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Why can\'t we all just work together! Deva 2012
#1
Another fantastic weekend at the largest Roman event in the UK. As one of the organisers it was great to see all of the units working together to produce such a sight, and to have over a Century on parade was something else (126 soldiers on parade on the Sunday alone, never mind all of the Britains / Dancers / Cavalry / Traders / hangers on etc!).
Why then, with 90% of the UK and European re-enactors on side, do we have nitpickers and arrogant idiots trying to spoil it for everyone. Accept that this is happening and work to create the best spectacle of Roman life there is in the UK.
I have to assume that this arrogant "we are better than everyone else" attitude is to make up for deficiencies elsewhere, and the refusal to join in with the rest is an inferiority complex caused by an inability to accept working with your betters. As for the stupid nitpicking, maybe that has come about from too much time alone reading books on just one subject. maybe you should get out more and see that there is more to it.
Come on people, the small group of you who are spoiling it for the rest, get onto the program and lets make this the best event in Europe!
And before anyone comments, the organisers do this for free, not commercial gain, and for the good of Roman Re-enactment. Shame others don't
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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#2
Now there's a pretty 'arrogant' stance if I may be so bold. Nothing but praise for what you achieve over there but you are missing a few things, crucial to a helicopter view and hence a more objective approach.
You managed to get a substantial number of people and groups together, which is admirable and no doubt witnessed the effect of that; an amalgamation leading to appropriate result. all that is good, it is exactly ehat we all ar e aiming to achieve. Bear in mind thought that Europe is large, it is home to a multitude of groups all set on achieving just what you feel so happy about. The fact that they were not present at your event is nothing to their detriment. They may not have been invited, unable to attend for whatever reason, be it financial or previous engagements, or just anuthing else. This does not make them arrogant in any way, but do proove me wrong.
A ball park guess of the number of Roman troops across Europe leads me to believe that a number of 500-700 is feasable, excluding civilians etc. Hence your 90 % falls short.
We may feel we do a good job at our representations, we may be proud of that, it still doesn't make us nitpickers ( altough I am) nor arrogant. It merely reflects your views upon us as an individual.
As it happened there was a small thing going on at Nijmegen, home of the Xth Legion, where the Xth, XIth, XVth and XXIth attended, along with the Corpus Equitem LXG and the Ala I Batavorum, plus numerous Civilians and traders, plus several late Roman groups. No need to go into numbers really.Hence we were unable to 'not be arrogant', for which I apologise on behalf of all present. Perhaps we can better ourselves on another occasion.
I do however get your point and second you on that wholeheartedly.

Sincerely,

P.Sertorius Scaevola
Aquilifer L.X.G.
Paul Karremans
Chairman and founding member
Member in the Order of Orange-Nassau, awarded for services to Roman Living History in the Netherlands

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.gemina.nl">http://www.gemina.nl
est.1987
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#3
I was being factual not arrogant, it is a numerical fact that of the UK re-enactors 90% were at Chester, and I agree that the fact that the other European groups could not be here is not to their detriment, although we had fantastic representation from Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. Regrettably the comment was aimed a lot closer to home and this side of the Channel.
Your ball park figure of 500-700 Roman re-enactors excites me, is it possible to get a Cohort together somehow. somewhere.
We are of course aware of the Nijmegen event, a number of groups have chosen to go there instead of this festival, and good on them.
The nitpicking refers to the fact that certain obsessive people cannot see that it is the overall presentation that will increase the popularity and numbers of Roman re-enacting, not wether the chain mail was riveted or not.
If I game the wrong impression to our European colleagues I apologise, it was closer to home I wish would get on board!
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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#4
I'm not sure that Guy is refering to European groups in particular when he refers to nitpickers and arrogant idiots, yet I am sure that he can elucidate further upon the point.

I think he is making a rather more general- and obviously heartfelt point- that certain individuals fail to see the event for what it is and choose to ignore the considerable bonhomie such a wonderful event engenders in 98.9% of the Roman Re-enactment community. Instead said individuals choose to make pedantic (although sometimes accurate) comments about the standards of other grous or individuals kit standards whilst failing to see the bigger picture in bringing such a large gathering of fellow enthusiasts together in a wonderful and evocative setting to exchange ideas/information in a relaxed atmosphere of camaraderie.

I for one am always interested in expanding my knowledge about my chosen period whilst accepting limitations of time and resource in achieving accuracy with my kit. Constructive criticism is always welcome- some unfortunately seem to revel in acting as self appointed commissars of authenticity without having the good manners and grace to make their point in a way which does not belittle the recipient of the criticism.

