Tag Archive | Boudicca

Roman British Costuming: General Guidelines for “Boudicca: A Play in Three Acts”

roman-woman

A Roman lady wears a tunic (white), stola (blue), and palla (red).

As a historian, history is my passion.  I love few things better than seeing a period-correct drama where the costumes are accurately rendered.  But what do you do if your budget is small or you are playing scenes from “Boudicca: A Play in Three Acts” or Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar?” What if you don’t have years of expertise researching Roman and Roman-British clothing?

The following is a general guide for productions of “Boudicca: A Play in Three Acts” and for general re-enactment of Roman and Roman-British characters/personae:

 

 

BRITISH CLOTHING

brythonic-brat

The brat is a 2 meter long, 30″ wide heavy wool rectangle that is wrapped or pinned around the body to protect the wearer from the elements. Worn across “Celtic” societies on both the continent and the British islands. The late medieval “kilt” of Scotland evolved from the ancient brat which can be pinned and belted (as above) as desired or simply folded and wrapped around the body in dozens of different ways.

Simple wool tunics.  Men wear shorter tunics with warm, simple-cut trousers. The trousers of upper class warrior men are cropped with hemlines between the knee and an ankle.  Women wear ankle length tunics.  Both sexes wear brats: a heavy and often coarsely woven rectangular shawl folded lengthwise across the body.  The brat may be worn as a shawl, draped and pinned as a cloak, draped and pinned as a surcoat, or simply folded and pinned secure to the upper breast.  Jewellery is abundant and includes decorative broaches.

ROMAN CLOTHING

roman-clothing-1

Men wear knee length tunics called “chitons.”  Over this common men wrap a rectangular cloak similar to a brat that is often pinned securely. High ranking men wear togas over their chitons instead of a cloak.

Women wear a long-sleeved tunic dress covering most of the body.  Over this women wear a stola which is high-waisted and held together at the shoulders by broaches.   The top layer for upper class Roman women is her palla which is wrapped around her in dozens of different ways to cover her head, warm her like a cloak, or even serve as a female version of a toga.

the-roman-palla

The Roman palla and how to wear it.

Roman soldiers wear armour and carry a gladius (a short thrusting sword) at all times.

 

roman-legionaire

Components to a Roman legionnaire’s armour.

Special costuming for “Boudicca: A Play in Three Acts”and for general reenactment of Roman British characters/personae

Act I, Scene I: Prasutagus wears the fine linen/wool that marks him as a member of the upper class with decorative trim along the hem edges of his tunic and brat.  Roman bureaucrat wears a toga marking him as a Roman citizen and aide to the Roman governor.  The broach securing Boudicca’s brat features a raven as a mark of her devotion to Cathubodva.

Act I, Scene II:  Boudicca wears a Roman stola over her Celtic tunic dress.  A palla drapes across her body like a shawl.  Her flaming red hair is now elaborately braided and pinned up matronly.

Act I, Scene III:  Boudicca and Prasutagus wear their finest woollen tunics with embroidered trim along sleeve, hem, and neckline edges. Boudicca’s brat is made of a much finer wool than we saw in Scene I which is soft blue or lavender in colour.  King Prasutagus wears a polished circlet or crown.  Boudicca wears a coronet of spring flowers over her braided hair.  Linet wears a tiara or circlet made of oak leaves and a silver necklace.

Act I, Scene IV: Gaius and Roman Bureaucrat wear togas over their tunics.

Act III, Scene I:  Gaius and Roman Bureaucrat both wear togas over their tunics.

Act III, Scene III:  Gaius wears full battle armour instead of his toga.

 

From Act II, Scene V forward Roman soldiers also carry shields.

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Babelcube beware: what authors need to know before signing a Babelcube contract

Boudicca German web

The German edition of Boudicca was beautifully translated by Christina Loew. Thanks to frequent communication and Ms. Loew’s professionalism, the translation process was smooth and easy — exactly what most authors are looking for when joining Babelcube.

If you subscribe to this blog you know that in 2016 I took my books deeper into the global market.  After an exasperating fore into the Chinese market via Fiberead, I had high hopes for Babelcube, a platform for translation that mirrors many of the features familiar to authors who use Amazon’s ACX.com site for audio production.  But as with ACX, successful production and publication requires understanding the system and knowing how — and when — to walk away from something that is not working.

