Saturday 15th November, we did the first show at Fort Vechten, as the groundwork was laid for a replica of a Roman watchtower as could be found all along the Limes. This tower will be built between the 19th-century fortress and the field which still covers the remains of the castellum Fectio, to be revealed by April or May 2004. The show was held at the site where the tower will be built. Present were, besides the members of Fectio, members of Corbvlo, Leg. X Gemina and Leg. II Augusta.
The weather was grey but good, at least there was not much wind, and no rain! A bit cold though, which was no so bad for yrs truly (being a Late Roman has some advantages), but several of the earlier bare-armed/legged Romans were not so lucky.. A good number of spectators had gathered on the Marsdijk (The dyke of Mars - aptly named), the road which skirts the south side of the fort. Some journalists as well, which of course was good news for the organisers.
Our priest made a good show of it. For the site of the watch tower to be blessed properly, there was a good number of gods to be consulted, the old Romans did not mind a god or two extra. Starting with Janus, the eldest of the pantheon, of course. Very important as well were the omens. Would they be favourable? Any birds in the sky (preferably eagles), flying in the right direction?
No birds, no omens, good news. With that behind us, the offerings were ready to be buried. When the building starts, it will all be sealed under a great slab of concrete on which the tower will be built. Maybe our descendants will one time dig them up and wonder about us.
With the earth sealed again, time for a
last rite - 4 of us were to stand at each corner and
offer wine to the earth. A wine jar was passed around,
for each of the four to spill wine on the earth. Adiuta
Deus! Well, in my case at least. Finally, three
children were chosen to get a 'lucky stone' with a text
about the building. These, too, turned out to be
favorable. With that, the ceremony was over.
VortigernStudies is copyright © Robert Vermaat 1999-2003. All rights reserved