I hope in no way have I misinterpreted Guy's post and add that from a personal viewpoint -and of the majority of people I have spoken to in my group- that the Chester Roman Festival is without doubt one of the highlights of our re-enactment calender and may it continue to thrive and grow for many a year. I salute and thank the organisers one and all.
Marc Byrne
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#5
Not misinterpreted at all Marc, thank you for your comments
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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#6
Point taken then gents. The fact remains that we are all in the business of representing a well documented and researched period and the mark is high, with reason. It's comparatively easy to upgrade the current friendly priced items on the market upto adequate representations and I urge all to aim for the highest. Personally I see no excuse for for instance a Trooper helmet or other items that are too obviously make belief. Responsable groups simply shouldn't allow items like that to be worn within the ranks, nor lower the standard to 'what the willing individual is able to afford'. It is the collective that should intervene and support, be it financially or by physical assistance. Most of us started this hobby by doing the research and there is plenty of it about and accessable. I concur that joint effort enhances the spirit and cameraderie; adequate equipment simply gives it all a boost. It's not the goal that provides the boost, it's the collective strive.
Just for the record; what representative groups from Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands were present? I figured they were all at Nijmegen.

As for that 600; let's see if we can get that on a field someday, regardless of the qualities of the individuals!
Paul Karremans
Chairman and founding member
Member in the Order of Orange-Nassau, awarded for services to Roman Living History in the Netherlands

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.gemina.nl">http://www.gemina.nl
est.1987
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#7
Hello Guy

I think when events across Europe have been cancelled or had funding drastically cut, the Chester Roman festival is nothing short of remarkable, as it actually appears to be growing. For that you and all the other organisers are to be congratulated.

As I have been invited to and have attended the event for the last four years I hope you therefore regard me as a 'supporter' and someone who aims in their own way to help Roman re-enactment.

However I must say that the only comments that could be viewed as negative that I have read on this Forum aimed at kit worn at the Chester event, have been from individuals who belonged to societies who actually attended the event and none from those belonging to groups who did not attend.

I share your aims and would like nothing better than to see 600 plus Romans marching through Chester. I look forward to attending next year and hopefully seeing that Cohort!

(Hopefully you too Paul!)

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
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#8
As for us: we were´t invited.... ^^
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

[Image: BannerAER-1-1.jpg]
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#9
Now the asking groups to attend is not my remit, but I do believe that a general invite was issued. If any felt left out and would like to attend please drop Roman Tours a line, we would love to see you.
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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#10
Quick question:

Why do you wear a Tunica with Laticlavi but do not have a clavus on your Toga ?

Just nitpicking here...

The problem I have with superlarge events is not that the general audience does not get enthousiast about Roman re-enacting or even the Roman world for that matter, the problem I see happening at these mega events like the ones in Rome and in other places is that there will be a mixture of low standard, historically inaccurate and badly researched equipment, and some groups who do it right.

Furthermore, on some of the events I have visited during my past years of re-enacting, the general public was not only misinformed, but told absolute and ridiculous stories about the Roman world, its culture, its military as well as its civilian life.

If the start point of re-enactment is that it is there to educate and research, why then does it often change into a gathering of likeminded nerds who do not research anymore but buy and wear whatever comes to their fancy ? Why is it that there often is no clue within some of them about educating the masses with information coming from true research in stead of the rather unsubstantiated statements many of them make?

There are a few groups, and this is true, who do it right and try to be not only educational but also want to have their equipment as near to the museum pieces or their reconstruction/restoration as can be possible. The rest buys badly researched copies of ancient armor and clothes without even knowing it.

Maybe that is one of the reasons nitpickng exists. Scholarship thrives on nitpicking.

True nitpicking does not entail arrogance by the way, it forms a means to discuss and nitpick your way into possible new insights and theories which can be substantiated by scholarly literature as well as research.

