Fectio, Late Roman re-enactment society

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Roman Shows
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First show at Fort Vechten
Saturday 15 November 2003

By Robert Vermaat

The turris of Fectio
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Saturday 15th November, we did the first show at Fort Vechten, as the groundwork was laid for a replica of a Roman watchtower as could be found all along the Limes. This tower will be built between the 19th-century fortress and the field which still covers the remains of the castellum Fectio, to be revealed by April or May 2004. The show was held at the site where the tower will be built. Present were, besides the members of Fectio, members of Corbvlo, Leg. X Gemina and Leg. II Augusta.

Fectio at the gates: ancient Romans guarding the gate of the 19th-century fort.
Fectio at the gates: ancient Romans guarding the gate of the 19th-century fort.
Jeroen with his favorite sword.
Jeroen with his favorite sword.
The Legion arrives. Priests in front, ladies next and the troops close the file.
The Legion arrives. Priests in front, ladies next and the troops close the file.
The resident priest of Corbvlo opens the ceremony.
The resident priest of Corbvlo.

Marrit anxious.

The weather was grey but good, at least there was not much wind, and no rain! A bit cold though, which was no so bad for yrs truly (being a Late Roman has some advantages), but several of the earlier bare-armed/legged Romans were not so lucky.. A good number of spectators had gathered on the Marsdijk (The dyke of Mars - aptly named), the road which skirts the south side of the fort. Some journalists as well, which of course was good news for the organisers.

All re-enactors in one shot. At the dug-out site, the three priest from Corbvlo appease the gods, while the line of soldiers silently observes.
All re-enactors in one shot. At the dug-out site, the three priest from Corbvlo appease the gods, while the line of soldiers silently observes.
Our fine Roman ladies.
Our fine Roman ladies.
The military awaits the blessing of their future watch tower. All depends on the omens now..
The military awaits the blessing of their future watch tower. All depends on the omens now..

Our priest made a good show of it. For the site of the watch tower to be blessed properly, there was a good number of gods to be consulted, the old Romans did not mind a god or two extra. Starting with Janus, the eldest of the pantheon, of course. Very important as well were the omens. Would they be favourable? Any birds in the sky (preferably eagles), flying in the right direction?

What will the gods decide?
Will the omens be in favor?
Any omens around? No? Well, no news - good news! The gods are in favour of using this site. Some soldiers are visibly relieved.
Any omens around? No? Well, no news - good news! The gods are in favour of using this site. Some soldiers are visibly relieved.
The offerings are given to the earth.
The offerings are given to the earth.
Jos the builder seals it.
Jos the builder seals it.

No birds, no omens, good news. With that behind us, the offerings were ready to be buried. When the building starts, it will all be sealed under a great slab of concrete on which the tower will be built. Maybe our descendants will one time dig them up and wonder about us.

The closing rites - the ground must be moistened by a good wine. Foto Edward Mac Gillavry, Bunniks Nieuws.
The closing rites - the ground must be moistened by a good wine.
Foto Edward Mac Gillavry, Bunniks Nieuws.
The 4 delegates take up their position at the four corners. There was quite a crowd.
The 4 delegates take up their position at the four corners. There was quite a crowd.
The wine goes up three times and is spilled on the ground twice.
The wine goes up three times and is spilled on the ground twice.
Oh ye gods, hear us...
Oh ye gods, hear us...

With the earth sealed again, time for a last rite - 4 of us were to stand at each corner and offer wine to the earth. A wine jar was passed around, for each of the four to spill wine on the earth. Adiuta Deus! Well, in my case at least. Finally, three children were chosen to get a 'lucky stone' with a text about the building. These, too, turned out to be favorable. With that, the ceremony was over.
With a word of thanks from the organiser, the group went marching back to the fort, for more photo shoots and a well-deserved cup of coffee.

Finally, three children are chosen to pick ''lucky stones''.
Finally, three children are chosen to pick ''lucky stones''.
It is done. Ceremony's over, and Martin (the 'fort commander' thanks us all.
It is done. Ceremony's over, and Martin the 'fort commander' thanks us all.
The file of soldiers marches off, at a fairly quick Sin - Dex - Sin... .
The file of soldiers marches off, at a fairly quick Sin - Dex - Sin...
Back to the fort of Fectio.
Back to the fort of Fectio.

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