The ability to walk away is important for independent authors because a poorly translated book is damaging to the author’s brand; it reflects on the author as much if not more so than the original editions written by the author in her or his native language.  Therefore an author’s career is at stake each time the author signs a translation contract.  Don’t mess with this, my friends.  As much as you want to be sweet and nice when it comes to dealing with potential translators your life depends on you being picky and walking away when you can from any deal or possible deal that doesn’t uphold your author brand.

The first place you can walk away is when a translator first sends you an offer to translate.  This is the best time to fully vet the candidate.  Don’t skimp on this and do not feel obligated to accept any particular offer. We all want to be nice and we want to give people their break into a new career.  The problem with doing that is you may end up with poor quality work because the person has never been tested in the professional world as a translator.  Before signing anything TALK TO THE TRANSLATOR — don’t just look at the profile and give the person the benefit of the doubt because s/he seems likable.  Remember that this is a form of job interview and treat it as seriously as any job interview you’ve been on.  If anything does not smell right or you aren’t sure of anything at all politely decline.

But let’s say you’ve accepted the contract.  The next place and final place you can walk away is when the translator submits the first ten pages. In evaluating these, don’t just look at the words on the page but the FORMATTING because, as with your own books you self-publish, the formatting and editorial can make or break the book.  If anything seems like you would not submit those ten pages as a stand alone, polished work DECLINE THEM — this is your last and ONLY chance to get out of the contract.  Despite what you may see in the system, this is the actual point of no return for you.  Once those ten pages are accepted you are committed to publishing the book — no matter the quality of the final product you are given.

And this is the part that no one ever mentions to you:  you cannot decline to publish a completed book on Babelcube — even though there is a button in the review process that says “decline this translation.”

What happens if you do hit the “decline” button?  Firstly you are asked to confirm and warned that confirming the decline will open a dispute with Babelcube.  What this means is that they will investigate and make a ruling.  If they rule for you, the translator has to fix the errors.  If they rule against you then you owe the translator an undisclosed amount of money.  But the system doesn’t tell you that.  I found out by asking via email after I reviewed the final document on one of my books and deemed it of such poor quality that I was not comfortable with continuing.

In essence you have to approve the final book.  You can ask for some changes (hit “return” and then send a message to the translator to do so), but you actually DO have to hit “accept translation” and then publish the book. “Reject translation” means you are willing to pay for the translator’s time for a book that you will not publish.

For most people it’s far cheaper to enlist the help of someone outside of Babelcube’s system to help you fix the document so you can publish — which is exactly what I am doing right now.

This is why it is critically important that you wait until each translation is complete before signing another contract with a translator. Even after publishing one or two books all the way through the process (meaning the book is live Amazon, iBooks, Scribd, etc.) with a translator, my experience shows that it is best to only contract one book at a time with a specific translator.  Life happens and schedules change.  Limiting yourself to one contract at a time per translator helps everyone balance time and priorities to the satisfaction of all parties and empower everyone to create the best work possible.

In summary, Babelcube can be an excellent platform for translating books into multiple languages.  But success with it requires the author always beware of its inner workings and courageous enough to walk away from any project that does not meet expectations either before the contract is signed or when receiving the first ten pages.

This is your brand.  Protect it.

History Profile: Queen Boudicca

Date of Birth:  circa 30 CE

Place of Birth:  unknown — likely Gaul

Date of death: 60 or 61 CE — suicide

Spouse: King Prasutagus of the Iceni

Issue: none surviving

Queen Boudicca is the national heroine of England for a reason:  she united rival British tribes and won several military victories against the Romans in a time when that was deemed impossible.

Often depicted as a vengeful warrior out for blood on a personal vendetta, the real Queen Boudicca ruled as her husband’s co-sovereign over the small but technologically advanced and religiously devout Iceni nation.  In 60 or 61 CE King Prasutagus died mysteriously.

Though often assumed to be old age by many, the timing of his death relative to the Roman military campaigns on the Welsh island of Ynys Môn coupled with the terms in Prasutagus’ last will and testament suggest otherwise.  Prasutagus was worth more dead than alive to the Romans, especially as the Romans did not recognize Celtic laws and customs which granted women near complete equality to men.  With his family members all female, the Romans were eager to remove Prasutagus and fully conquer the Iceni.  This suggests to me his death was violent and at Roman hands.

