Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturnalia: Chester, December 19th 2013

Last Thursday Roman legionnaires took over the city again.  We heard them first along Pepper Street

marching through the 'Newgate' (an Anglo-Saxon edifice south of the Roman wall).  Musicians in bearskins led the men away from the ruins of the amphitheatre - this was not a night for fighting-

for them to assemble in the blue glow of the Cruise nightclub on St John's Street

before marching back through the Eastgate onto the site of a real Roman road, the via principalis, nowadays known as Eastgate Street

with its appropriately-named shop illuminating a modern-day Bella Italia.

The soldiers were called to order

under the regard of a well-chosen caesar

their torches lit

the great god Saturn proclaimed

and the Lord of Misrule (captured on camera by Hodmandod Senior)

 ('Watch out, he's mad!) released to the crowds

and the procession of soldiers,

Romans and barbarians continued to the cross and the via praetoria (Bridge Street) for the start of the feasting.

This was the last of the Christmas processions though the streets of Chester.  Now that the keys of the city have been transferred in the Winter Watch, the streets lit in the lantern parade and even the Roman god appeased, the citizens of Chester are free to enjoy Christmas in peace.


Blogger Jud said...

My birthday coincides with the first day of the feast of Saturnalia. It looks to have been a wondrous night, Clare!

Tue Jan 07, 07:51:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

It is indeed, Jud! Maybe you could celebrate your birthday Saturnalia-style one day!

Tue Jan 07, 10:33:00 pm  

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