Rutgers Day is now less than three weeks away—Saturday 25 April to be specific, in New Brunswick. It’s billed as a free “family, friendly, fun exhibition of all of the things we do at Rutgers–our teaching, our research, and our service to the state of New Jersey.” Learn all about Rutgers Day here.
As everyone in the Garden State should know by now, Rutgers Classics is hosting a Greek and Roman fashion show for that day. It’s set to dominate the very center of the College Avenue Campus, on the steps of Brower Commons—with a red carpet runway extending 60 Roman feet.
Designer Jessica Deschamps has been working around the clock on a drop-dead line of Roman couture. And at a recent fitting, some of Rutgers’ top ancient models practiced their fiercest runway moves to a thumping DJ Korenelius soundtrack. On Rutgers Day itself there will be four five shows in all: 10.30 11.00 AM, and 12.00, 1.00 (gladiator gala!), 1.30 2.00, and 3.00 PM.
But hold onto your seat. Also featured that day will be none other than—Ludus Magnus Gladiatores. For a glimpse into their story (and an amazing video by James Duffy) click here.
The Ludus Magnus Gladiatores is an AD 87 Roman reenacting group based mostly in NY and NJ. There are only a few such gladiatorial units in America. But these folks also happen to be the best in the nation, perhaps in the world. [I’m hardly going to argue with that—Ed.]
Founded in 2003, the members of the Ludus Magnus Gladiatores are all heavily invested in creating near-perfect reproduction Roman arena gear. And then they fight each other in full combat, with impeccable gladiatorial technique. The swords are wooden—just like in the old Roman Ludus Magnus, or gladiatorial training school. Everything else is very real.
“When we dress and engage, we are from the first century AD”, says Summus Palus (and founder and leader) John J. Ebel, Esq. of East Hampton NY. “Our civilian ladies and ‘Vestal Virgins’ are also perfect in impressions, as are the younger children, who also participate, in clothing appropriate to the time….All of my gang are coming [to Rutgers Day], and I mean full attendance.”
The Ludus Magnus aims—as it says on its daunting Membership Application Form—“to educate the public about the reality of gladiatorial combat, training, and lifestyle, as well as dispel many of the widely-held myths and misconceptions about this fascinating aspect of antiquity”. Oh, and put on a jaw-dropping show that will complement and enhance the high fashion event of the last two millennia.
It’s probably never happened before in history, ancient or modern. A blazing Greek & Roman fashion show matched with hyper-authentic gladiatorial combat. Excited? Intrigued? Click here to join the Facebook group RU Classics Greek & Roman Fashion Show @ Rutgers Day 4.25.09. And stay tuned to this blog for more details as they emerge in the (few) weeks to come.