Andy Volpe: Art & History
Living History Program FAQ’s

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Questions about [Booking] a Living History Program(s)

Where do you give programs?

Who / What is your Target Audience?

What [schools] have you been to / What is your experience / Credentials?

How much does your programs cost?

How far do you travel for a program?

How do I book a program?

How soon do I book a program?

What happens if it Rains/Snows?

Are you insured?

 - Roman Specific -

Why Ancient Roman Legionary?

What is CE? BCE?

What is with wearing a miniskirt?

Why is the helmet made of gold?

How heavy is the armor? Isn't it hot?!

What are the straps for on the belt?

Are the [Weapons] Real / Are they Sharp?

How Expensive is all of this Gear?

Where do I buy / make this gear?

How Accurate Is Hollywood's Depiction of Romans?

Are you a Spartan/Gladiator/Knight?



Where do you give programs?

- Typically a Classroom or Auditorium setting (this also gives a good gauge as to the space requirements I need). 

- I can also arrange to give a presentation outdoors (with weather permitting)

- I also usually need a medium sized table, and request a secure changing area.

- For the Medieval / Renaissance Artist, depending on if a live [printing] demo is needed, space for the printing press, loading dock access, etc. will need to be considered.  But lecture/slide presentations I need a table and A/V hookups.

Who / What is your Target Audience?

- Anyone who has an interest - I am happy to give a program to anyone who wants to book a presentation.

- Typically school grades from 5 to 12, Colleges, Universities, and Academies;  usually having the emphasis from History and Classics classes and departments, but again, if the interest is there, I'm eager to provide.

- Generally speaking, my Roman program should be considered "PG" or "PG-13" due to 'content' and maturity understanding of the context and material.

- Art teachers, museums, studios and art schools may find my Medieval / Renaissance presentations interesting, as people can see how the art is [was] actually made.

- I've done both a lecture style and an open-to-public / live demo style, with display and hands-on items for all ages. (This could also be considered for visually-impaired audiences for a tactile experience.)

What [schools] have you been to / What is your experience / Credentials?

- I am not listing any of the private locations (schools) I have been to on the website.  If you require a list, please contact me.

- As noted on my website, I have been giving programs since 2002.  I greatly enjoy sharing my love and knowledge of the material, and frequently research and revise my material.

- All of the programs I have given at Higgins Armory Museum, (until it closed in 2013, moved to Worcester Art Museum) Museum of Printing, Printing Office of Edes and Gill, as well as the many schools I have been to, have been seen by thousands of people, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.

- I am insured with the Living History Association, a known organization dedicated to authenticity and research. I also maintain a strict level of attentiveness during my program; people are not allowed to handle my gear unless supervised / allowed by me. Weapons (aka Theatrical Props) are not to be handled by anyone at any time.  Along with a reservation form / contract, I include a weapons waiver detailing my policies that must be signed and sent to me before a program date.

- I am a member of, and associated with several Roman reconstruction groups, all of whom are known throughout the world as high quality, respectable organizations, all of whom are seriously dedicated to research, reconstruction and studying the current archaeological information that becomes available.  My degree in Fine Arts included courses on historical art making, art history and research; I've been on my own research since.

How much does your programs cost?

- Please email me directly for a quote.  The rates include a modest mileage / travel charge, plus the program rate "per hour" (as the majority of my programs are at schools).  I currently do not list my rates on the webpage.

How far do you travel for a program?

- I will travel up to 100 miles one way (about 2 hours' worth) and charge mileage accordingly.  Currently I am in the Worcester, MA area, so I am able to cover much of southern New England, and would be willing to travel a distance if needed.

- Mileage is a calculated figure to cover expenses for gas, maintenance, insurance, as well as tolls and parking if applicable.

How do I book a program?

- Email is the easiest way to reach me: PalusButeo AT hotmail DOT com.  Try to reserve a date as far ahead as possible.  We will determine the best date(s) and time(s), and I will then send an Invoice and other relevant paperwork.

How soon do I book a program?

- As far in advance as possible. A one month advanced notice is usually good.

What happens if it Rains/Snows?

- Depending on the severity of the weather, I will do my best to make it to the location.  I will monitor school cancellation notices the day before and the morning of the reserved date.

