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New guy looking to build a Roman era kit.
#1
Ok I am a bit new here and I have been into living history for 3 years already. I mainly do 13th century but I have been getting more interest in doing Roman era stuff. I am located in the New Jersey area and if anyone knew any local groups who do Roman era stuff I would be interested in getting involved.
Now I dont have the excess cash to fully do a Roman Legionnaire right away. Just not happening at least anytime soon. So I decided maybe I should do a Germanic Tribesman's kit until I have the funds to do a Roman outfit. I could probably get away with having little to no armor, so that big expense is out of the way. My biggest problem is finding a proper weapon. I dont have the money for Albion's Cherusker and thats basically the only Germanic weapon I could find with my current resources. Clothing I have no clue where I could get that stuff, I mean I could possibly get away with using some of HE's Thorsbjerg Mose trousers, which I am also planning on getting anyway for a viking kit. I really have no clue where to look for good equipment for the Roman era honestly.
Shoes I have absolutely no clue where to go for those, all I see are the cheap GDFB roman sandals and MRLs stuff which I know MRL's stuff is junk and GDFB's stuff I've owned in the past and didnt like it at all.
Shield I could just buy a boss and make my own flat shield. Not a real big problem there.
I do know in the Teutoburg forest battle some of the Germanics who fought the Romans were auxiliaries who stayed loyal to Armenius and I could possibly try to portray one of them using some Roman equipment which would make it overlap with doing a future Roman outfit as well. Not sure if it would cost more than a full blown Roman kit.
Suggestions would be well appreciated and I hope you guys can help me out.
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#2
Shawn, you can show up at events as a light auxiliary with just a shield, helmet, sword, tunic, spear, and military belt. Some of the Auxiliaries were specialists, and were equipped with special weapons. MRL is junk for every thing. Don't even think of them when deciding who to buy from. What time period do you want to represent? You hinted first century but do you have a exact date ( a twenty five year period )?
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#3
I am mainly interested in the first century AD when the Romans fought the Germanic tribes, from about 0 AD to 25 AD perhaps. Though if I were to do Legionary I would prefer to wear a hamata as opposed to segmentata and my favorite type of Gladius is the Mainz design. But that would be what I would work towards eventually getting. I pretty much gathered MRL is all junk, not sure about Deepeeka though usually I avoid stuff thats mass produced in India apart from Maille. My biggest issue is I have no clue what the Germanics used apart from single edged swords, axes, clubs and spears. They probably didnt have much in the means of armor apart from the highest ranking ones. Auxiliary would probably be easier due to being better documented.
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#4
The Romans fought the Germanic tribes for the entire span of the Roman empire, not just in the first quarter of the first century. Auxiliaries, unless specialists ( archers, slingers, falxmen, etc. ) would wear similar armor, if not identical, to the Legionaries. Only difference is that they sometimes carried more native weapons and had more cavalry attached to their units. Also, if you are wanting to get your kit together for not thousands of dollars by having it custom done, you will end up with all indian Deepeeka stuff or Daniyal or Al-Hamdd.

Germans would have used other weapons such as bows, slings, and javelins as well. Not all the tribesmen wore armor, but some did, especially the chieftains and best warriors. The most common weapon was a cheap spear, and most common armor was just a shield.
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#5
I'm mainly into the Teutoburg forest battle the most. So that era would probably be the one I would do. Probably going to do auxiliary for that then. Though using similar armor would make things a lot easier due seeing a lot of the stuff on KOA. I did read on one site that some of Deepeeka's stuff was OK in quality which I'd probably get it if it was accurate enough.

Though when it comes to blades I probably would get a custom gladius due to me preferring more functional weapons. Albion ones seem overpriced but this maker seems to do them at a decent price http://www.swordsmith.net/roman.html Not sure how accurate they are but for 260 dollars for a hand forged gladius seems like a better deal than Albion.

Helmets wise i'm not sure where to get stuff. I have a fairly large head and at a reenactment I went to they were selling coolus type helms and none of them fit my 24 inch head. Not sure what maker made them but it could of been Deepeeka.

Clothing is the main thing I have no clue where to get. Need vendors as I fail at sewing. Same with shoes.

Not sure where to get a good hamata, or what ones are accurate. Most places I see sell them for 600, I got a distaste for butted maille so riveted would be the way to go for me.

If I dont have enough money to do all that I will probably just get a tunic, some shoes, a spearhead and make my own shield for a germanic tribesman. Then build up from there.
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#6
Buy a tunic from La Wren's nest and get a Al-Hamdd or Deepeeka gladius ( look at SOTW ). For shoes, you can buy a nice pair from DSC for around $100 from SOTW. If you want riveted mail, then get it last and build the rest of your kit first. Buy a subarmalis, a cheap one is on Kult Of Athena for $70, and a military belt from Deepeeka. Then you should be able to start attending events. Later get a helmet ( early Gallic and Italic patterns, I recommend the Gallic A from DSC ). Finally buy your mail, get a spear, and get a pugio, and you should be ready to go! If you join a group, then they will help you build a shield. The Deepeeka ones are flimsy and the boss crushes in with mock combat. If you want to buy one, get a good blank from DSC. You say you need a lot of helmet room, then a Gallic A from Deepeeka is good for that.
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#7
There is the Mid Atlantic Classical Society in NJ led by John Van Vliet whom you can contact. Great fellow.

