Saturday, 21 October 2017

Roman Imperial Legionary Cohort


I now consider the Roman collection well and truly under way with the completion of the Victrix Roman Early Imperial Legionaries that I was putting together in the summer during our break in Holland.

Victrix Early Imperial Roman Legionaries Advancing

I have been so looking forward to doing these ever since Victrix announced the launch with their CAD images of the new figures and they have been such fun to put together and learn my way around with a brush, which is the normal routine when getting familiar with painting a new set of figures.

As explained in my previous post looking at the Dacian Cap Wearer warband I have put together my own basing plan based on Augustus to Aurelian with the idea of reducing the number of bases players have to push around the table whilst still being able to indicate any given formation.



So here is my Quingenary Cohort made flesh or in this case plastic, and what a fine bunch of men they look, ready to create a bit of Pax Romana if the situation demands.

The look of my cohort has a certain symmetry in that I have settled on this three base set up which conveniently mirrors the three maniples of two centuries each numbering around 80 men thus a cohort of 480 men; I have assumed a figure to man ratio of about 1:25 with each of my three bases coming in slightly below paper strength at 150 men, thus a campaigning cohort of about 450 men.


I chose for my first cohort the black shields in honour of the first book that got me interested in this period at the tender age of nineteen, namely John Warry's "Warfare in the Classical World" published by Salamander Books back in 1980 with some fantastic colour illustrations including the one below and the inspiration for my unit, this black shielded or scutum legionary from the 1st century AD.


The figures went together very easily and, as I suggest in my little video clip attached below, they provide lots of scope for the scratch builders among us who love messing about to come up with those unique figures in our collections.




The musicians and various standard bearers come with a variety of big beast animal pelts that really make the command party stand out and the cornu is enhanced by taking a pin vice and drilling out the horn mouth to suggest a noise might be emitted from it.


The legionaries can be modelled with two types of imperial model helmets, one having reinforcing bars across the bowl, pugio and gladius scabbards which again adds to the variation for the eye.


As with the Dacians, these chaps are well defined, with calf muscles that look like they have put in a few Roman miles of marching to get to the battlefield.


The weaponry is solid and those pila heads look like they could cause a lot of damage coupled with a solid ball weight at the base of the pins holding the long tapering shank in place.


Finally we have the Optio modelled here looking along the line and making sure the dressing is correct and every man is in his allotted place.



The figures come with oval shields and helmet crests to allow either legionaries or praetorians to be modelled and LBM supply a varied range of shield decals to suit most requirements.

I should say I had a bit of fun, not for the first time, mastering the decals particularly with the pronounced curve on these models that can make detaching the decal from the backing paper a little trickier than normal, but as you can see they really finish the off the figures.



As with the Napoleonics I have added a video clip to talk about panting these and the Dacians, focussing on my colour options for the flesh work, together with a look at some of the books I have been referring to for inspiration or for painting guides.

These little clips are not intended as tutorials and assume you have an idea of how to paint the figures and are more designed to illustrate specifics in the way I paint that you might like to use along with references I have found most useful.


So if you can imagine nine similar units with a roughly equal number of auxiliaries and a first cohort with five instead of three bases with an eagle to wave around plus a few 'donkey wallopers' on the flanks, you have a legion to ready to take it to the Dacian hordes - what fun.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Empire, The Wolf's Gold - Anthony Riches


This last week I have been getting some final 2017 sunshine and outdoor living in southern Spain which has given me loads of time to start work on some projects that have had to take a back seat whilst others were being concluded.

In addition to spending some time writing I have been reading and getting some research and inspiration for the Romano-Dacian project which has included Anthony Riches novel covering the exploits of Marcus Valerius Aquila otherwise known as Centurion Corvus, and specifically the fifth book in a series of nine so far, "The Wolfs Gold".

I am pretty sure I read the first book in the series "Wounds of Honour" but all I can remember is that I couldn't put it down but can't remember how it turned out other than some brutal battles up on Hadrian's Wall, I think. So I aim to re-read that one and start again when I get home.

