Vol. XII, no. vi, June 2002
AFTER-ACTION REPORT: ROMAN DAYS!
Thanks to all who made it possible, this must have been the best Roman Days yet. The splendid weather helped a lot, too! Legio XX fielded a total of about 18 men and women, and we were joined by troops from Legiones XXIV (Philadelphia), XI Claudia (Atlanta, GA), XIV Gemina (Wisconsin), and VI Victrix (Connecticut). On Saturday we had 16 soldiers in our massed tactical, and I think we had about 20 overall for the weekend. Nova Roma was also in attendance, and the gladiators of Gladiatorium Academia, plus a number of other good Romans of no particular group. Merchant Adventurers and La Wren's Nest did a good business in the Forum, while our "basilica" housed displays of wargames and Biblical Tools and Weapons. Kids made mosaics and abacuses (abaci?), and were continually Beaning the Barbarian. Everyone gorged themselves on food from Asellina's Caupona and the cooks of Settmour Swamp (not to mention the LUSCIOUS strawberry shortcake from the modern food vendor!). It was really great to meet some of the folks from distant provinces whom I've been emailing all these years.
Sunday morning's Olympics saw an upset as Greg "Ballista Arm" Fabic was unseated as Pilum-Chucking champion by Paul Montello of Legio XI Claudia. But we were all put to shame shortly thereafter by a demonstration of javelins, darts, sling, and boomerangs by Steve Peffley. For the javelins and darts he used throwing loops and atlatls (prehistoric throwing-sticks) to reach amazing distances. It was a thrill (and a bit of a chill) for both Romans and spectators. Steve does mechanical drawings for Albion Armorers, and brought a spread of wonderful Bronze Age shields and weapons as well as his missile weapons. The Armor Race was hotly contested and a close finish, but I think we decided that our own on-and-off member Mark Hanna came in first (is that right?). Yours Truly did better than usual ("usual" being dead last!), using my scutum and ferocious Beltway driving tactics to ram past the competition in the turn.
The Kiddie Cohort went very well each time, with a couple dozen more young recruits getting their first taste of this wonderful madness. The Fashion Show was better than ever. The Roman Soldier Timeline still has a few holes but was well-received, a good addition being George Metz with his lovely wolf pelt as a signifer. Sean Richey and a few of his SCA-type Romans dropped by on Sunday, and it was good to chat with them.
The most hair-raising part of the weekend, fortunately, was during set-up on Friday, shortly before noon. We wisely decided to investigate when normally quiet little Bell Station Road yielded a sound similar to a dumpster being dropped through trees. On stepping into the road we found ourselves looking at the bottom of an overturned van! "Goodness!" said we (or words to that effect). Vans look much bigger from that angle. This one had come up the hill "at a considerable rate of speed" (in the words of one experienced fireman), driven four or five feet up the near-vertical right-hand bank to whack off some large bamboo plants, then crossed the road to bury its nose in the opposite bank. Quick-thinking Jim Allen retrieved a step ladder which had been ripped off the van's roof, and the driver was able to climb out the passenger-side door (now on top) under his own power though very shaken. He was not badly hurt, luckily, but after being patched up by the paramedics and a long chat with the local constabulary, he was handcuffed and packed off in a police car. Turns out he was wanted in connection with TWO hit-and-run incidents that morning! We all agreed that the whole incident was QUITE enough excitement for the weekend. Look for the Legion and Marietta Mansion on the next episode of "Cops!"
But back to things Roman, there were about 200 visitors on Saturday, and I suspect a few more than that on Sunday (including some folks who came both days!). Their enthusiasm was very gratifying. This is why we do this, amices! Special thanks to Susan Wolfe (in her lovely new Roman dress!) and her very hard-working husband and staff at Marietta. We couldn't do this without their great help.
CHANGE OF COMMAND
The Legion has already heard that my wife Jane Walker resigned from the Board of Directors, and this past weekend the other Board Members, Tom Kolb and myself, nominated Greg Fabic to replace her. After only a minor beating, he agreed. Thanks, Greg, and Welcome to the halls of power, har har!
ODE TO ZAP
Many shining thanks to Jeff Crean for introducing me to a product called Zap. It is a clear tub and tile cleaner in a spray bottle which I finally found at a Target store, and Jeff has been using it to clean his brass. Having a lot of brass and bronze to clean, I gave it a try and I am in LOVE. First of all, it contains sulfuric and muriatic acid--you can see me grinning already. I got rubber gloves, goggles, rags, a big bucket of water, and went out to the driveway (I'm not completely looney!).
