Vol. IX, no. xii, December 1999

       Yes, it is that time.  ACTIVE MEMBERS ONLY need to fork over $5 each to stay on the roster.  Checks can be made payable to  the TWENTIETH LEGION, and sent to Matthew Amt.  Associate Members/Subscribers/Etc. mostly don't need to worry about this, since email subscriptions are free, but those last few techno-deprived types who are still getting this rag on paper will be informed of their status.  If you don't know if you are an Active Member or not, you'd better ask me!

AFTER-ACTION REPORT--Walk Through Bethlehem
       Well, this was indeed a blast!   Six of us took turns (2 to 4 men each night) trying to keep the peace at the Seventh-Day Adventist World Headquarters annual Christmas show.   The town was a little bigger than the one at St. Luke's, and the Wise Men and Herod's throne room were on the second floor.  The public was admitted in groups of about 30, first led to a tirade from Herod (played with gusto by our contact, Dick Stenbakken), then through the town and on to the Manger scene.  The really staggering thing was the sheer volume of visitors--there were only a few hundred on the first night, but well over 2000 on Saturday and again on Sunday.  The total official gate count for the whole 6 days was 11,476.  Gads.  I personally tried to recruit, oppress, or insult every one of them, I think.   Frail, elderly ladies were particularly warned against starting riots.  Everyone, Romans and wretched provincials alike, had a great time.
       Next year, if both St. Luke's and the Adventists want us again, we may have to split our manpower.

       Dolabra heads!!  They are PERFECT!!  Hand-forged with a straight tine, they come without handles but Albion is working on getting those, too.  The heads come with brass edge sheaths, which are not perfect but are easy to fix up.
       Albion is still waiting for the steel Roman helmets to show up--patience, they are at the mercy of the suppliers, the shippers, and the US Customs department.   Believe me, they are as anxious as anyone to get these things!

       A number of people have asked me to look at reproduction Roman items for sale on eBay lately.  They always turn out to be the usual stuff: the ten-pound screw-together javelin, the Windlass "Troopers" helmet or even worse copy, the Depeeka gladius, etc.  Generally speaking, folks, you will not find any good repros on eBay, though I'm happy to keep looking at what you find.  The description may say it's a perfectly authentic piece, but it's probably wrong.  If you need to feed your eBay habit, hit the antiquities section, or go see what amtwalker or amthanna have put up for auction (not Roman but still cool!).

    "Midnight in the Library of Alexandria" by Lee Burks

    Capricorn, Egyptian well of souls
    Swings high above us; take this scroll.
    Read here; papyrus crumbles when it's old
    What mouldy wisdom you now hold.

    Be careful with the oil lamp, sire!
    (Set forbid we start a fire)
    Just look at all these million scrolls
    In row on row of pigeon holes.

    There Babylon's gardens yet sway
    In cuneiform, it's baked in clay.
    And here, and here, more ancient still;
    Atlantis meets the sea-god's will.

    These volumes in Etruscan wax
    coated boards, both fronts and backs,
    Bear auguries, reveal the fates
    Of lords grown fat on wine and dates.

    Ah, here, accounts of Attic groves
    whre maenads throng in frenzied droves;
    Mid amphitheaters, collumned temples,
    Athletic youths and maids with dimples.

    Look...(Ye gods this lamp is hot!)
    My foot burns from a single drop.
    And now my chiton is ablaze!
    Tear it off!  Exit this maze!

    We're safe now; Amon! What a fire!
    It spreads like Bacchus' drunk desire!
    They'll ne'er believe in our hometown,
    Great Alexander's Library we've burned down!

