Via Traiana

Via Traiana is a role playing game with educational purposes I created in 2006/07 for a class of mine, 5 C, where I taught History (and Geography and Italian Literature). The game is set in Apulia in late antiquity (approx. the age of Constatine or later, but in any case before the fall of the Western Empire). The game was awarded two prizes in the EU-funded R.O.M.E Project and earned my class a 1,000 Euros grant for the purchase of books.

I am now putting this work at disposal of my colleagues at the Liceo Oriani for an E-Twinning project which has been recently approved.

I present here one of the default characters the Corrector (i.e. the Master) can use, Stercorius, a true historical figure. At the end of the presentation are reported his features, necessary for the game.




Stercorius was  bishop in one of the most important Christian communities in Italia Suburbicaria (Italy south of Rome), Canosa. His forefathers claimed to have been baptyzed by St. Peter himself, as the apostle had made a stop in Canosa on his way to Rome. It had been just natural for the Canosine people to welcome his appointment, when Beneventum and other Apulian centres, in accord with the local presbyters, had entrusted him with the bishopric in Canosa.

In spite of his pride and stubborness, the day he was appointed bishop with a solemn celebration in the church of St. Peter he was frightened and scared, but the old bishop of Beneventum, who had come to attend the celebration, comforted him and helped him go through the day.

Stercorius had travelled extensively in his early life, especially as  a deacon serving his predecessor. He  visited Rome and met the bishop of the holy city, but he travelled also in the East, where he got the chance to meet the Arians (heretic but still numerous, at that age) and the great oriental Fathers of the Church (Gregorios of Nissa and others).

As a deacon and a presbyter he had duly fulfilled his pastoral tasks, helping and comforting the poor people. When he was still very young, he had also helped the Christian imprisoned and taken to the mines by the last pagan emperors (Diocletian and Galerius).

In 343 he went to the council of Serdica (in present days Bulgaria), where the bishops coming from the entire empire had to take important decisions about the Arian heresy. As no more than five other bishops had been convocated from Italia Suburbicaria (Fortunatus from Naples, Vincentius from Capua, Calepodius, Desiderius and Maximus from other places which were not recorded in the minutes of the Council), we can image what great an honour it had to be for him to be present in Serdica.

He was a charismatic figure. Everyone looked for his blessings and the kisses he gave to children were considered curative. His wisdom in every possible matter was widely acknowledged. He strove to keep the churches in good conditions, but he was also happy to organize agapes (meals for the poor) in them, with no consideration of the disapproval of some fellow bishops, who considered inappropriate to use the churches for such events.

He often quarreled over public matters with the administrators of the province (the correctores), in particular Venustus, who was pagan and proud of it.



Vigor 8, Coordinatio 8, Ingenium 16, Auctoritas 16, Ratio 15, Sensibilitas 13, Peritia de Bello 3