What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
The barbarians are to arrive today.
Why did our emperor wake up so early, and sit at the greatest gate of the city, on the throne, solemn, wearing the crown?
Because the barbarians are to arrive today. And the emperor waits to receive their chief.
Why have our two consuls and the praetors come out today in their red, embroidered togas?
Why do they wear amethyst studded bracelets, and rings with brilliant, glittering emeralds?
 
Because the barbarians are to arrive today, and such things dazzle the barbarians.
Why all of a sudden this unrest and confusion.
How solemn the faces have become!
Because night is here and the barbarians have not come.
And some people arrived from the borders, and said that there are no longer any barbarians.
And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.
 
CONSTANTIN CAVAFY
1863-1933