What if I told you A Day in Old Rome -- a staple of every national convention -- could last a whole week? And that during that week you could make all your own food and practice your fighting skills? I sat down with Dr. Jason DiGiulio, otherwise known as Tiberius Iulius Rufus Primus, and chatted about his life in as a reenactor.
How did you get into reenactments?
So I participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism...I had always thought I would do something more. My house is Roman. I have columns. I have statuaries, larium, lots and lots of stuff. I always imagined I would someday participate in Nuova Roma, but then one of my friends, we were driving back from Burlington, and he asked if I had ever considered participating in the FCA... I hadn't heard of it, so I looked it up, saw it, and have been doing it ever since.
In the JCL, there is very a much a community. Is it similar in the reenactment community?
Absolutely. There is an event almost every weekend somewhere. It's worldwide, so depending on how much one wants to travel, there is always something. Just last weekend I was in Maine for one, and there is a huge event in Pennsylvania every summer. Twelve thousand people
Do you pick a scene or battle to recreate?
We don’t recreate them exactly. So instead of reenacting, it's more like reconstructing. We fight and things like that. I know it's hard because reenacting is what everyone knows, but we don't reenact specific battles and have everything rehearsed. There is one called pennsic.org, which is the one in Pennsylvania, and that's the one with 12000 people. Everyone lives there for two weeks, eats, sleeps, and fights.
Do you make everything you use?
Yes, there's a cheese mold right there. I’m making this. It will be used for cheese making, and then some of my friends will make cheese in it.
Is there any livestock or animals at the events?
No, just people. I have thought about building sort of a small fort on my land, but I haven't done that yet.
How did you choose the Roman period opposed to the other periods?
It was natural. I’m Italian by ancestry, and I have a nobel name, and I’ve always been fond of Roman history. I took Latin all through high school and college.
Do you speak latin at these events?
I do sometimes, but there are no many people that can, so where award ceremonies happen and they need latin I’ll do that or old anglo Saxon I can do, but not many people speak out loud
How do you get in the mindset to act?
So whenever I’m crafting, if I'm doing a lot of pottery, I’ll watch HBO Rome, Gladiator, or The Eagle, and all of them are horrifically inaccurate but they are fun anyway.
Have you noticed that through doing this you have become hyper aware of an error in movies or TV?
Yeah, I have to just choose to not speak about it
If someone was interested reenactments how would you suggest to them to get involved?
Go to sca.org, that's the main sort of organizational website and then one can put in a zip code and there it will show all the local groups, and so there are people everywhere.
Do you speak Latin at these events?
I do sometimes, but there's not many people who can. Where award ceremonies happen and they need Latin, I’ll do that. I can also do old anglo saxon, but not many people speak it out loud
How do you get in the mindset to act?
Whenever I’m crafting, if I'm doing a lot of pottery, I’ll watch HBO Rome, Gladiator, or The Eagle. All of them are horrifically inaccurate, but they are fun anyway.
Have you noticed that through doing this you have become hyper aware to errors in movies or TV?
Yeah, I have to just choose to not speak about it.
If someone was interested in reenactments, how would you suggest to them to get involved?
Go to sca.org. That's the main sort of organizational website, and then one can put in a zip code and there it will show all the local groups. There's people everywhere.
**The content of this interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
Feature Torch US Winter 2016-2017