Wheeled Conveyances in Eastern Rome

Methods of travel have been on my mind a good bit lately for the 10th Century. I have seen documentation for vardos for very late in the SCA period and after, but long have wondered if something similar existed for my period and for the Eastern Romans.

A kind person sent me to a webpage that gives links to documents that show wagons of various sorts. Many examples from illuminations and carvings of wagons during the medieval period but not from my 10th century Byzantine. Still, it is a start and there ARE examples of wagons from before the 10th century. From that page of many links, the one link that caused me to get very excited is this one: Roman Traction Systems. Go look, it is an information dense page!

So, the Romans were not restricted to two wheeled conveyances only! There is a tiny bit of evidence that they had quite a good design for a comfortable wagon to carry people. This means there is the possibility of something period and similar to the later Vardo.

I am glad to see that research is moving in this direction because it simply never made sense to me that the people who could build the aquaducts, bathhouses, public buildings, temples and later Cathedrals, were actually unable to make a 4 wheeled conveyance with a pivoting front axel!

What this means for me is that I could build something to tow to SCA events that could be period, and comfortable, and hide away the modern medical items and the battery bank for running them at night, and even hide a modern RV style tank system, so I could be comfortable at events and not have to be able to set up my own tent. Drive up, drop the wagon, unload what isn’t in the wagon already, and go park the car and become my persona for the weekend.

Oh yes, this would take some doing, but it would be so much fun to have!


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