LUDUS by Ed Safford
       I recently got a copy of the computer game "Caesar III" ( here III = v 3.0 ) and thought I'd share a quick review with you.  It's a simulation type game much like the classic "SimCity", where the object is to build a working city, balancing conflicting needs and limited resources.
       Rather than modern city building, "Caesar III" takes place in a provincial
Roman town, which the player, as city administrator, oversees.  You must  balance the needs of the people for access to water, food, temples, theaters, baths, hospitals, etc.  As your town gets bigger, your people's appetites do too -- you will find your people begin to consume pottery, furniture, olive oil, and wine.  Some of these items you can produce locally, some you have to trade for.  Naturally there are trade-offs.  For example, no one wants to live  right next to a bustling market, but everyone wants quick access to one.  Also you may have to decide how to allocate your labor if you don't have enought to fill all the jobs in town.  But shorting the town of prefects might result in fires, or a lack of building engineers may result in building collapses.
       In addition to city building, attention must be paid to 5 key gods.  The selected deities include Ceres, Neptune, Mercury, Mars, and Venus.  Failure to keep one or more happy results in various calamities.  I've had Neptune sink my ships (bad news for maritime trade routes), Mars curse  my legions (they fled), Venus cast auras of doom over my city (resulting in massive emmigration), and Mercury has made off with goods in my warehouses.  Oh, and Ceres has wiped out my crops (naturally).
       Also, unlike SimCity, Caesar III requires keeping Caesar happy.  From time to time he demands goods from your city, usually on an increasing scale as time goes by.  To finish each scenario a minimum "favour rating" must be achieved.  The good news is that Caesar's favour can be bought with additional gifts.
       And finally bad guys show up here and there.  You can deal with them in a  number of ways, from walls with ballistae armed towers to local cohorts of troops.  The rub is that Caesar may demand some/all of your troops for service in other parts of the empire.  One of my postings was to the alps, just in time to meet Hannible and his elephant friends.  Yikes!  My current assignment is to found Damascus, and I've been contending with cammel mounted archers.   More annoying than really threatening.
       All in all it's a hoot of a game.  History does get bent in the interests of playability though.  For example Caesar is always a figure, even during  dates that are within the republic, all the legionaries have loricae segmentata (again even during early scenarios), and I'm not sure Roma had the small army of building engineers that one tends to acquire in this game.  But the graphics  are very nice, the townsfolk are always willing to tell you what they don't  like about the place, and it's sucked up lots of my spare time lately.  Win  and Mac versions are available (~$45), and it runs well even on my 8100/100 -- a 5 year old machine I cobbled together out of spare parts.

MITHRACON by Jane Sibley
       This is an informal research convention concentrating on early mythology and religion, especially Mithraism and other cults of the Roman Empire.  It is held in New Haven, CT, the home of Yale University.  We plan to spend most of Saturday in Yale's Sterling Memorial Library doing whatever research your heart desires.  After dinner (the usual pilgramage to the New Deal Steak House), there will be informal presentations (a Carousel slide projector will be available), as well as some darn good discussions.  On Sunday: we will visit the Dura Europas mithraeum (Yale Art Gallery).  The hotel is within walking distance of the library and gallery.  A Staples and a Barnes & Noble bookstore are also close by.
       Dates: Friday, May 5 - Sunday, May 7, 2000.
       Hotel: The Holiday Inn at Yale, 203---.  Mention MithraCon III for the con rates.  Rooms: $79 plus tax (12%) (2 dbl beds or 1 king); rollaway $10 extra.  Free courtesy van from public transportation (arrange that when you reserve your room); also fre parking.  This includes from Tweed-new Haven airport.  Please reserve your room EARLY, as the hotel fills up fast and we only have a smallish block reserved (10 rooms).  Rooms MUST be reserved by April 5 to get con rates; the price goes up after that.  More rooms can be added if we fill the block early and if the hotel still has space.
       Con registration: $15 postmarked by Jan. 15, then $20 to March 15, $25 to May 1, and $30 thereafter/at the door.  Send reservations (and make checks out to: Jane T. Sibley.  If you have questions, email me--I'm the entire concom.
       Dealers: there is no dealers' room per se, but you can bring items to our function room.  Since you'll probably want to hit the library during the day instead of sitting there hoping for a customer, folks can see what you've got during the evening sessions.
       Directions to the site: From I-95, take exit 47 (Downtown New Haven).  From I-91 S, take exit 1 (Downtown New Haven).  Proceed to the 2nd exit off the connector, and continu to the 2nd light.  Take a right onto York Street.  You will pass the traffic light at Crown St., then the one at Chapel St.  Turn left on Broadway (Au Bon Pain is on the far left corner).  Broadway becomes Whalley Ave. after 2 blocks (just at the end of the parking lot on the left); the hotel is on the left.

        April 15-16 --Marching Through Time, Marietta Mansion, MD.
       April 29-30 --"Universal Soldier" encampment, Fort Washington, MD.
       May 13-14? --Armor display at Jamestown Settlement.  The Park wants us to camp by the museum with a couple other "armored" groups as part of this exhibit.
       June --Roman Days, Marietta Mansion, MD.
And just in case anyone is still unclear on this, the 21st Century and the new millenium begin on January 1, 2001, NOT 2000!  Now, this doesn't mean you can't have a mongo party, and obviously 2000 is the Big Deal for our silly computers, but let's get the arithmetic straight, eh?  Anyway, in Roman terms it's 2752 AUC, just another new year.  Have a happy one!  And a very Merry Christmas
       ADLOCVTIO is the official newsletter of the Twentieth Legion, blah blah blah.  Thanks to those who contributed stuff this month!  Oh, and the full moon on December 22 (winter solstice) is supposed to be the biggest and brightest in 133 years.  The beloved Commander and Editor is still: Matthew Amt, aka Quintus.   Valete till next year (not century)!