Category Archives: Viriathus

Viriathus: Scenes 3-4


SCENE 3 – The Roman Senate

The trial of Galba

Good morning senators, the day’s order
Begins with Galba & his recent wars
Fought in Iberia, & the murder
Of seven thousand Lusitanians
Beneath the banner of a Roman peace,
The raiser of this matter, take the floor.

Members of the Senate, my thanks are due
In advance, when you to listen to my pleas
For justice at this most scandalous trial,
I am Lucius Libro, plebeian
Tribune, elected to speak, most dismay’d
The good name of the Romans sacrosanct
Our honour more important than is fame,
Yet this, this perfidious Praetor
This ‘Galba’ brings shame upon the Senate,
For when abroad a general of Rome
Must represent our statutory claims
Of fairness wrought from order & from law
Cato! Would you be so kind as to speak,
Inform the senators in more detail
Whom, I feel assur’d, with keenest intent
Will listen well & with a deep respect
For you, truly the wisest among us,
Who’s steer’d our ship of state so many storms,
What are your thoughts upon this dark affair!

So many things discourag’d me this day
From coming forward to this hoary shrine
Where my old feet have stood five thousand times –
My years, my time of life, my voice, my strength,
I felt, nevertheless, when reflecting
On such crucial matters, I had to act,
Forsooth, the roots of these desperate wars
Lie with ourselves, not thirty years ago
Iberia was a hive of honey,
Our governors bears pawing at its gold,
Extortions, epidemics, proportion’d
Exploitation grating, so to account
Call’d I Publius Furios Philus
Personally, timely castigation
That did not go unnoticed in the West –
The Lex Calpurnia was introduced
& the whole peninsular bath’d in peace,
Until Galba’s pitiless ambition
Breaking treaties slaughter’d signatories
Of what our Senate deem’d a sacred text,
So he could swim in fallible plunder,
This he distributed to his soldiers
Not very much at all I hear them say,
His friends receiv’d a little & the rest
kept for his guts; Senators, sheer murder
Was done in Lusitania, for gold
Not punishing such criminality
Will send out a devastating message
That the Roman concord mere illusion
& massacres the only terms we deal

Praetor Galba, the floor if you please

Fellow senators, friends & foes alike,
Whether cherishing, opposing, my deeds
Lusitania primitive remains,
Makes strange pictures to a cool spectator,
They way they live their lives like high treason
To the virtues & values of our times,
We cannot simply allow them islands
Of impish liberty, while to the north
& south & east we press Hispania
Into our satin folds, we must never
Allow their independance poet sung
Else rebellions will sprout up like weeds
In an old man’s garden, his limbs too stiff
To root them out with tools & brutal strength –
Are not till’d plots superior to scrub?
Are fruits not improv’d by cultivation?
I plotted there for progress a glory,
Safe in our sturdy shields we stow the seeds,
The ploughshares of our swords have stirr’d the soil,
& we shall grow a province from the dirt!

How do you plead

Galba’s brother, Gaius, brings out two boys & a girl

I refuse to answer
I’ll make instead appeals elemental
To the good faith of the people, see these
Three Children; the two youngest share my blood,
The taller boy he is the grieving son
Of Sulpcius Galus, whose dying words,
A Lusitanian spear piercing chest,
Did gurgle to me, ‘look after my boy,’
{to Cassis}
Cassius, come to me, I embrace you
As my son,
{they embrace}
If today I am exiled
Or death-condemn’d, I here bestow
Upon my brother, Gaius, both my sires,
Send to his care Cassius, son of Galus,
Hoping he can forever oversee
Their fatherless estates, their future tears!

Wretched Galba! I shame to hear him speak!
By such sick pretences be not disturb’d,
Exciting pity has no place in law,
Even murderers share family homes

The Senate bursts into uproar

Silence, in the Senate, clear, clear the floor
We shall proceed in common to the vote
Balls, if you please, black guilty, white no fault.

