Soldiers from the Deva Victrix 20th Legion will be taking back control of their city on Thursday December 14. Chester will return to Roman rule for one night only as Chester Roman Tours celebrates Saturnalia.
The Saturnalia parade leaves the Grosvenor Museum at 6.30pm. After arriving in Eastgate Street the Emperor Domitian will address his subjects before releasing the Lord of Misrule.
"Let none of you be mistaken, the Romans are still here, at certain times of the year you will see us marching once more through our fortress.
"Remember who and what I am. I am a sword that sings in the dark. I am the sound of a legion marching to war. I am the axe that thuds into your scull. I am accuser, judge and executioner. I am Imperator. I am a living God. I am Caesar. I am Rome"
Adding to the spectacle, the Winter Watch Parade will be sharing the stage, joining with the Roman's as they reach the Christmas Market in Town Hall Square. The Winter Watch will make its way around the city centre with City Watch Men, Angels, Devils, Fire Skeletons, Dragons and Cooks with their Victorian Christmas Dinner.
Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn. Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day on December 17 but it was so popular it extended to a week, from the 17 to 23 December, despite Augustus' efforts to reduce it to three days, and Caligula's, to five.
Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of roles, with slaves and masters switching places. Clothing was relaxed and included the peaked woollen cap that symbolised the freed slave. A member of the familia (family plus slaves) was appointed Saturnalicius princeps, roughly, Lord of Misrule.
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