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First Newsletter

- Text by Robert Garbisch
-- Images by Jay King

Ave Militiae Mutatio! (Greetings Lowest Ranking Soldier!)

Welcome to the Legio X Fretensis! You are invited to join this
honorable Legion of Rome. When you do enlist you will be serving
a noble purpose. It will be an adventure that you will not regret.

Our first official meeting on January 16th was met with mixed success. Unfortunately only a few interested members were able to physically attend this time. I did receive several e-mail messages and phone calls expressing a great interest and intentions to join.

Those fortunate individuals who did come were treated to the unique experience of a gladius (sword) drill. But just for a few minutes, and not the required 15 minutes of training standards. They employed a weighted wood sword and weighted shield. The drill master would strike at the participant with his training staff. This was done to train the recruit for actual combat conditions. At the same time, the recruit had to stay within his designated roped area, the "pit". Which represents the allotted space a recruit must maintain within the ranks. Failure to do so could create difficulties for the entire unit. A second recruit was kept at the ready in case the first recruit received a deadly blow. In that case, it was now his responsibility to step into his fallen comrade's space and maintain the frontal line at all times.

On display was the Officer's tent, which shall house the Imperator, the Centurio, and the Optio. Enclosing this area on three sides, was a defensive wall and the entry gate, constructed of pilum muralis. An explanation was given on how the Romans would actually construct their overnight fortified camp position, employing this type of defensive wall. This is what we shall be doing for our Roman Training Camp.

From this meeting we discussed the multi-purposes and educational values of our unit's Living History presentation to the public. By establishing a Roman Training Camp we can offer many interesting possibilities for some real "first person" interaction with the public. There are numerous roles that can be presented for some real training experiences in becoming a legionary soldier of the Roman Empire. At the same time, I have received several interesting suggestions for representing the civilian aspect of the Roman World. And we have several volunteer Barbarians, either enemies of Rome, or our Allies, who have expressed a desire to set up their own camp and thus become an active part of our Living History presentation. I believe that both these aspects of the real Roman world of that time need to be represented. They shall definitely enrich the experience of everyone. Naturally, the Barbarian and the Civilian camps shall be set up outside of the Fortified Camp.

At present, the Legio X offers the following positions: Imperator, Centurio, Legionnaire, Signifer, Cornucian, Archer, Slinger, Sapper, Physician, Clerk, Drill Master, Cook, Servant, and the blessed Retired Veteran Soldier. In our historical drama play, there are numerous Civilian roles that can be portrayed by anyone interested in doing this type of presentation. As for the Barbarians, no comments. Ha! No, they too have the real possibilities of presenting various historical aspects of their own respected military roles that affected the Roman Empire.

I have formulated the following proposed scenarios that we could present to the public. Each one would be limited to a 10 minute time period. They are:

  1. Individual rank positions and purpose in the cohort that we represent.
  2. Gladius / Sword Drill in the "pit".
  3. Pilum / Javelin throwing Drill.
  4. Archer and Slinger skill demonstration.
  5. Fortification construction / demonstration area.
  6. Legio X Fretensis unit history.
  7. Marching Drill / Route March Formation.
  8. Tactical Battle Demonstration.
  9. Barbarian demonstration. (If any survived the Battle Demo. Ha!)
  10. Camp life / Civilian Support roles.
  11. Question and Answer period with the public.

To conclude our presentation, we would present a twenty minute historical drama titled, "Who is this man?" We would offer first person "witnessed" accounts, based upon historical reports and Biblical reports, of reported observations and encounters with the man, Jesus of Nazareth. Think of yourself as being one mosaic piece of personal experience that is being directed into a unusual pattern of witnessing about this man. A final pattern know only to the Master Artist, God.

Our designated time period will cover from 4 BC to 31 AD (749 to 784 AUC Roman calendar). This would represent a time period from the birth of Jesus Christ to one year after his crucifixion and reported resurrection. How did this single man, of common birth, affect your way of thinking and conduct in life. What is this new religion, called "The Way"? What will be your reported reaction to this man's message? This is the message we need to convey to the public.

