A Roman Mystery

Hyojin Lee ‘16, Copy Editor

Mysterious doings are afoot at Ridge High School. More specifically, this past November 26, 2014, the Latin Club of Ridge High hosted its first murder mystery; in a “whodunit” style meeting, the Latin Club asked students to puzzle out the culprit of a historic Roman mystery. In room 529 – more commonly known as “the Latin room” – preparations buzzed all through the month of November in anticipation of the event.

Every Wednesday, the officers of Latin Club meet to prepare for that month’s club gathering. For November in particular, they had crafted a mystery based on Roman history. According to the officers, the mystery centered on the first king of Rome; history labels this king, called Romulus, as an almost mythical figure who is later deified by the ancient Romans. His death supposedly occurred during a thunderstorm, in which the gods of ancient Rome swept Romulus up to join their noble ranks.

The more jaded version of Romulus’s death was suppressed by the government, but rumors managed to circulate around that certain politicians had assassinated the once and former king. The Latin Club officers had built their plot around the latter version of Romulus’s death in order to find out – once and for all – what really happened.

The officers, though enthusiastic about their preparations, had remained close-mouthed over the proceedings before November 26. One officer, Catherine Lu ’17, merely said, “The famous and most esteemed Roman, Romulus, has been [killed]. It’s up to YOU to figure out who the murderer is and bring justice to Romulus!”

They all encouraged any budding investigator – Latin student or not – to come and join in the fun.  Without revealing too much of the mystery, the officers promoted the event via flyers across the school; the actual investigation was concentrated in the 500 wing. Various officers in costume acted as suspects with an arsenal of clues at their disposal, ranging from a vengeful wife to Romulus’s successor to the throne.

On the day of the club meeting, small teams of students were able to interview the suspects scattered around the 500 wing and ascertain who had the best motive and opportunity in the assassination of the king. At the close of the meeting, all the detectives possessed one chance to present their findings. The true murderer was revealed during second period; with students waiting with bated breath, the announcements named Romulus’s wife, Hersilia, as the murderer. Certain witty student detectives – two groups in particular – achieved eternal glory with their correct identification of the culprit and claimed prizes from Mr. Gebhardt.

The Latin room itself had previously contained the deceased Romulus, played by a member of the Latin Club. For the old king, November 26 established both the truth and justice. As Mr. Gebhardt says, “It [was] gruesome good fun.”