Ad Signa

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Editrix Lisa Klassen-Barnes. Letter From the Editrix

By Lisa Klassen-Barnes

Welcome to the first monthly edition of Ad Signa, the official publication of Legion VI!

Ad Signa is the Latin military command for ‘to the standard,’ and as such we hope to set the standard for Roman re-enactment through our many performances, our group Fabricae and Drills, and the re-birth of our newsletter. As many of you know, Legion VI is Southern California’s premiere Roman re-enactment group. Founded in 2000 as a non-profit organization dedicated to education and experimental archaeology, the Legion consists of Roman soldiers and civilians and a contingent of Celtic auxiliaries and civilians. In 2011, Legion VI merged with Legion IX from San Diego to form an even larger group with members specializing in everything from Roman heavy artillery to fashion.

I joined the Legion in 2009, being a long time Roman history buff and re-enactor. I jumped right into the Drills and Fabricae, whipping myself up a dress and building a… Roman soldier impression! It wasn’t something I had thought of doing at first, but I really wanted to get the full experience of a Roman soldier’s life. In jumped Tribune Marcus Valerius Brutus aka Brandon Barnes as a teacher and mentor. He got me in to a set of lorica segementata and talked me in to going to Castra Lafe, a three day immersion event in Lafe, Arkansas featuring a recreation of a Roman fort and Celtic village. (See the funny photo of my velite wolf pelt 'attacking' me!) There were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it marching in the cold woods, but I survived and came out loving Roman re-enacting even more. The rest, they say, is history.

Our premiere debuts in the month of March so what a more fitting theme for our first issue than the Late Republic? Inside this edition you’ll find articles about the infamous Ides Mar coin, lost harbors, book and movie reviews, Legion events and much, much more all related to the Late Republic! Next month, we’ll take a look at Roman weddings and clothing of the ancient world. Got something to say? Become an Ad Signa contributor. Contact for more information.
Centurion Dave Michaels. Mandata Captate! Centurion's Report

By Dave Michaels

Greetings to all Legionaries, Citizens, Friends and Allies!

I am delighted to see the resurrection of Ad Signa, newsletter of the Legion Six Historical Foundation! My gratitude to Lisa Klassen-Barnes for taking on the role of Editor of Ad Signa and making this long-awaited event actually come to pass.

This year, AD 2013/AUC 2766, marks the 13th year since Legio VI Victrix was reborn here in California; and our brother Legion, IX Hispana, can boast at least a decade more of new life. In those years we have built a record of achievement that any organization would be proud to own. So take a moment to think on the years of our groups’ existence and allow yourself some good old fashioned Roman pride over our many accomplishments—not the least of which is just staying together and active when so many other reenactment groups have bitten the dust!

Now on to the Campaign for AD 2013! In short, everything old is new again. We enter this year with new leadership, new members, new projects, and a new desire to conquer all before us in our drive to share Ancient Roman history and increase awareness of the greatest army the world has ever known.

NEW LEADERSHIP – For the uninitiated, the Legion Six Historical Society is a state and federal nonprofit group governed by a five-member board of directors we call (in homage to Rome) the Senate. At our annual Membership meeting on January 28 of this year, we elected two new Senators, the aforementioned Lisa Klassen-Barnes and John Marker, a longtime member of Legion IX Hispana. We also have two new officers – Annalisa Meyers who will take the role of Vice President of Membership, and Brandon Barnes who will fulfill the important role of Vice President of Operations. The ever-energetic Lorie Ann Hambly has also taken on the roles of Secretary-Treasurer and Business Coordinator.

NEW PROJECTS – Chief among these is the long-awaited construction of a giant onager, or one-armed catapult, to add to our already impressive artillery display. Plans have been obtained for a 7 X 11-foot monster capable of hurling a five-pound rock up to 100 yards; our benefactor C. Foster Stanback has pledged funds for its construction and John Marker (a contractor by trade) has the expertise and access to materials to put it all together. Our goal is to have a functioning onager ready for public display by Old Fort MacArthur Days in mid-July.

We also have been a plan to completely refurbish and organize Legion VI ’s store of loaner equipment. One phase of this project will be to repair our Legion VI loaner shields and I am happy to report that this has been completed—all six loaner shields have been repaired and edged in rawhide. By mid-June our goal is to have 10 complete sets of legionary loaner armor, clothing and equipment, and to put this to good use at a new event—a 2-day Campus Martius or Roman Boot Camp at Old Fort MacArthur Days in Mid-June. We plan to heavily publicize this event and use it as a recruiting drive toward our goal of marching out with at least 20 soldiers (Legionaries and Auxiliaries) at the Fort MacArthur Pass-In-Review.