So from that last comment you might have guessed I rather enjoyed this read and I found Mr Riches prose most entertaining and thoughtful as I am a bit of an old hand with much of this kind of fiction having worked my way through the likes of Kent and Cornwell. After a while you start to work out where the plot is going and who to keep an eye on and somehow it starts to feel a bit predictable.

I certainly didn't get that with The Wolf's Gold and was mightily entertained with a few twists and turns that I  hadn't anticipated.

Some great battle descriptions of Romans taking on the Sarmatian cavalry in The Wolf's Gold by Anthony Riches
This volume covers the adventures of Marcus and his colleagues in the Tungrian Auxiliary cohort of which he is a centurion having been sent to the Danube frontier to help the local commander with a little problem of Sarmatian raiders threatening to relieve the empire of a stack of Dacian gold from a mine deep within the mountains of Alburnus Major. Whilst there he and his comrades face off not only Sarmatian cavalry but errant auxiliary allies and duplicitous Roman senior officers out to further their careers at anyone's expense, all good stuff.

The plot is well crafted and mixed with well researched historical background to satisfy history nerds like me that want to immerse in the period which in this case is set during the turbulent year of 183 AD during the reign of the power crazed Emperor Commodus.

I chose this particular book because it created its story around the area of the Empire I find myself particularly interested in, all be it from an earlier period under Trajan, namely Dacia, Moesia and the Danubian frontier with descriptions of Sarmatian cataphracts and Thracian archers that had me wishing I was at home in front of the painting desk. That I think was part of the magic for me reading this book in that I found it really stimulating the imagination and creative juices in the way that I hoped it would and would recommend it to any like mind looking for a similar experience.

One thing I am getting my head around as I branch out into the ancient era is that unlike later more contemporary periods such as the 19th and 20th centuries conflicts where there is a lot more factual data to get to grips with and many more first person primary accounts to digest and help inform the wargaming, you just don't get that for Rome and her wars and thus the historical novel has a very important role to play in providing that missing input alongside the worthy historical tomes that underpin the hobby.

So if you are up for a good sandal and spear yarn with plenty of historical reference and some great scenario ideas then I can recommend The Wolf's Gold.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodus
http://anthonyriches.com/empire-series/
http://anthonyriches.com/the-ravenstone-valley-in-pictures/

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Dacian Cap Wearer Warband


To kick off the new theme here on JJ's I thought I would re-vamp my original idea to incorporate the amazing picture taken of Trajan's column on our trip to Rome for Will's 18th birthday, in 2014, that really fired up the idea to produce this collection; and which would form the backdrop to the figure collection and games generated going forward.

So each header will be colour themed according to whether the subject is Roman, Dacian, Sarmatian or German or if it's a scenario post - all good fun.


The build up to this project has been going on in the background to the Napoleonic Peninsular War project that has taken centre stage on JJ's ever since the blog started back in 2012 and it has seen both Tom and I experimenting with Warlord plastics whilst also working out a set of rules to incorporate into the collection.

During the last four years a small collection of Romans principally from the Warlord range have been constructed and I have learnt a lot about the pallet of colours together with the look of the units I want to build.

I like to draw pictures of how I want things to look so sat down and worked out my A to A unit stats and base sizes

I had started with Hail Caesar (HC) and its 20mm base frontage for individual figures but having decided against using the rules to play the games finally came down to redesigning my bases to follow the same frontage as HC but go for a six figure base with more depth to allow more scope to characterise the look of each one - hence the six base large warband portrayed above.

Part of my A to A unit design guide showing the look and variation of a Roman Legionary cohort

This unit equates to about 1,000 warriors and thus a Roman quingenary cohort of 480 legionaries will be half the unit depth of this warband with three a base frontage, but be based on the same size six figure bases, as outlined in my recent post looking at using my preferred rules 'Augustus to Aurelian' (A to A).

Augustus to Aurelian

The stat cards below indicate the flexibility in fielding my warbands with six options based on size, large to medium, equating to a six or four base unit and a skill level of untried, warrior or hardened warrior, with cap wearer modelled here more likely to be on the upper end of the experience spectrum.

