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COVER STORY ‌ Veni Vidi Vici

An Ancient Empire Gets Put On Display At The Castra Romana

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Donning safety goggles and sheathing their swords in felt, the brave warriors of Legio VI prepare to charge safely into battle. We all have kids and jobs come Monday morning, says Paul Montello (center), a molecular biologist at UGA, explaining why no one wants to lose an eye re-creating Roman battles.
  • Donning safety goggles and sheathing their swords in felt, the brave warriors of Legio VI prepare to charge safely into battle. We all have kids and jobs come Monday morning, says Paul Montello (center), a molecular biologist at UGA, explaining why no one wants to lose an eye re-creating Roman battles.

Castra Romana 2005, a living history presentation held recently at Givhan's Ferry State Park in nearby Ridgeville, gave locals a chance to experience one of the grandest periods of history -- and reenactors the opportunity to live out dreams, fantasies, and games of life-or-death. The enthusiastic participants spent countless hours and lots of money re-creating a gladiator ring (minus the lions), Roman army drills, and military games. The fun continued into the night with torchlit gladiator games, a wedding, and an authentic Roman feast. Photographer Nancy Santos was on hand to document the fun and games.

A former civil war re-enactor, Rusty Myers (far right) prefers the atmosphere of ancient Rome to the Civil War because there are no politics involved. And its cheaper to outfit yourself as an ancient Roman. A full wardrobe costs about $600-$700, whereas a Civil War musket alone costs about $550, but the trade-off is the armor weighs over 40 pounds. The founder of Legio VI, Rusty (a.k.a. Justus Rustius Longinus) organizes activities for the Summerville-based legion, which is comprised of an eclectic mix of firefighters, police officers, mechanics, salesmen, enlisted servicemen, educators, and a florist. Hes always on the lookout for a few good men (and women). Visit www.CastraRomana.com for more information on how to get involved.
  • A former civil war re-enactor, Rusty Myers (far right) prefers the atmosphere of ancient Rome to the Civil War because there are no politics involved. And its cheaper to outfit yourself as an ancient Roman. A full wardrobe costs about $600-$700, whereas a Civil War musket alone costs about $550, but the trade-off is the armor weighs over 40 pounds. The founder of Legio VI, Rusty (a.k.a. Justus Rustius Longinus) organizes activities for the Summerville-based legion, which is comprised of an eclectic mix of firefighters, police officers, mechanics, salesmen, enlisted servicemen, educators, and a florist. Hes always on the lookout for a few good men (and women). Visit www.CastraRomana.com for more information on how to get involved.

When in Rome, mild-mannered airplane mechanic Marty Howes becomes Marius  The Slayer from Syracuse, one of the most feared opponents in the gladiator ring.
  • When in Rome, mild-mannered airplane mechanic Marty Howes becomes Marius The Slayer from Syracuse, one of the most feared opponents in the gladiator ring.

The Slayer from Syracuse contemplates his next battle.
  • The Slayer from Syracuse contemplates his next battle.

Rusty portrays Justus Longinus, the Centurion who crucified Christ in The Confessions of Justus.
  • Rusty portrays Justus Longinus, the Centurion who crucified Christ in The Confessions of Justus.

Wearing handmade armor fashioned by his father Rusty, the youngest Centurion, Jonathan Minimus Myers carries the banner for the Sixth Legio.
  • Wearing handmade armor fashioned by his father Rusty, the youngest Centurion, Jonathan Minimus Myers carries the banner for the Sixth Legio.

Major Mike Daniels (left) of Fayetteville, N.C. and Mercer Ferrell of Mayville, N.C., receive instructions from Longinus as they prepare to reenact The Confessions of Justus.
  • Major Mike Daniels (left) of Fayetteville, N.C. and Mercer Ferrell of Mayville, N.C., receive instructions from Longinus as they prepare to reenact The Confessions of Justus.

Mike Daniels tastes the nectar of the Gods after a vigorous battle from a real (and dishwasher safe) cow horn. Daniels, a major in the 82nd Airborne, admires the similarities between todays modern military and that of ancient Rome.
  • Mike Daniels tastes the nectar of the Gods after a vigorous battle from a real (and dishwasher safe) cow horn. Daniels, a major in the 82nd Airborne, admires the similarities between todays modern military and that of ancient Rome.

Jay Hernandez of Fayetteville, N.C. cuts the cheese for an in-between battle snack.
  • Jay Hernandez of Fayetteville, N.C. cuts the cheese for an in-between battle snack.

Bonding after a strenuous battle, four legionaries swap war stories before alighting upon their chariots.
  • Bonding after a strenuous battle, four legionaries swap war stories before alighting upon their chariots.

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