The Museum of the Ancient Roman Soldier opens for its first major exhibition this weekend at the Karpeles Library Manuscript Museum in downtown Santa Barbara.
The exhibit will showcase artifacts related to the daily life of Roman soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd century B.C. to the 2nd and 3rd century A.D. The museum is holding a public reception Saturday from 12-4 p.m., free of charge.
Director and curator Dr. L. Arik Greenberg said the exhibit demonstrates the many ties between our culture and the ancient Roman way of life.
“People tend to forget that a lot of our western culture owes its heritage to ancient Rome,” Greenberg said. “The American legal system, government system and a lot of language originated in Ancient Rome. The artifacts on display include swords and daggers [and also picture] other times relating to daily life [such as] terra cotta tiles made by legions during peace time. It’s important that we remember this and in a lot of ways it is something that unites us.”
The museum worked alongside Legion Six, a reenactment group dedicated to educating and entertaining with historically accurate recreations, to establish the Roman soldier display. According to Greenberg, the museum intends to find a steady home for the exhibit and continue holding reenactments.
“Our goal is to establish a permanent location in Southern California — it would be like a colonial Williamsburg but of ancient Rome,” Greenberg said. “Who would not want a whole reconstructed fort that you could go play in? We’re trying to appeal to the aspect of fun.”
The exhibit will remain on display in the museum until it finds a permanent home.