Friends, Romans, Countrymen - The 2011 Roman Festival - 5th July 2011

Last year we invited the Roman legions back to celebrate the 16th centenary of the Roman evacuation of the province. There were military parades, gladiatorial fights and combat demonstrations by the soldiers. It was ably led by Graham Harris who used his natural talents as a showman to keep us all well entertained.


This year on the weekend of 23rd and 24th July, Graham and his troops will be back and there will be an even bigger and better show, including a cavalry display by riders who can shoot with bow and arrow from the saddle.


But the purpose of the show is to share the whole Roman experience and give a taste of a very exciting period in world history – not just fights and combat.


Tents will be laid out as they would have been when the legions were on campaign, and people will be able to see how the troops lived.  We also have a professional archaeologist who will take conducted tours round the site, and there will be archaeological exhibits on display.


The Romans were a great people, and Malton/Norton was once the Roman town of  Derventio. The earthworks of the old Roman Fort are still there. So Malton/Norton is privileged to have a close connection to the Roman era, and there will be a Roman heritage tent with displays on Roman history, literature and civilisation. This was very popular last year.


Roman history and literature abounds with a galaxy of good and bad characters - politicians, dictators, emperors, heroes and lovers. These include Julius Caesar who conquered France but failed to take Britain, Nero who sang while Rome burned, Hadrian who built the Wall, the philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius and his dissolute son, Commodus, who fancied himself as a gladiator.


Roman Britain outlasted the Roman occupation and includes St. Patrick and King Arthur.


The Romans were a practical people and their heritage lives on with us today. Their contribution to modern life is something we take for granted, often without realising where it all came from. For example, they founded the cities we still live in; they built roads we still use; their calendar is still in use today, and they invented the Roman alphabet which is our alphabet and is so versatile and adaptable that it is used all over the world for all kinds of languages, and is so well suited for computers – the ultimate modern use.

This will be an excellent show, full of entertainment and interest for the whole family. It is not to be missed.


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