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The Foederata Melita (English: Maltese Federation) is one of the Roman Empire's two municipal provinces. As heart of the Mediterranean Sea, it has jurisdiction over any water more than 4 km from land but is still the smallest province by land area. While its population is similarly small, it swells on most days by nearly a million from visiting tourists and merchants.
Melita consists of all the islands - large and small - of one archipelago located 93 km south of Sicilia and 288 km northeast of Numidia. These islands were added to Rome in 218 BCE during the First Republic. Originally only a minor part of Sicilia, Melita uniquely held the title of Foederata Civitas for its aid in the Punic Wars, entitlting the natives to freedom from paying the Tributum.
Due to its centrality, Melita played a sufficiently large role in Mediterranean commerce and was selected by Caesar Scipio I as the site of a radical urban construction project. Its main island became the first nisipolis - city island - and has remained one of the most densely populated Roman territories.
Melita, as a name, stems from the ancient Greek for the island Μελίτη (Melite) which means "honey-sweet". This title originates from a unique species of honey-bee once native to the archipelago, serving as a pillar of its economy.
The islands hold the title of Foederata as a matter of tradition, since they are as much a province as any other governed territory. An honorific such as this was granted to its residents to distinguish them from the rest of Sicilia, as a reward for their loyalty in the Punic Wars. Although the original population has long since emigrated, the moniker has kept to honor those people.
Melita is an archipelago in the center of the Mare Nostrum consisting of 20 islands, four of which are inhabited. These are the islands of Melita (Malta), Agricola (Comino), Scipa (Gozo) and Insula Santa Paula (St. Paul's Island). The main island is one continuous urban sprawl - a modern nisipolis - and the central island, Agricola, is covered by vast farmlands providing food for the Isles. Scipa is an eden, an artificially maintained rustic paradise covered with villae for wealthy citizens and diversoria (resorts) for tourists.
Geographically, the main islands differ dramatically from their natural states after centuries of gradual modification. Hills have been excavated, rivers drawn through the landscape, and lakes embedded in rock where natura had never intended. The result has been a reverse desertification of Scipa and Agricola, turning them into lush grasslands that require a constant inflow of filtered sea water. In more ancient times, fertile land was limited to closed gardens and farms which could be supplied with imported fresh water. The Island of St. Paul is simply an Apostolic Cathedral connected to a modest abbey, with a bridge attaching the land to the main island. Its population consists of monks, priests, theology students, and an Archbishop, while its sole vegetation is in the church gardens maintained by monks.
Almost every sq ft of Agricola is used for growing crops, supplying 21% of the province's needs, ever so slightly reducing its dependence on the import of necessities.
City CenterThe heart of the Isles, like any city of the Imperium, is its Forum, found west of the harbor district. About 0.6 km long, the forum is a rough square surrounded by important buildings.
On its north is the Cathedral of St. John, co-cathedral to the one on St. Paul's Island. The west features the curia for the rich Collegium Bancana and headquarters of the Bank of Melita. In the south are the Grand Thermae of the province and urban villas for the Valerii and Kaesi clans of Rome. Lastly, the east has the praetorium for the Cornelian Industrial Guild as well as more shops that flank the massive Odeon Scipie (Scipian Theater). Spread throughout this forum are open-air shops offering things from produce and meat to the latest technological gadgets.
At the forum's center stands a 47 m tall column dedicated to the emperor Scipio I. A victory arch to Caesar Draco acts as the western entrance, from the front gardens of the Palatia Provincia, home of the praetor and his provincial government. This stunning civic building and its beautiful lawn are a memorable feature of anyone's visit to the islands of Melita - a well-maintained display of exotic flora, fountains, and ancient architecture.
Other fountains dot the forum itself such as one of Venus emerging from the ocean and another of three labors of Hercules, situated around a central obelisk. This minor Egyptian-style monument is covered in hieroglyphic text writing about the Caesar Augustus as though he were a pharaoh. The three labors on display are the slaying of the Lernaen Hydra, cleaning of the Augean Stables, and the capture of the Cretan Bull. Water flows from exactly the sort of points as would be expected.
Melita is the most densely populated province in the empire, with a population density equal to 20,000 inhb/km². The 39th most populous Roman city and 101st most populous city in the world, Melita is capable of significant domestic and foreign commercial influences. It is inhabitted by the highest number of equites of any province - constituting 15.2% of its populace. So many wealthy citizens are drawn to Melita for its position in Mediterranean commerce.
Furthermore, the islands haven't experienced population growth in almost 80 years and land prices are exorbitantly high. Lower income residents, who had lived there for generations, were seen selling their tiny houses for around 20,000 to 40,000 Dn ($1-2 million US) so they could buy stunning villas in another province. This opened space for rich patricians and equestrians to buy blocks of houses that could be torn down for palatiae or renovated into hotels.
Ethnically, Melita is tremendously diverse for its proximity to Italy. A mere 29% of residents are Italian. The rest number among the Greeks (21%), Egyptians (19%), Numidians (11%), Gaels (10%), Red Romans (6%), Hebrew (3.2%) and a 0.8% mixture of other Mediterranean groups. Foreigners (peregrini) are restricted to the Harbour District and would only be living in hotels or resorts - Melita's temporary residents.
The island province is interesting for having an additional 2.1 million citizens registered as inhabitants without spending more than a few weeks there each year. This unusual data point has to do with the large number of merchants who operate out of Melita but are usually traveling around the empire for their trade.
