Most people associate Ancient Rome with its disciplined and deadly army, and its bloodthirsty gladiatorial games. A visit to the Fishbourne Roman Palace on the weekend, 14 and 15 July, offers an opportunity to see re-enactors demonstrate how such combat skills where honed through practicing ancient sports.
Like our modern athletes, ancient soldiers and gladiators found themselves with a chance to become rich and famous. This special event will give the re-enactors from the Legion II Augusta, one of Europe’s pre-eminent re-enactment groups, the opportunity to put their sporting prowess to the test. Who knows? Maybe they will find favour and glory in the cheers of the spectators. They will certainly encourage some of the younger visitors to step into the ring themselves.
Each day the programme of demonstrations runs from 11am to 4pm and include sports training, army drills and gladiatorial bouts explained by historical interpreters. Alongside, the re-enactors’ Roman village will offer an insight into Roman life. A range of hands-on activities including discus, ‘chariot’ racing, food tasting and much more will be on offer for all the family, making this a fun-day out, regardless of the weather.
Palace Director, Jaane Rowehl, says “This event is a first for us. In the past, we have held fabulous gladiator shows and excellently drilled army displays. This year is special, however. In honour of the London Games we will combine the two – and make the important link to show how ancient sports lay at the heart of both: survival in the arena, and on the battlefield.”
David Richardson from the Legion II Augusta added “We are very much looking forward to entertaining the crowds at Fishbourne Roman Palace. From the diet of Roman fighters to the curious medical treatments they may have endured, our re-enactors will give visitors a unique insight into life in the Roman Empire.”
Fishbourne Roman Palace dates back to the beginning of Roman occupation in Britain and offers visitors of all ages a unique chance to look back in time. Uncovered in 1960, the north wing of this remarkable building remains an important visitor attraction and archaeological site for anyone interested in learning more about Roman art and architecture.
Join Sussex Past or the Friends of Fishbourne Roman Palace to receive free admission to the site and all special events. For more information, please see website for details. The palace is accessible with ramps. Assistance dogs welcome.
Published 9th July 2012
All news stories