Impedimenta, Furca, Sarcina, Marching pack

Here is my Furca, with some shots of the kit bag, details on my loculus, some info on assembling the pack, and photos of the elements. As we don’t exactly know what how the pack elements all worked, and what was included, this is based on the work of many re-enactors, and of course Trajans column. Some Romans feel the pack should include 2 sudis and 2 pilum, and the whole bundle is tied together. To me it appears that neither Connolly nor Junkelmann seem to feel that way, and also, if you are only carrying your furca in one hand, and two pilum in the other, in an attack you can easily discard the furca and have your pilum ready to go. Then all you have to worry about is getting your shield loose. If your pilum are tied up with a bunch of other sticks, it’s not so accessible. I prefer to believe that the sudis went with the tent- on the mule, Junkelmann style. A new interesting bit of research has been conducted by Tim Edwards of LEG II AUGUSTA in Britain. It involves using the carry pole without the cross bar, based a close re-examination of the depictions on Trajans Column. It is detailed here. Their Website is best viewed with Internet Explorer, not Firefox. As time permits, I will experiment with this myself, and add the results to this page.
Here is the pack in use. The kit bag is hidden behind the loculus.
Here is my furca stripped down. It is made of 1 7/8″ pine doweling. The vertical piece is 5′ or 60″ and the cross bar is 24″. I have leather sewn tightly over the section that rests against the shoulder because the armour plates are pretty rough on the wood. In this case, leather is in two pieces because the first one was too short. I believe a better wood choice would be ash, but I had this on hand. The dowels are notched out at the joint about 1/3 of the thickness. I have a large wood screw holding it together, then it is tightly wrapped with a leather thong. A more period correct connect would be a pin that is peened over on each end.
The thong tied on the cross bar is for tying the sagum/blanket. The hobnails keep the rings of the loculus from sliding too far in, and the groove at each end of the cross bar allows you to tie something at the tip without it sliding off the ends.
I put a groove wherever I want to tie something securely. This keep the thing from slipping up or down, and I can leave the thongs on the pole without losing them.
The red cord is used to illustrate how I attach items I wish to hang on the furca. By going up inside the loculus ring, and coming out over the top to hook around the end the cross bar, I can easily hang and detach an item without resorting to tying knot. It also alleviates any worry of the item falling off. Of course I don’t use bright cord for anything.
The kit bag. I use this bag to carry my panula, any extra clothes I want. It would be effective for hiding modern gear as well. I made mine from a deerskin, but obviously goat or calf would be better. The drawstring is simply run through a series of punched holes, and the hang ties are connected to small leather tabs that are sewn to the bag. The seam runs down the end, and across the bottom to the opening. It is 25″ long and 15″ wide.
The kind of things one might carry in the kit bag- tunica, udones, panula, subligaculum…
My loculus. It is made of thin cowhide, glued and stitched. I basically used Matt Amt’s directions and pattern which can be found here: LEGIO XX under Packs. I purchased the the knob ring form Raymond’s Quiet Press here: Raymond’s Quiet Press go to Roman, and select item RB17. You can also find some good loculus info here at LEG IX Hispana’s web site: go to gear, then loculus. It is 18″ wide, 12″ tall and has a thickness 1″.
This and the next picture show how I attached the ring strap. It may be overkill. You can also see how the cross straps end, and the allowance on the cover flap for the thickness of the loculus.
From the inside.
This odd angle is from the bottom corner, and shows the thickness and much of the strap arrangement. I have seen some loculus with the cross straps loose, but they seem to catch on everything that way.
I initially did not have this handle strap, but you can see it pretty clearly on Trajans column, so I added it and I’m glad I did. It is sized to hang over the center pole of the furca, and completely prevents the loculus rings from ever sliding off either end, without having to tie them thereby making the whole thing for efficient.
Here is the buckle on the loculus strap. The strap comes in handy when you need the loculus, but not the furca. I made this buckle out of a few brass scraps.
Here are some items I occasionally carry in the loculus. A general purpose cloth, knife, spoon (totally wrong style- it’s Elizabethan) extra thong, cloth bags for food items, wooden bowl, leather bag which holds tissues, powder, foam band aids, handi-wipes, medicine, etc.
This is my net bag. After several frustrating attempts to make a net bag, my wife offered to crochet one for me. While it is not technically “net”, a loose crochet in linen string produces a bag that looks very much like those on Trajans column. This could be used for food, a water skin, or a water bottle…
For extra water, I made a leather bag big enough to hold a 1 liter water bottle.
Another picture of the assembled kit.