Dacian Warband stat cards - for Cap Wearers and Bastarnae
So to our brave defenders of Dacian liberty or a deceitful bunch of ambushing barbarians depending on your viewpoint.

These are from the Warlord plastics range of figures that come with metal upper torsos and heads to convert their standard plastic Gallic/German barbarian into a more appropriate Dacian appearance together with a pack of Dacian style shields to complete the look.


The well ripped, slightly homo-erotic look of some of the warriors, only needing a rub down with oil as per 'The 300' may not be to everyone's taste but I think they add a bit more of the 'barb' to barbarian and help contrast them even more with my clean shaved regimented legionaries from the new Victrix range of EIR plastics.


Warlord really do seem to have had a problem controlling the consistency of scale with their plastics and their legionaries are now past their sell by date when compared with Victrix which match these Dacians perfectly.


Given that a barbarian army tends to be built around a core of big meaty warbands Warlord plastics still make a compelling reason to use as the basis of any collection mixed with a sprinkling of metals from the likes of Wargames Foundry to add more variety to the overall look.


There is something really liberating to the soul when branching out into a new painting project and researching colours and appearance to attempt to get a look always with the end in mind, namely that a Dacian army at full strength will have thirteen similarly sized units on the table with cap wearers, falx men and Bastarnae warriors providing a mix of appearance to draw the eye, not to mention accompanying cavalry such as Sarmatian cataphracts and horse archers.


These models went together quite easily and the only issue with them would be the need to replace horizontal spears with brass rod to avoid annoying breakages in play.


The shield decals are also supplied with each box of warriors which I wish other plastic manufacturers would do as it makes the whole process of building a large force much more painless when you can buy the set ready to go from the box, also these decals are water-slide rather than the more normal LBM 'stick down and damp the paper from the back' variety and as a plastic modeller of yaw I find the former process much more user friendly.


So the Dacian collection is up and running with the thousand mile journey started with that first step, to be accompanied with a new terrain building project, not to mention the other forces that will be joining my Dacians, so lots of stuff to come.


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Xanten, LVR Archaeological Park & Roman Museum (Part 2) - Holland 2017

The "Minerva Tritonia" transported people and freight and was deployed to protect the Rhine border

The first part of my post covering our visit this summer to the Xanten LVR Archaeological Park, focused very much on the military artefacts held in the Roman museum and can be read on the link below.

Xanten LVR Archaeological Park Part One

In part two I have put together my highlights from our walk around the park that encompasses the Museum within the protected site of Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

The towns important location close to the banks of the River Rhine is well illustrated together with the layout and defensive wall. The two temples can be seen with the Harbour Temple close to the river on the left of picture and the Capitoline Temple centre-top of picture. The great Northern Gate is closest to camera.

As explained in the first post the town Colonia Ulpia Traiana was a settlement of some 10,000 people comprised in the main of veterans, their families, Romanised Gauls and Germans. The new town received an organised infrastructure with water conduit, sewers and a street grid, which encompassed temples, a forum, an amphitheatre and was surrounded by a city wall and gates.

The town was very much involved in supporting the army and its activities providing a point of embarkation for troops and vital supplies along the German river network.

Much of the remains of the Roman town still remain uncovered and awaiting scientific investigation, with the whole area now protected it's preserved for future generations and improved archaeological techniques.

The park however takes the archaeology further with the reconstruction of working replicas and copies of the finds to further research the techniques and usage of various pieces of equipment and discover what was actually possible.

So the reconstructions of the town-wall, amphitheatre, temple and guesthouse are reconstructions based on the original archaeological footprint of these buildings using the same materials and building techniques as in the originals and corresponding to the originals size and position.

Likewise the boat yard has been able to take the remains of Roman transports and warships used in the area to serve as blueprints for building full size replicas using the Roman construction techniques and then seeing what was possible with these boats when navigating the local waterways.

