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Houten, posing 2003

It was May and I had just received the helmet. What better excuse to show off the new tunic and acquired plumbatae? The light was very bad for the first three shots, though. We did better in August, when the next batch of pictures were shot. The last in the series was in late October.

The new woollen tunic.
The new woollen tunic.
The plumbatae are lethal darts.
The plumbatae are lethal darts.
The Intercisa iv is judged to be an infantry type helmet, but it remains doubtful if a clear type existed.
The Intercisa iv is judged to be an infantry type helmet, but it remains doubtful if a clear type existed.
Plumbatae, as they were possibly carried.
Plumbatae, as they were possibly carried.
Detail of the back of the shield.
Detail of the back of the shield.

Clothing first;
The red woolen braccae (trousers) are best not worn when it's hot. The new tunica has bright red broad clavi (vertical stripes) across the shoulders and orbiculi (roundels) at shoulders, waist and back. Although normally woven, I've used plain ones for now. This woollen tunic is not for the summer either, as is the woollen large cloak, the sagum. This, too, has two orbiculi on front and back. It's fastened with a 4th-century bow brooch, which is associated with the military. These brooches were mass-produced in Pannonia (Hungary) and shipped all over the Empire. I also altered the shoes to a type more commonly worn during the late 3rd century and into the 4th. The cingulum (belt) was not been changed but for a new red strap end. Belts like these were mainly worn during the 4th century and are associated with Roman soldiers, but are also know from Germanic federate soldiers serving in the Roman army.

The Fectienses Seniores showing the latest kit. To the left Chariovalda in dress- down fashion, to the right Valerius in battle dress.
The Fectienses Seniores showing the latest kit. To the left Chariovalda in dress- down fashion, to the right Valerius in battle dress.
Chariovalda of the Salian Franks. The lance is the main weapon of the Late Roman infantryman.
Chariovalda of the Salian Franks. The lance is the main weapon of the Late Roman infantryman.
Valerius Vitalis, born of the Chamavi, in full armour...
Valerius Vitalis, born of the Chamavi, in full armour...
. and with just the sword.
.. and armed with just the (bloodied) sword.
Chariovalda with his new tunic.
Chariovalda with his new tunic.

Next, armour;
The cassis or galea (helmet) is a so-called infantry type found near Intercisa in former Yugoslavia and is called an Intercisa type iv. The metal crest has led to assumptions that this would be an officer's helmet, but there has been no confirmation for that. Helmets like these, even much more adorned ones, were worn by common soldiers as well, and similar helmets on grave monuments are not restricted to officers either.

Defensive posture, scuta hiding most of the body to enemy fire..
Defensive posture, the scuta hiding most of the body to enemy fire..
By carrying the spear over the underarm, the least of the body is shown.
By carrying the lance under the upper arm, the least of the body is exposed.

Last, arms;
Main sidearm of the infantryman was the Contus (lance, spear), which could be between 1.9 and 2.7 metres long. Most battles were fought with this weapon. The spatha (longsword) was the sidearm for the infantry as well as the cavalry. Contrary to convention I wore mine at the time on the right hip, because when marching it constantly banged into the scutum (shield). This was very bothersome, and I had still to find out why it apparently did not hinder the ancient infantryman. But see below.
New in the armoury were the plumbatae (lead-weighted throwing darts). These were not hurled horizontally like modern darts, but rather hurled underarm with great speed in a wide arch. That way, they were intended to land vertically on top of the enemy, who stood little chance due to the speed, weight and penetration power of these things. I have attempted a reconstruction of how these darts could have been carried, which can be seen above.

We went to our new 'base', the fortress of Vechten, and did a session to get a feel of the place. The light was very good, if not too bright, but all the autumn colors really gave the place a special atmosphere. Of course, it IS a 19th-century fortification, so one is constantly surrounded by thick brick bunkers and walls, but most is overgrown with grass and trees, so it does not disturb overmuch. After all, the whole fortress was constructed right on top of the vicus of the old fort, which was abandoned by the end of the 3rd century. The wood in the background has just been sawed for the upcoming replica of the Roman watchtower:

Chariovalda with his new fibula.
Chariovalda with his new fibula.
Posing for another shot.
Posing for another shot.
Miles of the late 3rd century.
Miles of the late 3rd century.
Chariovalda and Valerius, milites of Fectio.
Chariovalda and Valerius, milites of Fectio.
Crossing the spatha..
Crossing the spatha..
..defending the Empire!
..defending the Empire!

Autumn, and a last posing session this year. The light is getting less, but adds to the color of the tunic, which has been dyed a warm purple. The light went in my backyard, so we moved to the street in front of the house, to the joy of the son's kindergarten..

The happy trooper..
The happy trooper..
A comitatensis in the woods..
A comitatensis in the woods..
Throwing the plumbatae.
Throwing the plumbatae.
Or more like a private militia?
Or more like a private militia?
Study of the helmet.
Study of the helmet.

There were some changes besides that. I had 5 plumbatae now, all nicely painted in a color scheme provided by the 5h-century De Rebus Bellicis. As Vegetius recommended, 5 are carried in the shield, ready for use. I now reconstructed the cingulum to properly attach the spatha on my left side. That way, I could dump the baldric, and get a steady sword. The strap end now goes properly to the right, as it does on the Vienna statue.

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