New Member Information
This page is intended to get you started on the right track to preparing yourself for the Roman Impression. When looking through stuff remember we reenact the period of 26-74 AD, though we do allow some variation in gear a few years outside of that range. We were largely a Syrian/Palestinian Legion. And despite what the Rome Miniseries showed, it was LEG VI F that kidnapped Cleopatra!
Who can join?
Members, are those who have gone through our little approval process and paid dues so that they can participate at public events as full members of the Legion. The approval process is a sort of interview to make certain that the prospective member understands our goals and corporate structure, and that he or she is willing to abide by our Bylaws and Philosophy. It's not as formal as it sounds, but we do want to be sure that no one joins if he or she does not want to do the same sort of things we do, and in the same way. We also don't tend to grant Active Membership to people who live great distances from the Charleston, SC area, simply because it would be difficult for them to attend events, and difficult for us to keep tabs on their progress and give help when needed.
E-Members, also known as subscribers, "Emailing List", "mailing list", etc., whether they are a reenactor or not. Associate membership is available to anyone, and there are no requirements other than letting the Commander know where you want your newsletter sent. Benefits include getting the newsletter (once we have it up and running), being able to pick the Commander's brains for information and opinions on most any aspect of the hobby, and being welcome at the Legion's non-public events such as workshops and parties. Associate members who are reenactors often use the Legion's Handbook and authenticity standards as their guide, but are not required to adhere to our standards. On the other hand, Associates must pay any admission charge if they wish to attend most of our public events as spectators, since they cannot participate as full members.
As an active member of the Legion, there are three things you need to do to participate at any event:
I. FIND OUT - Read the member info page and stay in touch with the Commander and other members to keep informed of upcoming events;
II. TELL THE C.O. or event contact if you plan to attend or if you're a "maybe".
III. GET THERE - Carpools or convoys can be arranged.
This means that participation is UP TO YOU. The Commander will do all he can to get the information to the members, but will usually not call around to determine everyone's plans. PLEASE contact him as soon as you have an idea of what your plans are. Some sites require pre-registration of all participants, and showing up unannounced may cause administrative problems (even if we are happy to see you). Also, if you had planned to attend but are unexpectedly prevented, try to contact the Commander, another member, or the host site.
What to Bring:
Obviously, bring all of your kit that you will need. If you are in the habit of forgetting essential items, type up a "master list" and stick it on your refrigerator or other obvious place. Feel free to bring new items that need to be approved by the C.O., but be prepared for rejection. Make arrangements AHEAD OF TIME to borrow any kit that you lack. Some members wear their Roman clothes while travelling to and from an event, others prefer to wear modern clothes. You will often be able to change in a tent or bathroom, but not always (although it is posible to change into a tunic fairly decently in public). Dry shoes and socks can make a long drive home much more tolerable. At overnight events members may sleep in the tent. Modern bedding is permitted, and straw is often provided for padding. Hotels are an option, and sometimes "crash space" is available on local members' floors and couches. Make your arrangements in advance! In any case bring whatever toiletries you need.
When you arrive at the site be sure to register if necessary, and park your vehicle ONLY in spaces allotted for participants. All site rules, no matter how bureaucratic or unnecessary they may seem, must be strictly followed, to avoid causing trouble for the Legion.
The Legion often provides lunch of "campaign rations", including hardtack, bread, cheese, fruit, peas or lentils, and sometimes meat or other cooked food. Modern food and drink might be available from vendors, but may not be brought into the display area during public hours. Lunch is also provided for civilians, usally more varied and appetizing. (Soldiers are NOT to pester the civilians by mooching food from them!) At overnight events, breakfast includes coffee, tea, donuts, oatmeal, etc. Supper is usually not provided. Food is generally not provided to Active or Associate members who attend an event as spectators, or with another organization.
As a participant you will be expected to help in maintaining the camp or display area, tending the fire, fetching supplies or water, and especially interacting with the public. There may be all sorts of fascinating things to see at the event, but please spend the bulk of your time with the Legion, and check with the C.O. before wandering off. Be aware of the day's schedule so as not to miss any planned activities.
Your help is also needed to pack up the camp and display after closing. Be sure to return any borrowed gear (or make arrangements to do so) in as good a condition as when you borrowed it, or better.
We maintain a noble atmosphere and do not delve into the "darker" side of Rome beyond our Gladiatorial lectures and such. We also reserve the right to limit discussion of stuff that could break up the legion... i.e. Politics... Members who choose to participate in the ministry side of Legio VI should be exhibiting Christians, but we expect no one to be perfect! Families are encouraged to join. We have tons of good clean FUN!
Minors above the age of 15 may join the legion if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at events, and sign a form. This policy is for safety and legal purposes.
NO children under the age of 7 may attend workshops. Children 7 and over may attend IF they can quietly entertain themselves for 5 hours or more. Workshops are intended to provide members and potential members with the opportunity to make equipment and share knowledge. There is no one available at the workshops to babysit. The parent is responsible for his/her child at all times. Any child who is disruptive will have to be removed, and the parent will be asked to make other arrangments in the future. We do have parties that the families are welcome to attend; the workshops, however, are not parties.
NO children may accompany anyone who is participating in an event without prior appoval of the board of directors. NO MILITARY participant can bring a child that he will be responsible for: it would not be authentic and would cause problems during the event.
