Vol. IX, no. iii, March 1999

       It looks like we’ll have a decent turnout for Military Through the Ages this year, even though it is SNOWING like crazy at the moment!  For those of you not participating, Jamestown Settlement is open 9 AM to 5PM, and admission is $10.25 for adults, $5 for age 6-12.  Oh, and for those of you who are participating for the first time, you do NOT have to be in period clothing while setting up on Friday, though you certainly may if you like.  If you have any questions, ask soon, it’s time to march!

       Marching Through Time will be April 10-11, 1999, at Marietta Mansion in Glenn Dale, MD.  Our soldiers and civilians will be chatting up the public from 11 AM to 5 PM both days.  A couple of us will be setting up on Friday the 9th while busloads of school kids are brought in to get a brief tour of whatever reenactors are there--I always have the first group help us set up the tent.  This is a good event for first-timers (as well as veterans!) and I think we’ll have a good turnout.  Invitations have also gone out to a couple other legions, and we will share our camp space with them if necessary.  Our civilian contingent will also be in attendance.  Oh, and remember how I told you last month that “Charlie’s Angles” did not get invited to MTA?  Well, they won’t be at MTT, either!!  I can’t take complete credit this time, since I was only one of several people who complained in the right ear, but it is still a victory for truth and history!
       Admission for the general public is $5 for adults and $2 for students.  No pets, please!  Marietta’s phone number is 301--- and you can call them or Quintus for more information.
       Directions:  From I-95/495 the Capital Beltway, take Exit 20 onto Rt. 450 East (Annapolis Rd.) towards Lanham and Annapolis.  Go about 4 miles to a big intersection and turn left onto Rt. 193; take the first left onto Bell Station Rd. and left again into Marietta.  Notice:  There is a LOT of new construction on Rt. 450, and it now includes a left turn where it meets Rt. 704--be alert for other changes.  Also, the general public should not turn on Bell Station but go to the second left turn and park in the recreation center lot, then catch the shuttle vans to the site.   There will be plenty of signs.
       For those setting up for the school groups on Friday, we should be in our tunics before 10 AM, and no cars will be allowed into the camp area between then and 1 PM when the kids leave.  On Saturday, participants may may drive into the camp area to off-load heavy gear before 9:30 AM, then must park at the rec center or along the side of Rt. 193.  ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER upon arrival, although the paperwork may be with your Commander rather than at a central booth.  You may need to give tag number of your car, in case of emergency.  I know little bureaucratic stuff like this is a pain, but with all the lawyers in the world Marietta needs to cover its gluteus, so please help us do our part for this most helpful host site.

       A number of people near and far have recently expressed at least a passing interest in portraying auxiliary soldiers, and this is certainly a good thing.  Long ago I made an auxiliary shield (simply because I had a piece of wood the right size!), and at a couple of our first events it got some use because we had more bodies than gear.  With that clipeus and a sling, an otherwise sidelined legionary could leap into action as an auxiliary slinger.  For a long time since, however, my clipeus has served mainly as a “kitchen table” by the fire pit--a humble role but finely performed--because we have been able to equip all our troops as legionaries.  But I do want to make it clear that auxiliary troops would be an excellent addition to our overall impression, so members or recruits who would like to portray auxiliaries instead of legionaries are welcome to do so.  Such a portrayal would be fine not only as one’s main impression, but also for a new member who lacks his full legionary kit, or any veteran who simply wants a change of role now and then.  After all, half of the Roman army was composed of auxiliary troops, so they should be represented alongside the legions whenever possible.
       Since it would also be a good idea to select a unit to portray at Legio XX functions, rather than simply being “generic” auxiliaries, I dug through a couple books and found a good possibility:  Cohors VI Thracum Equitata, the Sixth Cohort of Thracians, “Part Horsed”.  A cohors equitata had six centuries of infantry (480 men) and four turmae of cavalry (120 men), so we can accomodate equestrian types as well as ground-pounders.  This unit, according to P.A. Holder’s The Roman Army in Britain, was probably part of the invasion force in 43 AD, and was later stationed in south-eastern Wales, the same area as the original Legio XX.  So quite likely the units worked together, and parts of each may even have been garrisoned at the other’s base.  This does not mean that other types of auxiliary soldiers are forbidden, of course, it’s just a general starting point.  I have not yet searched for any information specific to Coh. VI Thracum Eq., such as tombstones or inscriptions, so please point me in the right direction if you know of anything like that.
       Most likely the men of this unit were equipped in the “standard” style, with mailshirts, helmets, flat oval shields (the “clipeus”), swords, and the light throwing spear or lancea.  Unless someone has some evidence for VI Thracum's shield emblem, we might as well just copy mine, though the exact size and shape of the shield can vary.  Helmets may include Robinson's Auxiliary types A and B (but the cross-braced type C is a later style), or any Coolus or Montefortino type.    Cavalrymen would carry the spatha instead of the gladius, of course, and may choose from various cavalry helmets as well.  There is growing speculation that auxiliaries may have worn some of the Imperial helmet styles, so that may be negotiable.  Tunic, caligae, cloak, balteus, and gladius are all basically the same as for legionaries, but there is more leeway for "native" substitutes and influence.  Although all auxiliaries should strive for the "standard" kit, in campaign conditions they may wear a mix of Roman gear and approved barbarian items, especially clothes.
       A fuller rundown of auxiliary equipment requirements is available for all who want it.

