Want to live like a Roman? This historical rowing cruise on the Danube has you covered

An unusual ship will set sail in November 2022 on the Danube River in Europe. Well, unusual for our times, at least. A Roman rowing and sailing ship built just like the ones in late antiquity will start its journey in Bavaria, and sail down the Danube all the way to the Black Sea in Romania.

A reconstructed navis lusoria at the Museum of Ancient Seafaring, Mainz.

For centuries, the Romans ruled vast swaths of Europe, Africa, and western Asia. Their maritime prowess was unrivaled and has fascinated historians for centuries. But no matter how many Roman documentaries you watch, it’s still kind of hard to imagine what they lived like, or what a journey would have been in Roman times. Well now, you can experience that firsthand.

Thanks to a project supported by the Donau-Universität Krems, you can embark on a Roman adventure. “Danuvina Alacris”, a modern reconstruction of a “Lusoria” type roman ship, is taking volunteers. Lusoria ships were small military vessels of the late Roman Empire that served as troop transport. They once roamed the Danube River guarding the boundary between the roman empire and the “barbarian” wasteland beyond what the Romans called “barbaricum”.

The ship itself was built with special care as to resemble Roman ships as much as possible. The Lusoria ships were nimble on the river waters, but whenever they couldn’t sail properly, they would also rely on strong rowers. The 2022 Roman Cruise will also require participants to pull in some rowing work when necessary.

“Our ship named “Danuvia Alacris” will cover about 40 km a day which, will be rowed and partially sailed, if possible. The crew, which will consist of about 18-20 rowers and a leadership team of 4-5 people, will have an international composition, so the language on the ship will be English,” the project announcement page reads.

It won’t just be going from point A to point B — the organizers announced a series of events around the cruise. In addition, you’ll be living as close to Roman times as possible.

“The crew will change approximately every second week; they will row in Roman clothes (tunic, shoes, etc.). In addition, there will be smaller to larger festivals and interested visitors at the stops of the ship.”

The organizers are still looking for volunteers that will rotate out of the crew ever two weeks. The project will start on July 15th and is expected to end in October 2022. Registrations are now open, for more information check out the official announcement page.

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