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WE ARE A RE-ENACTMENT GROUP WHO PORTRAY LIFE IN ROMAN BRITAIN DURING THE FIRST CENTURY AD. 
If you want to fight for the Roman Empire or resist the invader on behalf of the native Britons, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

..so what do you actually do ...???

If you are someone who is looking at an event then you might like to know that:

  • We are professional in our approach and can provide risk assessments, full public liability insurance to £5million and publicity material.
  • We are available for any public or private event, across this country or others. Our Gladiators make a particularly good display for indoor corporate events.
  • We always provide the living history camp and a selection arena presentations.
  • We have a number of different Arena presentations, we don't just perform the same thing twice a day.
  • We are capable of providing talks on different subjects and work well in Museums
  • We typically would not require additional accommodation at an event (i.e. a hall or marquee) so there are no hidden extra costs.

Also bear in mind, that we represent both the Roman _and_ British cultures from a military and civilian standpoint. This can be particularly useful in the light of the educational requirements of keystage 2:invaders and settlers. You won't have to book both a Roman and an Iron Age group.

We are often booked over a year in advance, so contact us early

If you are a prospective member and haven't read our introduction to re-enactment and are new to it all then it might be worth doing that here.


Living History
{short description of image}Living history (or LHE - Living History Exhibit) is the re-enactment term coined to cover a presentation of some aspects of the life of the period. It's the opposite to "show and tell", where re-enactors simply lay out a stall of objects and talk about them. A LHE also infers a certain level of authentic camping .


Within the Vicus our aim is to try and produce a small part of an early Vicus settlement with temporary structures that are used to both house the occupants and to sell, or provide, some sort of service to the fort occupants. We're going for that ethnic 'shanty" town look with as much of our encampment under awnings as possible.



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The group will always come with it's compliment of tents, workshelters and awnings.

Military Endeavors

We are the only group in this country to stage competitive combat between  Britons and Romans with blunted metal weapons (some other groups use wooden weapons or a bit of 'staged' pushing and shoving though). We enhance this further through our range of woodland combat weekends (see Events for details).

Some in the group don't possess an LHE activity are purely there as military folk.

We will not try to kid you that our fighting is "real". We are hardly fighting to the "death" or to maim each other.
At the end of the day we are 21st century people who have jobs and families. 
That said, we do operate a competitive combat system which is about as close as you will get.

You can read more about fighting Britons here
You can read more about our Roman Military units here

At an event, we pride ourselves on being able to perform a number of different arena presentations. These include:

  • Missile Weapons - demonstrating the effectiveness and range of slings, bows, javelins and pila
  • Combat Weapons - actual hand to hand combat between Romans and Britons including "Hollywood hero"
  • Get Dressed for Battle - see the differences between Romans and Britons are armed and armoured
  • Fashion Show - the clothes worn by British, Roman and Romano British civilians
  • Kiddie Drill - see the little dears use child sized weapons and shields.
  • Battle Walkthrough - the audience becomes the Britons.
  • sharp weapon display - showing the cutting power of sharp hand weapons.
  • We can also perform gladiatorial displays.

Individuals, couples and families are all welcome and are well represented in the group. A family can be mixed in representations Dad can wear the armour and fight with the Romans and Mum fighting with the Britons (or vice versa!).

There is a lot more to it than just "dressing up", we research foods, clothing, crafts and combat methods of the period. The idea is that we try to get it accurate. Advice on making and acquiring kit is available and for your first few events an established re-enactor, who will guide you through the process, will mentor you. We leave the 21st century benefits behind, so the wearing of glasses, watches and modern hair adornment or using child buggies, is prohibited.

Our society is very lucky in that it has a large number of museum conservators and archaeologists, as well as some very skilled crafts persons, which means our attention to detail is very high. 

The Society is a social one with members who have a similar interest in life in the first century AD in this country.  Our period of interest is roughly the first two generations after the Roman invasion of Britain AD 43. This period is one of great changes in the country as it makes the transition into the province of Britannia; it includes the conquest of the indigenous population, establishment of the road systems, towns and villas, the guerrilla war of Caractacus (in Wales), the rebellion of Boudicca and the final stand of the Caledonians at Mons Graupius (in modern Scotland) in AD83. Different people are drawn to different periods of history and this is ours. We hold events that are spaced throughout the year that are both private and public in nature.