The senators vote by placing a ball in a bag, either white or black

What is the count

Magistrate’s Assistant
Galba by twenty-five

This is law debauched, maul’d by bribery

Silence, Lucius, else be in contempt
& find yourself on trial at your turn,
The Senate has spoken, Galba acquitted
You are free, Praetor, take your children,
To superpraise their moral upbringing
While raising them good citizens of Rome,
With that the matter closes, let us stray
Into the streets this Feast of Saturn day!

Exit Senators


SCENE 4 – A Valley in Lusitania

Surviving chieftans & warriors of the Lusitani meet in counsel.
With them is Arco the soothsayer

We cannot stay much longer in this vale

Famine gnawing bellies no way to die

But sallying from safety must ensure
Murderous encounters with legionairres

Over our lives hovers the flag of death
Let us send Vetilius messengers
With olive branches, apologizing
For foraging without the seal of law
& plead a dwelling, promise to obey
Rome in all things

It must be done

What else
Can we do

We must submit

Enter Viriathus

We must fight,
The bad faith of the Romans never goes
They pride themselves in violating oaths

Tell us who he is who speaks so boldly

I am Viriathus, some may know me,
Most will not, I survived the massacre
& warrant not your petty, scowling looks
Whatever pass’d by destiny, mischance,
I am come among you, soldiers, recieve
My presence, while intimating futures
Long mused upon, of murdering Romans,
Vibrant plans of action, Vertilius
No Galba is, his soldiers can be beat.

Tho’ words up-bubble with inspiring springs,
We are too weak to fight them, all the same

I disagree, I have studied that swamp
Of whinging invaders, poor imposters,
Each dog of them I solemnly defy
There is not a veteran among them,
Valour is difficult in a desert,
While we are nourish’d from that single pool
That urgency of liberty becomes,
Fresh spirit of our precious land distill’d,
Sup from it when misfortune approaches,
Taste the universal Lusitani,
For when all focuss’d under common stars,
Mountains amass from bursts of willpower,
Off whose steep slops torrential troubles pour,
Together we are mountains, let me lead
Whomever here would die for liberty!

I am with you Viriathus

& I

The rest cheer

Your patriotic fever may bright burn
But there remains a dagger at our throats
One false step…

Let the ancestors decide

Bring out the prisoner

A Roman prisoner is brought on stage – Arco chops off his right hand & raises it to the sky

Holy Cariocecus – take this hand
& guide his entrails, weave them into truth

The prisoner is covered with coarse cloaks, then a knife plunged into his vitals. He drops to the floor. The soothsayer studies the fall of the cloaks

From fall of cloaks auspicious auguries
From trailing entrails unsuspicious truth
From draining veins futurity pulses,
Our sacred Gods choose you Viriathus

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax, Ditalco

What of those plans you spoke?

Come gather close about me, listen well,
For detail is important – every man
Shall have his job to do, some more than one;
The Romans march like an elephant mare,
Slow, clumsy, ponderous – from armour’s weight
From ignorance of our ancyent trackways,
& from horses’ inferiority –
Why fight a tusker risking ivory,
Better pepper spears from safest vantage
& spring our clever ambushes from rocks
Thro’ rows of rushing tridents, incursions
Made in the dead of night, in heat of day,
Deluding with illusions & with snares,
Striking corner to corner make them cry,
‘There is no haven in Iberia!’
The very mercy of the law screams out,
‘Iberia rejects its conquerors!’
Carpetania, Bastitania
Rome’s allies now, let us ravage them first
Who’ll join us promptly afterwards, the rest
Will follow soon, protecting precious crops,
While in the north the Numantines should rise
When noticing our spirit has revived
With such conviction, they will not abide
The Roman yoke no longer, out of pride.