This is all great stuff for the academic historians but also serves as food for the mind for the historical wargamer interested in how the Romans, operating along the Limes lived, worked, soldiered and died and really helps to underpin a greater understanding and depth to our hobby.

The Town Park

On entering the park one immediately gets a perfect idea of the size of the town, with the network of paths lined with trees and the perimeter wall indicated with part reconstruction, part box hedge, giving a great perspective, with the areas of open ground indicting the various Insulas (housing and town buildings in an area encompassing twenty equally sized plots) that lie buried below.

Carolyn, Tom and Will on one of the paths laid out in the park to show the original road plan of Colonia Ulpia Traiana

The illustration taken from the guide book gives a really good idea of how these streets would have been arranged and any visit to somewhere like Herculanium or Pompeii helps the mind recreate the look of the buildings.

The streets were some 10-12 metres wide with 4 metre wide pavements on both sides, with the north-south road being wider still

The Roman Museum hosts a marvellous architectural model that gives a vivid impression of the town by the second century AD.

This excellent model gives a vivid impression of how the Roman town may have looked in the 2nd century AD

After the Capitol, the Harbour Temple was the second largest building in the town to which deity remains unknown 



We started our tour in the museum and by seeing the models of the layout it brought to life the few reconstructions that can be seen in the park, none more impressive that the Harbour Temple to a deity still to be revealed, but a building that has to be imagined in its entirety painted in the classic Roman style that seems so gaudy and inappropriate to twenty first century eyes.

The part reconstruction of the Harbour Temple really gives a vivid impression of the scale of this building

This painted cast in the Roman museum of the ornate columns seen on the Harbour Temple reconstruction gives a good idea of Roman taste in colour coordinating their public buildings

The park is a living archaeological research centre with areas under excavation and observable by the interested visitor.

The area of the town and its immediate surroundings are a protected ancient monument with most of the Insulas (partitioned sectors of twenty building plots of equal size between the various streets) awaiting archaeological investigation, as seen here

The Harbour Gate through which the trade of the town via the river relied
Again an early visit to the museum before touring the park informs the casual viewer of the techniques used in underpinning the foundations of the mighty town wall that had to rest all that weight through its foundations upon wet river deposits close to the bank that served as a harbour to the town.

Examples of the large wooden piles driven into the ground to underpin the town walls

The multiple array of wooden stakes were discovered when an analysis of the wall preceded the reconstruction and the dating of the timbers enabled the calculation of when the Colony was granted the permission for its construction which was revealed to have been in the years 105/106 AD when the timbers were felled.

Drawing of the construction of the town walls built over the wooden piles

The wooden piles were sheathed in iron at their tips and the timber dated to 105/6 AD when it was felled following Emperor Trajan's granting the civil rights of a colony and the privilege to construct a town wall.

The North Gate or as it should be called the Burginatium Gate is based on comparable gates found around the Empire that generally correspond to the design as laid out in the Xanten reconstruction.

The interior view of the great Northern Gate with its twin towers that project beyond the wall

The cast foundations of the original gate are preserved and serve as the footprint for the two reconstructed towers that straddle the original sewer and conduit into the town ditch.

The plan of the North Gate with the route of the drain leading out to the town ditch

For anyone thinking of modelling such a structure, you know who I am talking to, for those inevitable "barbarian attack on a Roman town" scenario, seeing a building like this, close up, is very informing.

Carolyn and Will lend scale to the amazing reconstruction of the Northern Gate

Beneath the gateway ran the drain which led off the waste water into the town ditch

The road leading north ran in the direction of the military fort of Burginatium (Altkalkar) and
was known as the Burginatium Gate

The gate is three stories high with the second level housing the portcullis mechanism

The reconstructed stairs which were surprisingly steep led up to the third story tower floor and gate platform

The attention to detail with those typically Roman style wooden stair and floor rails and not a fire extinguisher in site was great to see. All it needed was a few re-enactors in full panoply on guard at various points to complete the picture.


