AFTER-ACTION REPORT: ROMAN DAYS
Another great success! The men and women of Legio XX were joined by Legiones III Gallica (New Orleans), XXIV (Philadelphia), and XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix (New York), plus folks from Nova Roma and the fine cooks from Settmore Swamp. Imperium Ancient Arts and Merchant Adventurers peddled their wares, and KET public television from Kentucky filmed us at our various activities. In all, there were roughly 30 participants in period clothing--we massed 15 legionaries for our displays on Saturday. Public attendance was down a bit from last year (apparently the local media let us down), and naturally there was rain, a 5-minute shower or cloudburst about every hour on Sunday. But we had a couple pop-up flies to shelter under, and Legio III had an excellent new tent of painted canvas, so I think most of the rustables survived. And the temperature was delightful.
In our Olympic competitions on Sunday morning, two of the men from Legio III whose names I neglected to note won the armor race and javelin throw, in stiff competition. Your Commander was closing rapidly on the leaders in the race when he was RUN OVER by one of his own men! (Kiss that promotion goodbye, Jason!) Heck, I'd been trying to do the same thing to someone else. It was a lot of fun, and the crowd loved it. We also discovered that 15 legionaries marching on bricks sounds great! The visitors seemed to be very enthusiastic, and included a few who are becoming "regulars" to our events.
A huge THANK YOU goes out to everyone who attended and helped out, particularly those who traveled from afar, and to Susan Wolfe who didn't have to travel at all because she's the site manager and arranged all the facilities. And thanks to the cooks! Roman Days will happen again next year, and suggestions for improvements in the arrangements or activities are welcome.
By the way, if anyone thinks they left something behind, contact me before my next yard sale.
A lot of people have been asking me about this--guess I shoulda put something in the last issue! On May 15, Mike Cope and I met with Howard Waddell of Albion Armorers and the two Gupta brothers from International Steelcrafts in India. We spent 6 hours going over a number of items in detail, with the Guptas taking notes, tracings, and photos. Howard supplied them with a couple books and numerous photocopies made by him or myself, and I gave them lorica hinges and lacing loops, a lorica buckle, an apron stud, and a dagger hilt plate. The items they will be producing include an Imperial Gallic type G helmet, Coolus type E and G helmets, Corbridge type A lorica, Pompeii gladius hilts and scabbards (Del Tin in Italy will be producing the blades), pilum heads (tanged and socketed, with buttspikes and ferrules), 2 sizes of pugio with different scabbards, scutum rim pieces, 2 sizes of patera, dolabra heads (with edge sheaths), spearheads, apron studs, and iron canteens. They are also working on a Greek Corinthian helmet and a muscled cuirass. In addition, I have sent Albion models of belt buckles, dagger frogs, hamata chest hooks, and a pack ring for the Indians to cast, and I'll be making models for belt plates and apron terminals. Albion intends to offer finished belts as well as parts.
The first prototypes of these items should be arriving within a couple weeks. When Howard gets them, I will inspect them for accuracy; anything that is not right will go back to India (or we may simply be able to tell them what needs to be fixed), and whatever is right will go into production. Most likely, the more complicated things, at least, will have to be revised a couple times before they're acceptably accurate. The cast items will be no problem, however, and the pilum heads should be usable even if the first batch isn't perfect. (Howard is having someone else produce the wood shafts.)
The upshot is that in a matter of months it will be much easier and quicker to get equipped. This whole process is taking less time than it would to get just one item from a regular armorer. Albion intends to expand their line to include, well, just about everything a Roman reenactor needs, plus ancient Greek back to the Bronze Age, other Roman periods, etc. As I mentioned before, their later Roman helmets are already excellent, and can be seen on their website at http://albionarmorers.com . So hang in there, and I'll let everyone know as SOON as there are further developments!
ITER from Dan Hight, Kentucky
"Ave Quintus, just got back from England and Spain. Went over the first of May with the II Legio Augusta and did some filming with them on location with the BBC on a 16 part series coming out next year. It was fun, the battle scenes where really good. Then the Legion packed up and we ferried over to Spain for several days to do a show at the town of Targonna (well-preserved Roman city). It was a lot of fun. I played Vespasian which was a different role for me. The Gemini Project guys were there also and they put on a slightly different show, but got to see how the units differ in their performances and style. Also the Colchester group was there, in all about 30 Brits, 15 Hollanders and one American. They are going back in September for Spain and possibly France. Also some more filming to do."
