CHESTER’S pagan past came to life when Roman soldiers celebrated Saturnalia.
The soldiers from the Deva Victrix 20th Legion commemorated the god Saturn with a parade last Thursday night from Grosvenor Museum to Eastgate Street and around the city before ending up at the Chronicle Wheel in Castle Square.
Emperor Domitian, played by Nick Fry, made his proclamation in Eastgate Street before releasing the Lord of Misrule, aka Russell Kirk.
At Castle Square the audience was entertained by Egyptian Ya Raqs dancers.
The Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day but it became so popular that it eventually lasted a week.
The event was marked by tomfoolery and role-reversal, with slaves and masters switching places. It was a time of celebration, visits to friends and gift-giving.
The parade, part of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Christmas celebrations, is organised by Chester’s Roman Tours Ltd.
Paul Harston of Roman Tours said: “This is the sixth year we’ve been performing the Saturnalia celebration and we are proud of the level of authenticity we maintain.”