- If the school cancels, I will cancel as well, and we will arrange another date.

- If the school issues a 1-2 hour delay, I will work to conform to the delay.

- In either situation, I will contact the [school] using the contact information provided in the contract if weather becomes dangerous.

- Consider providing contact info / phone number of someone with the School whom I can contact the [day before] severe weather to be informed of possible delay or cancellation.

(also, feel free to contact me ASAP in regards to weather, cancellation or delays.  The contract I send out includes my cell phone)

Are you insured?

- Yes, I am insured through the Living History Association as an individual member, as well as a group member with Legion III Cyrenaica.

Please refer to the LHA website for technical details of the insurance.

~

Questions about Romans and the Roman Legionary Programs:

Why Ancient Roman Legionary?

- Without a doubt, the Romans and the Roman Legions are among the most famous (infamous?) military-dominant culture and army known in European history, and in many cases, in World history.  The Romans continue to influence military people and culture into the present.  The massive success of Roman-themed movies like "Gladiator", "Spartacus", and HBO's "ROME" series are a testament to the everlasting impact of the Romans.

- Also, I'm a total History Nerd.  I won't deny it.  I love presenting about Romans and engaging the public, answering questions.  My programs have been seen by thousands of people, and the vast majority really enjoy it - They say my passion for History shows in my programs, that certainly keeps me doing this.

What is CE? BCE?

- BCE and CE is a modern dating system intended to replace or be an alternative to BC/AD.  BCE means "Before Common Era" and CE "Common Era". The generalization is that most cultures share roughly the same timetable.  There are of course many exceptions, complications and arguments to this system.  This system has been in use in several institutions and museums in the United States for the last few years.  I only include them for posterity.  I realize I am also "stuck" with BC/AD since that is how I learned it in school.  I refer and respond to both, and try not to sound biased.  Although I certainly am not the poster child for "Political Correctness", either!

What is with wearing a miniskirt?

- The male fashion in ancient Rome was to show the legs and arms, as well as layers of big, billowy clothing (as in the Toga). It stems from the Etruscan and Greek predecessors of Romans. Not only does the Tunic provide good, comfortable cover, it gives excellent freedom of movement for the legs. The Roman Military fashion was to wear the tunic high, above the knees, compared to Civilian fashion. It is just the same as wearing shorts and a T-shirt in the summer compared to long sleeves and long pants.

- By the 200's AD, Roman soldiers’ fashions changed, incorporating long sleeved tunics with decorated accents, and long pants, the shoes / boots changes as well.

Why is the helmet made of gold?

- The helmet is not made of gold, but of Brass! It happens to look like gold because Romans liked to keep their metal armor and gear highly polished - it was a way of showing one's wealth and pride, but also helped prevent rust and corrosion.  Brass was a highly prized metal for Romans, and was used by Romans for hundreds of years.

How heavy is the armor? Aren't you hot in that?!

- As we can figure out from reconstructions, the Lorica segmentata weighs in around 15-20 pounds.  Lorica hamata (maille) and Lor. squamata (scale) is around 25-30 pounds.  Although that weight has been disputed very recently, maybe closer to 20lbs.

- The armor is not as uncomfortable as it may first appear. You get used to it. So did they.  After a full day in armor, however, the armor does become "heavy" and uncomfortable! (We do not know for how long or how often Roman soldiers wore their armor).

- Hot? Yes and No. Not as badly as you would think.  The tunic is billowy, and the arms and legs are exposed, so this provides a bit of ventilation for the body.  The armor is also made with a lot of "holes" and openings, so air is able to move around a little bit. 

- It is about the same as wearing a thick sweater or winter coat in the summer.  You get hot inside your [chest], but you don't get searing hot. The armor only gets as warm as your surface body heat, even when wearing it in the blazing sun outside.  With the armor kept clean and rust free, this also helps to reflect a lot of sun and is more comfortable than one would think.   However, leaving an un-worn helmet or armor in the blazing sun WILL make it searing hot when you go to pick it up - So when needed I'll place my helmet(s), armor, and shield in the shade!

