“ROMANA SUM” (the ancient Romans didn’t have lowercase letters) translates as “I am Roman,” where the single speaker is female. An alternative translation* – one I prefer aesthetically – is “I am a woman of Rome.”
I am doing my best, within the world of the SCA, to research and recreate the material culture and life of 50BCE. My persona is Tullia Saturnina, a widowed midwife. Tullia’s sweetheart is Caius (my guy Robert). I live in Dragon’s Mist but I also participate with the Barony of Three Mountains, Stromgard, and at the Kingdom level. I’ve been honored with the Jambe de Lion and the Goute de Sang. I’ve been the Arts & Sciences Champion of the Barony of Dragon’s Mist and of Three Mountains, and A&S Minister of 3M.
I love doing demos and explaining Roman life to the general public. The wide variety of faces people make when I give them a sample of posca is payment enough!
My goal is historical accuracy. If you ever catch me in a mistake (TANTUMMODO OVUM SUM) or think I’d be interested in hearing about something, PLEASE drop me a note! I’ll be posting my papers, etc to the Papers page so you can see what I’m up to. The Resources page has links to lots of info, shopping, etc. I’m not sure yet how else I will use this page. I like the idea of having time go forward at some point… Maybe post some letters from Tullia to her family members about her life, her reactions to public events as Julius Caesar’s story reaches its climax…? Who knows. Feel free to join in the conversation if there’s something you’d like to see.
*Unless you are nitpicky about Latin grammar, because it’s not in the genitive form. But “FEMINA ROMANAE SUM” doesn’t make for a snappy blog title, so bear with me.
My dear friend Vestia Antonia Aurelia was Laureled (a lifetime achievement award for the arts and sciences in the SCA) this past weekend. She does Roman and Minoan portrayals. I wanted to make something for her, and for another friend, Marya Kargashina, who joined the Order of the Laurels a few months ago. Since both Romans and Russians used lunulas (worn by women as protective charms), I decided to make these. The third one went to Julia Sempronia, my first official Roman teacher. ❤
The first design had balls at the ends. I was cutting these out of 18 ga sterling silver sheet. I used a leaf stamp in two sizes, plus a little dot to create the laurel leaves. The screwy one on the left was improved by the addition of more leaves. Once I was happy with the designs, I set to with a saw, then file file file!!!
I had some leftover doubled wire from making my husband’s wedding ring, and used it for two of the bails. For the third, I cut out a rectangle of sheet silver, and soldered beaded wire on either side. The surface where they attached to the back was then filed flat before soldering.
I would have loved to leave them like this, aesthetically, but the points were a bit stabby and I didn’t want to draw blood with hugs, so I softened them with more filing. I think I did some burnishing after this pic was taken, too.
After blackening one (top left), I decided I liked it so much I did all three. It makes me very happy to be able to create things for my friends! ❤
Making Roman jewelry means learning metalsmithing, and I’ve been bitten HARD by that bug. I just set up a mini-studio in my garage so I can practice without traveling across town to Fjorlief’s studio on those rare days when our schedules are compatible.
For the past six months I’ve been agonizing about period methods. Letting go of that after Athenaeum was wonderfully freeing.
One of my long-term goals is to duplicate this bracelet, which will require soldering (I’ve got the basics already), dapping (shaping hemispheres from flat sheet metal), and die striking, casting or repousse (for the shells).
Here’s my first attempt at dapping. It was super fun!
Stay tuned for more bumbling adventures! 🙂
Yesterday was the first – but certainly not the last – An Tir Athenaeum. It was an Arts & Sciences “display for comments” event. Basically I signed up for a table, put out my jewelry and papers, and had enlightening chats with people all day, surrounded by a sea of tables with OTHER peoples’ fascinating work. No forms, no judging, no losers (we were all winners!). It was a delightfully welcoming format.
Phallic images were very popular in Ancient Rome to ward off the evil eye and generally be protective. These gold rings (British Museum collection) are child-sized. I made 2 silver rings (for Drusa and myself) and some charms. I wrote a paper on this topic a few years ago and bring a hard copy to events. It’s the one paper I don’t post online. 🙂
Note: It’s difficult to see in the pics below, but the left charm soldered with a space between the frank and the beans, so I made some 28ga wire pubic hair. I also got silly with the bail on that one, so it’s curly front and back, if you know what I mean.
These were a ton of fun to make and I might need to crank a few more out…
UPDATE: I did indeed make more – they are available for sale. Rings $50, charms $35.
Pictures and videos are still trickling in, but I wanted to post a few of my favorites so far. I will combine the pics and the documentation into a giant thing as soon as I can.
Most of the first ceremony is here: Video of pig sacrifice /reading of entrails (spoiler alert: no blood) and the rest of it (including me flubbing my ONE LINE and giggling like a maniac): – both taken by Lissette de la Rose. Another view of the whole thing is here by Dan Antal.
Unbelievable feast by Baroness Marian Staarveld. Wreaths and my hair by Mauera Cethin.
Left to right: Caius, Tullia (me), Titus, Drusa (Pronuba), Doctore Decimus Varius Felix (Flamen Dialis), Magistra Julia Sempronia (Flaminica Dialis). Not pictured, our Pontifex Maximus, Davide Di Francesco Dominici.
Every Late Republican bride should have a new stola for after the wedding, right? I made the pleated one because 1) it was the only stola type I hadn’t made, and 2) it’s the only non-rectangular, non-dead-easy garment the Romans wore, aside from the toga, in my period. And of course I needed something complicated to add to my spreadsheet of Things To Do. LOL
I probably could have made my pleats smaller, but I am ok with them as is. They are just more like the ones worn by the male actor (above right, Terra cotta, Naples National Archeological Museum, from Pompeii) than the female statue (above left). Left, Palazzo Massimo alle terme.
I also have a white linen tunica recta to wear under it. See you at Egils!
Things are coming along… I finished our Hercules knot (a common Roman wedding ring motif) rings yesterday. I will type up a project paper on the Hercules series I’ve done right after the wedding. I hope you’re coming! Everyone is invited! Spreadsheet here, Event info here, FB Event, FB wedding.