Vol. VIII, no. xi, November 1998
EVENT: BETHLEHEM MARKET PLACE
On December 4 and 5, the Legion goes east to administer the Imperial census. The Bethlehem Market Place is held every two years at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD, and we have again been invited to participate. The show runs from 7:30 to 9:30 on the evening of Friday the 4th, and on Saturday from 1 to 4 PM. We should be there an hour early to change and get the pre-show briefing. After closing on Saturday is an hour or so of dismantling the sets and cleanup, if anyone can stay for that.
For those who have never experienced this show, the church's fellowship hall is set up as two streets of shops and booths, complete with a synagogue and and inn. At the end is a manger scene with Mary and Joseph and live Baby Jesus, and live animals. Several dozen members of the congregation dress in Biblical costumes to play the parts of the local shopkeepers and residents, speaking of the recent signs and events and building up the anticipation and excitement of the holiday. The public comes through by the hundreds, each person leaving a can of food (the admission fee) with the beggars at the front door, then signing the large scroll at the census table and proceeding through the town.
We Romans not only serve as the "Anti-Claus", breaking up mobs and scoffing at rumors, but also have real crowd-control duties, especially at the synagogue steps. We will probably have a small headquarters booth, but no camp or display area. I doubt we'll have more than 6 men on either day, but that's about all we have space for, so let me know your plans. My apologies to the civilians, but we can only have soldiers at this event. Oh, yes--NO PILA, packs, or other extraneous gear is needed (unless you need to carry your satchel), just armor, helmet, sword, and shield.
I have to turn in a list of names pronto, so if you think you can go, tell me now! And after the Market Place, come to the Commander's house for...
That's right, haul out the Apicius, whip up some stuffed doormice, and come to the Legion Saturnalia and Commander's Birthday Party! Saturday, December 5, from 6 PM to, oh, 9:30. Bring an edible to share (and of course a large, expensive gift for Quintus) (KIDDING!), and wear your funny clothes if you want to. (No smoking or alcohol, please, and no hobnailed shoes on the good floors.) All are welcome! Contact Quintus at 301--- for directions.
AFTER-ACTION REPORT--PIERMONT, NY by George Metz, Legio XXIV
On October 10th, Legio XXIV troopers Augustus Natalis and Gallio
Marcallas departed for the Oppidum de Peirmont en Province New York to participate in the first Piermont Columbus Day Parade, on Sunday, October 11. For the trip north, cloudy and misty Legio XX weather prevailed, but then on Sunday, became most none comforming for such an event. . . in other words, it was terrific, cool and breezy with screaming sun and a few clouds.
We were welcomed with free lodging and enjoyed a dinner with Robert (Mac) McNamara and his son, both late of Legio XIV Gemina Martia Victrix in the Germania Provincia.
After dinner, we and others, were escorted by our good host, Tony Dilluvio to a place of beverage and mirth for some attitude adjustment and fellowship. Much discussion was had on our reenactment experiences. An exchange of ideas and information on equipment, reenactment conduct and the history relating to our various reenactment periods was most enlightning and we all took something of interest away for future use.
Although the weather was of great concern on Saturday night, it dawned bright and clear on Sunday morning. The parade stepped off after 2PM, with our four legionairies being proceeded by a banner announcing our two units.
As there is a large Italian presence in the Piermont Area, our four Romani, with scuta "at the carry" and gladii drawn and ready for action, were well received with much applause. The beautiful scenery and old homes and buildings of Piermont, on the banks of the Hudson River, made for one of the most pleasant parade environments to be found anywhere. By 3:30 PM, the march of about a mile was completed and our units disbanded for return to their home provincia.