A private event will either be a one-to-one or group learning weekend, where experienced members can teach the less so. The skills on offer range from weapons to weaving. We usually hold these at various halls around the country. A special type of private event is the woodland combat weekends, where warriors chase each other around the wood armed with blunt period weaponry. A public event is usually held at historical site and consists of us educating people about the period with a mixture of crafts and military skills in an authentic and research based display as possible. We usually camp at these weekends, some of us in period tents and structures.

We represent both Romans and Britons in our society, some members being Roman one day and a Briton the next! We also try to go for a more "hands on" approach by actually doing things (as opposed to laying out a static exhibit and talking about it) by attempting to re-create items and skills we hope to deepen our understanding of the period. We are also unique as we perform competitive, unchoreographed combat with steel weapons between our Romans and Britons, contact is made but all the blows are pulled as we are, after all, 21st century people performing as 1st century and work beckons for all on Monday- Gladius injury or not! Prior to new members taking to the field they will be coached and assessed by our Military Officer or an experienced combat re-enactor. We also publish some of our resources and have a very active forum that once you become an established member you are free to contribute to.

Women are allowed to fight on either side. As a Briton they can fight as they are, as Roman they need to wear Male dress to appear Roman, as there is scant evidence of Female fighters in the Roman army.





The Military Camp (at Jersey 2008)









Other Activities


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The society also undertakes the odd project, like helping to erect the new (and far more substantial) palisade around the iron age settlement at the Museum of Welsh Life, using only a minimum of modern tools. 
 

 





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The end result speaks for itself and should do a far better job of deterring predators and the other tribes.







SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

We represent Civilian Briton, Warrior Briton, Legionary, Auxiliary and Civilian Roman we have both male and female representations in each category. Decide which appeals most, some items are common to both Roman and Briton, some are very specific. The first port of call is your assigned membership officer/mentor whose number is included in this pack. The group does have a limited amount of spare kit available that is issued for an event on a first come first served basis, if you need to borrow kit you need to contact your mentor with at least a week’s notice, the night before is not enough time. Some things are useful to obtain for yourself prior to your first event, tunics for example, and patterns for the basics are also included in this pack.

When arranging your first event, you must remember that for public events authentic sleeping facilities are not provided. Not all our members camp authentically and often a ‘plastic’ camp (i.e. area for modern tents) is separate from the living history area. Caravans and campers are usually in that area also. It must be borne in mind that facilities are often very basic on historical sites, and showers are a luxury afforded on a couple of sites only.

We are an inclusive society and welcome individuals and families from all backgrounds, and as such, we have standards of behaviour expected from all members to make the event pleasant and enjoyable for all. Behaviour such as bullying will not be tolerated we have a three strike rule –2 verbal warnings will be given by an officer of the Vicus, the third results in IMMEDIATE removal from the group, then and there.

In the case of children behaving in such a way to endanger themselves, the public or the Vicus’ reputation with employers the three strike rule will apply to the parents of the children and the whole family removed on the third strike.

The younger children in the group enjoy the experience and soon are interacting with the public under supervision. It must be remembered that if you bring children then they remain your responsibility throughout the duration and you must remain in kit if your child is re-enacting in kit. We do not act in Loco Parentis as the group does not perform CRB checks on its members, and due to the potential hazards (fires, knives, weapons, strangers) you must ensure they are aware of their personal safety. There have been occasions (in other groups) where children have been approached by members of the public for individual photos away from the group, their intentions may be innocent but we cannot assume they are. Wherever your children are, you should be providing supervision. If they run amok you will be asked by a group officer to change into your 21st century clothes and entertain them away from the camp for the remainder of the day, welcome to return once the public have left. If the behaviour remains unchecked a ‘strike’ may be recorded.

The Group does carry insurance that covers the site and visitors, individual injury to reenactors or theft of kit from an event is not covered and your own individual policy is recommended if cover is required. If you intend to bring your dog to events that are dog-friendly (which would be in the ‘Warning orders’ about each event) you also need to make sure you have insurance should your dog cause damage to others or the site, check your policy. The Dog should have up to date vaccinations. It’s also important to ensure you are properly vaccinated! Check your Tetanus is up to date, particularly if you want to fight, but sound advice for all. 












 The Vicus © 2004

All information on this website has been written by members of the group unless other source has been stated. All photographs have been taken by members of the group and belong to The Vicus. Any images not taken by the group have been credited.

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