It was discussed that our Legio X season schedule should offer the following programs:

CELEBRATE HISTORY   (May 9 - 11, 1999)
Our Spring Recruiting event. At present, this show will be in San Francisco, on April 9th to the 11th. A space has been reserved for us on the 10th & 11th. Details for the exact location and directions to it will be provided as soon as I'm informed. All of you who wish to attend this event, either for both days or only one day, please contact me for what role you can do to help out. It may be helping with the registration table. Or manning our display table. Or perhaps present a talk or demonstrations of arms and equipment. There are various other activities available, too numerous to list them all here.

CLARKSBURG   (May 22 - 23, 1999)
This will be our first big event! So let us make it a good one. I will be meeting with the Church Council on January 26th, at 7:30 p.m., to answer any of their concerns and to discuss exactly what will be constructed on their property. We have received verbal approval of the plan. One issue of major concern for the locals will be the degree of publicity for this event. Please keep in mind that we need to respect their wishes. To many of the residents here Clarksburg represents a quiet, slow paced community. And any major outside publicity may bring in undesirable elements that they would prefer to avoid. It will still be a great opportunity for us to present our unit and the drama story .If any one wishes to join me for this important meeting, please feel welcome to contact me. Your show of support will be truly appreciated by me. More details on the event to follow later.

CHEESE FACTORY   (Tentatively July 24 - 25, 1999)
This interesting tourist stop is located just outside of Novato. On Jan. 22nd, I had a very important meeting with the Director and one of the Owners. I inspected the grounds there and found them to be highly favorable for our type of event. During the summer, they average between 1,000 to 2,000 visitors a day on the weekend. What a great opportunity for some super PR for our unit! They gave me a very positive approval of our proposed event activities. They will provide all the necessary PR for this event. That means possible newspaper and TV coverage. Thus a quiet Clarksburg event could be our rehearsal for this event. At present, I've offered July 24 and 25. I hope to receive confirmation on this date by the end of next week.

Where else would you like to go? I would like to see an event somewhere in the San Jose or San Francisco area. I have proposed to my own church, MacArthur Community Baptist Church, in San Pablo, our type of event for their Home Coming program in September. This proposal will be presented to the Board of Deacons in February. So far, the Pastor, the Moderator, and several of the Deacons were very receptive to the idea. This would be a single day event, not a weekend event.

This fits perfectly in what was discussed at our meeting. It was the general consenus that we should contain our activities to an Annual Recruiting show, like Celebrate History, to be followed by a combination of two full weekend events and two single day events. Concluding the season with a private Roman March experience of twenty or more miles over a weekend. Proposed areas are the German type mountains near Reddings, along a converted 25 mile railroad route; a Mojave desert trip, perhaps near Barstow; a desert trip near Reno, or a grand adventure in Titus Canyon, Death Valley. This last site offers the best terrain that is similar to what the Legio X experienced in Judaea, and especially around Masada. I've covered this 27 mile route three times. It's an excellent location.

Now this brings me to a subject of great importance to the survival of the Legio X: MEMBERSHIP. I NEED YOUR PAID MEMBERSHIP TO VALIDATE THE EXISTENCE OF LEGIO X. Dues are just $30.00 per family unit. If you just wish to receive the newsletter only, then payment is only $10 per mailing address. As a non-member, there will be a $5 event fee for every event you attend. If you decide to join up after a non-member event, or two, then just pay the difference in dues for the year. As a paid member you will receive a Legio X Handbook, which will list what equipment you will require, the order of priority for your purchases, Command Orders (in Latin), Legio X history, illustrations on training drills and equipment, and more facts of interest. And this Legio X newsletter. Check payment should be made out to me: Robert W. Garbisch. I have already set up a separate account for the members who have already paid. If any one else desires to be the Legio X Treasurer, then I will gladly transfer the Legio X funds to that honest and trusted individual.

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