John McCullagh May 9, 2008
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My wife and I visited Chester City last year as part of a tour.  It was a lovely September day …


and the City was as beautiful as we were told it would be.  The Cathedral was magnificent and thronged with people, as was the main shopping area.  We thought we would get away from the crowds and went to have a look at the Roman ruins.

 We arrived just as a pageant was taking place, about Chester during the Roman occupation with actors taking part dressed as Roman soldiers and gladiators. They were in the uniforms and costumes of the Roman Empire:  well at least dressed like the Roman soldiers and gladiators in the film ‘The Gladiator.’ They all looked very impressive: the soldiers in their uniforms with their shields, what looked like pikes, defending their Standard and obeying the orders of the Centurion, marching back and forth accompanied by a small boy blowing something like a horn. They had the look of men who would die for Rome if called upon to do so.

 The gladiators were going through their paces with their tripods, knives and nets. They were fighting each other but not putting in the final blow. They looked like the vicious killers they were supposed to be.  We were told by a guide that the gladiators were only practicing before going to the Coliseum to fight to the death and that the soldiers were there to make sure that they did not flee before the fight.

 Most of the visitors thought it was great a spectacle but, of course, you had the usual young people shouting,

‘I’m Spartacus!

No, I’m Spartacus!

No, He’s Spartacus!

No, she’s Spartacus!’

 The time came for the gladiators and soldiers to go from the ruins and parade into Chester City. The Centurion gave the order and away they marched out through the old gates and up a hill towards the city centre.  We thought they looked so fierce as they marched along that if anything got in their way it would be brushed aside like a fly.

However, those thoughts disappeared when they came to a set of traffic lights.

We watched as the Centurion pressed the button and the mighty Roman soldiers and gladiators waited for the green man before crossing the road!

 

 … durex …

 

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