My first target was my Montefortino helmet, and after testing on the bottom of the neckguard to be sure it wouldn't do something hideous, I sprayed the whole outer surface, gave it a few moments to do its stuff, and sponged it off with plenty of water. Then I toweled it dry, and was amazed! It didn't even need any final polishing with the Nevr-Dull, as Jeff had warned! Probably not a perfect job, but it took a mere fraction of the time that it would have with the buffing wheel and Nevr-Dull. Next I did my Greek greaves and Corinthian helmet. These are all bronze rather than brass, and the effect was quite different. The Zap ate away the tarnish as usual, but it turned the metal very pink and streaky--it's very watery stuff and runs all over the place rather than clinging as a foam or something. But once I had thoroughly Zapped, rinsed, and dried the pieces, I was able to get a VERY nice polish with the Nevr-Dull VERY quickly and easily.
It boggles the mind. No hours of rubbing or buffing, no green and black deposits stuck in all the nooks and crannies. However, you DO want to be careful with this stuff! Don't get it on you, the living room rug, or the leather, cloth, or wooden parts of your gear. So it's not the best choice for belt parts or scabbards, for instance, unless you are much neater at dabbing it on than I am, perhaps. And don't get it on steel, it can cause discoloring and rust! But if you have a brass helmet and are tired of constant fingerprints, this may be the answer to your dreams. There goes the last reason not to get that muscled cuirass, too, hmmm.... Thank you, Jeff!
NOMINA by Linda Thompson
Just out of curiosity, shouldn't the legionaries refer to themselves by their cognomina rather than their praenomina? After all, since Roman males had such a limited number of praenomina, when someone yells, "Hey, Quintus!" there is bound to be more than one man responding to the call. In all the literary evidence I've ever seen, the only time a man's praenomen is used without the rest of his name is among his immediate family. According to Harold W. Johnston, The Private Lives of the Romans (p. 45): "Children, slaves, and intimate friends addressed the father, master, friend, and citizen by his praenomen only. Ordinary acquaintances used the cognomen, with the praenomen prefixed for emphatic emphasis." In a military situation, certainly the commander's men would never address him by his praenomen alone, and definitely not in public -- they'd say Gaius Caesar or Quintus Macro. If they were being really formal, they'd say Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Tullius Cicero, or Quintus Darius Macro. Nor would the commander use a legionary's praenomen alone in public, if for no other reason than to avoid confusion. We are aiming for as much authenticity as possible, after all.
Quintus Macro notes: Okay, sounds good to me! I don't think we need to make this a hard rule, since it's possible that a soldier's mess-mates counted as "family", and I do want to give people the option of being called by whatever part of their name they prefer. But let's keep it in mind.
Minor adjustments, including photos that can be clicked on for larger versions, have been made to these parts of the Legio XX site: Balteus, Helmets, Squamata, Newstead Lorica, Gladius, Gladius Hints, Armoring Hints, Links, and Suppliers. Have you read your website lately?
Jean-Philippe Fontanille sends word about his site concerning the coins of Pontius Pilate, at http://www.pilatecoins.com/index.htm.
Nova Roma is planning a Roman Market Day on the weekend of September 7th and 8th at Sacred Oaks in Wells, Maine. For more information, contact Cassius (William Bradford).
July 6 -- Monthly Workshop/Muster (?) (Better confirm beforehand!)
August 3 -- Monthly Workshop/Muster
September 7 -- Monthly Workshop/Muster
October 26, 2002 -- Demo at Univ. of PA Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia
Directions to the monthly workshops/musters at Roger Moskey's house:
From I-495 Capital Beltway, take Exit 12 B Route 267 Toll Road West towards Dulles Airport. After paying toll (50 cents), take the first exit--Exit 16 Route 7 Leesburg Pike West for about 11 miles. Go past Cascades Parkway, and at the next light take a right onto PALISADES Parkway, then an immediate left onto "Triple 7" (Route 777). Pass Calvary Temple on right, take the next right onto Regina Drive; follow it to the end and take a right onto Markwood Drive. At stop sign take a left onto Terrie Drive (culdesac). #304 is just to the right of the middle. (Actually, I've been taking VA Rt. 193 Georgetown Pike from the Beltway, through Great Falls and up to Rt. 7. Cuts off some of the Beltway, the toll, and much of awful Rt. 7.)
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, http://www.larp.com/legioxx/. Valete!