The ample space of the third story platform with plenty of room to set up artillery pieces

On the gate platform I found myself imaging a battery of Scorpio bolt throwers pointing out towards the open ground between the town wall and ditch and the German 'wald' beyond.

The view of the interior with the box hedge following the line of the along the river and harbour area

The view from the gate platform when looking out over the town area, again gave a very good idea of the scale of the place together with the water beyond suggesting the busy Roman harbour that would have been.

Further along can be seen the Harbour Gate and still further the temple

The view that would greet any potential aggressor from the north

"The dead should neither be buried nor cremated in the town" Cicero.

This rule was laid down in the Twelve Tables in Rome in the 5th century BC and Cicero's reference to it shows that it was still in force 400 years later.

Roman tombstones line the northern road, bottom-right of picture

In Roman times burial grounds were not demarcated and graves lay along main roads outside settlements and military camps, with anyone coming into the town able to see the monuments to the dead.

The pictures of these tombstones are a story in their own right so I have grouped them in the last section looking at the key memorials to be seen in the park.

Looking along the exterior of the north wall with the remains of the town ditch partly displayed

On re-entering the park through the north gate we followed the path along the harbour wall until we arrived at the reconstructed Guesthouse, the Roman equivalent to a Holiday Inn Express providing home away from home to the weary Roman merchant on a business visit in Ulpia from Britannia; and eager to grab a meal, visit the bath house and entertain associates and close on that deal to supply grain to the Roman army base at Vetera II,  just up the road, before getting the next ship back to Isca Dumnoniorum and taking home a few of those interesting German beers plus gifts for wife and kids.

The reconstructed Guesthouse lies close to the Harbour Gate and would have provided accommodation to visiting merchants 

The reconstruction of this Roman hotel follows the principals that guide the other reconstructions and is built on the footprint of the original.

The guest house is decorated in the classic Roman style
The interior decoration and furniture are based on examples from other areas of the northern empire and serve to bring the accommodation alive.


The Roman equivalent of the Hotel Suite for the visiting merchant to entertain business associates

The look of the living rooms takes its cue from the living rooms of Roman domestic houses and a kitchen discovered in the original building has been reconstructed that would have served the food in the attached restaurant, with its cellar and food storage amphorae studiously recreated.

In one corner of the complex could be found a bar and restaurant for the guests

In the basement floor leading out to the herb garden were found the storage jars
designed to keep foodstuffs cool and preserved

The rear of the guest house opens out to a sunny terrace alongside the garden 

All set for tonight's dinner party

One of the key reconstructions has been the private bath house for the guests to use which, following the design of this and other Roman baths, has enabled the park to run and see the effectiveness of Roman plumbing and heating needed for a building like this to operate.



Exact details of temperature and fuel consumption yield data about Roman techniques of energy use and have been assessed using this reconstruction

Visitors to the guest house could also relax in the private bath house, here is the changing room

All the 'mod-cons' of civilised living!

Picture from the guide-book illustrating the reconstructed boiler

The replica baths are fully functional and built on the Roman design



On leaving the guest house we headed back to the wall and the section of built parapets that lead round to the amphitheatre.

The reconstructed part of the town wall built corresponding to the techniques and materials used in the original

Carolyn and I have visited a few amphitheatres around the northern Empire and I have posted on several here from the mighty Colosseum in Rome, the amphitheatre in Carthago in Spain to the Roman army amphitheatre in Carleon, South Wales home to the II Augusta Legion.

The 10,000 seater amphitheatre with the crane in the foreground and its controlling windlass closest to camera

You could say that once you have seen one amphitheatre you pretty well have the idea of what these public buildings looked like.

Again, the Xanten park came up with added detail and information about the building and its history together with some amazing building statistics that the Roman engineers worked with.

A reconstructed Roman crane, essential for putting up all these imperial buildings

Reconstructed from technical descriptions and pictorial representation this Roman crane would have been used to hoist heavy loads into place.

The capacity of the crane was limited by the strength of its ropes with ropes 4cm in diameter able to lift up to 9 metric tons.

