Vol. XIII, no. iv, April 2003

       May 3-4 is the spring Universal Soldier show at Fort Washington.  Open 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, 10 to 3 on Sunday.  Small and laid back, but always good weather and plenty of space to play.  If you have been there before, they should have sent you a registration form already--return it directly to the fort, not to me.  If you have not been there, or fail to return your form (shame!), a park ranger will have you register when you get to the event.
       Fort Washington National Park is located at 13551 Fort Washington Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744.  301---.  From I-95/495 the Capital Beltway, take Rt. 210 Indian Head Highway South; go about 4 miles and turn right at the light onto Fort Washington Road, which ends about 3.5 miles later at the park entrance.  Admission for the public $5 per car.
       Try to get to the site about an hour before it opens to the public.  AND of course you should contact Quintus with your event plans as soon as you have a pretty good idea of what they are.  See the Schedule page of the website,,  for all the event information, directions, etc.  Thanks very much!

       Due to the fact that we have a number of events on the usual workshop weekends, and some scheduling complications at the Moskeys', the monthly workshop sessions will be held on the THIRD Saturday of the month in April, May, and June.  That's April 19 (this coming Saturday!), May 17, and June 21.  The time is the same, 10 AM to 5 PM.
       However, the location will be different for at least April: it will be at the Commander's house!   That's right, Matthew Amt and Jane Walker will be hosting the workshop.  Most of you guys have never been to our place before, so here are directions:

       From the Washington Beltway, I-495/95, go North on I-95 towards Baltimore.  Take Exit 33 onto Rt. 198 East towards Laurel.  Go about 2 miles (pass a Shell station where 198 splits into eastbound and westbound sides) and turn left at the light at the 7-Eleven onto 7th Street, Rt. 216 (OR left at the next light onto 4th St.).  Go through one light (at 198 westbound) and take the next right onto Carroll Ave.  Number 317 is the last house on the left before the Verizon building, a brick Cape Cod with a red front door.  (Another half-block and you hit Route 1.)

       From the North, come down I-95 and either take 198 East as above, or take the previous exit onto Rt. 216 towards Laurel.  Go through 2 traffic lights, then a stop sign, then a couple more blocks and left onto Carroll (just before the next light at 198).

       Lost?  301---, and we will laugh at you.  As usual, no historical clothes are required, but bring along anything you want to work on.  No kids, sorry.  No alcohol, either, it's a "dry" house, and of course no smoking on the premises (not usually a problem!).  Also, the wife says No equipment in the living room or dining room, to spare the furniture.  We have the basement and the second floor to play in, plus back yard, and we can even set fire to my forge if we get excited.

       Also, I simply can't do the fabulous lunches that JJ usually plies us with.  I'll lay in my favorite hot dogs and some soda and other munchies, but if that sort of gourmet fare is not your thing, better pack along something else.

       Next month we may go back to the Moskeys', but maybe not. We may go back to the first Saturdays, but we might stick with the third.  Stay tuned, and drop someone a line if you are not sure and want to get to the right house on the right weekend.  See you Saturday!

       June 7-8 is Roman Days, at Marietta Mansion as always.  If I had more time I'd make more plans and tell you about them.  Suffice it to say that reenactors and Romanophiles from Georgia to Canada are talking about coming to participate.  We will probably have to spread the display area down onto the field, to avoid crowding on the upper lawn.  The schedule will be similar to last year but I might have to make a couple adjustments.  Check the Roman Days page of the website for more details as the date draws closer, .  See you there!

       This year's Marching Through Time was two warm sunny days following a week of rain.  Pleasant, but very muddy!   We were joined by two Celts: Nate Bell from Ohio, and Steve Peffley from Pennsylvania.  They both brought TONS of gear, about nine shields, half a dozen spears, eight or ten swords, a bundle of wicked javelins, and more.  Nate was sporting a Gallic mailshirt and a lovely iron Montefortino helmet made by Joe Piela.  Steve's gear was a mix of bronze age and iron age, but his special new toy was his falx.  This is a reproduction of a famous weapon from Dacia (modern Romania) recently made for him by Mark Morrow.  It resembles a four-foot pruning bill, with a single-edged blade that curves forward at the tip like a hook.
       To test the falx's cutting power, Steve made a scutum out of strips of birch plywood, covered with leather and fabric, and a brass rim along the top edge.  The wooden core was about 3/8" thick at the center, thinning to about 1/4" at the edges.  It lacked only a boss, but that wasn't relevant to the test  For safety, the shield was supported by a long arm built of 2x4s resting on a post like a see-saw.  Bungee cords held the shield to the arm while allowing some play and flexibility, and Owen Hutchins volunteered to control the other end of the arm.
       Steve made three cuts: one vertically to the top, one at a slight angle into the face, and one horizontally to the shield's left edge.  All three made deep gashes into the shield, eight inches or more.  The brass rim along the top edge didn't even seem to slow the blade down--it was very cleanly cut!  (Polished, even!)  The cut through the face tore a 4"-wide swath of the backing fabric off, and separated the layers of wooden strips.  Either of these two cuts would have split or severed the arm of any man holding the shield in normal circumstances.  (Armor probably would have helped, but prayer would still be recommended.)  The horizontal cut must have been 10" long, and it splintered the horizontal wooden back brace.  The tip of the blade sank over an inch into the support arm, right about where a legionary's spine or kidneys would be.
       This was scary stuff.  The shield technically survived, and was not in danger of falling apart.  The cuts were not even obvious from a distance, but it was clear that a shield alone was not going to be adequate protection from this weapon.  In all fairness to science, it should be pointed out that Steve is a weight lifter and can bench-press over 300 pounds.  He had time to line up his cuts (partly just for safety's sake), and in spite of the temptation we were not pelting him with pila.  We like to think that most falx-wielding Dacians were working under tougher conditions, but we also have to realize that they must have also had a few opportunities to strike at an unshielded soldier.
       After the cutting demonstration, we leaned the shield against the wooden post and chucked a few pila at it.  Due to sudden severe cross-winds (har har), only one hit, but it went right through the shield and stuck into the post.  The end of the post (a 2x4) was actually split by the point, and we had a tough time getting it loose.  This was my hand-forged  socketed pilum head made by Mark Morrow.

       Oh, yes--On Saturday morning a camera crew from the History Channel was there to film the various groups, and they got several shots of us doing our marching and pilum-tossing drill.  This is for a show which is supposed to air in the fall, so stay tuned!
       Thanks to all Romans and honored barbarians who turned out, and to Bear and his tractor for pulling our cars out of the mud.

       Legio I Italica in Atlanta is working with the town of Rome, Georgia on a major festival to be held May 3, 2003.  This unit and any other Romans would be the centerpiece. Fred Schaller, the commander, needs feedback from potential participants as soon as possible.

   April 19 -- Rescheduled Monthly Workshop, at Matthew Amt's house
   May 3-4 -- Universal Soldier encampment, Fort Washington, MD
   May 17 -- Rescheduled Monthly Workshop
   June 7-8 -- ROMAN DAYS, Marietta Mansion
   June 21 -- Rescheduled Monthly Workshop


Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum. (Vegetius)

ADLOCVTIO is the Official Newsletter of the Twentieth Legion, supposedly published on the Ides of each month.  I am Quintus, aka Matthew Amt, the Legion's Commander and Editor of the Newsletter,   Valete!