The Frumentarii (singular Frumentarius) are the political police agency of the Olympia sector of Mechyrdia. Part of the Officium Civicum Olympicum (Olympian Civic Office), the Frumentarii are tasked with maintaining political order by putting down riots and rebellions, infiltrating and monitoring dissident groups, and committing acts of utter brutality to make examples out of rebel leaders.
Formerly aligned with the pagan establishment of Olympia, with the election of Governor Marc Caton, the Frumentarii were purged and re-staffed with citizens loyal to Caton, whether they be Catholic or pagan. Most of these new Frumentarii were already experienced, as they were transferred into the Frumentarii with the merger of the Front Catholique's own partisan paramilitary.
Even though they were denounced by the Mechyrdian imperial government (twice, first in 161 UC, second in 197 UC), the unique conditions of Olympia's membership in the Empire prevent Mechyrdia from doing anything about it, due to the Treaty of Mundus Caesaris Divi which made Olympia a Mechyrdian sector.
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The Frumentarii were founded in 2 UC, when the Olympian Republic was still a sovereign state. 2 UC was a time of Optimates hegemony for the Olympian government; having erased the reforms, changes, and legacy of Lucius Sempronius Atratinus, the Optimates' oligarchic Senate was at the height of its power. One of their acts to maintain the power was to nationalize the interstellar caravan companies and task them with monitoring the populace for any rebellious thought, in addition to their work in distributing material goods. This new state caravan was named the Frumentarii, in recognition of the caravans' service of delivering grain to the people during the Famine of 1 PC. This famine was what led to the rise of the Populares and the consulship of L. Sempronius Atratinus.
One of the first major acts of the Frumentarii was a brutal retaliation against the urban gang known as the Lupi Saevi (Feral Wolves). In response to the gang's assassination of an Optimas senator, the Frumentarii tracked down every single one of the gang's members, and had them crucified in the city's central plaza.
The fledgling Empire of Mechyrdia took notice of this atrocity, and sent a starfleet into orbit of Roma Nova, with the express purpose of annexing Olympia. However, the Olympians fought back and won, despite being outnumbered, due to the incompetence of the Mechyrdian admiral, who would later be court-martialed and imprisoned for life. This is what led to the writing and signing of the Treaty of Mundus Caesaris Divi. The treaty was heavily stacked in Olympia's favor, allowing Olympia substantially more autonomy than most other sectors of the Empire of Mechyrdia, while still giving them the same military guarantee as any other sector.
Membership in Mechyrdia
During the invasion of the Arkant Horde in 138 UC, Olympia was occupied by the Khagan's forces. The Frumentarii, during this occupation, worked as guerilla forces to free the people of Olympia from the Arkant Horde's occupation of their space. By doing this, they hoped to earn for Olympia even more autonomy as a Mechyrdian sector.
After the Khagan's death, as Mechyrdian fleets were reclaiming lost territory from the Diadochi, the Mechyrdian Army and Frumentarii fought side-by-side for the first time in history, in the Reclamation of Roma Nova.
When Olympia was made a sector of Mechyrdia, they were allowed to create a Polemarchy, just like all other sectors of the Empire have. The Olympians chose to name theirs Caesar's Legion, and give it a gold-on-red taurine battle standard.
During the Ferthlon War, Caesar's Legion fought for the Mechyrdians, while the Frumentarii, in their power struggle against the Legion, sabotaged Legionary and Mechyrdian military infrastructure in an attempt to seize independence from the Empire.
After the war, due to the stipulations of the Treaty of Mundus Caesaris Divi, the Frumentarii responsible for working against Mechyrdia were required to be tried in Olympian courts. They were given light sentences, much to the anger of the Chancellor at the time.
Suppression of Catholics
In 192 UC, the Catholic Civil Rights movement began. While the worlds of Nova Roma and Mundus Caesaris Divi were mostly populated with Latin-speaking pagans, the population of Mont Imperial was mostly comprised of French-speaking Catholics. The Catholics, kept in poverty by oppressive laws passed by the Olympian Senate, demanded freedom and equality with the pagans of Olympia.
The Frumentarii largely suppressed this movement with force and violence, televised on Mechyrdian news channels, even as public opinion of the Olympian government sunk like a stone. The Mechyrdians couldn't intervene, as the Treaty of Mundus Caesaris Divi forbade the Mechyrdians from sending in large military or police forces without invitation from the governor of Olympia.
Eventually, tensions built up enough that Marc Caton and his Front Catholique were able to win the Olympian elections for governor. One of Caton's first actions as governor was to purge the ranks of the Frumentarii, and replace the old elite officers with new fresh recruits, largely taken from the Front Catholique's partisan paramilitary.