Apparently using the five pulley block and tackle transmission gear system reconstructed here, even children can move the one metric ton (1,000kg) stone block seen in the picture below.

The crane in operation

This particular crane is one of the babies with much larger models with thicker ropes able to deal with much heavier loads.

A really interesting reconstruction - great to see

The 10,000 seat amphitheatre with it 10 metre high exterior wall created a building weighing in at some 40,000 tons with that weight resting on a series of three foundation pillars supporting the upper tiers.

During excavation on the arena a gaming piece was found depicting scratched drawings of a gladiator. There are links with place to Colchester here in the UK where a clay beaker was discovered showing gladiators belonging the the 30th Legion, stationed in Xanten from 120 - 350 AD.

The sand in the arena really helped the imagination whilst looking down from the plebeian cheap seats

The Boat Yard

Colonia Ulpia Traiana and the nearby army base grew here because of its strategic position on the River Rhine and access to the River Lippe valley, one of the most used routes for Roman armies moving into Germania Magna.

The Rhine also provided access to the north sea and beyond to the German coast and Britannia, all of which required suitable riverine and marine craft able to provide transport for goods, animals and people.

Over time several examples of these craft have been discovered here in Germany and in the Netherlands that reveal the design and building techniques that allowed the Romans to support their military expeditions with appropriate craft as well as providing transport for commercial trade with the wider empire.

Discovered in 1991 during gravel works near the town, the remains of  an original Roman barge/ferry built in 100 AD in use on the River Rhine

The wide flat bottom design of the barge perfect for shallow river navigation with loads

The original construction methods in this boat provided the blueprint for the reconstructions

As you would expect the park have taken these archaeological finds and translated them into working replicas that have helped to shed light on their capacity and capability.

A marvellous reconstruction of the workhorse of the Roman military and trade economy along the river frontier, built in 2014

The wide flat deck gives plenty of space for goods or people to be transported along or over the river

There would likely have been a fleet of these and larger examples plying along the German waterways providing transport and military support to forces operating in the interior and help inform the wargamer when it comes to modelling similar craft on the tabletop.

As Xanten is a living museum you would expect them to have tried these replicas out to see what they could do

A fishing skiff with an interesting fish trap/box construction alongside

I loved seeing the craftsmanship put into building these glorious replicas

I wanted pictures of the rigging, just in case I needed to build a model of this going forward

The Roman method of caulking the seams of their boats -
 hemp chord soaked in wood tar and nailed into the gaps

The build method included recreating the Roman soft style iron nails with heads that flatten out

And the description of how they could be used


Several Roman boats were discovered at the old harbour of Mainz on the Rhine including this oak hulled ship dating to 300 AD providing yet another blueprint for the Xanten boat yard

And here is that reconstruction still being worked on the day we arrived 

These are very large and sturdy river and inshore boats able to allow the Romans to navigate deep into Germany along the Lippe and around the North Sea coat to enter along the other large German Rivers

Evidence of that wood tar in use running down from the caulking chord as described above

The Monuments

Finally I present some of the many monuments discovered in the park that I often find the most interesting items as they link our time to the people back then with names of individuals their roles and age and sometimes an insight into their deaths.

The military tombstones very often provide a tangible glimpse of the appearance of these warriors that informs our modern interpretations.

As mentioned in my look at the Northern Gate, the town burial plot lined the north road and the park has displayed some of the best examples of military tombstones.



Rebarrus, son of Friatto, cavalryman in the Ala Frontoniana

The head stone of Frimus, son of Eco has been reconstructed to illustrate the likely paintwork that would have been seen on Frimus, centre, his son on the right and his slave, Fuscus, to the left.

Frimus, son of Eco, soldier in the Raetian Cohort, of the Montani tribe
(from the Maratine Alps, Liguria, Italy), 36 years of age, .... years of service, is buried here.
His heir raised (this tombstone) as instructed in the will. Fuscus the slave (also lies here).

Marcinus, son of Surco, (of the) Breucian (tribe) soldier in the 8th Breucian Cohort,
35 years of age, 12 years of service, is buried here.


