“For those of us about to leaflet, we salute you!”
Some of you may have noticed the last few days that I’ve been wearing a – different kind of uniform recently. Something a bit more, shall we say, Romanesque!
Yup! All last week (various days in July) I was parading as my Roman alter ego – Beanius Leafletus! Centurion of Canterbury Museums First Cohort!
To recruit as many as I can to our cause – by handing out leaflets to passers by and letting them know about the Roman Museum!
Some of you may remember when we did the Star Wars exhibition; I dressed up as Darth Vader and wandered around the businesses of Canterbury to drum up some business for the exhibition – which was a lifelong dream for me as I had always dreamt of dressing up as Darth Vader. So when I was approached about the possibility of dressing up again, I had to think about it – for about a microsecond!
Strange as it may seem, the idea of dressing up like a Roman soldier was actually something that appealed to me. The Roman Empire is one of my favourite interests of history. So much so that I even used the Roman Empire as an inspiration in one of my Fantasy novels.
I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I am fascinated by them. The fact they held so much of the world under their control at some point shows what a great military force they were – as a Republic, Empire and Kingdom (something I only just found out myself in the last few years). Their military precision and defensive strategies were second to none at the time and how they were able to control the battle in their favour by letting the enemy come to them.
One of my favourite stories about Roman battles is one of the final battles against the Boudica armies. The Romans were outnumbered at least five to one, but they were able to win by holding a tight formation, letting the Celts come to them and then pushing them forward and slowly crushing them. Discipline and strength was something that came naturally to them.
Not only that, but we owe a lot to the Romans in UK and Canterbury is no exception. Roads, sanitation, education, fashion, fast food – you name it the Roman’s probably gave it to us! So I feel that by dressing up in this way, I am honouring my ancestors and masters. But there is another reason I dress up as a Roman soldier, other than to wonder what it would be like in this sort of get up. For me, the Roman Museum is a wonderful place full of great artefacts and history – and the fact that so many customers have complained they had trouble finding it is a crying shame to me. So anything that I can do to promote this wonderful museum and it’s amazing staff (to the Roman staff reading this, you can pay me that Two Hundred Denari later! 😉 ) then I will.
And I like to see it as a way of having fun distributing leaflets. Some may find handing out leaflets to members of the public kinda monotonous, but this I think adds an element of fun to it. It’s one thing to talk about a museum – but to SHOW the public how cool history can be is another thing. Even if people just want to take a picture of you (and a lot of people do) then it’s worth it.
Beanius Leafletus will be making many more appearances in the future – look out for me this August as I parole the streets of Canterbury again!
Anything I can do to promote The Roman Museum (or for that matter ANY of our great museums) then I will! After all, as the old saying goes – when in Canterbury, do what the Romans would have done!
Written by Daniel Wright, Visitor Service Officer, Canterbury Museums & Galleries
You can find out more about Canterbury Roman Museum here