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Visit Soul of the Warrior!

The Romans in Britain Staff page and about the site and the Original Author

About the Site Itself

T

his website was originally created way back in the late 1990's by a guy who went by the Roman name of Victius Maximus... I LOVED this website!! It had SO MUCH great info and I came to it a lot. Alas, the site had been gone for years and it was sad. The last I had heard, Victius had said that he had some severe health problems and that a friend was hosting the site for him—then, it was just GONE. For a long time, I could not find Victius, but a while after I put the site back up and had done a lot of reno-work to it, he contacted me. At first, he was unhappy, but then came to realize all his work was alive again, and his work credited to him. I have not heard from him again now in a few years, after those couple brief emails, but as far as I know, he is still alive. I check the 'Net (he's a photographer and still active) and see he still breathes...

Anyway, this website had been dead for at least 3-4 years or more and, as it is so FULL of really great information, it really needs be out there. How did I do it? Well, fortunately, I had saved it for reference—so, one dark December evening, I resolved to bring it back. After a few days of long, feverish work, it was alive again! No, it's not totally finished, I really need to finish all the recipes and maybe get them in a database format... The Roman sites area needs some serious work too. As I have a real life, it isn't always possible to work on this stuff as much as I'd like. A note: my name is Decimus Mercatius Varianus, a Roman reenactor of Legio IX Hispana. I will just go by my Roman name for now. :-)

How it Happened

Fortunately, as previously noted, I had downloaded the old RiB website to use as a reference—it was real lucky in that when I needed to look something up and found the site was GONE, all was not lost. :-o When I did see the site had disappeared, I was pretty sad, but knew I had saved it... When the decision to bring it back occured, it was just a matter of finding the site and files in my "Stasi" archives. I did some severe hard drive searching and found the site files, as the site appeared "back then." It needed work. It had been built with "frames," a website layout system, which while it was cutting edge and looked good in 1999, nowadays it does not. Hard to search, hard for search engines to index, hard to look at on today's bigger monitors... yeah, change! So, it has taken MANY hours to get this site into a modern template form (vs. the old "frames" layout—spit! Hiss! Ick!) thus allowing some real update and modification. (Of course, saying that, "modern" is a relative, as I use a program that is about 11 years old (ancient in computerdom) called GoLive CS2 and it doesn't work well in later versions of Windows >:-o Many now use the latest thing, Adobe Dreamweaver... however, I detest Dreamweaver and it's clunkiness—sorry, it's built for "Code Monkeys" and not designers. It is also hard to use, unlike GL which I can easily use and drag things around to fix/update, etc. However, you don't wish to hear me rant about Adobe's poor business practices. I will just say that GL CS2 is running just fine on my Win 7 machine.  :-) A couple of other notes: every once in a while, GL will have some little thing cause a poison pill in the page template and the page will "explode." After that, it will take hours of work to track it down. Usually, stuff like this occurs when I do something stupid like trying to do a search and replace across the whole site. [back ups are your friend!]

Maybe this site isn't all moderny looking with translucent drop-down menus, but it was built that way on purpose. I have also tried to keep pukey, "1998-looking" backgrounds out and the coloring, although things are a bit gaudy, as this is what the Romans would have done. The menus and such use real Roman typefonts because I think that makes it feel more Roman. I'm weird. Deal with it.

Staff

About the Current Websitarius

VarianusMy name is Decimvs Mercativs Varianvs. I am a Roman Renactor and history buff, here in the United States. I am member of Legio IX Hispana East Coast. I run numerous historical websites and also make them for small groups and non-profits on the side (ask if you need one). I live in rural Pennsylvania and these days, sometimes working with electronic on board recording devices (e-logs for trucking) and I have some travel along the byways of the American roads—gives me time to think...

So First, I am a historical reenactor... DUH! I got into it originally doing OPFOR (Opposing Force training) for the U.S. Army as an unpaid volunteer--this hooked me up with other reenactors and I then got into WWI reenacting. This led to WWII and Rev War (a bit) and now, Roman reenacitng.