Also if you're brave there is Legio XXIV led by Furious George in Philadelphia.

And if you like traveling, Legio XX in the DC area: our fabrica our really good.
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
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#8
Quote:I'm mainly into the Teutoburg forest battle the most. So that era would probably be the one I would do. Probably going to do auxiliary for that then. Though using similar armor would make things a lot easier due seeing a lot of the stuff on KOA. I did read on one site that some of Deepeeka's stuff was OK in quality which I'd probably get it if it was accurate enough.

Though when it comes to blades I probably would get a custom gladius due to me preferring more functional weapons. Albion ones seem overpriced but this maker seems to do them at a decent price http://www.swordsmith.net/roman.html Not sure how accurate they are but for 260 dollars for a hand forged gladius seems like a better deal than Albion.

Helmets wise i'm not sure where to get stuff. I have a fairly large head and at a reenactment I went to they were selling coolus type helms and none of them fit my 24 inch head. Not sure what maker made them but it could of been Deepeeka.

Clothing is the main thing I have no clue where to get. Need vendors as I fail at sewing. Same with shoes.

Not sure where to get a good hamata, or what ones are accurate. Most places I see sell them for 600, I got a distaste for butted maille so riveted would be the way to go for me.

If I dont have enough money to do all that I will probably just get a tunic, some shoes, a spearhead and make my own shield for a germanic tribesman. Then build up from there.

If you're going to do Auxiliary here's a few pieces I recommend:

For a shield, check out Armamentaria, they offer the two DSC Auxilia shields, which are absolutely fantastic. They're labelled cavalry and infantry, but I doubt they're actually different.

https://www.armamentaria.com/store/index...c7fab04003

This is the Auxiliary Infantry 'B', from Carnuntum. It's the best Auxiliary helmet out there. The various Coolus Helmets are also good choices, but they have circular bowls so they're a weird fit and probably won't fit your head. Since you have a large head, you could get an Imperial Gallic A, by Deepeeka or DSC. The DSC one, like the Auxiliary helmet below, is ovoid so it will fit your head better.

https://www.armamentaria.com/store/index...&cPath=1_4
http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id114.html

Mark Morrow is a great choice for Gladii, definitely order from him. I've seen and held his work in person, and it's amazing.

http://www.swordsmith.net/roman.html

If you fail in sewing, then you can get your tunic and cloak through SOTW. Blue and Green look pretty awesome, but sort of a tan or off-white is generally considered to be the "default" for tunics of the period.

http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id116.html

Your Thorsberg trousers will work for Roman, as they date to the 5th century AD, and are used for quite a variety of time period.

La Wren's nest makes quite a few different kinds of pins for your Cloak:
http://www.lawrensnest.com/ez-catalog/X385623/20

And La Wren's nest is the place to go for socks:
http://www.lawrensnest.com/ez-catalog/X385623/18/RR4011

For your weapons, what you get depends on what kind of auxiliary you want to portray. Light Javelins is what most were armed with, along with a Gladius or a Spatha. Spears (Hasta) were also common.

SOTW Gladii:
http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id86.html

Armamentaria's 1st Century Hod Hill Spatha is also great:
https://www.armamentaria.com/store/index...cts_id=401

For Armor, Soul of the Warrior is also your best bet, as you can get good Roman chainmail or Scale maile, custom tailored to you and with different options. They also make a custom leather Subarmalis.

http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id109.html

For boots, I don't know much about the kind of Caligae or Calcei Auxilia wore, but I'd assume they wore Calcei/Carbatinae (boots), not Caligae (Legionary Sandals). I may be wrong.

For a belt, I don't know about what kinds of belts Auxiliaries used, but SOTW makes the best 1st Century Belts there are (made by Suhel) on the "On the shelf" market. They also sell a baldric for suspending your sword.

http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id110.html
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#9
I was also going to suggest Mid Atl. Class. Soc in NJ which now does Leg XIII Gemina http://legioxiii.weebly.com/

As well as Leg XXIV and of course my unit, Leg III Cyrenaica.

Leg XX is the best place to start for not only finding the best gear to buy, but also how to make your own. It's not as difficult as it seems. larp.com/legioxx

Caligae I'd suggest Par Fabrica (but see if he can use conical hobnails not flat?), or if you can find them, "Castleford" or "Mainz" style caligae from Danyial Steelcrafts. The company recently had a parting of ways internally, so last I knew, there's like two different companies with the same name? Soul Of The Warrior might still have them.

I'd advise not to worry about having "everything" for your first event. Start with the basics - "Soft kit", being tunic, caligae, belt, then add on stuff like gladius, pugio, helmet, shield, then think about armor.
Raid used clothing, used/salvage fabric stores, utilize coupons and sales and the scraps bins.
I would suggest to invest in quality leather from places like Tandy, although you can come across some amazing bargains from places like consignment stores for say an old beat up leather jacket for things like leather scabbard covering, or patches, or small bags/pouches, etc.