Kevin MacGregor of Legio V Macedonica writes:
"Just received your latest newsletter, and I'm pleased to say it was I who told you about the turf cutter. I do habitat restoration with the local forest preserve district, and we've used turf cutters very similar to the Roman versions. They make easy work of cutting under blocks of turf and trimming small branches off of trees (and yes, stripping bark). In fact, many landscape companies in our area use them for quickly altering lawns and replacing sections of turf after planting larger trees and bushes. I'll look up the catalog that sells the modern versions if you're interested. It is not all that different from the ancient version."
SWORDS FOR SALE by Titus
I have two swords I am interested in selling. One is a brand new gladius produced by Marto, a Spanish company. It is shaped historically, but is really more "artistic" . It is entitled the Roman-Bronze model. It has a Mainz shaped blade made out of stainless steel with "etching" along both sides of the blade. The handle is bronze and wood while the pommel and guard are cast in high relief. Many arms and armor places on the Internet have these swords ( such as www.swords-n-stuff.com) if you are interested in seeing a picture of the piece. It is brand new, my mom brought it back for me from France. While it is not overly practical for me, it is a pretty piece, but I am looking to turn it into some cash to "re-invest" into new equipment. New they sell between $250 and $290, I am asking $150. What a deal!!!
Also, I have a Museum Replica Viking Sword. It was the first one they produced and is no longer being made. It was made by Del Tin in Italy and is very historically accurate for the 10th and 11th centuries. It has a fullered blade and steel "lobate" pommel and cross guard. I made a wooden scabbard which is covered in wool with brass chape and throat. I am also asking $150 for this weapon. Ask all your medieval reenactment friends, great for a Christmas gift!
If interested please contact me: Tom Kolb (410) --
After a wait of nearly two years, the Ermine Street Guard's latest Exercitus has arrived. It has good articles on the manuballista, wall paintings, and vegetables, and a long one on the general evidence behind the Guard's reconstructed gear. While it shows good research and explains the results of wear and tear, it seems to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why certain things were done. To use a couple hackneyed phrases, Why ask Why? Just do it! What does it matter why a belt had an apron? Why theorize over the possible defensive advantages of the little tabs on a shield rim? Why not just make the stuff the way we know it was made and be happy? The more we try to delve into the minds of the Romans, the more we should realize that they were not thinking like we do! Anyway, aside from a few wacky ideas (and a bunch of typos), it's a pretty revealing article, though it certainly won't replace the famous Twentieth Legion Handbook. Hopefully we won't have to wait another two years for the next issue!
Rene Langer of Legio XIII Gemina in Austria just sent me over 2 dozen images from the latest mongo event in Aalen, Germany, at which there were over 200 Roman reenactors and at least a few barbarians. (Pause for crying jag.) Mostly camp shots and small groups, no massed units, but that's what happens when a participant is taking the pictures, of course. I'll try to "attach" a few to the electronic version of this issue; if you can't open them or you are reading the paper version and would like to see them, let me know.
A couple new websites to peruse, if you're so inclined. Sander van Dorst has one with a good general description of the Roman army at http://members.tripod.com/~S_van_Dorst/legio.html . He also told me about a neat database of all known inscriptions mentioning men who served with the original Legio XX, http://www.nott.ac.uk/~aczsjm/legxx/legxxs.html . (This is for the search engine--I'm not sure if you can just bring up the list and scroll through.) Next take a look at www.reenactor.net, run by one of our recruits, Marshal Wise, and offer him your assistance if you're a webslinging kind of person (so that I won't have to do it!). A new legion is forming in Arizona, Legio VI Ferrata, and their site is at http://www.angelfire.com/az/legioviferrata/index.html . The Ermine Street Guard has a new site, http://www.ESG.ndirect.co.uk , with several articles from past issues of Exercitus and a number of photos (in case you don't have all their postcards). One picture is from Kirby Hall 1997, showing the 80-man centuria marching along--yow! Lastly is a neato article about Hannibal's African troops, at http://www.speednet.com.au/~daveearl/hedeby/punic/punic_index.htm . (And be sure to take the link "Back to New Hedeby main page" for a couple other fascinating articles!)
