What were the Romans, and the natives they conquered, actually like? Hear stories from typical citizens, some of which are illustrated with photos of Roman re-enactors:
Gaius the Potter
“I travelled from Gaul with my skill in my hands and a cartload pots; pots for the army, pots for the locals. Wherever the road leads and the Emperor’s coin holds good, I can make my living.”
Mascius the Decurion
"I am a Batavian, from the Netherlands, stationed at Vindolanda in command of a turma (squadron) of cavalrymen.
When scouting beyond the frontier, I once sent a message to my Commanding Officer Cerialis asking for more beer. We like our home comforts!"
Maximus the Centurion
“I’ve travelled the breadth of the Empire and thought I’d seen it all, but these wretched Britons with their haunted woods and barbaric customs are hard to stomach.”
This soldier has quite a story to tell! Read more in Maximus the Centurion (PDF)
Muriel the Herbalist
“Tickle your taste buds, lighten your hair, send you a lover or soothe your soul; there’s nothing that can’t be remedied by my premium herbal preparations.”
Learn all about the aspirations of Muriel the Herbalist (PDF)
Nest the Weaver
“The only way I’m going to visit Roma will be as a spinning and weaving slave. So I’m going to slip away to my home in the hills and see what happens. Mind you, some of these soldiers could do with new tunics and warm cloaks.”
Shamus the Wise Man
“Don’t talk to me about those Romans. They're destroying our way of life and calling it peace! Mind you, I don’t object to a handful of juicy dates washed down by a beaker of fine wine.”
Decide for yourself whether Shamus deserves his title in Shamus the Wise Man (PDF)
Sulwyn the Bronzesmith
“My family has been working metal for generations. Our swords and spears were well respected throughout the lands of the Brigantes. Now these Romans have arrived everything has changed.”
Would you have agreed with Sulwyn the Bronzesmith (PDF)?
Tagomas the Standard Bearer
"I'm a Vardullian, from northern Spain. I'm stationed at Vindolanda and mentioned in two tablets. In one I'm buying lances. The other is an account for 'the messmate of the standard bearer Tagomas'. My girlfriend is always running up bills!"
Victor the Auxiliary
“I’ve been there, seen it, done it, worn the tunic and carried the standard. Now I’m saving for a proper retirement. I’ve my eye on a local woman and fancy settling down and opening a taverna.”
Victor the cavalryman
"I am named in the Vindolanda Tablets as 'Victor the Hunter'. I am a Vardullian from Northern Spain. My horse is called Regalis. I am part of the largest cavalry regiment on Hadrian's Wall, the ala Petriana.
I share a room with two fellow soldiers. We have to keep all our kit with us and it's bit crowded, especially as our three horses live in the front room!"
Want to find out more?
The characters illustrated by the Roman reenactors are from just one section of The Eagles Have Landed teaching resource.
You can find out more about Victor, Mascius, Tagomas and his fellow cavalrymen in our Hadrian's Cavalry section.