Ancient fashion show, gladiatorial combat thrill crowds at April 25th Rutgers Day


“Some 50,000 people braved Route 18 traffic and funneled onto free buses for the first-ever ‘Rutgers Day,’ an event that folded the already popular New Jersey Folk Festival and Ag Field Day into one massive, multi-campus event, adding hundreds of activities, from sports and cooking classes to science demonstrations and cultural programs.” So reports yesterday’s Star-Ledger, of the 25 April Rutgers Day mega-event.

And of course, Rutgers Classics was (quite literally) at the center of it all, on the steps and lawn of Brower Commons on the RU College Avenue Campus.

For the occasion, NYC designer Jessica Deschamps created from scratch a drop-dead line of Mycenaean, Greek & Roman couture for Rutgers student models. Plus a number of RU students, alumni/ae and friends rocked their own creations on a scarlet runway extending a full 60 Roman feet (some of those feet being vertical).

rdstudent1A sampling of original ancient designs by Jessica Deschamps

And that was just for starters. The men and women of the amazing Ludus Magnus Gladiatores, the planet’s top gladiatorial reenactment team, also more than made the scene, performing all day on the runway and-fully armed and swinging—in a makeshift arena. Members of Legio XX (Washington DC) and Legio XXIV (Philadelphia) further pumped up the authenticity factor.



An astonished crowd viewed five shows in all—including a jaw-dropping 1 PM gladiatorial “Live Steel” match, all in 84 degree weather. DJ Korenelius (a.k.a. Rutgers Classics acting chair T. Corey Brennan) spun the tunes and emceed the proceedings. The only thing missing, as one spectator observed, was a lion or two.


Thanks especially to the Sisters of the Rutgers Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority; NYC designer Jessica Deschamps; RU Classics assistant professor (and Undergraduate Director) Timothy Power and Administrator Kathryn Neal; Mr. Brian Beyer and the Latin students of Montgomery (NJ) High School, who made all the props for the day; RU Classics grad student Amy Bernard and the students of Green Brook (NJ) Middle School; Creative Director William Whelan (d-stroy advertising); and John J. Ebel Esq. plus each of the other men and women of LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES.

Representing Rutgers (directly or indirectly) on the runway: Nicholas and Samuel Brennan; Victoria Carey’11; Diane Cerulli’09; Stephanie Chevanne; Alissa Coyne’09; Anastasia D’Amico’09; Rosemary Devine’12; Shayna Faraday’11; Cherrie Francisco’10; Ashley Garrison’09; Nathan Goldin’11; Mehreen Ismail’11; Stephanie Johnson’10; Robert Jordan’11; Jad Kaado’09; Niki Kothari’11; Avantika Khullar’10; Christen Marcinek; Kathleen Mullen’09; Rowena Errazo Naeseth’95 with Allen, Emma and Tyler Naeseth; Jennifer Perez’10; Christen Rafuse’10; Alexandra Sigona; Etel Sverdlov’10; Lirra Tolentino’10; and Mariame Zaid’11.

All these and many others were wonderfully helpful in making happen this fashion show and gladiatorial exhibition—a combination perhaps unique in world history.



For more images—and a three minute video—of the RU Classics Throwdown at Rutgers Day, look further…







And now, for our feature presentation….

4 responses to “Ancient fashion show, gladiatorial combat thrill crowds at April 25th Rutgers Day

  1. Corey and all our friends at Rutgers U.:

    It was our privilege and pleasure to entertain and appear on Rutgers Day. Corey, outstanding job on the coordination and rockin’ music, and the ladies all looked glorious and beautiful beyond one’s wildest Roman dreams. We hope that we “won your crowd,” and look forward to doing it again soon.

    A nice lady named Alexandra inquired about us appearing at the Middle School she teaches at. I gave her my cards, but in the confusion and frenetic pace of the day, I did not get her info. If anyone out there has it, or if Alexandra reads this, please contact me at this e-mail address

    Strength and Honor,
    John J. Ebel, Esq.
    Summus Palus, Ludus Magnus Gladiatores

  2. The Ludus Magnus Gladiatores Reenactor’s group would like to thank the Classics Department, and its acting Chair, our friend and colleague, Prof. T. Corey Brennan, for his excellent work in coordinating this event. What more could a modern Roman ask for? Gorgeous Roman ladies, and handsome gladiators engaged in ferocious combat. It was an honor to attend, be of service to Rutgers University, and to “win the crowd!” Strength and Honor!
    John “Mad Maximus” Ebel, Summus Palus

  3. If anyone out there can get me in touch with Alexandra Sigona, she is depicted above honoring the Great Maximus with her patronage by affixing her scarf to my sword arm before my deadly “live steel” bout. Alexandra expressed interest in having us perform at the local Middle School where she teaches, and while Igave her my cards, I was unable to get a contact number or e-mail for her in the frenetic pace of this exciting day. If anyone who knows Alexandra can get me her e-mail, or, in the alternative, be sure to forward this to her, I would appreciate it.

    John “Mad Maximus” Ebel
    Summus Palus, Ludus Magnus Gladiatores Group

  4. Pingback: Love and Strife at Rutgers Day 2010 |

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