September Crown Costume Tourney

This competition was for a complete outfit, including undergarments. I got high scores on my documentation, oral presentation, and accuracy, but lost a lot of points in complexity because Roman just isn’t that hard. It’s a bunch of rectangles, with no fancy sewing or fitting (one of the reasons I love it, to be honest). My competitors brought some truly impressive complex late-period outfits, and I was fine with losing to them… but then I found out I won Best Documentation! I got some bonus points for dressing my slave Drusa, too, and explaining the difference between the two outfits and how they showed status. Note: Undies were brand new, never worn for the judges’ comfort. *grin*
 14232590_10154557580916318_3985941499023980544_n.jpg Roman panties.jpg
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Halloween meets The Romans

My *other* Halloween costume: Cloacina, Roman goddess of the sewer! Her scepter, of course, is a sponge on a golden stick. Info here: History


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What makes it “period?”

NOTE: I recognize that not everyone cares deeply about authenticity. That’s absolutely fine!  I am not going to judge you. But if you WANT to “do it right” here are some goals sparked by a recent conversation:

What makes a garment authentic? When you nail it, there’s a magical sense of transporting in time. Glaring mistakes can draw you back out of the fantasy. Nobody expects perfection, but the closer you get, the easier it is to imagine yourself in the past. You should be aware that my experience/ filter is Roman: For other periods your approach may vary. No matter what your era, though, try to wipe your mind of the Hollywood version of your persona, and stick to actual research. Pick a specific time, place, role, and status, and match these components:

Construction: Make the garment the same way they would have. Each piece (gore, sleeve, neckline, etc.) should be modeled after extant pieces (if possible), art, or scholarly best guesses if not. Give more weight to period construction evidence than to modern tailoring. Continue reading

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The Getty Villa





Fellow Romanophile Cheryl Hall (Claudia) and I rampaged through the Getty Villa and Museum. Here are my favorite shots of us. To see the rest (61 of us including some cheesecake shots on a marble bench, and 345 of the exhibits) visit

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At September Crown, one sweet gentle took offense to me referring to Drusa as my slave. “Maybe you could call her… your ladies’ maid?”

My reaction was “Um… but in my period that would have been a slave.” I chalked it up to my passion for Getting It Right (even in my non-SCA life I am all about accuracy) but something about it has been tickling the back of my brain. This morning I finally placed it.

Ignoring a truth because it makes you uncomfortable is not okay.


Continue reading

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Toilet History

SCA events are usually camping events… and that means biffies (aka Portajohns, Honey Buckets, etc). I decided a little distraction was in order at this year’s September Crown, so I posted a series of 4 pages on Roman toilets (Cloacina, goddess of the sewer, private and public bathrooms, and bathroom-related graffiti) inside the biffs, then encouraged readers to “catch ’em all!”  The 5th page lists the sources I used.


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Colorful art!

This is a great little documentary looking at the ruins of Herculaneum. I don’t usually dig (!) mass media aimed at the general public, but the reconstructions of the ceilings are amazing!

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