by D. Reindl, Rice University
Fragment of a Petition to Basil
Demanding a Σπεκουλάτωρ Γραμματεύς
Historical evidence shows us that the creation of the office of the Σπεκουλάτωρ Γραμματεύς was initially popular among the common citizenry of the Byzantine Empire, for it was a legal means through which they were able to vent their frustration at the substandard use of the language, especially by the increasing number of foreigners living among them.
Eventually, the Σπεκουλάτωρ Γραμματεύς gained such prestige that several neighboring tribes felt compelled to establish similar officials among themselves. However, excessive zeal, in combination with the lack of a standard for the various languages, produced the inevitable tragic results. Indeed, induced by the lure of spekoulator-gild - that is, the practice of rewarding the Σπεκουλάτωρ Γραμματεύς with all of the property of the offending party as payment - entire villages were sometimes massacred at the drop of a participle. Eventally, in those tribes in which the Σπεκουλάτορες Γραμματεῐς grew exceedingly wealthy and powerful, the entire nation often perished, along with their language, without trace.
An Early Engraving of the Σπεκουλάτωρ Γραμματεύς at Work