Hail Viriathius

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax
Hail Viriathius

In you Cariocecus is reborn


Arantonio, Camalo, Audax, Ditalco

With great noise and barbaric clamor, the warriors surround Viriathus dancing, beating drims & singing “Cario-Cario-Cariocecus”- shaking their long hair, waving weapons & breaking out into ritualised mock combat


“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Viriathus: Scenes 1-2


SCENE 1 – Lusitania / The Roman Camp

Galba is studying maps outside his tent – a group of Roman soldiers march on stage singing


Fly, fly
Ye eagles of rome
Find a new home
Fly, fly

Fly, fly
Your wings are unfurled
You’ll conquer the world
Fly, fly

Enter herald with Labaecus & Talabus

The Lusitanian leaders are here
As you requested of them yesterday
Nine thousand of their subjects flood the vale
Warriors, women, old ones & children.

Praetor Servius Sulpicius Galba
at your service

We come in peace
Leaving mountain strongholds at your promise
Of better lands to settle on the plains
Beyond the River Durius

Receiving acceptable submissions
Of deditio in potestatem,
Like sweet music across enamell’d stones,
Rome’s enmity soon amity becomes

We had no choice, your enginery of war
Wrought ruin thro’ our towns as if the Gods
Colossal grains of sand shook from their suits

Galba we praise you, halter of carnage

Twas the simplest of conclusions to make
You were robbers only from compulsion,
Poverty & the poorness of your soil
Forcing unneccessary penury,
A needless swamp in a civilized age,
& we in Rome the height of advancement,
A blessed sunstar blest by all the gods –
Our family of nations welcomes thee.

We compliment your noble piety
Your generosity & your counsel;
Your name shall live forever in our songs
In them the bards our histories record
Our lineages, our greatest battles,
Our heroes, & now you ride among them
Upon the dovewhite steed we call world peace.

Enter Centurion

It is done, we possess all their weapons

Not all – I trust you two will too comply

We shall

Of course, our swords we give to Rome

Well here we are, a mighty martial race
But what force arms without a blade to wield,
Or sticks, or rocks, whate’er you primates use
When Atilius conquer’d Oxthracae
You sign’d a treaty just as this today
Alas, as soon as my predecessor
Home in Rome, your people raved as rebels
Attacking tribes we counted as allies;
Despicable, plunderous behaviours,
When they had been protected by your word.

We protest

You protest! What? Your disgrace,
Transgressing that fair & equal treaty?
No – you were, & are yet Rome’s enemies,
For treachery to honour & to peace
You force on Rome recourse to ancyent law,
All men of military age must die,
& slaves make of the rest
{to the Centurion}
You may begin

Sound the horns

O hideous perfidy

Sieze them

Run, run Labaecus

Kill them

A fracas – Talabus is slain, Labaecus is corner’d

Wait, bring him here, I want this hound to see
His people die, open your eyes you dog
Why do they stand heroic statue still
Waiting to die

They cry aloud the names
of all our gods, readying to greet them,
When death grips firmly, fleeing him futile
Better await the fatal stroke head high

Not all


Look, sir, some have leapt the ditch
Waving weapons preconceal’d as they steal

Well charge them down

Dont waste your time
You will never catch the Lusitani
When riding bareback racing for their lives
& see the man upon that chestnut mare
His name is Viriathus, you will find
Him like a viper in your feather’d nest


He will avenge us

Silence him

Long live Lusitania

Curse your tongue
Better that it be ripp’d out from the root

Centurion cuts out the tongue of Labaecus

Take him away, my friend in Capua
Prefers mute slaves, they do not answer back

Exit all excepting Galba, who watches the slaughter from afar


SCENE 2 – The Mountains

Viriathus is camping in woods – enter a soothsayer, Cabruno, with a crack of a stepped on branch

Who goes there?

Be tranquil, I am of you
In spirit if not blood

What do you mean
Old hag?

I am one of the Vaccaei
& you are Viriathus, I can see,
The augurs spoke as much,

You read the birds
Are you soothsayer?