Pintaius, son of Pedilicus, (of the) Asturian (tribe) from beyond the mountains,
from the fort Intercatia, standard bearer of the 5th Asturian Cohort, 30 years of age,
7 years of service. His heir raised (this headstone) as instructed in his will.




Close up of the standard held by Pintaius 'The Standard Bearer'

Vellaunus, son of Nonnus, (of the) Biturigan (tribe) and cavalryman in the Ala Longiniana,
from the squadron of Lucius Julius Regulus, 38 years of age, 18 years of service, is buried here.
The Decurio (cavalry captain) Lucius Julius Regulus and Macer, son of Aspadius, from the same
squadron had (this tombstone) made as instructed in his will.

The Romans were a pious lot if their numerous altars and vows gladly given and dutifully kept are anything to go by.

As well as that the named individuals and their units and commanders often make fascinating reading for the period nerd who wants to immerse in the time and nomenclature.

(Dedicated to) Hercules Saxsanus. Caius Mettius Seneca, centurion of
the 15th Legion and the detailed soldiers of the same legion have taken
their vows gladly and kept them dutifully. 

Dedicated to Mars Camulus. For the benefit of Nero Claudius Augustus, victor of the Germans and Emperor, members of the Remer tribe, who had a temple district established (have consecrated this altar).
Gallic Remer from northern France dedicated an altar to their tribal god Camulus in Roman Xanten.

The legionary Crescens did not return to his sunny native Italy after his military service, but remained in Roman Xanten

To the protective god Jupiter, the greatest and most powerful, Tertinius Vitalis, soldier of the 30th
Legion and secretary of the Prefect, has (erected this altar and thereby) kept his vows gladly and
properly for himself and his own. Five days before the calends of May in the year that Lupus and
Maximus were consuls.

Here lies in peace Batimodus, who lived for 50 years and has died - The gravestone of Batimodus is among the earliest pieces of evidence of Christianity in the Lower Rhine.
Death in the Teutoburg Forest

Saving the best till last, this was for me, as someone interested in building a collection to do some Germania battles in the future the one exhibit I wanted to see close up.

I have seen this memorial to First Centurion Marcus Caelius in numerous books on the subject of Varus and his doomed campaign in 9 AD, and given its historical significance it is not surprising.

Each time I see it I picture the illustration by Peter Dennis capturing the desperate nature of the fighting and likely portraying the final moments of Marcus Caelius whose bones remain lost as one of the first 'unknown soldiers'.




And here it is pictured in the Roman Museum in Xanten Park in the town that would have been very familiar to this hard experienced soldier as he set out that spring in 9 AD possibly counting on this being his last expedition before settling down to a well earned retirement on the villa and farm purchased back in Spain on the proceeds of his military pension and retirement pot or some such.

Alas for Marcus it was not be and being only four years older than him at the time of his death I can only feel a great sympathy for him surviving his service for so long only to die because of the incompetence of his commander and the cunning skill of his leader's nemesis.

Death in the Teutoburg
The Commemorative stone for Marcus Caelius from Bologna is the only certain archaeological evidence of the Battle of the Teutoburg in 9 AD.
To Marcus Caelius, the son of Titus, from the constituency of Lemonia, from Bologna, first ranking centurion of the 18th Legion, 53 and a half years old. He fell in the Varian War. Permission has been granted to bury the mortal remains (of the freedman here). Publius Caelius, son of Titus, from the constituency of Lemonia, his brother, has erected (this commemorative stone). Marcus Caelius Privatus, the freedman of Marcus. Marcus Caelius Thiaminus, the freedman of Marcus.

Still lots to come from my trip to Holland this summer with a visit to the Roman museum and reconstructed fort at Haltern am See or better known to the Romans as Alisio their forward operating base in Germania Magna. Also a trip to see a Dutch replica Roman river boat and plenty for the WWI enthusiast with Market Garden and 1940 sites visited together with the great airborne museum, or Museumpark Bevrijdende Vleugels.