. We know how quickly this happens so if we measure how much carbon-14 is left, we can work out how long ago the tree died.]]My dad once took me to the top of the hill near our crannog and showed me the whole world. I could see for a long way, but Dad told me the world is much, much bigger! He has been to lots of places.
He used to trade things before he met my mum and they decided to live here and build our crannog.
[[Your home sounds nice – but what is a crannog?]]But now I know about what will happen next, too! My friends in the future told me that some people called Romans are going to come here and there will be lots of fighting, and things will change.
[[Yes, that will happen – but not for a long time. Are you frightened?]]But everything will turn out all right in the end I think – your future world is OK, isn’t it?
[[Mostly it is, but we still have a few problems to solve. Sometimes people find it hard to accept new ideas and ways of thinking.]][[They worry that their own ways of doing things might get forgotten, or that there won’t be enough food, or work, or medicines for everyone to share.]] I can understand that. My mum always shares our food fairly, but sometimes there is much less to go round when people come to visit.
[[But we do like having lots of different people living here and bringing interesting words and foods, and fresh views on the world.]]
Your world sounds very exciting. People must travel around a lot. It takes my dad all day to go from one end of the loch to the other!
[[Yes, in my time, it is easy to travel quickly all around the world, and what happens in one place often affects everyone else.]] [[A war in one country might mean that people in far away lands run out of food!]] [[And sickness can spread very quickly to everyone, wherever they live. So we all have to look after each other.]]So everyone is connected? Like me and my friends! It's good to be able to talk to people in different places and times.
[[How is it that we can talk to each other like this?]]I was playing with it near the Old Stones, when it suddenly started buzzing, and my friend Marcus said ‘Hello’. He’s a Roman, but his father comes from a place called Greece! I like him!
<%story.showDelayed("tab1a");%> Marcus says a few special tablets have a connection straight to one of their gods — Hermes, I think he said — which means they can send messages to faraway places, and to the past or the future.
<%story.showDelayed("tab3");%> And it doesn’t matter what language you use – I can hear you in my head and understand you! Marcus talks in something he calls ‘Latin’ but I just seem to know what he is saying.
[[That’s exciting! We have tablets in my time too, and we use them to chat to each other, just like you do.]] [[But I never talked with someone from the past before! Have you spoken with many people?]]There have been a few from the 2020s! Most of my friends are nearer to my time, but I’m the earliest by far! Maelli lives about 400 summers after me, about 20 summers before any Romans lived here.<%
story.showDelayed("chat1");%>He told me that his people use these tablets to make the words they say into little symbols called letters — so they can remember them and share them (I think Romans must have bad memories).
<%story.showDelayed("tab2");%> Marcus has a word for it in his Latin: ‘tolerantia’. It means accepting, respecting and appreciating differences in people.
[[That sounds like a great way to think about other people, Enica.]]
[[I’d love to meet your friends. Can we chat now?]]
[[It's been lovely chatting, Enica, but I really have to go now. Can I talk to you on my tablet at home?]]
[[Nice to meet you Enica. I'm fine thanks. How about you?]]
[[Hello Enica. I'm a bit fed up to be honest.]]My friend Mandu has one, but it’s very young and does what she says, so maybe it could work. She's on the Green Channel.
%> What are you talking about?
%> But there are also people who live here in Aquae Sulis who have different coloured skin - including my slave, Nabu. They come from all around the empire to visit the healing waters, and the soldiers are recruited from lots of different places.
<%story.showDelayed("empire2");%> Do you have them in your time, future person?
[[Yes - we have dolphins. They are very friendly creatures. And clever too!]]
I think the gods enjoy watching people battle against each other. They probably bet on the winner, like at the chariot races or when the gladiators fight in the arena. Father says he'll take me to see them one day.
<%story.showDelayed("fight4");%> It’s much more fun when we all have different thoughts and share them.
I like to hear what my friends think about things. It makes me think again about my own ideas.
I used to think that the Roman Empire was the greatest! And that Romans were the cleverest and the bravest – that they could build anything they wanted and were better soldiers.
<%story.showDelayed("fight1");%> And there are cherry trees and plum trees, and we just planted some grape vines! I’m looking forward to picking the fruit.
[[Good to meet you, Vin. Where do you live?]]
That’s good to know, future person. I hope that anyone who tries to plunder my land in the future is severely punished.
[[They will have to pay a big sum, worth lots of gold, if they do any harm, Bel.]]<img src="https://raw.githubusercontent.com/phivk/chatterpast/main/assets/img/character-maelli.png">
<%story.showDelayed("introMM");%> I love your belt, Mandu. I'm good at stitching too - but mostly to mend the fishing nets!
<%story.showDelayed("introMM2");%> Can I introduce you to a new future friend - another person from the 2020s!
[[Hi Maelli! Hello Mandu!]] Hello future person! We are making lots of friends in your time!
I’m Manduorix but everyone calls me Mandu.
No - I don't have any. Except the one my dad gave me. In my settlement there is a special place where the coins are made. My dad works there! One came out wonky so he put a hole in it and made a necklace.
<%story.showDelayed("coin6");%>But my mum says that we shouldn't forget the old ways from before the Romans came. Mum still likes to follow the Brigantes traditions, but my dad is a Roman centurion. He came from Tungria like my grandad.
[[Ah - right! We have the same arguments in the 2020s about borders!]][[But tell me more about your grandad, Mandu.]]Grandad is old, now. When he was younger, he was a Roman soldier – but not from Rome. He was born in a place called Tungria. I think you call it ‘Belgium’ in your world.
[[Mandu, tell me more about the big wall.]]And our friend Bel wears a gold band that is very, very old.
[[That's interesting, Enica. Yes, some of us do value things that connect us with the past.]]Thanks, future person. It's been OK so far!
<%story.showDelayed("scared2");%>Now I know Enica, and she’s not wild – or a barbarian! Maybe I won't laugh so much next time he makes that joke...
<%story.showDelayed("laugh1");%>I suppose that in 30 summers I will be just like her! I will sleep a lot and I will tell my grandchildren stories about my friends and my magic tablet. Now that I’ve met people from the future, 30 summers doesn’t seem like very long.
[[30 summers isn’t very long at all!]]
[[Some people seem to like to take sides and argue, using examples and ideas from the past.]]
[[That looks amazing!]] The End. Thanks for chatting.The End. Thanks for chatting.<%story.showDelayed("link1");%>