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Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:17 am
by dan_vasey

So I've been into reenactment since I was born, really, with my father doing it since he was about 16 and we've always done the medieval. One thing I'd love to get a hand in, though, is Roman. Whilst I've no real passion for the period, as I do with early medieval, I can't deny the organised red columns don't have their appeal.
However, with travelling all around the country and attending events my entire life I've never seen a Roman in combat - I've seen them at plenty of shows, excellently demonstrating various formations, drills and tactics, but I've yet to see them hold against a barbarian charge.

Am I missing something, is there plenty of this out there and I've just been blind to it?

Re: Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:15 am
by squamatus
There are a few people who do Roman combat out there, or have done at some point. The fundamental problem with doing any kind of meaningful Roman vs. Native combat is the disproportionate advantage in kit that the Roman has over the native. In modern terms this means that the Roman has to fork out £1,000 plus on difficult to maintain gear and allow a bloke in £100 kit smash it about whilst neither party gets hurt. It's a tall order. Throw in the fact that Roman tactics only really start to work with a decent sized group of men (80 would be great) and you tend to find that most combat quickly deteriorates into shield tapping and one on one combat which clearly looks wrong. There will be some kind of 'battle' at Birdoswald Roman Fort on 3/4 September involving some Italians I believe. It's entertainment but more on the Hollywood lines rather than anything which facilitates an understanding of how ancient combat may have looked.

Re: Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:06 pm
by dan_vasey
Yeah, I could certainly see the difficulty in every Roman having a lot of uniformed kit and having enough of a force to challenge them. I figured it'd be things like that getting in the way, but I figured I'd drop the forums a message and see if there was actually something out there!
And yeah I've heard about the Itallians coming up. Hopefully I'll be able to get myself there and give it a watch

Re: Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:38 pm
by Annie the Arrow
Did you manage to get to get to Birdoswold to see the Romans. The whole weekend was absolutely fantastic

Re: Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:02 pm
by Frances Perry
Hello Dan,

You might want to check out the group called The Vicus. I've joined this year and they do displays which include combat between Romans and native Britons. It's not full-on 'smash-the-crap-out-of-each-other', but it's good fun to find out what the different shields and weaponry can do, and looks good as a display for the public.

I've been trying to contact David Grainger to see if he would be interested in us attending the York Eboracum in 2017, but so far without any success.

See what you think. :)

Re: Roman Reenactment & Combat

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:01 pm
by squamatus
I would post something on the Eboracum Festival Facebook Page to see about getting involved