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Thursday, March 27, 2008


Those who have not been to "Secret Hill" recently will not know that she has done a bunk and set herself up with a new blog address.
If you want to catch up with her go to:
(Commission please, Duchess!)

Friday, March 21, 2008


(Click on any image to enlarge)

This time last year I was involved in making a pair of Roman Cavalry Shields . Trouble is, I did too good a job of it and the Society has asked me to paint 6 Auxiliary Infantry Shields for use this year. The design is copied from one shown on Trajan's Column.
A pleasant enough job, painting in a warm dining room (I have an understanding wife) whilst the wind and rain beat against the windows. Now I have finished my part and the shields move on to have the bronze edging (to guard against sword cuts) and the centre bosses fitted.

Here is a finished one in close up. The unit represented is named in the "ansate" at the top (The small rectangular blue label with "ears" which is a feature of Roman inscriptions). It is the First Cohort of Tungrians , troops drawn from what is now modern Belgium - they were once stationed on Hadrian's Wall in the first century AD. The laurel leaves have obvious meaning. The two crescent moons relate to the veneration of Cybele, the Magna Mater or Great Mother.

All done for love and interest, unfortunately. Checking armour makers on the internet shows that such as these go for at least £150 each!

This link will explain how the Auxilia fits into the Roman Army - if you have time to wade through it. But briefly they were locals recruited from outside of Italy, not Roman citizens. (A bit like the native troops recruited by the British Empire). They never served in their own countries, for obvious reasons and were only paid a third of Legionary pay. The bonus was that they were awarded Roman citizenship after their 25 years service - a big deal in those times.

Here is a painting by Society member Graham Sumner of an Auxiliary (Society member Adrian Cook) , using a shield of similar pattern but different colouring.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


That Lucy has tagged me!

1. Pick up the book you are reading, or else the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences

That seems quite an easy and interesting meme, so here goes:

" To my Lord's, where we find him newly come from Hinchingbrooke, where he left my uncle very well, but my aunt not likely to live. I stayed and dined with him. He took me aside and asked me what the world spoke of the King's marriage."

Name of the book? That should be a pretty easy one, I think!

(I shall pass this one when I have a bit more time)