When the Romans invaded her lands, Boudicca did what any sovereign or co-sovereign would do:  she mounted a defence.  After losing the first battle with the Romans in her own community at which she and her daughters suffered outrageous torture and injury, Boudicca struck back, determined to prevent the Romans from harming her people again.

It worked better than she could have expected.  Other tribes, especially her southern neighbour the Trinovantes joined with her, forming a rare confederation that eventually spread across several tribes.

Boudicca achieved unity from within the boundaries of her free and very individualistic society, proving that liberty and unity can exist when we put aside what divides us and choose to work together.

 

Read more about Boudicca in “Boudicca, Britain’s Queen of the Iceni” in your choice of English, Welsh, Welsh-English, Chinese, and Spanish.  Audio edition narrated by Richard Mann.

In Her Own Tongue: “Buddug” Brings Boudicca’s Story To Wales | NFReads.com

Boudicca Welsh webBuddug, Brenhines Iceni Prydain is the first Legendary Women of World History biography available in the Welsh language and one of the few biographies

Source: In Her Own Tongue: “Buddug” Brings Boudicca’s Story To Wales | NFReads.com

My gift to teachers: free LWWH books for your classroom

Education is very important to me.  Education is how we best combat violence, hatred, and hopelessness.  Learning is the key to problem solving, to living life deliberately instead of simply reacting to whatever problems come our way.  Learning is empowering.

 

Sadly changes in our educational systems too often focus on teaching to the test.  Gone are the days when teachers could tailor activities and studies to the individual needs and interests of each class, when development of critical thinking and creative problem solving skills infused each day’s lessons.

That’s where the Legendary Women of World History series comes in, filling in the gaps created by “No Child Left Behind” and similar measures to empower parents, students, and educators to make learning fun again and the study of history relevant to young people again.

Broadly available through retailers world wide in digital, paperback, and audio editions narrated by Richard Mann, I have decided that this work is so important it needs to be in every classroom in every school worldwide.

So here’s my offer:  I will provide a digital copy of any LWWH free of charge to any educator requesting it involved in teaching classrooms of six or more students. Simply fill out the form below and if I approve your request I will be in touch within 1-2 business days.

 

Character Profile: Queen Boudicca

Today’s historical person is Boudicca:  Queen of the Iceni.

Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni

Series Name:  The Legendary Women of World History

Character name: Boudicca

Date of Birth: Circa 30 CE

Place of Birth: Gaul — Aedui Tribe

Reigned: 1st century of the common era

Died: 61 CE

Book appearing in: Boudicca:  Britain’s Queen of the Iceni in kindle and audio edition narrated by Richard Mann

Profile:   Born in slavery among the Aedui in Gaul just decades after Julius Caesar conquered her people, Boudicca escaped to Britannia in pursuit of freedom.  Finding true love in King Prasutagus of the Iceni, she co-ruled the religiously devout Iceni until Roman atrocities across Britannia forced her into one of the most famous confrontations in ancient history.

Ideal actress to play in a film adaptation: Amy Adams would make a powerful Boudicca.

 

Connect with author-historian Laurel A. Rockefeller on twitter.

Excerpt: Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni

Boudicca Chinese coverBoudicca:  Britain's Queen of the IceniBoudicca:  Britian’s Queen of the Iceni is a creative non-fiction biography suitable for young readers exploring the life of one of the ancient world’s greatest heroines.  In 61 CE Boudicca shocked Roman patriarchs by uniting most of the English Celts in what became the last great stand against Roman conquest of the British isles.

Available for kindle in Chinese and English, in paperback (English only), and audio edition narrated by Richard Mann.

In this scene from chapter four, a prayerful Boudicca seeks wisdom from The Morrigan.

———————–

Two years of peace passed.  For the time being, it seemed like the Roman governor was keeping his word.  But with each passing week and month, Alys and Morgan grew more anxious as their dreams became filled with visions of the future.

