Roman Days 2008, 26-28 September (VA, US)

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:40 am

I went for a couple of hours on Sunday. My wife wasn't feeling well, so we left earlier than I would have liked.

The event was smaller than I had anticipated. I guess I was expecting something the size of the Maryland Renaissance Faire. Roman Days this year covered an area about the size of a U.S. suburban post office plus a field about the size of a football pitch for the events. We arrived at the end of the military athletic competitions. My kids liked to see the pila fly followed by a mini-ballista (not the one on eBay). The latter threw meter long blunt bolts about 50 meters. At one point, a handful of legionaries received the bolts on their scuta with a satisfying thud. It was clear that a sharp bolt, even one fired by this pint-sized machine, would penetrate a couple of scuta and all the soft stuff in between.

The kids then tried their hand a Roman drill. But they got bored with it, and we wandered over to the merchants' tents. They wanted to buy any weapon, and I noted there was little distinction among Roman, medieval, or fantasy offerings.

Next came the gladiatorial certamina. There was a nice narrative by the primus pilus ("Maximus") interlaced among four contests, two for points and two to the death. The good guys always won. There was retarius vs. secutor, and retarius vs. Thracian, I can't remember the other two. The kids loved it, especially when the gladiators awoke from the dead and showed the crowd that they were really bleeding.

Then, back to the merchants' tents. I bought the boys two plastic axes that were Saxon in appearance. I couldn't interest them in visiting the legionaries' camp, so I went by my self for a couple of minutes. I was on borrowed time by that point, so I cut short my conversations and took the litter back to the car.

I didn't meet anyone whose name I recognized, but my Roman activity is pretty much limited to SVR so I wouldn't have known if I met a famous high priest of Isis or a Consul of NR.

All in all, it was worth it, even with the family in tow. Next time I'll try to sneak away to Roman Days by myself.

Primus Aurelius Timavus
Curator, Rogator, Praetor et Patricius
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