The Roman Empire comes alive for Shannon Winslow

Imagine a Roman legion, which in early Rome was comprised of roughly 6,000 men, camping in your backyard. WLC may not have hosted an entire legion, but students learned how historical reenactments can make history come alive when Legio XIV, a Roman army reenactment group, was invited to campus in September 2006.

Dr. Glen Thompson, WLC professor of history, treated the college to this taste of an ancient civilization, and his research assistant, Shannon Winslow, history ’08, helped him organize the event. “Dr. Thompson approached me and a friend of mine,” explains Winslow. “He knew that I was interested in reenactments, and I’d taken his Rome and Her Empire class.”

Winslow spent months working with Thompson preparing for the legionnaires. She was responsible for helping the group become acquainted with campus, inviting local teachers and school groups, and making sure the events during the encampment ran smoothly. “Once we saw all of the tents set up and the men in uniform, we felt like all of the work was worth it,” says Winslow.

Members of the Legion camped on the grounds, dressed in full costume and discussed armor, weaponry, legionary structure, camp life and the history of Legion XIV with WLC students, community members and more than 300 area high school students invited to the event. In addition, WLC theatre students acted out three acts from two Roman plays, and area professors lectured on the history of Rome.

“This was the closest we would get to seeing the Roman army,” says Winslow. “We could see it and experience it.”