As an Apostolic Diocese, the islands have disproportionally large ecclesiastical community, with about 0.9% of residents being members of the clergy. Most priests, nuns, and monks in Melita live on the Insula Sancta Paula in the north. One of the premiere religious sites for Catholicism, the Island of St. Paul is home to the Didascalium Paulum, a leading theological school, and to 9,422 fathers and sisters of the Catholic Church.
The Archepiskopes of the Cathedral of St. John and Cathedral of St. Paul, are both members of the Assembly of Cardinals (Curia Episcopates) in Rome. This gives the city double votes in electing a Deydiakanos, doctrinal leader of the Church, and in confirming the Pontifex Maximus, head of the Church and Caesar of Rome.
- Catholicism: 6.20 million Catholics (98.1%)
- Judaism: 94,804 Jews (1.5%)
- Other: 0.4%
- Latin: 6.32 million people (99.999%)
- Greek: 2.89 million people (45.8%)
- Coptic: 1.19 million people (18.9%)
- Phoenician: 910,089 people (14.4%)
- Brythonnic: 259,123 people (4.1%)
- Aramaic: 202,240 people (3.2%)
- Arabic: 50,560 people (0.8%)
- Nahuatl: 25,280 people (0.4%)
- Other: 246,480 people (3.9%)
The life expectancy of a Melitan citizen is 97.3 years on average. They owe this to higher than normal levels of wealth and exceptionally high-quality medical facilities on the main island. The latter is corroborated by the city's record infant mortality rate of 0.5 deaths per thousand children born. Overall, the islanders report a better quality of life in terms of mobility, sickness, mental health, and chronic problems than any other Roman city, despite its population density.
Melita is an industry-oriented province, most of its economy coming from the productive sector. The 1997 Census shows that it had a total GDP of US$1.829 trillion (36.58 billion Dn) or 5,788 Dn per capita. As of last year, 41 collegia ranked among the top 500 corporations in the world are headquartered in Melita and all interprovincial banks have a major base there. Some of the province's largest collegia provide mercantile services in Europe.
One of the attractions of Melita for banks is that it is the site of the Curia Collegia Bancanae (Assembly of the Guild of Bankers), a place of assembly for the major Roman banks. This organization works closely with the Fiscus, arm of the federal financial office, in setting national interest rates for loans and bonds. Most national decisions for the direction of imperial banking are made in this curia, thus many banks have established themselves on Melita for proximity to this 6th century basilica.
A national icon of Melita's industrial sector is the monumental Vulcan Tower, second tallest building in the empire at 890 m. This turra was built in 1966 to integrate the production and processing of carbon nanotubes into a single structure - raw materials go up the central lift and machined pieces leave the base. Its contribution to Melitan industry is hard to understate, supplying an annual 1.8 billion kg of nanotubes to local and national fabricina (factories).
Steelworks around Melita annually produce 23.75 billion kg of steel while refineries process 760 million kg of aluminum for shipment to factories in Germania. These numbers would exceed the industrial output of a small country, and Melita does, in fact, produce more steel than the UCC.
All of the province's power originates from three offshore fusion reactors which convert sea water into hydrogen. The largest of them is the 42.6 GW East Reactor, satisfying 30.4% of the province's electrical demand.
These reactors are almost maintenance free, using renewable resources, operating automatically and self-monitoring for technical problems. As they are completely submerged, the danger of an internal act of terrorism is minimal, and in the unlikely event of a detonation most of the energy and radiation would be absorbed. Since they can emerge during emergencies, many of the downsides of underwater facilities are averted.
One of two municipal provinces, Melita has a Praetor (Governor) who also acts as praefectus urbi, streamlining management of the city. The current praetor is Luke Duronius Paulus, a Roman born in the province of Judaea. From a rich family of bankers, the Duronii, Luke moved with his parents to Rome when he was still very young. After acquiring his toga of manhood, he went to work for his father's bank in Melita, building a sufficient reputation to be elected one of its senators in 1974. In Rome for senatorial assemblies, Luke got to know Caesar Raphael, who was impressed with his political tact, and who chose him for the Maltese praetorship in 1984.
The senator of Melita's Harbour District receives the honorable title of Magister Porti (Master of the Harbour). This gives him the additional authority to inspect shipments coming into Melita whenever he pleases.
Only two underground lines service Melita, from the island's tail to the Turra Vulcana and from the southwest through the Grand Harbour to the offshore Melitan International Airport 30 km away.
Through the island passes the Transmediterranean Railway built in 1971 between Carthage and Rome. As the maglev train only has these three stops and travels at over 4,570 kph, Melita is barely a throw away from the Capitol. This high-speed rail links with the Circummediterranean Railway in Carthage.
No legions are stationed in the province but the Castrum Melitum is barracked with 1000 national guards and a CO. Their job is to monitor incoming shipments for smuggled goods and police the foreigners and merchants of the Harbour District. The job of Melitan Guard is relatively boring for a soldier since the province is deeper within the empire than almost any other. Nevertheless, the guards are kept at their best.
The air force garrison is similarly small: four A-126 fighter drones and ten A-132 stealth fighters held in the Castrum on the main island's tail. However, naval vessels of the Mediterranean High Fleet make frequent stops in Melita to recharge, refuel and rest their men, so is always well-protected even outside the context of its geographic location.