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Two thousand years ago, the world was ruled by Rome. From England to Africa and from Syria to Spain, one in every four people on earth lived and died under Roman law. The Roman Empire was one of the largest and most enduring in world history. The saying "All Roads Lead to Rome" alludes to Rome's position as a central hub of technology, literature, culture and architecture in the ancient world. The engineers of the Roman age created, among other things, an unparalleled network of roads in ancient and history. Approximately 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of roads spread Roman civilization and influence , built by the legions of Rome. They built strong arched bridges, and mastered the concept of "running water" using aqueducts that, among other things, supplied public baths rivaling today's modern water facilities.At the height of its power in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the Roman Empire consisted of some 2.2 million square miles (5.7 million sq. km). 60 million people -- as much as 1/5 of the world's population) claimed citizenship of Rome at this time and as many as 120 million people may have lived within its borders.
Roman Reenacting Today
Rome's tenacity towards any adversity created a world that lasted over a thousand years. Roman culture evolved through that time, from a small collection of villages on seven hills and the earliest kings, to the Republic, to the Empire, and this great culture is still with us. The Roman culture and military which created and held this all together is a fascinating study of organization, arts, economics, discipline, technology and thinking.
Roman reenacting is very popular in Europe and now in the United States, with new groups appearing regularly. Reenactment now encompasses military (infantry and cavalry), civilians, gladiators as well as Rome's enemies, and ranges from strictly historical to mock warfare. Moreover, it is now possible to assemble an accurate soldier's or civilian's impression from existing suppliers.
How Roman Reenacting is done
Most groups that concentrate on Roman reenacting focus on one particular Roman legion; nearly all of the legions portrayed actually existed historically, and the reenactors strive to recreate the legion as accurately as possible.
This attention to realism generally extends to the equipment worn and displayed, and to behavior displayed to each other and especially to the public; indeed, many public demonstrations attempt to recreate Roman military drills, marches, and even stage mock battles.
Who Reenacts Roman
Roman reenactment groups usually welcome women and children, in an effort to both accommodate entire families and to portray Roman civilian life. Additionally, it is not unknown for older male reenactors (who might have previously played Roman legionaries) to portray consuls, senators, or even a Roman emperor.
Roman Times Periods Portrayed
The Roman Army did not remain static and, whilst sometimes demonstrating these changes in displays of the evolving equipment and appearance of the legionary, most groups also focus on a particular time period. The most popular period is probably the 1st-2nd century, with legionaries wearing the characteristic segmented armour illustrated on Trajan's Column. However, some groups portray the Late Roman legion, after the army reforms of Diocletian.
Roman reenacting is popular in both the United States and Europe.
If you have a Roman reenacting website and would like us to link to it, please click here.
Comments? Want to know more?
Feel free to e-mail me or ask questions at:
RomanArmyTalk Board (RAT) -- What can we say? THE place to be... actually there's SO much stuff there, it's hard to read it all. Especially if, like me, you just have a dial-up connection...You can EASILY lose yourself there and spend HOURS reading on the RAT board. A sore butt and burning eyes, so of course, we recommend it ;-)
The RomanArmy Group (RAG) list is an e-mail list dedicated to the Roman reenactor. It has quite a bit of good knowledge and useful posts. It also doesn't fill up your in-box with garbage! Now part of reenactor.Net! ;-)
But the links sure are! (a lot, it seems) Research results on Rome, Latin, and the Roman Army will quickly reveal an apparent wealth of information on the Internet and in print. Unfortunately, web links are born, shift and die constantly, particularly since many are non-profit or academic, and most books are small print runs, gone quickly.