Boudicca watched them, her heart aching for their pain.  Finally, three days before mid-summer’s day, she and Linet drove her light chariot to a small shrine to the Morrígan in the thick ancient forest to the north of their village.  All day and through most of the night, Boudicca and Linet sat in prayer and vigil, asking the goddess for guidance.

Finally, as dawn broke through the trees and birds woke from their sleep, Linet stood up and put her hand on Boudicca’s shoulder, “Your Highness, we must return.”

“We will not survive what is coming, my friend, though it seem victory will be in our grasp for a time.  War is upon us; the Romans do not see the equality of women as our peoples do.  This governor – Paullinus – does not even consider me queen of the Iceni – only my husband’s personal servant for his bedchamber.  Should anything happen to him, they will come to claim what they feel belongs to them.  The Iceni will become as my people are,” wept Boudicca.

“We do not have to let them take our people; we can fight.  Already we are fighting them in the west.  They would stamp out our faith – but we are not afraid.  We fight them with all we have. The goddess is on our side, Your Highness, as is the morality of our cause:  freedom and equality for all people!  They think that those who lack certain kinds of strength are created and designed to be inferior.  But we know better.  We know we are all one – equals.  Surely our goddesses and gods will fight for us in the great battle.  Camulos, god of war, he shall be our champion!” proclaimed Linet with fire in her eyes.

“Camulos must hate the Romans for taking his city and claiming it as theirs.  He must especially hate this temple to the dead emperor Claudius in his city.  How can he fight for us while the temple still stands, while animals are killed and offered to this Claudius where once our people prayed to him?” asked Boudicca.

“All the more reason for him to support us and help us cleanse his city of Roman stench.  We will re-dedicate it to him – when all of us are free.”

 

Just then a scream echoed in the forest.  Drawing their swords, Linet and Boudicca charged towards the sound.  By the time they reached the source all that could be seen was Prasutagus, his blood spilling into the ground – as if a year-king killed as an offering to the gods for his people.  Prasutagus looked up, his eyes blurring, “Boudicca?”

Boudicca knelt, weeping, the blood from his chest wound soaking her dress, “I am here.”

“A Roman – scout – I – surprised him.” gasped Prasutagus, trying in vain to tell his wife what happened, knowing the moment he died rage would fill her – rage against Rome.

Boudicca kissed him tenderly, “My love, do not leave me!”  Prasutagus kissed her repeatedly, his eyes fixed on hers until they saw no more.  Feeling his spirit leave his body, Boudicca wept, as if her entire life suddenly passed with him – at least for this moment.  Finally, she rose, helping Linet carry him to their chariot.  With a gentle nudge of the reigns the horses turned for home and the sad work ahead.

 

Several days later, war trumpets heralded the arrival of a group of twenty soldiers and five centurions dispatched from the Roman capital of Camulodunum, the once great capital of the Iceni’s southern neighbor, the Trinovantes.  This was a relatively small force for the Romans to send, a sign that the Roman governor expected little trouble enforcing Prasutagus’ will and claiming the Iceni for Rome.  At the head of this group marched Centurion Marcus Vetus, the son of a legionary born among his mother’s Aedui tribe near the Seine River.  As he approached the fortification guarding Boudicca’s village, Boudicca could not help staring at the man who looked far more Aedui than Roman.  Resolutely Boudicca intercepted him, “Who comes to the heart of the Iceni?”

“I, Centurion Marcus Vetus come in the name of Nero and his imperial governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus.  Your king is dead; your kingdom now belongs to us.”

“No, Centurion.  It belongs in equal measure to my daughters and to Nero. Until our people deem them ready to rule, I rule as queen as is my natural right as Prasutagus’ widow and by the customs of all British people.”

“You are a woman; you have no rights under Roman law.”

“But I do under Iceni law,” countered Boudicca.

“There are no Iceni now, only slaves,” proclaimed Marcus, seizing Boudicca before she could draw her sword.  With the help of another centurion, Marcus bound and gagged the struggling Boudicca and her daughters, forcing them to watch as the remaining soldiers spread across the village.  Every Iceni, armed and ready for the attack within hours of Prasutagus’ death, challenged the soldiers resolutely, creating a great noise.  With the Roman attention entirely on the battle, Linet slipped quietly out of the village in order to raise the alarm across Britannia.