|12 Days of Christmas - image Wikipedia
Today, 4th January, is within the 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas Day being the first and today is the eleventh. Therefore, they are the days from Christmas to Epiphany, in some traditions the 1st day of Christmas is the twenty-sixth of December and the twelfth lands on the Epiphany the 6th January. The famous Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas is sometime misread as referring to the 12 days before Christmas. Although most of the secular media like to start the Christmas season before even Advent has begun, Classic FM starts playing Christmas carols on the first of December. Some have argued that The Twelve Days of Christmas was really a coded message to teach young Catholics their faith during the time when practising the Catholic faith was a criminal offence, which lasted from 1558 to 1828. Although most of the 12 days in the song could apply to any Christian so perhaps there was a secondary Catholic message which ran alongside the general understanding, if anyone has any ideas please let me know. Today being the eleventh day is describe in the song as eleven pipers piping. This is given to refer to the eleven faithful apostles.
Therefore, still being within the Christmas season we thought we would have a light hearted little post and dedicate it to bureaucrats and more precisely the Roman bureaucrats at the time of the birth of Christ. Here we have Rigby’s cheery conjecture on why Caesar Augustus and his bureaucrats decided to instigate the first century poll tax in the first place.
Don’t forget Bureaucrats during Christmastide
We all know the Christmas story, the Inn, the Shepherds and the wise men. But we forget the key men in this story the bureaucrats.
Imagine old Caesar Augustus is a bit short of the “readies “especially when you got a few wars on your hands and you’ve got to keep all the plebs happy with bread and circuses. So he goes to his chief civil servant a chap called let’s say Polonius whose reached the top through a bit of nefarious activities. The Emperor tells him the coffers are empty and they are all a bit skint. So Old Polonius has one of his brain waves what about Poll tax. “What’s that sunshine” the Emperor retorts. “What you do is you tax everyone who lives in your empire’ “First you do what you call a census to find out all them bods who live in different provinces then you can tax them”
“You’re a genius Polonius we have to give you some sort of honour” “Sire I could do with the readies more than an honour my old woman giving me ear ache about moving to a better address and getting a holiday home in Capri. “We will see what we can do” said the Emperor
Plotinus walks back to his office with a spring in his step, not only can he see a few bob in this poll tax for him but a bit of promotion with luck he can get in the Senate which means he can be on to a lot of good little earners. Also he can send a lot of his co-workers away to organise this new tax, especially that rat bag Maximus whose always been after his job and he can replace them all with thick yes men who won’t interfere with his little earners. The sun is shining and he decides to make the day by seeing that creep Maximus.
“Maximus I have a great little job for you” says Polonius “I want you to catch the next galley to Palestine and organise a new tax I have invented called Poll tax.
I don’t want to go to Palestine it’s horrible all them Jews hate us and cause a lot of aggro,” says Maximus .
“You’ve got the dates and camels all that sort of thing Maximus you might like it”
“I don’t like dates they give me a guts ache and those camels pong awful”
“Anyway you’re going the Emperor especially asked for you to go and so off go on your chariot and I will see you in a few years if them Jew haven’t knocked you off
So we see how the Holy family ended up in Bethlehem!