This summer, you don’t need a TARDIS to go travelling through time - just head down to Wroxeter Roman City on any Tuesday in August and you will meet a soldier who has stepped out of his own time to visit the 21st century at English Heritage’s ‘Time Travellers Go… Roman’!
“If ever there was a place to learn how to be a soldier in the Roman army, Wroxeter has to be it, as this is precisely what would have happened here during its foundation as a legionary fortress,” says English Heritage’s regional events manager, Tom Course. “The Roman army would recruit local people to boost their numbers, often taking young children to bring up within the strong disciplinary regime of the army, turning them into members of history’s most effective fighting force – although they were often shipped overseas to do their training, as the Romans did not want a local uprising!”
English Heritage’s Roman Time Traveller will be either be the centurion Titus, or his Optio (first officer), Valens, depending on who can be freed from their own troops back in the second century AD! Children will have the chance to try on helmets and armour – including the famous crested helmet, and take part in Roman drill training.
If the discipline of being a rank and file soldier does not appeal, then young visitors can join Gladiator training – learning the unique skills required to compete in gladiatorial combat. However, unlike their Roman ancestors, today’s trainees will use foam swords and plastic spears and tridents to ensure that no-one becomes the victim of a ‘thumbs turned’ ruling by the presiding senator or emperor, which would bring an end to the life of the losing combatant.
The event runs every Tuesday during August from 11am to 5pm, with Wroxeter Roman City itself open daily from 10am. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/wroxeter.
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