giovedì 21 novembre 2013


2013 ROMA Ludi Plebeii Festival Schedule

23rd November

The Feast of Jupiter - 10am
The beginning of the Ludi Plebeii is Jupiter's Feast in the ROMA Forum. Beginning with an audience with the Capitoline Triad outside Their temple on the Capitoline Hill, where a ritual to ask for Their blessings will be performed. Immediately after the ritual, a procession down to the Forum, where the feast will begin - with food, wine, and dancing in the company of the Gods.
ROMA Subura Chariot Races - 12pm (Noon)
In honour of Jupiter, Best and Greatest, Divine Mother Juno, and Wise Minerva, there will be chariot racing in the Subura! We invite all to come join in this spectacle, to cheer on the racers (or join in the racing themselves) as they navigate a tricky figure-8 loop through the narrow streets - hopefully without taking out anyone's domus (or themselves) in the process!

Thanksgiving Turkey Hunt - 1pm
In honour of the American and Canadian custom of Thanksgiving - we will be having a turkey hunt - but there's a catch - these turkeys are *TINY*. Barely the size of a large chihuahua, they are agile, speedy, and extremely difficult to tag - but if you can tag the most turkeys in 1 hour, you'll earn yourself $L1000 to have your own thanksgiving feast! (Or maybe just to buy that fancy new outfit you've had your eye on.) How many turkeys can you tag? Join the hunt and find out!

24th November

Autumn Hot Springs Brunch - 10am
To say farewell to the warmer days in ROMA, we will be having a social brunch in the ROMA Hot Springs! Steaming water, good food, and dancing round the pools - a wonderful way to relax, socialise, and enjoy the last of the good weather before the snows come to ROMA!

Jupiter's Grand Feast - 12pm
The theme of this feast is Modern Gods and Heroes! So dress up as whomever you worship or admire  (this can be celebrities, important world figures, or sports stars) and enter our Grand Feast Costume Contest. There will be two categories - Best God and Best Goddess, and the winners will each receive $L1000. There will also be dancing and live music by Taunter Goodnight. Don't miss it!

Ludu Plebeii Naumachia - 1pm
Watch and be entertained as the Legio XIII Classis Nautica engage and practice naval warfare with a naumachia! The ancient Romans since Emperor Nero would watch and be entertained by extravagant naval combat by filling up the basin of amphitheatres with water and letting loose ships of war onto the waters. Only, these ships weren't regular naval vessels - they were gladiators' ships and the marines were the gladiators themselves, almost certainly convicts sentenced to death! Thankfully, our Emperor Julian is a much kinder fellow to even our most depraved citizens... Instead, watch as our brave soldiers of the Legio XIII Classis Nautica take to the seas!

lunedì 18 novembre 2013

Soldiers grave stones - a source for the study of Roman army (by Signifer Q.Claudius Secundus Petilianus)

this short conference is about roman gravestones as an epigraphic source on the roman army research

The sources are the starting point and the control for each reconstruction. We have three different types of sources:
1 written records
2 pictorial representations
3 original finds

Each of these sources provides many opportunities, but also problems of interpretation. The interaction and knowledge of the interpretation to give a fairly accurate picture of the object of contract, in this case the Roman army in the first century.

I would like to give a brief insight into the epigraphic sources that tell us about the Roman army this time information

What is epigraphy?
The Epigraphy Epigraphy or ("Inscription", from the Greek epigraphs επιγραφή "inscription") is an auxiliary historical science, which is particularly important for the Ancient History; she deals with inscriptions and inscriptions on various materials such as wood, stone , glass, marble, metal, leather, etc.

Since such inscriptions are more durable than ordinary writing documents on materials such as paper or parchment, epigraphic sources are often the only means to obtain information on contemporary defunct cultures. The main types are dedication, grave, construction and honorary inscriptions.

For the study of the roman army of the first century Roman soldiers grave stones are particularly valuable because there are so many finds of them

they provide not only information about the appearance of the soldiers and their equipment, but also provide statistical data of great accuracy, for which no other army before 17 century exists

Roman grave stones provide information on the origin, the retirement age and the period of service of the soldiers, so that you can make general statements about the Roman army, this time due to the large number of finds

I will not go into the inscriptions per se, as this is beyond the scope of a short talk at this point. I want you with several examples to show how you could do because Roman grave stones reconstructions of their equipment

1.this is the grave stone of the legionary Caius Valerius Crispus, about 75 AD, here's he served in the Legio VIII Augusta. At his death he was 40 years old and had served 21 years

2.Here we see one of the problems of interpretation of the early history research
Roman grave stones were, as well as columns and statues, painted, and depending on the amount of the cost of the grave stone and the financial position of inheriting, who allowed set the stone, the stones were not always fully prepared by the stonemason

The grave stone of Caius Crispus why you went out of a leather armor and put on his pants. in reality it is the pterygesstripes of the subarmalis and there is not a single hint of leather armor. they also make no sense

3.This stone is perhaps the most famous grave stone of a Roman soldier. it is the stone of  Caeliusl,who was killed 9 AD in the battle against Varus
You can recognize his military awards, the phalerae

4. here is a painted reconstruction of his gravestone

5. This is Publius Flavoleius Cordus, son of Publius, soldier of the Legio XIV GEMNINA, 43 years old, died after 23 years of service.
he wears Tunica, the typical military belts of the early 1 century, sword, dagger and sagum over his shoulder hangs an oval shield and he holds a pilum in his hand

6.The aquilifer Gnaeus Musius, 32 years old.