       Some interesting tidbits came through the ArmaList recently about belt buckles and plates.  This is another area where reenactors tend to "out-do" the ancients, having equipment that is much prettier and better-made than the average originals.  Mark Martin told of very simple belt plates from Colchester that are cut from sheet brass and undecorated, with a domed rivet at each corner and a fifth in the center.  Other people added that other plain or simple belt plates were quite common, some tinned, or tinned with the border left plain brass.  Of course there are the fancier stamped plates as well, and the various cast types.  Mike Bishop said, “out of 73 boss-style plates from Vindonissa, only 12 appear to have been cast."
       I also asked the list whether belt buckles were always cast, or if any examples are known to be cut from sheet like a few of our first repros.   Dr. Bishop replied:  "There are a few sheet buckles, but they are very rare.  Out of 67 buckles in the Vindonissa catalogue, only four are largely or wholly beaten (the others are all cast or made of bone).”  Mark Martin also mentioned a bone buckle from Colchester, and will hopefully send me a drawing or description of it.  I bought a big bone in anticipation.  Dean Cunningham suggested using a jeweler's saw to cut buckles out of 1/4"- or 3/8"-thick brass (though I'd say that 1/8" is plenty thick), then grinding and filing to shape.
       We certainly don't have to give up making our belts with nice stamped or cast plates, there are just some easier options, now.  And bear in mind that even plain brass plates will look quite nice when polished.

       Also from ArmaList, Mark Ware has put a number of photos of Roman ruins in southern France online at www.Geocities.Com/Athens/Academy/4012  .  David Tibbetts mentioned a couple antiquities dealers online, and I found their pages to have better pictures than most museum sites.  Harlan J. Berk,, and Edgar L Owen, .

       Just got word from James Knox, an antiquities dealer in Toronto, Ontario, that he has some original pilum heads for $40 each.  No details on size or condition, but talk to him at:  atpcorp AT mail DOT interlog DOT com.

       In an addendum to last month's mention of cheap items from Harbor Freight Tools, Dean Cunningham warns that there's a reason their merchandise is cheap:  low quality.  That's very true in some cases, for example their cotton garden gloves which are nearly water-soluble, and I will NEVER buy "titanium nitride" coated drill bits again!  Serious craftsmen should be careful about what they get from places like Harbor Freight.   But for most of us hobbyists on a budget these tools are adequate.  My punch has lasted for several years and several loricae, and still works pretty well--the 1/8" die gets the most use by far and is starting to wear out but is still functional.  And even a cheap cast iron anvil will hold up to years of occasional riveting and general tinkering.  Just be forwarned that the old saying holds true: You get what you pay for.
       While I was trying to polish the brass wings on my shield and not getting far with the Nevr-Dull, Jane dug out an old clipping (Washington Times, 7/26/90) with home recipes for cleaning metal.  It suggested a paste of salt and lemon juice for brass, and it worked!  It cut the worst tarnish very quickly, and following it with the Nevr-Dull--not to mention a vigorous brushing with a whisk broom to get all the salt out of the nooks and crannies--resulted in a very nice gleam.

       Okay, here is all the info on the event to which we have been kindly invited by Merlynia, leader of the Celtic Cooking Ladies whom you may remember from Roman Days.  Although it is not a “general public” event and not at all like our other encampments, the other attendees will most likely make for a better-informed audience than usual.  Heck, we can even let them play with our weapons!  Teach them to drill, etc.  We can have as small or large a contingent as we are able, so anyone who is interested should contact Quintus soon.  (Or now!)