A bit about me now: I was the the long-time former editor of both my WWI unit's magazine and its webmaster, along with also being the editor of the GWA's (Great War Association) On the Wire for a while and their original webmaster. As it is now, I've been doing computer and electronic publishing for quite awhile now. I find it fun and challenging. I strive to make the sites I run a better resource for reenactors and historians around the world and to this end, we are always soliciting help. I say "We" because it is a collective venture...

I have two dogs and one cat with the wife having another two dogs on top of that. Hmmm, what else?

From and Where

A bit about me—like you care! Originally from the province of California, I have also lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia and, for a short while, in Alaska. I graduated from High School in 1982 and and not long after the graduation announcements I (like a fool) made the jump from high school to the U.S. Navy. I was stationed in Pensacola, FL for training and then in Key West, FL. It wasn't so hot... as much as Key West is associated with people like Jimmy Buffett and Ernest Hemingway, I found something else about it—Key West is weird! Not only is it the GAY capital of the South, they also have something called "Fantasy Fest" around Halloween and it's usually just one drunken party. It is also a really weird place to live. As you can imagine, all of this was quite a shock for a young kid from a little town out in the country (yes, there are country towns in California too)... Lots of head shops too, that we were supposed to be "off limits to us"—yeah right! Long ago.

Free at last, free at last, free at last!

After I got me outta the Navy ;-) I moved back to good old Cali for a couple of years and that is where I learned to be a "truck drivah" oooohhhhh.... a "contract mail driver" to be precise. An "oh-so-fun" job dealing with the Post Office and its minions. In 1986, I moved to the Washington D.C. area (actually Northern Virginia), where I continued to haul mail for a sucession of scumbags mail contractors (not all are bad, just many). Still drive too a lot, even though I am supposed to be in managment. Oh well, 'tis in the blood.

Living in the D.C. area, I also got to do a lot of fun things. The D.C. area is pretty neat and has a lot of great things to do—history, culture, etc. Sometimes I really miss it ;-( Of course, sometimes I don't either—taxes, traffic, too many people, loud,—all the time, no stars. Nor is it likely that my little town in Pennsylvania will be the target of a scumbag terrorist attack—perhaps a Mexican revolution or some kind of Amish junta, but terrorism—doubtful. Not a lot of idiot protestors here either... Anyway, tired of reading about me? I would be — if you're reading down this far into a very boring bio, well, you must care (or be my brother).

Research, Recipes and Proofreading

LentulusMarcvs Eqvitivs Lentvlvs does a lot of research on the Roman world, all the way from writing the first authentic drill manul on the subject, Tactica, to actually resraching and cooking Roman recipes. He is also a much better proof-reader than I and will be helping guide things along in a more authentic manner. We will be going through and trying to find citations for the recipes, as well as adding many more — soldier's recipes too.

Marcvs has been a Roman reenactor for about 20 years a a member of Legio XX, Legio IX and also is ont he staff at Clash of Iron.

Our Programming Wizard

I

oannes Pacaeus is our programming diety and it is thanks to his skill and knowledge that the site is now mobile-friendly and daily, becoming more efficient and easier to use. Ioannes Pacaeus demands that we adhere to standards and his heavy use of the cyber ruler upon our knuckles makes things better.

A coder and computer specialist, Pacaeus owns a business doing such work. He is currently building a system that willl embodie the things he has added to this site--especially ease of use for mobile standards and also in building sites.

About the Original Author and Websitarius Emeritus

Here is the info for Victius Maximus, our Websitarius Emeritus:

I am Victius Maximus the creator and original author of this website. Born in Harrow — just north of London — in 1953 and 6' 2" tall, I now live in Welwyn Garden City, which is near St. Albans, the site of Verulamium, the third largest town in Roman times.

By profession, I am a freelance computer systems designer/analyst/programmer and have travelled to many far flung places in the world both for the government and private companies.

Why this site was created

I first became interested in British Roman history while at school and became fascinated by the highly advanced society they built in this country

Living near Verulamium meant that I could study Roman history and have easy access to information on Roman life. As I began to delve into the details of Roman Britain, it soon became apparent that the Romans were as far advanced in all aspects of life as space aliens would be to us today.

As my knowledge of the Romans grew so did my desire to share this information with as any people as possible.