Auxiliary can be a good starter, as body armor may not be as "standard" as previously thought, but, we also don't have anything that tells us how often and for how long (during the day) Legionaries wore their armor. It appears they really only wore it when they were route marching or going into battle. Otherwise, they possibly hardly ever wore it. We as modern reenactors and enthusiasts today may be wearing the armor far more often and for longer than the actual Romans did. But, of course, you invest heavily in the stuff, and, how many chances does one GET to wear super-cool armor all day? So, that's fine and good, but what I'm saying is don't feel like you have to have Everything Right Now. You could also portray a Tiro recruit, who may not have any body armor, but just starting (their training) in tunic and belt. Since you're just starting off in the period, it'll be an "accurate" portrayal in more ways than one. Big Grin I'd also like to point out while the Balteus with the "danglium/dangly straps" is VERY common for soldiers in the 1st century, IMHO I think it's totally OK to start off with a basic balteus itself, with some decorated plates, and then add on or re-work the belt to have the added dangly straps later. It's quite possible it's what some Roman soldiers did, too.

For books, I highly recommend "Roman Military Equipment" by Bishop & Coulston (there are SO much stuff you can copy, the book is worth its weight in platinum); "Roman Military Dress" by Graham Sumner (also available in a 3-part series through Osprey); and "The Complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy as a General Reference. General Roman information I'd recommend writings by Richard Alston (i.e. "Aspects of Roman History 31BC-AD117, Routledge press)
Do not get anything by Dando-Collins.
Andy Volpe
"Build a time machine, it would make this [hobby] a lot easier."
https://www.facebook.com/LegionIIICyr/
Legion III Cyrenaica ~ New England U.S.
Higgins Armory Museum 1931-2013 (worked there 2001-2013)
(Collection moved to Worcester Art Museum)
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#10
I would disregard most but not all of the above, no offence Evan Smile

MAKE STUFF YOURSELF!!!!!,

Tunic-simple just buy the material, its just a giant box with a hole for your head!
Belt-buy a blank leather belt from tandy and the plates and buckle from Armamentaria or Raymond's QuietPress
Shield- buy a boss and some plywood, cover with linen and paint

You will get so much more satisfaction by doing it yourself. Use LEG XX handbook page for all the how to's. You'll also really learn about the equipement you are using and it will be more authentic.

You can even make your own caligae, paterns are online.

Try it! You'll like it!

Edit: Andy we were typing at the same time
"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones"

Antony
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#11
"Edit: Andy we were typing at the same time"

No worries, I was probably editing/adding on while you were doing what you were doing.

I'd also support Raymond's Quiet Press for belt bits, as well as some from Clang Armory.

It's been suggested by some that Table Linen might be good for tunics! Just be careful for a good weight, opacity, and clean/no pattern or colors. And, it's always better to have a HUGE tunic than a skin-tight one. We're not freakin 1980's Hair Band wearing spandex here. As Matt Amt says, the tunic "fits like a tent, not like a t-shirt"
Andy Volpe
"Build a time machine, it would make this [hobby] a lot easier."
https://www.facebook.com/LegionIIICyr/
Legion III Cyrenaica ~ New England U.S.
Higgins Armory Museum 1931-2013 (worked there 2001-2013)
(Collection moved to Worcester Art Museum)
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#12
Yes, make stuff yourself if you can, but if you need to you can buy. Roman tunic sewing was done by hand and was probably not very pretty for military tunics. Two sheets of wool or linen, and some thread can make a good tunic. I made my own tunic (came out too small!), shoes, belt, and shield, and it is not really that hard, and the results are usually satisfying. Also, you can make them personally for you. Legio XX website is great, and they have an auxiliary page too! Have fun!

P.S. Morrow's work on swords is great! Get one if you can afford it!
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#13
Allright thanks for the links. Realized I can get some of this stuff rather easily. Not sure what shield kit to buy though as I plan to construct my own shield. Hamatas are expensive though I can pretty much forget getting one anytime soon though I'd rather get a custom one though I did find a maker who sold them for around 350 in 6MM, not sure if thats a good buy but could take the opportunity. Probably gonna try to make some stuff myself like the belt mainly as those belts are quite expensive. I still probably am gonna use the HE pants with the rest of my outfit though. Looking around for a group to join though. Think if I did meet more reenactors I could buy some second hand gear. Due to cost constraints I may start out doing barbarian at the moment as I now know where to get their shoes and a shield kit. Only issue I have right now is finding a proper weapon. Probably gonna go for using a spear or axe though cause it's cheaper. Once I get some more roman equipment I can do auxiliary just fine after I get the helm and Hamata as well as Gladius. If not I will just do soft kit for now. Hopefully some of that stuff will be interchangeable so I can do both in the future.
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#14
Does the mail shirt come with the shoulder doubling, has no sleeves, and has chest hooks?
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#15
I do not know if anyone makes a really good Germanic axe, but spears are very simple to do. You can buy nice heads for javelins and spears off of Kult of Athena.

P.S. Kult of Athena is a really good company and they have extremely fast shipping. Good customer service too!
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