LEGIO XX--The Twentieth
BRITONS, CELTS AND
intended as a very basic guide for anyone starting an impression
non-Roman such as a Briton, Celt, or German. The
below is not exhaustive but can be considered "generally
acceptable". While you are obviously encouraged to focus
historical sources from the same time and place as your chosen
impression, specific information on such details as clothing can
scarce and hard to find. So there will be some
and interpolation from other times and places, though this does
mean that (for instance) a Gallic sword from 200 BC is
use by a Briton from 43 AD. In short, as always,
evidence is available, stick with it as closely as
will still allow quite a bit of room for interpretation and
Guide for clothing and gear
Vicus in the UK: http://www.vicus.org.uk/kitguide/index.htm
Kelticos Discussion Board http://www.kelticos.org/forum/index.php
is an essential resource, as is the Roman Army Talk board,
"Allies & Enemies" section: http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/
books to consult include Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at
and the Osprey volume Rome's Enemies: Gallic and
, but beware: their reconstructions are not always
well-documented, and are the basis of some "reenactorisms" that
"typical" setting for Legio XX is the invasion of Britain in 43
focus of this page will be on mid-first century Britons, though
will also be information for Gauls, Germans, and more.
speaking, the ancients did not refer to people in Britain as
but that detail will not be debated here. It should also
that the Celtic world spanned a huge range of time and
included a wide variety of cultures, all of which changed over
time. So one should be very careful about combining
details from different times and places in creating an
For anyone planning a
impression as part of Legio XX activities, standards
are as strict
as for legionaries. Equipment must be authentic and
made, though of course there is no uniformity.
consult the Commander before buying or making anything!
on Cold-Weather Clothing
and Civilian Clothing
will be useful.
See the Introduction
the Online Handbook for general guidelines. Wool is the
fabric of choice, followed by linen. While various plaids and
checks are ubiquitous among reenactors, there is clear evidence that
solid colors were just as common. These do not
have to be loud colors, and care should be taken to avoid
Highland Clan tartans. Basic men's clothing is a tunic,
shoes, and often a cloak.
Remember the Burden of Proof: You
NOT use or wear something simply because it cannot be proven
is up to YOU to present evidence for anything that you want to use
is not covered in these guidelines.
RAT thread on Celtic Impressions:
Useful Kelticos threads on clothing:
World of the Ancient Britons pages on Clothing (with some debateable
The TUNIC is mid-thigh
knee-length, with a straight body and horizontal slit neck, with
sleeves that fit fairly closely along the forearms. There can
a turned-back cuff. The entire garment can be made in one
or two, or with the body in one or two panels and the sleeves sewn
on. The basic patterns on the Midgard page on Tunics may be
helpful, though you should omit the gores: http://www.larp.com/midgard/tunic.htm
is possible that short-sleeved and sleeveless tunics also existed,
particularly under Greek and Roman influence, but long sleeves are
generally considered "safe".
TROUSERS can be long or
short. At the moment, all the evidence for long trousers
indicates that they were rather close-fitting like the Thorsbjerg
trousers, with or without feet. See the Cold
Weather Clothing page. Short trousers also fit
Again, the basic patterns on the
Midgard page on Braies can help, just modify the length and width as
be sure to make the seat baggy, for example with rectangular
inserts, or the snug legs will prevent easy movement and lead to
seams! Better to use an actual ancient pattern.
--There is NO EVIDENCE for
trousers tied at the ankle!
Leggings can be made of a
rectangle of fabric wrapped around the lower leg, tied at the ankle
below the knee.
SHOES are most easily
from an oval of leather or hide, with the back sewn shut, and holes
punched around the perimeter for a lace. More complex shoes
with multiple lacing tabs might have another layer of sole sewn on
well. Long or short socks sewn from wool can be worn, or the
can be wrapped in a diagonal square of cloth (fold the front point
the toes, then the side points).
DO NOT wear knee-high
"Apache" boots or we will burn them off your feet. Don't wear
vambraces or wide kidney belts, or Renn-faire style shirts or
bodices. Don't drape odd pieces of leather or hide on
yourself--cloaks of animal hide are perfectly good if made in a
rectangular or trapezoidal shape sewn from multiple pieces.
WEAPONS AND ARMOR
The vast majority of
British and Gallic warriors did not have armor, but were typically
equipped with shield and spear. Consider that a perfectly
adequate amount of military equipment! If you wish to
yourself to a higher level, take your time to research the
items, and be sure your equipment is historically accurate and
SHIELDS were flat and
constructed of vertical planks, with a horizontal
handgrip. Typically the wood was thicker in the center and
thinner towards the edges. Obviously if modern plywood is
needs to be entirely covered, with leather, rawhide, linen, or
felt. The facings can be wrapped around the edge, or a
rim can be stitched on. Some shields may have had a partial
complete metal rim, similar to that on a scutum.
was a variety of shapes in use, including ovals and oblongs, and
some with scalloped or concave ends (apparently only found in
Britain). Sizes also varied. The boss can be an
wooden style (like half a football), with or without an iron or
reinforcement, and with or without vertical wooden spines
almost to the top and bottom edges; or a domed metal Roman or
style boss can be used.
uncommon in Britain. By the first century AD, most of the
Caesarian-era Montefortino, Agen, and Port styles were most likely
of fashion. Coolus types may be the best bet.
ARMOR appears to have
been rare in Britain as well, but would have been mail
much like a Roman hamata. Mail
should be made of mild steel (or wrought iron!), with alternating
of solid and riveted rings. Please avoid butted mail!
SWORDS will be very distinctive to a particular impression,
should be chosen with care. A sword should not be crude or
made. An essential discussion on MyArmoury, http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=194
SPEARS were the most
weapon. Shafts were
ash, generally an inch or less
in diameter and 6 or 7 feet long, smaller javelins about 3/4"
were iron, and ranged from 3 or 4 inches up to about 12 or so--8"
is a good range. It is surprisingly difficult to find a
plain commercially-made spearhead that isn't too big!
there are some distinctly Celtic types available with scalloped
or holes in the blades.
Also see the page of Things to Avoid.
--MyArmoury discussion on Celtic metal scabbards, http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3478
--MyArmoury discussion on German weaponry, http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=12632
Iron Age Armory--Shane Allee, Indiana, http://www.ironagearmoury.com/
Templ Arms--Patrick Barta, Czech Republic, http://www.templ.net/english/
work, but long backlog.
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