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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#11
Why do you wear a Tunica with Laticlavi but do not have a clavus on your Toga ?
No idea, ask me one on sport! It was one made for us very quickly for one of the first Roman Festivals in Chester about 10 years ago. Is it authentic? no; did it do the job? yes. Now I know that the comment will stir up the blood of every purist Roman re-enactor, but get over it. You be purist if you like, let us do the best we can.
I go back to my statement made elsewhere...THE PUBLIC DONT CARE!....they want to see spectacle not 100% accuracy. I used to be a purist but then I realised that the approach doesn't do much for the public and scares a lot of possible recruits away. You can see their interest disappear when some one starts talking about the different types of mail.
As for misinformed, always possible. After all, the public have been misinformed about what happened in Judaea for a long time, but that is for another forum! That really boils down to individual units having their authenticity officers keeping an ear out, as well as people doing as much research as possible. There will, however, always be bullshit, it is a human condition!
This slight disagreement between the purists and non purists does not however detract from the fact that we can all work together, learn from each other and strive for authenticity without spouting off about everyone else. I agree that nitpicking, if done in the right way, is not arrogance. As a military officer I used to have to inspect the troops, I had to nitpick. After I had inspected them I got one to inspect me, let them nitpick at me, but I had made sure that my uniform was 100% before. Done in the right way, constructively, it is good. But the comment which started off this whole thread (from the "Deva 2012" Thread) was not given in that light.
"The problem I have with superlarge events is not that the general audience does not get enthousiast about Roman re-enacting or even the Roman world for that matter" - a lot of the general audience do not want to get enthusiastic about the Roman world, they want a day out and to keep the kids entertained for a while. I do not know if you were at the Chester Roman Festival, but if you had been in the Amphitheatre for the displays you would certainly retract that statement! 5000 people cheering, and not just for the Gladiators, but also the British and Roman Army displays
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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#12
nit·pick·ing (n t p k ng). n. Minute, trivial, unnecessary, and unjustified criticism or faultfinding

The above is the definition from the on line dictionary and whilst I accept the general tenor of your argument I do not accept that nitpicking has any valid place in scholarship or reenactment. Constructive discussion and a sharing of academic thought and research twinned with reconstructive archaeology... yes absolutely Re-enactment has its part to play in that- and if that is achieved with good grace and manners so much the better.

Whilst I accept you are talking in generalisations about large shows that you have attended I do not believe that the Chester Roman Festivals fall into that category. Whilst there may well be the odd exception by far the overwhelming majority of the groups and individuals therin strive and succeed at a good level of accuracy (horrible term as how do you measure it) and the public is very well served and informed.
Marc Byrne
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#13
Though I agree with both of you on the wording 'nitpicking' and entertainment value, which I have seen in all photos of various events of which the Arles amphitheatre was one of the most impressive, as well as some of the venues I attended at Xanten, I disagree with the opinion that the general public does not care. I agree of course with your point about certain happenings in Judaea Wink

I teach history and research antiquity, both on very different levels. In that way I must say that when one knows a bit more, it is very helpful to paint a more vivid reconstructed image of how things might actually have been back then. I am not criticizing the Deva event here, but when I see the Roman march when the Dies Natalis Roma is celebrated I come across fantasy uniforms, trooper helmets, strange impressions of Roman rituals, women wearing yellow and orange without even realising that makes them prostitutes and so much more nonsensical as well as whimsical tidbits that it annoys me, even though I am in general, not a stitch Nazi.

With your remarks on having been an officer in her Majesty's Army and the eye for detail that the job brings with it I also agree fully.

About the way the Roman Army developed itself from Republican towards Imperial times many books have been written and you can even find clues and very good descriptions with the ancient authors themselves. The way Polybius describes the build up of a roman encampment for instance is very clear. Chain of command is also very rigid.

What i do find very irritating however is the attitude of some re-enactors and even some groups who state that "We know it best" "We look better than you" and then even though this might be true, do not and sometimes even blatantly refuse to help others achieve the same standards let alone display with them. No, they rather shun groups which are "less accurate".

I am not on about groups who display military drill in one single unit wearing several pieces of armor which lay about 500 years apart here. That, in my view, is something which is not done and should be discouraged.

"Whether the public cares or not"...

If the public would like to believe that: "One of the signs this man is an Optio is because he is wearing an Optio's ring", so be it.

I will be happy to explain to them that this is nonsense.

Of course we all should work together. Of course also the entertainment factor is a part of it all, but where it comes to "tiny" matters like women who would like to join in a display there is a lot of (in my eyes) SAD and childish behaviour to be found amongst re-enactors.

Nonetheless, when my pupils go see a display and return with stories about slaves which are not only off the mark but blatant nonsense, all because they have spoken to some fat bloke of some group wearing a slave bracelet around his neck stating he is a freedman and this is what freedmen wore, it becomes a whole other matter to me.

Hope you can understand that.

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
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#14
Absolutely agree with you on all the points you very eloquently make. It was the term 'nitpicking' and all that it engenders that I had issues with. One of the principal reasons I re-enact is to inform and enthuse the public on what I find is a fascinating subject, and I agree that it is important that this is done in an accurate and entertaining manner.
Marc Byrne
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#15
I think in the end we all agree with each other, it is just put forward from different points of view!
Dea Gratia, Sum Quod Sum
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