7.Petilius Quintus Secundus, son of Quintus Petilius, probably originated from Milan and was part of the constituency (tribe) Oufentina. Petilius was a soldier of the Legio XV Primigenia, which had its actual location in Vetera near Xanten. Likely to carry out construction activities, he was reassigned to the Roman camp in Bonn. The XV Primigenia was almost four years stationed at their main camp Mogontiacum (Mainz-Weisenau). [1] He died at the age of 25 years, after he had completed five years of service. His legacy had it made for Petilius a grave stone because of the will.
I have also chosen these names for my avatar ;)

8. stone of Marcus Favonius Facilis, son of Marcus, centurion of the Legio XX
about his under garment with pteryges he wears a short chain armor, a wide, ornate belt, the sword with the left side of the stock vine wood

9. here an example of another kind of grave stone. He does not show the person, but the equipment of his military rank

it is the stone of Titus Calidus Severus from Carnuntum (near Vienna).
the inscription says, that he first was in cavalry, then decurion in the cohors I Alpinorum and finally centurion in Legio XV Apollinaris. He was 58 years old and served 34 years

10. to the conclusion I would like to show a presentation of Trajan's Column in Rome here. It shows a Roman legionary who is wearing a lorica segmentata.
very strange is the circumstance that on no single grave stone such equipment appears
why this is so, we are still discussing about it

so i hope u enjoyed a little this conference, the next will be about the original finds and the reconstructions

many thanks for your attention

martedì 3 settembre 2013


sabato 11 maggio 2013

Best soldier award

I want to inform all the Legio members that from the past training will be given a prize to the most valuable partecipanting in the training. The winner will be nominated at the start of every 3 trainings, so any winner will be able to keep the prize for 3 meetings.
The award consists of a special shield that will be assigned to those who demonstrate commitment, combat skills and discipline.
I am happy to announce that the first winner is Quintus!  
You all will have time till the 25 of May to try to win this prize!
Good luck!

giovedì 25 aprile 2013

Natalis Romae: Natale di Roma: Birthday of Rome

This is the clip of the parade of the event. Sorry for the quality: I was mainly in front of the sun in a crowded place and I was often forced to rise the camera, not knowing well what I was pointing at. Even so, I had to make a lot of cuts, after.
Try to resist, (or jump) to the end, where they perform a good example of "testudo" and "mutatio". 

Obviously there are outfits pretty good and other ones absolutely not, but I decided to record them all to give the impression of the 2000 dressed people from 11 european countries, in a wonderful scenery.

venerdì 1 marzo 2013


A talk of Eques Tarvos "The Bull", in our fort, in die tertio ante kalendas Martii

As unfortunately  only few people can be present to the talk, we post it on the blog, due to the interest of the content, with many thanks to the speaker. The text is the direct transcription of the talk, with few cuts of the interruptions.

T.- I am here for speaking about the astur and cantabric cavalry in the roman empire, and about the horses they used. Lets begin with the horses, usually the asturcon, which is in the picture
an asturcon

Thats a pony from the kind knowed as celtic poney, same than the connemare from ireland, the portugues garrano, the pottok from euskadi, and the faco from galicia.
All them can be found in the knowed as atlantic bow; it would include all the north of spain, the atlantic coast of france, where we have the Landais horse, ireland, england, scotland...

but this is only from the regions of Asturias and Cantabria.They have, as you can see, a small size, but they are strong. They can be found now mostly in the Sueve mountains, in the west of asturias. They are in danger of estinction.
The first words we can find in the roman texts about this animal are in the Retórica and Herennium from the 80 before our age.
In this last century they losts great part of the population, because they werent useful and rentable. In that roman text we can find that they say this horse were the most famous astur animal,  a strong animal, quick, and with a particular kind of walk, knowed as "ambladura" in spanish, in italian "ambio", ambling gait in english:  it means, they move at the same time the two legs of each side; it was called by plinio as Tolutum ire.  It was very apreciated for that, for riding as for moving chariots, and very useful for walking in mountain: well traineds they were good for walking in a line across mountain ways
Another kind of horse was knowed too by Plinio , that today doesnt exists anymore, they were called Thieldones It seems they were bigger than asturcon, also very haired and strong, but they disappeared during the spanish civil war but if we hear some autors, the thieldon were used more for chariots, also chariot races, than for riding.
Coming back to the astur, in the castrum of Campa Torres, in Gijon (my city), there were found the skeletons of 25 horses that were useds for riding and chariots, some of them lived many years, even with a hurted pat, we cant know if it were for religious reasons, or as stallions, but its knowed that werent sacrified for meat; they were old, the religious theory can be looked in the meaning for celts as psicopompo, something like a guide for deads.