I prefer to say
A seeker & a speaker of the truth
I was found by the limitless silver
Starcoated waters of the Tartessis
In hollow of a river-rock was found
& raised by an old hunter near the dunes
By Carvoeiro’s Cape, out there was rais’d
The least proportion of Humanity,
Until I saw the light that guided me

Please accept my ancestral reverance

As you survived the Galban massacre
What will you do today

I do not care
For anything but air, & grass, & streams

Let me deliver you your destiny
Twas written in the innards of a stag
A shepherd from Cape Nerium would rise
To raise the thirty tribes which occupy
All the lands between Artabria
& Tagus, taking back what was taken
Harness eclectic Lusitania,
Prefer her own opinions to yours,
For as you tam’d wild horses in your youth,
Beneath your thighs they felt immortal steeds,
If you so ride the Lusitanians
They too shall feel noblesse & fight for you!

This is a path unsuited to my core,
I am a secret, solitary soul,
The woods prefer to wide-eyed drinking bouts,
I love the mountains more than woman’s looks,
Watch meteors instead of mortal tales –
No leader am for tasks you thus descry.

As sun appears a small disc in the sky
Yet beams out floods of light to wake all things
In golden glow, its warmth doth permeate
All fibres of existence, so can you
Inspire your people, smile & sieze the day


Life is the reason for this song,
Ya won’t know anyone for too long,
Some grow rich & some stay strong,
Some are good & some go wrong,
Some men work & some men play,
While others take the time to say
Carpe Diem, seize the day…

If I could lead my life again I would try not to lie,
I’d care about all of my friends until the day I die,
If people thought the worst of me then I would ask them why
& then all of my dreams could be some special place to fly…

Life is the reason to my rhyme,
Yer don’t owe anyone for your time,
Some men fade & some men shine,
Some men lead a life of crime,
Some men taste the salt & pray
While others take the time to say,
Carpe Diem, seize the day…

Only the lonely, lonely, lonely rovers really true
& if you reach that special place I’ve saved a place for you

I’m tryin hard & I’m burnin real hard, I’m learnin’ how to try
So when I reach that special place I’ll elevate & fly

Carpe Diem, my bold youth, sieze the day

Why praise a phrase in Latin

Know you foe

If what you feel is truth then I shall try
If what you say is written, let me fight,
Who am I to obsticate the spirits,
With them I crave, with effective intent
My people’s paramount deliverance,
When banishing invaders forever,
This terrible delirium must end!

You will need training in patience, statecraft,
Strategums, study Rome’s alien thoughts,
But when vital responsibilities
Controll’d by one mind only, then these minds
Must rest in healthiest bodies possible
Else sickness denigrates the conjur’d deed

I am a healthy man

You could improve
Constitution vigorates clarity
Think of those Spartans at the famous springs
Of Thermopylae, each a thousand worth,
Sons of a strict regime, like them you’ll form
Armour impenetrable, heat & cold,
Untroubl’d be by hunger & hardship,
No match shall find thro’ all Iberia;
You shall spare no indulgence, even food
You’ll eat to live, not feed your belly’s greed,
& only with fatigue find hours to sleep,
From egotism purify your heart
& in that pearl such atmospheres arise
To witness wisest courses, exist they
At all times, awaiting to be reveal’d;
With all of this you shall obtain the crown
Of nature, far from foreign crudeties,
When all the rude waves of the roughest sea
Could never wash the laurels from your brow
Become the captain undeposable,
Become Rome’s royal antithesis, curse
That decadent pit of pedantic souls,
Grasping at pleasures that, like fetid slime,
Oozes thro fingers, grazes foul faces,
Devouring pock-marks, as heavenly Gods
Trace dissapointments in scarlet sunsets,
Left wondering how Humans lose their way.

I shall return our People to the modes
Of life on which our People were nurtured
When begins my training?

It has begun!


“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen