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LEGIO X FRETENSIS   January 2001 Newsletter - Page 3
- Text by Douglas A. Unsworth, Image by Robert Garbisch

Submitted by Titus Lucretius Aeldred (Douglas A. Unsworth, J.D.)

Saturnalia, 751 AUC (2 B.C.):
Euse petit, Roma placidam sub libertate quietem. (By the sword, Rome seeks peaceful quite under liberty.)

In the name of our glorious Emperor Augustus Caesar and under the command of the noble Military Governor of Syria, Legate Quirinius, a small detachment of the IV Cohort of the Legio X Fretensis has been ordered to Judaea to assist in the training of local garrison troops and in the census taking and collection of taxes as ordered by our beloved Emperor. In addition, our unit was tasked to maintain the peace and display the might of Rome in this otherwise quarrelsome portion of our glorious Empire. It is anticipated that should these Jewish subjects ever forget the allegiance they owe to Rome, our contingent will form the advance guard for the future deployment of our entire Legion to this sector of the Empire.

However, in addition to the usual military matters commonly contained in such reports, I must relate a number of wondrous things that have recently taken place in the sleepy little village of Bethlehem where our unit was stationed during the Saturnalia holiday. But I digress, let me begin my tale at the beginning.

Lead by Centurio Marcus Antonius Lucius (Robert Garbisch), a heavily armed contingent of the LXF marched from our headquarters in Syria to the village of Bethlehem, some five miles south of Jerusalem (Bethlehem Village 2000 in Redwood City, sponsored by the Peninsula Christian Center). There, a proper Roman camp and temporary fortification were promptly set up just inside the town gate and immediately adjacent to the Roman tax collection table and census registration booth. In this manner, Centurio Marcus was assured that our force would impress the common people with the power and might of Rome, in addition to our guarding the taxes collected during the census. Over the course of the three day event, the contingent included in its number Auxiliary Octavius Lucius (Jim Garvisch), Legionary Titus Lucretius Aeldred (Douglas A. Unsworth, J.D.), Calventius Viator (Edward McDonald), our latest recruit from the land of the Celts, Publius Spurius Gallus (Kevin Beckman), Antony Lucius (Anthony Garbisch), Signifer Severius Lucretius Aeldred (David A. Unsworth) Praetorian Gaius Germanicus Magnus (Steve Oster), Flavius Vespasianus Iovi Konig (Jay King) and his stepson, Robert Davis. Several locals were also enlisted during the operation to assist with the more mundane aspects of camp operations.

The unit was also graced in having Centuro Marcus' wife, the lovely Lady Lydia, and daughter, Camilla (Cindy Philippi), accompany the expedition. Their presence and beauty brought some of the comforts of home and civilized life to this somewhat stark land. On the other hand, Darrath Lugh (Mary Minsball) was present to remind Centuro Marcus that much of the Empire submits to the benevolence of Roman rule with some reluctance, if not outright fear of the might of Roman arms. More will be said about this later.

The food was quite good compared to our more usual campaign rations. In addition to the fresh meat, fruit and bread provided by the natives, our soldiers could add the pleasure of some sour wine and even some home brew to the otherwise Spartan fare usually provided to our soldiery. We will save our Roman hardtack and cold oatmeal for another time.

The duty did not prove too difficult, though the population cannot be said to be sympathetic toward Rome. We heard a number of discontents and zealots shout such praises as, "Romana vade domi! (Romans go home!) and "Delenda set Roma!" (Rome must be destroyed!), usually said in reference to the occupation of the province by Roman Legions and collection of taxes. How do these barbarians think the "Pax Romana" (Peace of Rome) can be maintained without arms and taxes, by some sort of miracle?

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