- Lorica Hammata (Maille) and Lor. Squamata (Scale) tends to be "warmer" than Segmentata armor, mostly because of the thick, quilted padding one must wear underneath to give the best defensive protection of that armor, so it can be less comfortable temperature-wise than it looks.

What are the straps for on the belt?

- We believe the sole function of these straps, studs and dangling terminals was for added decoration to the belt, as showing status and showing off was a big deal for Romans. The straps appear to be distinctly a Soldier’s fashion. It serves the exact same purpose as polished chrome parts on sports cars, modern studded belts, wearing loads of very expensive jewelry and top name-brand clothing. A vast majority of Roman belt pieces and other items were tin-plated or silvered for extra shininess. (And likely for corrosion resistance as well)

- They provide NO protective value to the groin area of the body! The straps are thin leather, they are made to sway and move.

Are the [Weapons] Real / Are they Sharp?

- All of my equipment and gear are modern Reproductions and Reconstructions, they are not a thousand years old. They are copied from actual archaeological artifacts, and I try to buy or make my gear as accurate as I possibly can within my budget, time, and [metal] working skills.

- All of my swords and daggers are kept dull on the edges, but my Gladii tips/points are kept at an accurate shape, therefore the tips are very sharp.

- My Pila I actually throw so I keep the tips fairly 'sharp'.

Therefore: NO ONE in the audience is allowed to handle any weapon.

The Less You Handle A Weapon, The Less Dangerous It Is.

How Expensive is all of this Gear?

- As with any reenacting hobby, you can spend an awful lot of money, or not a lot of money. It will depend on what you want to make, how much time you want to devote to that, or if you want to just buy made gear all together.  A full "kit" of armor, weapons and miscellaneous gear can run between $700 to $2,000 and upwards, especially for custom-made gear.  This is about the same, if a little more expensive than other reenacting periods (like American Civil War).  You'll also need to devote time to cleaning and care for all of the metal and leather components of Roman gear.

- However, you can get started very easily and cheaply by starting with a Tunic, Caligae / sandals, and a belt, what some reenacting groups refer to as a "soft kit". You can always add to, and ‘upgrade’ your ‘kit’ as you go.

(If you decide to join a Roman Legion group, make sure you read and understand the basic requirements of that group before you dive into making or buying lots of gear, as requirements differ between groups.)

- Expenses will also depend on how you feel about being 'accurate' or not.  There are lots of low quality, inaccurate knock-offs and copies out there.

Where do [I] buy / make this gear?

- There are several sources to get manufactured gear, but there are also instructions on how to make just about everything yourself by hand, just as the Romans did it.  One of the best places to start for both instructions to make and listings of [accurate] gear and vendors is at the Legion XX website at www.larp.con/legioxx

- Also, look under the listings of Roman units, and look for one in your area to join.  Many groups host “workshopsâ€� where you can go and start working on your gear.  You can start very easily and simply with basic metal and leather working, like a belt, for example.  Most of the items are fairly easy to make, with some practice and thinking / planning ahead of time.  Items like swords, armor and helmets are very advanced and need some experience, so you should consider buying made gear from various manufactures and vendors.

How Accurate Is Hollywood's Depiction of Romans?

- Not Very Accurate.  Hollywood is interested in making [tons of money] epic, dramatic movies that appeal to a wide audience, and not about trying to satisfy a very small number of reenactors, academics and nerds.  That's really the short end of it. 

- That being said, HBO's series "ROME" got pretty close to accurate, but fail in a number of places, too detailed to list here.

Are You A Spartan/Gladiator/Knight?

- No, no and no.

Spartans existed hundreds of years before the period I present.  Gladiators, while directly contemporary with the period I present, were essentially trained professional sportsmen.  The comparison to modern World Wide Wrestling is startlingly pararllel.  Big additudes and huge wads of cash for a big show.  Knights don't exist for another thousand years after the period I protray.  Want more comparison?
Ask for that when you book or see a program!


- - - If these did not answer your questions, please email me!  - - - PalusButeo AT Hotmail DOT com - - - - -

 C: 2008 – 2013 A. Volpe.




 

Want to book a program?
Palusbuteo AT hotmail DOT com
C: 2008-2014 A. Volpe