NEW EVENTS – Our year is already stacking up with events, including our annual slate of programs at the fabulous Getty Villa, some very impressive school displays, our annual Fort MacArthur encampment in July, and the wonderful Tournament of the Phoenix event in Poway in October. Check the Events Calendar in this issue and take note of the dates and events that are already booked. Prepare to be impressed! We are also making a renewed commitment to maintaining our schedule of monthly events—Fabrica workshops on the first Saturday of every month and Drill/Hikes on the third Sunday. In short, by this time next year I believe we’ll looking on 2013 as our best year ever, and the start of a new era of expansion and energy, much like the glorious Roman Empire of the first century AD!
Tribune Brandon Barnes. The Tribune's Word on Legion Events

By Brandon Barnes

Salvete Amici,

My name is Brandon Barnes and I have been with Legio VI for over 5 years. I portray Tribune Augusticlavius, Marcus Valerius Brutus. My duties in the legion include organizing and coordinating events and encampments and in this column I will review Legion VI activities. Think of this simply as what we are doing, what we would like to do and how we can improve.

Last month the legion held a tactical drill in Griffith Park. We had around 5 members present and dressed in military kit, as well as a few members in civilian dress that joined us for the hike. This was one of the smoothest drills I can remember. It took a few minutes to refresh rusty memories and teach new recruits, but after instruction from Centurion Dave Michaels everyone was marching in step. In less than an hour we had covered basic facing movements, marking time, column turns, and flanking maneuvers. The drill went so well that we learned a counter march movement and a battle formation called the wedge!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with our Griffith Park hikes, they are about a mile and half long. While that may not seem particularly difficult, there is a significant elevation change. The first half of our hike is a steep incline that flattens out into a wide trail. The five of us made the ascent in three stages, taking a few short breaks to catch our breath. When we reached the top of the hill we were gifted with a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles. We posed for pictures and talked to few surprised hikers before we completed the hike. It is always interesting running into ‘civvies’ when we drill, from little kids hailing Caesar to adults asking more serious questions. I specifically remember one hiker who said he was glad to see us again. I was really pleased to hear that comment.

This event was a great success. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a better turnout. That’s why I want to encourage everyone to attend our monthly drill and hike, soldiers and civilians alike. Many of us who portray soldiers want to do battles and the only way for us to execute a proper battle formation is through drilling. Once a large enough number of us know and understand the basic drill, we can move onto more complex activities like forming battle wedges, testudos, and the circular orbis.
Mercantrix Lorie Ann Hambly. Pompeia's Picks

By Lorie Ann Hambly

In this column, I will provide you with the best in NEWSmismatics, from the rarest coins, the biggest finds and the latest auction lots--in short everything about ancient coins! Each month will feature a different coin and its background. Be sure to take a look at the Features article detailing the infamous EID MAR denarius. This month's coin is a golden aureus featuring the emperor Domitian.

Domitian (AD 81-96). Gold aureus (20mm, 7.54 gm, 6h). Struck in Rome, AD 90-91. DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head of Domitian right / GERMANICVS COS XV, Germania, nude to the waist, seated right on hexagonal shield, in attitude of mourning; below, broken spear. RIC 699. Calicó 846. Cohen 156. BMCRE 174. Rare. With an attractive portrait in high relief. Nearly Extremely Fine/Good Very Fine.

Ex Archer M. Huntington Collection (Sotheby's New York, 8 March 2012, part of).

Domitian's campaigns against the German tribes, chiefly the Chatti, are often derided by ancient sources as ham-fisted glory-hounding that produced no lasting benefit to the Roman Empire. However Roman historians were uniformly hostile to Domitian and a fair assessment confirms that Roman control over the border region known as the Agri Decumates, now in Southwest Germany, was solidified during Domitian's reign, partially as a consequence of his exploits. Needing some military credentials, the newly crowned Domitian launched a surprise attack on the Chatti in AD 82-83; a new legion, I Minervia, was raised for the purpose and Domitian ordered roads built in Chattian territory to speed military movements through the occupied lands. Domitian celebrated a triumph and took the title Germanicus at the end of AD 83. The Chatti were not subdued, however, and six years later they joined in the revolt of Lucius Antonius Saturninus, governor of Upper Germany, in January of AD 89. A fortuitous early thaw of the Rhine prevented the Chatti from crossing to aid Saturninus, and the rebellion was quickly quelled by loyal legions by the end of January. This gold aureus, issued the following year, depicting Germania as a mourning woman seated atop a German shield and broken spear, portrays the crushing of Saturninus as a victory against a bellicose foreign power. As usual with Domitian, the truth is rather more complicated than his regime's public face.