We now have several "Categories of Membership"
I. E-Member (PROBATIO): A recruit that is interested in joining that has not yet attended an event or purchased required kit.
II. Recruit (TIRO): A recruit that has both purchased part of their kit** and participated as a reenactor in at least one event*.
III. Legionnaire (GREGARIUS): This rank is considered full membership. A member is an active participant who attends at least one event* or more annually, and has completed their soft kit**.
IV. Veteran (SESQUIPLICARIUS): A member who actively participates in several events* annually, has completed their marching kit***, and additionally makes contributions to the legion. These contributions can include additional equipment or displays, volunteering, and other forms of assisting the legion.
V. Immune (IMMUNIS): An active member who has met the prior qualifications and made significant unique contributions to the legion through living history displays with a unique skill such as shoe cobbling, woodworking, blacksmithing, engineering, etc. actively at events.
VI. Ironside Soldier (MILES FERRATUS): A member that is only appointed by a unanimous vote of the founder and prior recipients of this honorific. Nomination for and reward of this position can be based on leadership, contribution, or other factors at the discretion of the electors. This is a lifetime appointment, and a unique certificate is presented to you!
*An event is definied as any scheduled activity as listed on the calendar page of the LEG VI website.
**Soft kit constitutes the non-combat items of your kit, those being tunic, belt, sandals, socks, waist sash, trousers, leg wraps, hat, etc. Civilian impressions or other members may also advance based on their unique impressions' completeness.
***Marching kit constitutes a full legionary kit, including soft kit, helmet, sword, armor, dagger, javelin, shield, and camp gear. Civilian impressions or other members may also advance based on their unique impressions' completeness.
First: Talk to one of the officers, Primus/Centurio/Optio, about joining. They will help you get orientated to the ancient genre of re-enacting and guide you through the process of becoming a member.
Second: Join the LEG VI Facebook Group for updates. This is a place where you can ask any and all questions about the hobby, gear, and construction of gear with out feeling like a newcomer! The Facebook group will also keep you informed on upcoming events. We also have a Yahoo group for those who do not have Facebook.
Optional: Join the RomanArmyTalk forum! This is the information source for reconstruction, reenacting, events, and tons of expert advice literally from the guys who wrote the Osprey books, D.B. Campbell, Graham Sumner, and a number of other authors, curators, and academics who know their stuff!!
Third: This is a two part step. First, print off a copy of the Drill Manual located on our website. Second, study up on Latin. We know it is a dead language but you will want to know how to say "Hello!" (Salve/Salvete!), "Farewell!" (Vale/Valete!), "Yes Sir!" (Ita Domne, etc. in Latin. Don't worry; only a very small handful of us speak it as a second language.
Fourth: Start looking at gear (always ask us before you buy anything!). We may be able to get you a better price or supplier! Below is a list of of basic equipment needed for your impression, it is also the order in which we recommend you purchase these items. Check out the Equipment of the Legionary as well as the Handbook for descriptions of these items and good suppliers for them.
I) Tunica (Tunic)
II) Caligae (Sandals) or Calcei (Boots)
III) Balteus (Belt)
IIII) Fiminalia (Trousers) and/or Fascia Crurales (Leg Wraps)
V) Focale (Neckerchief), Udones (Socks), and Fascia Ventralis (Waist Sash)
VI) Mess Kit (Bowl, Spoon, Cup, other basic camp items)
VII) Personal Accessories (Carrying bag, coinpurse, etc.)
VIII) Pugio (Dagger)
VIIII) Gladius (Sword)
X) Subarmalis (Under Armor)
XI) Galea (Helmet)
XII) Lorica (Body Armor)
XIII) Scutum (Shield)
XIIII) Pilum (Javelin)
XV) Furca (Marching Pole, Grain bag, Net bag, Pera bag, etc.)
XVI) Dolabra (Entrenching Tool)
There is no rush to purchase anything. The Legion has about 20 complete kits you can borrow until you complete your kit! If you have the gift of being a good craftsman, nearly everything can be built from scratch! Check out our Handbook for Legionnaires to find out how to make or purchase many of these items. Also, check out the Legio XX Handbook, they have step by step designs, plans, and more!
Sixth: Basic Reading
Check your local library before purchasing! These books should all be available in your public library system, although it is recommended you buy some of the essential guides on military equipment and clothing for building your kit.
- M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston, Roman Military Equipment: From the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome.
- Graham Sumner, Roman Military Dress.
- Nosch and Koefoed, Wearing the Cloak: Dressing the Soldier in Ancient Roman Times.
- Simon James, Rome and the Sword: How Warriors & Weapons Shaped Roman History.
- J.E. Lendon, Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity.
- Christopher Fuhrmann, Policing the Roman Empire: Soldiers, Administration, and Public Order.
- Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.
- Gregory Aldrete, Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia.
- Leslie and Roy Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome.
- Patrick Faas and Shaun Whiteside, Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome.
- Robert Knaap, Invisible Romans.
You don't have to knock these out immediately, but these should provide the basic background info for you to get into the hobby and be able to engage the public. Of course, we recommend our civilians read our soldiers' books, and our soldiers' our civilians' books too, that way all of our members have a well-rounded understanding of Roman life. This is just a start, and there are plenty more books out there for you!
More highly recommended works can be found on the Legion Library and References page.
Finally: If you have a question, ask the group, one of us will know the answer or get you in the right direction. The only thing we require is a noble attitude, we can supply the rest!