Rutherford College Roman Night - IV Augustus MMXVI
Club member Darren White, Head of the Classics Dept at Rutherford College, invited the Romans and Gladiators to help promote their Open Night, and inspire today's youth that studying the classics is not dry dusty books, but plenty of action, clashing steel and the baying mob howling for blood! There were hundreds of families through, and eyes would widen like saucers as they looked up at Mitch Green, the giant gladiator, the last thing they'd expected to see. He was good for demonstrating why short Romans and Greeks wore those fluffy helmet crests to look taller when fighting big naked Gauls. The kids got to try on Roman helms, heft a gladius, and hide behind shields. Lisa had them scrawling on wax-tablets, and doing hard labour turning the wheat-grinding-wheel. She was dressed as a noble Roman matron in all her finery, and one small girl with a lisp looked up in awe and asked, "Are you a princess?" While some of the Dads there to sign up their kids seemed a little more interested in joining the legion themselves. Dave Layzell was a science teacher at Rutherford in the early 1970s, but ruthlessly helped the Classics beat the Science dept for best display! Everybody had a really fun enjoyable evening.
The gladiators moved outside to fight in an eerie dark lit arena while the watching crowd thronged the balconies. We had young Marcus Carnifex the Butcher fighting as a murmillo against crafty old Decebalus the Dacian fighting as a hoplomachus. The first fight saw the bloodthirsty crowd vote thumbs-down for death, but after the second fight when they had seen and learnt to appreciate the skill involved they decided that Decebalus was worthy of life, and so he earned the wooden rudis of freedom while Marcus waved the palm leaf of victory. The sounds of the weapons clashing, and the clang when the spear hit our murmillo's helmet had one mother gasping and covering her youngest child's eyes. But we showed them our fighters were fine, and it was all in good fun - we who are about to die salute you!