                                       " Quest for the Swamp Thing"
                                                    May 28-31, 1999
                               Settmour Swamp [Neshanic Station NJ]
               The Barony of Settmour Swamp welcomes one and all to our annual
weekend camping event where there will be something for everyone.
               For the fighter we will be running two events; the first, which will be open to all fighters, will be a special passage of arms event, so bring your banners, heraldry, and best armor.  The event will be run by Baron Sir Mitchell McBain [you can contact him through the pikestaff under Southern Region Earl Marshal].  The second event will be for our Baronial championship.  It includes a random weapons draw and bear pit tourney.  The winner will represent Settmour Swamp at events.
                 For the archers and throwers we will have an archery range with events all weekend, and a throwing weapons area.  This year we have a special throwing event where a Baronial champion will be chosen!
                 For the brewers of fine drink we will be offering a brewing contest for beer, wine, and cordial.
                 The thinkers won’t have it easy this year for there will be a mighty Quest!  This year’s, from what I have heard, promises to be most challanging.  It’s all about the [on second thought let’s make it a surprise].
                  For the person looking to learn a few extra fighting skills we are having a demo by a group of Roman soldiers [Legion 20] our Baroness has invited up from Maryland and Virginia.
                  And finally there is food! Breakfast will be served on the weekend for a very reasonable price.We are having a feast [price listed below].  To guarantee a spot please send in money for a reservation.  There will also be a Baronial court.
                  Now the site is damp [beer, wine, and mead allowed but no distilled alchohol].  There will be no running water on site (Editor’s note: I’m told that sufficient water will be trucked in).  There will be porta-castles on site as well as a big dumpster.  The county asks that we recycle all bottles, cans, and paper.
                  There will be a central fire pit for socializing,with any luck there will be some real entertainers among us.  A quiet area will be designated [a chart at troll will show area].  Merchants are welcome, there is no charge for space.
                  We ask you to keep an eye on your kids while on site [for there are rumors that there is a vile and evil creatures living in the site's river and bog who preys on wandering children and loose animals!]  So also keep your pets leashed and please clean up after them.
                  The site will open on Friday the 28th at 5pm and close on Monday the 31st at 12 noon.  Anyone who shows up early Friday or stays late Monday gets to help out [lots of horrible jobs to do].
                  Prices for the event and feast are as follows:  (Editor’s Note:  Legio XX participants will be admitted free, but will have to pay for the feast if they wish to attend).  The feast will cost $6.00.  The only guaranteed reservation is a paid reservation.  All checks should be made out to SCA-Barony of Settmour Swamp.  Please include SCA and mundane name of all attending.  Mail all reservations to Lord Ben e draig [Ben Redditt].    For written confirmation send an S.A.S.E.  Will take reservation up till May 24.  Any questions please contact the autocrat, Eric the Wandering Horseman [Fred Henninger JR] at 732---
                  Directions to site located on the Nechanic Station fire dept. picnic grove [corner of River Rd and Elm St] listed below:
                  Take route 206 to county road 514 [Amwell road] in Hillsborough.  If you are coming from the north, turn right onto Rt.514; if you are coming from the south, turn left.  Stay on RT 514 for about 8 miles, until you come to a three-way intersection at a large white church.  Turn right onto county route 567 [River Rd].  A mile or so down the road turn left and go across a white metal girder bridge [Elm St].  The site is just across the bridge to your right.  Route 206 can be reached from routes 287 and 22 from the north and from routes 95, 295, and 195 from the south.  Any questions call autocrat.
 March 20-21 --Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement, VA.  Multi-period encampment with over 30 groups from the first century through the twentieth.
 April 10-11 --Marching Through Time, Marietta Mansion, Glenn Dale, MD.  Also a multi-period event, not quite as big as MTA but closer to home and warmer.
 April 21 --Anniversary of the Founding of Rome, 753 BC.  Where's the party?
 April 30-May 2 --Mithracon II, New Haven, CT.  Contact Jane Sibley  for more info.
 May 29-31 --SCA Quest, New Jersey.  We have been invited by the 3 cooks who attended Roman Days.  Who's in?
 June 12-13 --ROMAN DAYS, Marietta Mansion, Glenn Dale, MD.  If you only get to one Roman event all year, this is the one!  Several other groups will be joining Legio XX, and it will be bigger and better than last time.  Massed tacticals, Olympics, merchants, and more.  You do not have to be dressed as a Roman to participate and have a great time!  Kentucky Public Television station KET will be sending a Latin teacher and a camera crew to film parts of the event, mainly for students but possibly for PBS!
 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. 24-26 --Roman Military Equipment Conference, South Shields, Eng.  See the ROMEC website for details,
Adlocvtio is the official monthly newsletter of the Twentieth Legion, the best darn Roman reenactment group in the world!  The best darn Editor and Commander is Matthew Amt, aka Quintus Darius Macro.  I hope everyone had the best darn Ides of March, until next month, Valete!