Thanks, Dan, and if you ever happen to have a spare plane ticket or two lying around, you know who to call!
Lotsa new toys showed up at Roman Days. Joe Thompson was sporting his new lorica, made by Tom Kolb, and the scutum that I made for him. Tom himself brought along his "Early Roman Gladius" from Museum Replicas, actually a pretty impressive piece, to go on the blanket of Republican Roman equipment. Tom and I both had our Greek Corinthian helmets on display, along with my nearly-completed hoplon. Greg Fabic made a new scutum and a hamata, and Mike Cope just got a pugio and scabbard from Lonely Mountain Forge. Newcomer Jason Turner is working on a hamata and an auxiliary shield, and I sold caligae to him and Ron Kenat (who also baked wonderful bread for us!). Jane Walker doubled the size of the awning for her herb display to accomodate her growing staff and stock.
It was good to look at Bob and Pat McNamara's gear (Legio XIIII). The first thing Bob showed me was his canteen, a ceramic flask nearly identical in shape and size to the little iron ones that are in some of our books. He also had photos from museums in Germany showing 8 or 9 examples of similar flasks, mostly more lens-shaped, some with molded decoration (raised dots, etc), made of reddish or gray pottery. There was also a photo of about a dozen very simple little cylindrical pottery drinking cups. And those were just the complete examples! Obviously these ceramic flasks and cups were perfectly common items--why the heck they have not been shown or mentioned in any of our sources is beyond me! But I know what's going to be carried in MY netbag... Bob's mess kit included a simple wooden spoon and a flat rectangular wood plate roughly 6" by 8"--what could be simpler? Thank you, Bob!
Associate member Charles Benson discovered that his local Home Depot carries "door skins", 1/8" plywood measuring 3' x 7', for $5.29. They are meant for refinishing damaged doors, but we, of course, would use them for producing a scutum. One door skin will make one scutum blank with very little waste, much more handily than tracking down and buying a full sheet of 1/8" luan plywood. If the Home Depot near you does not have this item in stock, see if they can order it.
Couple other hot tips to check out: Gaukler Medieval Wares (www.medievalwares.com) has a new Roman brooch, currently listed with their Celtic items. And I received a message that John Rose sells coins and brooches, though I have not contacted him about them. His web site focuses mainly on dyes and pigments and looks VERY well-informed:
Something else from Howard Waddell at Albion Armorers: "We are planning a "gathering" for Sword Forum members and others interested in swords for the 21st of Augusts -- we will have John Clements, Director of the Historic Armed Combat Association and author of "Medieval Swordsmanship" and "Renaissance Swordsmanship" giving a day long seminar... Since Clements charges for his seminars, we will be charging participants $60 for the day-long seminar and the cookout portion as well (to cover his airfare, fee, and food and drinks). We will only have about 20 slots for the seminar as participants, but for observers we will only need to charge $30." For more information about this event's activities and location, or suggestions for same, contact Howard.
July --Festa Italiano, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No official invitation yet.
July 16-17 --Centuries Event, Syracuse, NY. Legio XXIV has been invited and would like Legio XX members to attend as well. Contact George Metz for more info: 610---
July 31-Aug. 1 --Military Time Line event, Ft. Malden, Ontario (just over the border from Detroit). Bit of drive for most of us, but definitely a good time of year to head north, eh? Is anyone seriously interested?
Sept. 18-19 --Legio III Gallica encampment, New Orleans, Louisiana. Contact Darren Nunez for more information: 504---
Sept. 24-26 --Roman Military Equipment Conference, South Shields, Eng. See the ROMEC website for details, http://pobox.com/~jrmes/romec.htm
Fall, 1999? --Possible display at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, as part of a classics fair. Still in the planning stages.
Oct. 2-3 --"Preserving our Military Heritage" at Fort Washington, MD, another timeline event. Perhaps we can spread ourselves across several eras.
Oct. 30-31 --Dionysia of Massilia. Games and rites in honor of the god Dionysos, Australia. Contact Mark Kelly
ADLOCVTIO is late! Even when it's on time (hey, it DOES happen!), it is the official monthly newsletter of the Twentieth Legion. If you need to know anything else about this publication or the Legion, contact the Editor/Commander: Matthew Amt, (aka Quintus Darius Macro). Valete!