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"For how many years shall this festival abide! Never shall age destroy so holy a day! While the hills of Latium endure and father Tiber, while thy Rome stands and the Capitol thou hast restored to the world, it shall continue."

-Publius Papinius Statius
Io Saturnalia!

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Rome's four Lords of Misrule for the day achieved mightily. Left to Right: Primus, Gratius, Arria, and Cicero.

With so many new citizens, we broke from tradition and gave each a chance to shine. And shine they did!


Mortis of Legion VI
led Rome to innumerable victories all day on Saturnalia 2005, showering himself and Rome in glory.


 Suetonius Alistair Saturnalicus:
Rome's most successful Saturnalia commander ever, , led Rome to rout all opposition throughout one glorious December day in 2003. Alistair was unanimously awarded the honorific of Saturnalicus by the Roman Senate in the Consulship of Dominus and Tobias.


The ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia ran from December 17th-23rd.  Saturnalia was particularly interesting culturally. During the last day of this festival, it was traditional for masters to change places with their household slaves. How this custom was observed varied widely, depending completely on the house. Since our Rome seems to be suffering from an unfortunate but severe slave shortage, we decided that it is impious to the Gods of Rome to utterly forsake this ancient and sacred tradition. To uphold our ancient contracts with Rome's immortal Gods, we reverse rank orders at this battle that we will fight during the annual Festival in honor of Saturn.  This in no way implies that any free citizen of Rome is a slave! 

Every Saturnalia, a muster of our active citizens listed in reverse rank order is issued to the troops. The lowest ranking members of each respective Legion act as Legion Commanders for the day, promoted temporarily to Acting Tribune unless Senatorial status entitles them to more.  

Inactive Romans of even the lowest rank aren't allowed command positions as a reward for their inactivity. We tell them in the nicest way, "If you aren't on the list, you were inactive when it was assembled. So tough luck: fall in and shut up!" Auxiliaries are still auxiliaries because they are not Roman citizens! 

Where there are questions as to who has the highest seniority in a given rank, we refer to citizens' enlistment dates or dates last promoted. The last Roman promoted into a given rank will have authority over the rest within that rank. For example: as of this writing, Marcus Deloricus Furius is Rome's newest Centurion. During Saturnalia our Centurions become Decurions, and currently Marcus would have seniority over the lot of them for the duration of our religious observance. 

As you'll note from the pictures on this page, Dominus' armor is worn proudly by Rome's newest and/or lowest ranking citizen along with the title of  Imperator-for-a-day. Romans given the chance to shine in the job have done really well. To date we've never lost a Saturnalia battle, despite occasional reverses throughout the day. Not only do we have superbly trained troops, but being completely free of command allows Centurions and Legion Commanders to concentrate on murder. This a welcome vacation from the responsibilities of command. As one Imperator-for-a-day said, "Dominus, I wouldn't want your job."

Note of caution to those who are naturally thinking, "Hmmmm, what a perfect time to strike! It's like attacking the British at tea time." A Roman "State of Emergency" supercedes Saturnalia. States of Emergency include wars, political crises, etc. Further, Saturnalia has no political impact whatsoever. The Senators and Magistrates, Equestrians and Patricians retain their authority and status. Our tradition is usually as much for our opponents as it is for us. 

Important Historical Note: (Or: Ramblings of Your Author)

Yes, Saturnalia was the original Christmas. And yes, the Romans did invent everything. Americans are Romans, most of us just don't think about it.  That's why some of you LARP (Live Action Role Playing) types often accuse us of bad role playing. Our critics have obviously never been to one of our Senate Meetings. We role play soldiers and politicians even amongst ourselves. What could be more timelessly universal? Being a Roman isn't just about how you interact with LARP role players, it's about how you live your life. Rome never really fell, it became a cultural institution. If you don't think we're all Romans, here's a reality check: drive through DC and take a look at our administrative buildings' architecture. Our president has a veto - he's the Tribune of the Plebs. And if his wife is the "First Lady," then isn't he the "First Man?" Makes you think, doesn't it?

I should put another note here for all of the potentially horrified parents out there. Rome does acknowledge that the different between a club and a cult is the worship of Gods. But Rome's Gods do treat us SO well, it would be impolitic not to return the favor. We've started to think that Rome was lucky for a reason.  ;-)


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 Imperator-for-a-day Zaius Tempest (front right) brilliantly commanded a capture-the-flag fort battle. Clever tactician that he is, Zaius declared at the beginning of the campaign, "We donít need to build a fort, we already have one. Theirs." Despite initial reverses, Roman persistence won the day. The Legions seized and retained possession of the enemy fortifications.

A triumphant Mors Salvia (above) in Imperatorial regalia flashes a winning smile after a winning day. Behind her are the rest of the (then) Legion X, before Pendin began his Legion V. Upper left to right, (Dr.) Zaius, Drosylus, Pendin, Gurrundi, and Thullius. They are crossing their arms in demonstration of their nickname for themselves, the "Fighting Xís"

The downside to Saturnalia is demonstrated above as the less-than-efficient" Ameba Formation.

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