 well, I think that now we know enough at the moment about the asturcon: lets begin with the cantabric wars

 this imagin shows the land knowed as Iberia (land of bunnies )or Hispania by the romans.
 The lands we can see at the north are the lands occuped by astures, cantabri, autrigones, caristii and vardulii but the lands that we have more interest in, now are the astures and the cantabric lands.
They are very well deffended by mountains that goes from gallaecia to the euskaldun lands euskadi.
 Those mountains, the cantabric mountains, they broke the astur lands in two ones, astures cismontanos, at the south of mountains, and transmontanos, at the north.
 those mountains hadnt big importance at the begining, for the romans, only as a deffensive position, to protect the lands of the south, from the tribes of north; but when they knowed that there were gold and other metals in that mountains, they had the absolute need of dominate all the north: that was when they suffered the skills of astur and cantabrian cavalry for fighting in mountains, because its too much difficult for a legion fight in that kind of places: legions need plane, open spaces,  but not these horses, and those tribes; thats why romans began to recruit that kind of cavalry even during the wars. They also suffered and adopted two tactics from cantabrians and astures: the cantabricus circulus and cantabricus impetus
 the cantabricus circulus were a tactic similar to the useds by american natives: runing in two lines, one at left and anothers at right, in different directions, that changed in laterals, while they shot their spears to the enemy
the other tactic was a direct charge, for breaking formations.
 Looking that kind of charges, the romans appreciated inmediately the quality of that cavalry, very used in the tribal armies, even being a 25% respect to the warriors, very different from the  roman proportions for cavalry.
 We know that there were many auxiliars from these lands in roman army, many of them in cavalry or mixed cohors. Two cohors equitata with astures are knowed: the cohors I asturum equitata and the cohors II asturum equitata. the two ones sent at the begining to germany, but the second one sent later to britain
another great idea of the roman army: to keep some strong unit with its name, uniform and usances
 they also used their own horses
W have also 5 alae composed by astures:
 The first ala that I will explain is the ala I astur, that was used first in germany, later in the dacian wars, and finally we can find it, in the II century, in gemisara,  in rumania

 the another one, the Ala I hispanorum asturum, was destinated to britain we can see here the way they probably followed for going:

 they finished in the adrian wall in condercum,  they appear registered in the roman empire from the II century to the final of IV century

 the Ala II asturum began to serve in panonia, but in the second century they were destinated to the adrian wall too, to the fort of cilurnum; it make reference to their tribe, the cilurnice, who lived in the Campa Torres castra, in Gijon (my city ) The name of cilurnici means "who make pots"
 here we can see the way that this ala II followed in their service
 from asturias to panonia, and from panonia to britania.
 this constructions that we can see here, are the fort of cilurnum in the adrian wall

 well, this is the Ala III Asturum civium romanorum's way mauretania, that lands are now knowed as morocco 
 We can know too the existence of a Ala V, but we only know the name of one of their prefects, Publio Cornelio Orestino. The existence of a IV ala is supposed, but not founded registers, at least I didnt found nothing about it,

 this is the most famous commemorative inscrription of an astur in the roman army, but not the most impressive career:  he died in the age of 30. This talks about Pintaius, astur tansmontano, from the castella of intercatia, served 7 years, signifer of the cohors V asturum
 You can see the legs of a fur on his shoulders, a bear fur and the furry head on his helmet.
 we have too another inscription, that I didnt found a pic: in that inscription talks about Gayo Sulpicio Ursulus
 prefect of astures symmachiarii during the dacian wars, centurio of Legio I Minerva Pia, centurio of XII urban cohors, centurio of IV cohors.

giovedì 28 febbraio 2013

Roman board game Terni Lapilli

Terni Lapilli is considered to be identical to modern Tic-Tac-Toe. However, although Terni Lapilli boards are found throughout the Empire, scratched on walls, floors, and roofs, no X's and O's accompany the markings. Obviously playing pieces were being used for this game.

Here it is an exemple of a Terni Lapilli board
Modern recreation of Terni lapilli game board

lunedì 21 gennaio 2013

Recension of an interesting book

The book is "I FIGLI DI MARTE" (THE SONS OF MARS) by Gastone Breccia, ed Mondadori,              ISBN 978-88-04-61427-2.

I really hope this book will be soon translated in other languages, because it's an useful tool to understand all the aspects of an extraordinary war-machine like the roman army was. The author examines the changes of the characteristics of the single soldier, of his equipment, of the techniques of fighting and of the strategies of the whole army, linking all these aspects together in an extremely rational overview. The reader can understand how the roman army has not been a fixed structure in the centuries but has changed accordingly with the evolution of the techniques of the enemies and with the purposes of the res publica, starting from a bunch of bandits in the time of Romulus and arriving to a flexible, versatile, powerful tool that survived and was improved, even after the fall of the west empire, a thousand years more.