So in November 1999, I began work on this website. Firstly I wrote about British Roman history. Then I began to realise that there were very few books covering a wide range of topics about the Romans. Some covered the history, while others concentrated on the innovations the Romans brought to this country. I soon found the Internet was the most effective way to get as much information to as many visitors as possible.

In March 2000, the website became live via my free webspace. In March 2001, it moved from this temporary location to the official 'Romans in Britain' website you see today. It moved a couple more times before going away for a few years [and, as you can see, has moved twice more in recent years since its rebirth].

Currently this site consists of 470+ pages (more now).

Computer Geekery

Our Server

We are hosted on my main server (reenactor.Net) which is a "shared host"—we recently we moved to a new host and things are much better in that department. Anyway, I am not a wealthy person, so unless a lot of denarrii roll in, this is what we got.

Das Computer

It's now a core i5 w/ Win 10 Pro, 64 bit... lotsa RAM, solid state HD to boot on with a lot of main HD space (though quickly filling up) and some other crap—guess that will hold me for another coupla more years (we can hope). I DO have decent monitors, a nice 23" widescreen, skinny thingee (with a smaller one on the side). Too Kewl. Are ya tired o' my computer crap yet?

Software

Initially, I used Adobe PageMill 3.0 to lay out pages and build my sites—then I converted over to Adobe GoLive — first v.4.0, then v.5.0, v.6.0 and now GL CS2; a tool of the devil to learn, but a great program that Adobe killed way too early. Of course, since Adobe went and bought Macromedia, you know these dorks just HAD to go and kill GoLive in favor of Dreamweaver — hey, it's Adobe's way; buy something good, then abandon it. Will I convert to DW? I don't know—it's written for "code monkeys" and I ain't one... It's not really working with the new templates anyway, although GL does :-P Hell, I still love PageMaker (for doing print stuff), even though the evil Adobe dumped it YEARS AGO in favor of InDesign, which I am not as keen on, but stuck with. The photos and art are usually edited with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CorelDraw x4, also I occaisonally mess with Adobe Illustrator if I HAVE to (kicking and screaming and rarely) — I still like CorelDraw better. Microsoft Word is sometimes used for editing some pages and text (a LOT of the time to convert text that I have accidently typed in all-caps and don't wish to retype. Occasionally, Word is also used for converting documents that have been submitted, over to HTML format [this used to work real well, but now, it requires a bit more work.] And to this end, I am occasionally using Macromedia Dreamweaver CS6 to fix the Word conversions...and mess with coding, however, Dreamweaver sometimes REALLY messes up my GoLive pages, so it all takes tweaking. Maybe I'll use Dreamweaver for other stuff too, but that takes time to learn and change over and I really DO like GoLive! Last, GoLive has THE BEST site editing and maintenance tools ever—with a big site like this, it really is needed. I think we have over 20 page templates and at least that many different page components such as navigation bars... The templates and components, mean that if we update one element, say a menu, or navbar, it automatically does it across all the pages that use that component ;-Þ Last, Ioannes Pacaeus, has made me start using Notepad++ for code work and it DOES seem to work pretty well for that, having some good tools for manipulating the code. Whatever works, we use it.

Hand Codery

I also now do some HTML code editing, thanks to a class I took at Sierra College back in the daythanks Stan (and my friend John too)! However, coding by hand is a true pain in the arse and it makes it hard to lay stuff out and see what it looks like. I use it for tweakiing things and adding things like the "drop cap" you see on some pages. The Notepad++ really helps with this too. BTW, I know this reallykind of information IS kind of boring unless you're a web geek. Maybe I'll make a blog to go with this site, I dunno. I am real bad about keeping blogs updated—just too much to do now. I need a secretary.

What we're doing

We have been updating pages as we go with newer, better, more updated information. Better art/photos, etc. More to come, really! A whole new medical section with info about, and art, of the herbs and medicinal plants that Roman doctors used. Soon a new page on how the Romans painted all their statues and buildings. Something to read :-) Lots of updates on the Roman military area too, We learn more lost info about the Romans all the time. Literally every month more photos and info and art comes online. Info should be free.

So anyway, now, we're moving forward. Check back often and let us know what you think. For now, use this e-mail addy: varianus@romanobritain.org

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