ROMANA SUM

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“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.

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.

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The Roman Stola: Part III, Construction

colorcoded

Color by Dulcia MacPherson, captions by me.

I recently presented my stola paper at An Tir’s Kingdom Arts and Sciences Championship as a single entry. You can see a video of my presentation here (20 min talk, 20 min Q&A). Since I know not everyone wants to read a giant tome, I’m going to break up important bits of my paper into a series of blog posts. 

The stola had four major identifying features:

  • Worn as an overdress
  • Made of lightweight wool
  • Constructed as a simple tube, with straps, round pins, or fabric knots at the shoulders, that created a “V neck” with draping.
  • Worn double belted, to create an extra folded layer at the hips

The stola was popular for about 400 years (mid-Republic to early Empire), and was integral to the Roman matron’s sense of self. It gave its wearer special social and legal protections.

Note: Click here for PART I: Why Wool? and here for PART II: Color & Embellishment

PART III: How do you make this darn thing, anyway?

I tried to find some Hollywood Roman stolae to make fun of, but nobody was wearing them at all! Even Spartacus, which takes place during the middle Republic and should be *lousy* with stolae… not a one. The costume designers made the same mistake many recreators do. They hit the eBay sari sales *hard* and then they put too much work into it. These garments are constructed, and trimmed… too many seams, too busy, not enough draping! Is…. that a CAPE coming off her left shoulder?! *boggle* 8554397b25c26342cc505b7882eb63f8

Put your scissors and sewing machine down. This is shockingly easy. Continue reading

Posted in Clothing, Recreating history | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Roman Stola: Part II, Color & Embellishments

colorcoded

Color by Dulcia MacPherson, captions by me.

I recently presented my stola paper at An Tir’s Kingdom Arts and Sciences Championship as a single entry. You can see a video of my presentation here (20 min talk, 20 min Q&A). Since I know not everyone wants to read a giant tome, I’m going to break up important bits of my paper into a series of blog posts. All the

The stola had four major identifying features:

  • Worn as an overdress
  • Made of lightweight wool
  • Constructed as a simple tube, with straps, round pins, or fabric knots at the shoulders, that created a “V neck” with draping.
  • Worn double belted, to create an extra folded layer at the hips

The stola was popular for about 400 years (mid-Republic to early Empire), and was integral to the Roman matron’s sense of self. It gave its wearer special social and legal protections.

Note: Click here for PART I: WHY WOOL?

PART II: Color and Embellishments

The ancient Romans loved color! They painted their walls, their ceilings, their furniture, and their flags. Their floors were gorgeous (even garish) mosaics. They adored colored gemstones, and used rouge, eyeshadow, and lipstick. Dyes for clothing were used whenever they could be afforded. That said, the ancient world looked different from a modern mall.

Continue reading

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Sono una donna!

I’m actually going to Italy… I’ve been trying to get there for three years! It’s happening this Fall! I’m doing extra walkies! I’m learning Italian with Duolingo! I can’t stop using exclamation points!

I plan, obviously, on an ancient-focused trip. Lots of time in Roma, at museums, at Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, Tivoli, Orvieto. Plus Florence and Venice so we don’t get too myopic. 🙂

Poor Robert… he’s never going to want to look at another statue again! LOLhead_home_2.en-GB.jpg

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The Roman Stola: Part I, Why Wool?

I recently presented my stola paper at An Tir’s Kingdom Arts and Sciences Championship as a single entry. You can see a video of my presentation here (20 min talk, 20 min Q&A). Since I know not everyone wants to read a giant tome, I’m going to break up important bits of my paper into a series of blog posts. 

colorcoded

Color by Dulcia MacPherson, captions by me.

The stola had four major identifying features:

  • Worn as an overdress
  • Made of lightweight wool
  • Constructed as a simple tube, with straps, round pins, or fabric knots at the shoulders, that created a “V neck” with draping.
  • Worn double belted, to create an extra folded layer at the hips

The stola was popular for about 400 years (mid-Republic to early Empire), and was integral to the Roman matron’s sense of self. It gave its wearer special social and legal protections.

PART I: WHY WOOL?

Upon hearing that the Roman stola is wool,  most SCAdians think of thick blanket wool, and are reluctant to use such a heavy material for fear of over heating. Hold on, my friend! My current favorite stola is so light as to be mistaken for cotton by most people. Keep that in mind as you read…

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Part of a woman’s duty was to make wool clothing for her family. The linking of wool working to feminine honor goes back to the Roman monarchy. Continue reading

Posted in Clothing, Recreating history | Tagged | 2 Comments

Making Roman Jewelry

 

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It’s so addicting… literally the day I came home from the competition where I presented my paper, I started making this necklace, based on a 1st-3rd century Fayum mummy portrait from Roman-controlled Egypt. The color isn’t showing up well but I used dark green aventurine beads, and they look *just like* the ones in the painting.

Here are a few more I re-created: Continue reading

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Competition Season!

Tis the season… 2/25 was Stromgard’s Baronial Arts & Sciences Championship. The next weekend, 3/4, was Dragon’s Mist. The Kingdom ASBC (bardic is included too) is this coming weekend, 3/11-12. I, like an obsessed goofball, decided to do them all.

Stromgard in some ways was the biggest challenge. Two prepared entries, plus a 3 hour period to make stuff with the contents of a box provided… and no clue what was going to be in the box beforehand. We also had to start a fire using period methods (flint and steel) and use the fire somehow. We got lucky with the weather – although it was chilly, it wasn’t raining, snowing or super windy!

16806873_1430487883691241_706360856141768881_n.jpgMy two pre-written entries were on Roman jewelry and the Roman stola (papers will be posted within a week – I like to incorporate what I learn from the judging process). With the first one, I was focussing on “assembly” type pieces, that I could make in my living room without a studio or fancy equipment, but would still duplicate the aesthetic of Rome from 100 BCE-300 CE. On the left is a largesse box –  basically a kit to help others get into basic jewelry making and create period ornaments. One was donated to Dragon’s Mist. Four more will be delivered to Queen Stjarna this weekend.

I had fun putting together my “Roman jewelry shop.” I wanted to use period materials, rather than velvet busts from JoAnn Fabrics. This was wood, linen, and brass nails. Continue reading

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Reproduction Pottery

I scored some gorgeous pottery over 12th Night. The redware is by Jeanne C. Wood. The surface is terra sigilata, a very fine, polished slip. It covers the clay underneath and is semi-waterproof. The indented cups and the Pompeiian oil lamp are by Reannag Teine.

16105916_1381211325285564_2039271524465287344_n.jpg Continue reading

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