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Personal Effects

These were items which the miles required for keeping his kit clean or mended, items to help him pass the time, or just personal things which the soldier felt he had to have. Aside from the basic kit, there are a wide variety of things which are appropriate. Be careful, though; there is a tendency for reenactors to carry far more personal effects than would be typical of the soldier in the field. When you actually have to "hump" this stuff for real, you'll find that you can pare it down quite a bit — to just the essentials.

On the other hand, if you need to take certain modern personal effects to an event, do make an attempt to replace them with period Roman substitutes. Why? Well picture this for instance: It's early morning at one of our events and the "troops" are just venturing out of their papillos. There are some muttered greetings; the fire has been raised up and some morning porridge is almost ready. After a few bites of Roman breakfast fare, there will be a few minutes to clean up before morning inspection. Perhaps out comes a razor, combs or even ear spoons, as the men begin their morning absolutions. OH NO! What is THAT? A fluorescent orange, weirdly shaped toothbrush is pulled out into view and the spell and aura are destroyed! This historically-challenged moment could have been prevented, simply by trying to avoid such glaring modernisms — hide such crap in your car, or simply use a period alternative. If you need to brush your teeth in the morning, buy an old-timey toothbrush (and no, I don't think toothbrushes were in use then, but better something old-timey looking then obvious farb crap).


Where can you find these period personal effects? Some things, like that cup we've talked about, can be purchased from reenactor supply houses that specialize in other periods (Rev War, Silly War, etc.) just remember to contact the "standards Officer" before making a purchase. Most of the other pieces you will find at rummage sales and flea markets. It's just a matter of building another life in your pockets. Just like in real life, you will find that you end-up filling your pockets (in our case, pouches) with stuff, some of it useful, some of it not so much so. Just cast about so that what you carry is correct for the period — it's so easy to find little trinkets at flea markets, garage sales and antique malls.


Personal items are things such as:
  • the spongia (you know which sponge we mean here…)
  • small hygiene tools
    • fingernail scraper
    • ear spoon
    • tweezers...
  • comb
  • razor
  • knives: small eating and belt-type knives were common

Period money.Other personal items might include letters from home (on leather or bark "paper"), Good Luck Talismans, religious tokens, etc, And it can go on...

  • dice
  • board game tokens
  • bronze straight pins
  • clothing closures... (Stuff like this makes handy gifts to woo the local girls...).
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Standards for Equipment, Gear and Other Items

In general, all equipment, gear and other items we use should be as historically accurate as possible in form, materials and function. By using items which are as close as possible to the items used by real Roman soldiers, we gain not only an a better knowledge of how they did things in the 1st Century AD, but we also gain a better understanding of the life of the miles gregarious (the common Roman soldier).

Sometimes, we substitute modern materials for ancient, for example the use of steel instead of iron or the use of machine-woven cloth instead of hand-woven. The thing is, while we would like (no, love) to use real wrought iron for armor (vs. steel), it is generally not available in a form or in quantities we can readily use. Hand-spun thread and hand-woven cloth is available and all members are encouraged to use it or make their own, when possible, however the cost of these materials prohibits any requirement of its use.


When making reproduction clothing, armor or kit and you are able to use an ancient method to reproduce an item, you should. Why? For one thing, the older methods will do a better job of making modern materials look like they've been handcrafted. Far too often, modern reproductions are made with much more care and precision than were the originals — in the case of the original items, things were just not that well made — "hand-made" truly describes these items. Measurements were not precise — certainly not precise in the way we know it. Among modern craftsmen and makers of Roman stuff, there seems to be this notion of beautiful shiny objects — in many cases this is just not the way things were done back then. Take a good look at photos of original helmets— most are built a little crooked. Stuff isn't exactly uniform and that would drive modern consumers and reenactors nuts! Of course, this is not to say you should make things in a haphazard manner — just that you shouldn't feel obligated to make your reproduction into total perfection.

Remember: Do it like they did, not like Hollywood does!


We have broken down the soldier's "kit" into two different "lists." They are:

  • "A-List: The Basic Kit"— All items on this list represent the minimum kit required to participate at a typical Legio IX event. Every member must possess the items on this list.
  • "B-List: The Full Kit" or "the complete miles" — Items on this list represent all the additional items needed to complete your common Roman soldier impression.

Detailed descriptions (and sources) for the items on the different lists, will be found under the appropriate item numbers in following pages, along with a vendor from the LEGIO IX Source List.

Another important piece of advice (which is pretty much what this book is about): if you are new to Roman reenacting or new to our unit, please don't rush out and just start buying or making clothes; nor any armor, weapons or other gear! Consult our "Authenticity Czar" — he will be happy to help and advise you!

Follow the lists and try to acquire the items in the order they appear on the lists!

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Becoming a Civilian in Legio IX Hispana


Legio IX has a civilian contingent—members who don't wish to be part of the military and who have an interest in the civilian aspect of Roman Britain. Those members who do portray civilians, don't portray the aristocracy, tribunes, generals, priestesses, etc. No one wears a 1uidromanhistoriantoga (except for certain displays). Civilian members are those common people who would accompany or interact with a camp of Roman soldiers. This can include the women and children of soldiers, as well as assorted craftsmen and local civilians. Civilian members are often native or local born, often Britons but sometimes civilians from other parts of the Empire.

1uidcivilian1Like many Roman reenactment groups, Legio IX Hispana welcomes civilian impressions such including women and children, as LONG as there is an impression. By that we mean what we do is not a baby sitting service nor is it a place simply to socialize (although we do do that). Part of the reason this is done is an effort to both accommodate entire families and to portray Roman civilian life. Roles can include Craftsmen (carpenter, smith, jeweler, netmaker, cord twister, etc.) medic/medicine man, bard and fisherman. Additionally, it is not unknown for older male reenactors (who might have previously played Roman legionaries) to portray consuls, senators, or even a Roman emperor.

In these roles, members can explore the life of the average Roman who was NOT in the military. Tradesmen, craftsmen—families of such. Clerks, slaves, traders... Roman Britain was a diverse and varied land—check here to learn about life then and there.

One Place to Begin

A really great source of information on how to build a Roman civilian impression can be found on Legio XX's website. The link to the civilian area is here.


A really great site to inspire the Roman civilian is here! These are fellow reenactors in Germany... Roman reenacting truly IS something that crosses all borders.


1uidstreet1Here are a couple roles that do not have to be a military role.
  • The Surgeon (Medicus) with his surgical instruments that are recognizable to doctors even today—some with a gruesome history.
  • Herb Seller/Hipotecarium (Apothocary): Our medicus can show you the herbs that were used by the Roman healer to treat ailments, disease and injury. Many were used then, for many different purposes than they are used today. Many of these herbs are unusual, but are now, once again, becoming popular with the herbalist and natural healers of today.
  • Seer/Fortune Teller
  • Families of soldiers and others involved with the army.
  • More to come.
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