Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


30.12.09
  Happy New Year

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, health, love, and lots of books.

York Minster, one of the windows

I don't have photos of fireworks, but I think that shot is a fitting substitute - taken against the light the rosette window looks like an exploding firework star on the night sky.
 


24.12.09
  Happy Holidays

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Io Saturnalia, Happy Chanukka or in whatever way you celebrate the return of the light.

Meditation corner in the Abbey Church of Bursfelde / Weser
 


20.12.09
  Roman Playmobil Fun

One of the features of the exhibition in the LWL Roman Museum in Haltern am See was the display of three legions of playmobil Romans spread all over the museum. The 15,000 figures were to demonstrate the number of Romans marching through the German forests towards their doom.

LWL Museum, Haltern

A part of the Roman army on the march can be seen in the middle of the photo (the red guys in the background), another in the upper part (blue ones) - both on boards suspeded from the ceiling. The greater part of the marching column walked on boards above eye height and was a bit tricky to photograph. I managed to get some acceptable closeups, though.

Some legionaries

We are Marius' Mules, one, two, three, and a-marching we go.

Sometimes also called Caesar's mules, but it was the consul Marius who standardized the Roman soldier's marching gear during the wars against the Cimbri and Teutones, another bunch of unruly Germanic tribes.

Legionary cavalry

Heh, you sorry footsloggers. We have horses, neiner, neiner.

Each legion had 120 cavalry soldiers, but overall the Romans relied on auxiliary cavalry from conquered or allied countries.

Part of the train

A legion on march had a train, mostly consisting of the larger baggage, the official families of the officers and sometimes the inofficial families of the soldiers (who were not allowed to marry), and provisions.

Poor sod

Some of the Playmobil soldiers got lost on the way, like this poor guy. Twisted his ankle when he stumbled over one of those damn tree roots.

There was a game for the kids who visited the museum to find all the stray figures.

Special polishing duty

Damn, how many of those helmets are there and why did I piss the centurion off again?

Romans soldiers had a lot of work to do besides walking (and sometimes fighting), like cleaning their armour, cooking, and digging trenches for the camp.

Digging ditches

Is that ditch no. 287 or 288? They never told us about that when they recruited us for the great of Rome and fame and regular pay.

Romans erected a fortified camp with trenches and palisades every night on a march, and they even did it the first night of the Varus battle, which says a few things about Roman discipline

Playing at dice

We should hide behind the tent. If the centurion sees us, it's polishing helmets again.

Dice was the most popular game, but there were also more strategical ones like nine men's morris or one a bit like backgammon.

Roman potter

If Gaius Incitus breaks another oil lamp, he can sleep in the dark. Or buy a bronze one, provided he wins at dice for a change.

Repair of armour, weapons and other items was mostly done in the forts, but there were always soldiers with special skills who could do emergency repairs on the march. They were called immunes because they were exempt from some of the regular soldier's duties, like digging.

Aquilifer

Oops, where is my lion hide?

I suppose Playmobill doesn't produce those, but the aquilifer, the bearer of the legionary standard, was dressed in a lion fur with the headpiece over his own head. I've yet to figure out where that custom comes from.

More Roman soldiers

Another closeup of some marching legionaries with their pack mules. Every contubernium, a group of eight soldiers who shared a tent and cook fire, had a mule for the larger items the men didn't carry themselves, like tent poles and the portable millstone to prepare the daily grain ration.

I was tempted to buy a Playmobil soldier in the museum shop, but managed to resist.
 


13.12.09
  Leaving Newcastle

Another photo post, because life keeps getting in the way of blogging.

The most comfortable way to get to Scotland is to take the Amsterdam / Newcastle ferry, and I've crossed into the harbour of Newcastle several times - always with the camera ready.

Remains of Tynemouth Castle (left) and Priory (right)

A shot of the remains of Tynemouth Castle and Priory (which I had visited the same morning by sunshine). Queen Isabella stayed at Tynemouth Priory while her husband Edward II fought the Scots - definitely a more comfortable and better defended place than a military camp.

Tynemouth Priory and WW2 fortifications

Another angle of the priory, this one with WW2 flak batteries to the right. The strategically important headland at the entrance to the Tyne river has been settled since the Iron Age. It later was occupied by a Norman castle of which some remains are left, and on the other side lies the Roman fort Arbeia.

Sunrays over Tynemouth Lighthouse

The sky had been cloudy in the afternoon, but when the ferry left Newcastle, some sunrays broke through and sparkled on the water like a farewell.

Sunset on the North Sea

Another pretty sunset. The light is a bit softer on the North Sea, not so brilliant as with some sunsets at the west coast. The sea was calm on the way back, but during the journey to Newcastle there had been a storm that made even the big ferry roll a bit. I don't mind that, though.

Tynemouth Castle

This last photo with the pretty sunshine was taken in 2007 on the way to the Hadrian's Wall. It's another take of the castle and part of the priory.
 


6.12.09
  Summer Nights in Oban

I took my camera with me all the time in Oban, even to dinner, because with the ever changing sky and light you'd never know when the next beautiful motive would appear.

Oban Bay in the evening sun

This is another shot taken from the B&B room. I love it when the sun sparkles on water - more pretty than diamonds.

Oban Bay at night

Taken outside the pub near the B&B. I just stood there and enjoyed the view for a while.

Oban Bay, late evening

And there was that moment when the light turned into those lovely sepia tones, like on an old photography.

A detail shot taken in Oban harbour

A picture from the harbour, with the riggings of a sailing boat in the foreground. And a few of those Scottish clouds.

One of the island ferries

This was a bit earlier, when the late ferry from Coll and Tiree came in. Caledonian MacBrayne operates most of the services to the Hebridean isles.

Sunset

This one was taken through the window of the restaurant where I had a late dinner. I caught the moment the sun went down in all its golden glory.

After sunset

The same view taken outside about an hour later. It didn't get fully dark even at 1 am.

White nights in Oban

The (almost) white nights reminded me of the time I lived in Stockholm where the light could be beautiful as well in summer.
 


Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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