I FINALLY found 1/8" luan plywood for making scutum blanks! After waiting 2 months for Wood World to come through, I gave up and went back to the Yellow Pages. The second place I called was Custom Woodworks in Laurel, MD, and they had my stuff on the shelf! (Closer to home than Wood World, too.) So the scutum press and the workroom have been humming. Now, the first 6 or 7 shields or blanks are spoken for, so keep your tunic on and don't expect me to make scuta for the whole Roman world THIS year! As always, however, I am happy to pass on some lessons learned so far.
I've been making this generation of scuta about 30 by 40 inches, which seems to be a workable and pleasing size, and each is made of 2 layers of this 1/8" thick luan. I had hoped to cut three "layers" side-by-side from each sheet of plywood, running sideways across the visible grain, but the wood cracks seriously if you try to bend it that way. So I have to cut 2 layers from a sheet, end-to-end, leaving 18 inches of leftover along one long edge and about 16 inches at one end. A little fiddling of numbers showed that making the layers 38-3/8" long would leave a leftover piece at the end of each sheet about 19-1/4", two of which can be put together for the back layer (using a complete layer for the front). Thus, from 4 sheets of wood you could assemble 5 scutum blanks.
The next question was whether the long side leftovers could be pieced together for a back layer with a vertical seam. This is dicier, since the layers essentially work against each other to keep the curve--the last time I used two vertical pieces for the back layer, the blank went flat in the middle. For this attempt, I cut each piece 18" wide at one end and 12" at the other, so that the seam is more diagonal than vertical. It worked a little better, not as curved as some but still better than the scutum I've been using. So my final count from 4 sheets of wood is SEVEN scutum blanks. Oh, it also seems that the best curve is achieved if the "good" side of the wood faces backwards in both layers.
I had been cutting strips for the back bracing from 3/4" boards, with the horizontal ones cut in a curve to match the shield. That works pretty well for the handle (I used oak for those), but curved braces only a quarter-inch thick cut from pine are very fragile towards the ends, of course. Rounding off the edges of all the bracing was a pain, too, especially when the curved ones seemed to break at every stroke of the rasp! The solution is "screen molding" from Home Depot: 3/4" wide by about 3/16" thick, and the edges on one face are rounded. About 12 feet does all the vertical bracing, and another 4 feet takes care of the top and bottom braces. The latter two I soaked in water for 24 hours, then glued and clamped them into place--it works!
The Lanham Gazette for October 1, 1998, has a lovely color photograph of Yours Truly on the front page, together with a nice article about our September encampment with La Belle Compagnie.
December 4-5 --Bethlehem Market Place. See article on page 1.
December 5 --Saturnalia and Commander's Birthday Party, starting 6 PM at Jane and Matthew's house.
March 20-21 --Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement, VA
April 10-11 --Marching Through Time, Marietta Mansion, Glenn Dale, MD
May 29-31 --SCA Quest for Wit or Wisdom, New Jersey
June 12-13 --ROMAN DAYS, Marietta Mansion, Glenn Dale, MD
Since a number of people have asked, "Adlocvtio" means an address to the troops, and is pronounced odd-low-COO-tee-oh. Remember, the letters c, g, and t are always "hard", and v is either a u or a w. Now try "provincia" and "Vesvvivs". Good! Keep practicing!
The December issue may be late and/or thin due to your worthy Editor being on jury duty. Cry me a river. However, should you ever miss an issue entirely for some reason, or it arrives mangled, etc., don't hesitate to contact me. Now, presumably you're all keeping these issues carefully organized and protected from harm due to their obvious collectors' value, so I shouldn't hear much about how you "lost" one.
ADLOCVTIO is the world-famous newsletter of the mighty Twentieth Legion, whose Editor is the Legion Commander, Matthew "Quintus" Amt. The Twentieth Legion web site is located at: http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/3761/index.htm Valete!