Home Page Roman Empire
Picture Index
Picture Index Page
Children's Section
Childrens Section

Roman Reenactors at Birdoswald
Legio VIII Augusta
'Invasion of the Celts at Banna'
Birdoswald Roman Fort, 4th August 2001

Legio VIII Augusta
Army Reenactment

Another Outing for the Webmaster

Reenactors are always popular on this site and hence I made my way into the wild borderlands between England and Scotland to photograph a Roman event at the Fort of Birdoswald, known to the Romans as Banna.

But the gods were not merciful with their Roman subjects on this weekend. It rained, it drizzled, it poured, it even hailed at one point ! :-)
So trying to get some useful photographs out of this mayhem was tricky to say the least. But one did one's best and I hope that the results are enjoyable.

bus-01.jpg - 34880 Bytes
A good way to travel along Hadrian's Wall is the 'Hadrian's Wall Bus' which stops at all the major sites between Carlisle and Newscastle. Note the Bus' number; AD122, the year in which one assumes the wall was begun.

model-01.jpg - 21865 Bytes
A model of the fort in its full glory in the little museum adjoining the site.

east-gate-01.jpg - 30355 Bytes grannary-01.jpg - 40646 Bytes
Left: The east gate of the fort is the best preserved gatehouse along the wall.
Right: The wellpreserved remains of the grannaries, help to highlight the importance of grain to the Roman army.

standing-02.jpg - 43506 Bytes
A Roman detachment being inspected by their optio.

wicker-shield-pila.jpg - 38807 Bytes
basket.jpg - 25427 Bytes
With them the Roman reenactors brought not only their regular armour, but also someof the training equipment. Right: the practice wicker shield cradeling some pila, above the wooden swords used in practice.

inside-02.jpg - 36168 Bytes rest-01.jpg - 42389 Bytes
It isn't all just fighting when a re-enactment group like the VIII Augusta comes to town.
On the left: Roman civilians explain details of everyday life in Roman times.
On the right: A little outdoor canteen run by a veteran, offers snacks and refreshments to the paying soldiers.

celt-01.jpg - 32128 Bytes celt-02.jpg - 32326 Bytes celt-05.jpg - 29635 Bytes
But all is not well in Roman Britain. A Celtic chieftain with a few of his tribe is causing no end of trouble.
In an initial battle, which took part in a thunderstorm, and which I couldn't photograph as my camera would have drowned, the barbarians actually managed to defeat the Romans and even carried away their standard.

celt-04.jpg - 25867 Bytes head-01.jpg - 25756 Bytes
Once on the battlefield, the explained the a few things about his Celts. As you can tell he had dressed for battle in a looted Roman armour.
Right: Proof, if it were needed, of just which side are the barbarians. The Celts carried with them a couple of (plastic) heads on sticks.

priest-01.jpg - 36578 Bytes march-01.jpg - 29688 Bytes
Meanwhile the Romans hold a religious ceremony, asking the gods to aid them in battle, before marching out to go and face the Celtic troublemakers.

battle-02.jpg - 34475 Bytes battle-01.jpg - 35421 Bytes
The two sides line up roaring their rage at each other. Note the conquered Roman vezillum standard held by the Celts. Also note that with the Celts the womenfolk too would often be part of the fighting force.

battle-03.jpg - 35160 Bytes battle-04.jpg - 37968 Bytes
First the Roman send in their auxiliaries, to throw the enemy into disorder before heavy legionaries advance their line.
Soon after, the battle is well underway. Note how the Celts are aiming their lances at the legs of the Roman soldier on the right. Due to the protection awarded by Roman armour, the opponent has to pick his point of attack.

standing-01.jpg - 43652 Bytes
The battle is crowned by Roman victory. But the cost in lives was high and only few 'survivors' return to their base.

wall-01.jpg - 30776 Bytes And so, after a good while of hanging around with rain-soaked Romans, I head back home, leaving behind me the ancient wall, snaking its way through the rugged countryside.
A big thanks to Birdoswald Roman Fort, the Celts and the Legio VIII Augusta !

The Webmaster

Should you care to see a little more of Birdoswald Fort you can always check out the separate page on this site about my visit to the fort itself, rather than this event.

Birdoswald Fort
Army Reenactment

Home Page Roman Empire
Picture Index
Picture Index Page
Children's Section
Childrens Section