The Grand Duchy of
Motto Cave Putorem

Cave Putorem ("Beware the Weasel") is the motto of both the Grand Duchy of Wotanberg and its ruling family. Tradition has it that these words were uttered by the commander of the Roman soldiers who had the misforune of wandering into what it now the Grand Duchy nearly 2000 years ago. Tradition also has it that this Roman commander was referring to the surprisingly fierce fighting spirit of the inhabitants of the region.

It must, however, be conceded that some scholars questioned this traditional explanation, since there was no documentary or archeological evidence to support a conclusion that Roman soldiers were actually ever in Wotanberg. Others have pointed out that this phrase--if actually uttered by a Roman--could be translated as the less inspiring "Beware the Stink". So translated, the phrase could be referring (in a deprecating way) to the same "odor" reflected in the scientific name of the weasels in Wotanberg "Mustela putorius (or puterium) Wotanberg". The phrase could, on the other hand, also be referring to the admittedly distinct odors associated with the geysers and hot springs found in the region or, more fancifully, the dragons said to inhabit the remote parts of the Drachenthal ("Dragon Valley") .

The official position of the Grand Duchy of Wotanberg regarding the proper translation of the phrase Cave Putorem is based on the as yet unmodified June 5, 1914 decision of the Dons of the University of Trevorstein which stated in relevant part:

"As demonstrated above, those who assert that all decisions of human communities must be made 'scientifically', are, in reality, actually merely claiming that those decisions must be made by 'scientists', or, at least, those 'scientists' whose views coincide with their own.

"With this in mind, this body previously declined to recommend that the nation's criminal laws be amended to pemit the incarceration of persons whose skulls indicated latent criminality as recommeded by those advocating that the science of phrenology conclusively demonstrated that the conformation of the skull indicates mental faculties and character traits. Similarly, in 1908, this body also declined to reject the theories of a 'mere' patent examiner--Albert Einstein--just because he did not hold any academic position. (Of course, in doing so, we cautioned Einstein that he must never allow his theories to be used by the forces of evil.) And finally, just last year, this body refused to endorse a proposal from this University's Professor of Military Science that only professional military officers with recognized academic credentials like himself be permitted to decide this nation's military policies. (In this latest decision, this body noted that no civilized nation could ever permit the fate of its soldiers--much less the destiny of the nation--to be decided by any elite claiming the exclusive right to do so on any basis. To do so, this body concluded, would run the risk that the entire civilized world could be engulfed in a war leading to deaths of millions precipitated by nothing more serious than the assassination of one man.)

"Based on all of the above, this body now decides that there is no reason to accept the mere theories of scientists over the traditions of a people that have been passed from generation to generation for nearly 1000 years. Unless, and until, those scientists can actually prove that their theories are true, they have no right to expect this body--or the people of this nation--to abandon traditions which have inspired Wotanbergers for centuries to be as ferocious as weasels in defending their freedom, especially when it is that freedom which permits those same scientists to advocate those unproven theories. This body, therefore, concludes that the meaning of the phrase "Cave Putorem" is now, and has always been, "Beware the Weasel."

The Dons' decision was supported by the accidental discovery in 1939 by a platoon of Sappers of Roman artifacts in the village of Drachenhagshmied ("Dragon Fence Smithy"). Post-war archaeological excavation and survey work showed conclusively, for example, that the Drachenhag ("Dragon Fence")--believed by many simple folk to have been built by ancient race to prevent attacks by the dragons of the Drachenthal ("Dragon Valley")--had originally been constructed by the Romans.

Finally, the Don's decision is validated by no less an authority than the United States Air Force. The motto of its so-called "Wild Weasel" units and air crews--who served so valiantly and successfully in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere--is Cave Putorium (an obvious variant of Cave Putorem) which is similarly translated as "Beware of the Weasel".





Updated 09/10/06
Updated 08/02/14