Tag Archives: Roman Empire

My Visit To Colchester Roman Circus

Chariot Racing in Britain

Colchester Roman Circus Centre is well worth a visit. I am so glad I made the effort!

The Ancient Romans were mad about chariot racing. Colchester has the only known chariot racing circuit in Britain. If there were others they have yet to be discovered. When the Romans invaded in 43AD they made straight for the heart land of the enemy. Camulodunum was the home of important tribal leaders and a spiritual settlement named after Camulus the celtic god of war. Once opposition had been subdued the Romans took over the area and founded their first colonae which they called called Victricensis, which translated from latin means city of victory. Thousands of retired soldiers were given land here and a model Roman town was built complete with all of the amenties Roman citizens expected and this included entertainment in the form of a theatre, amphitheatre and a circus.




Although nothing remains above ground of the circus building, extensive archaeological investigation has revealed the foundations and clearly the original structure was massive. It was 450 metres long with a capacity for 16,000 spectators. The only Roman building in Britain bigger than this is Hadrian’s Wall.




I have been to Circus Maximus in Rome. This was the biggest circus of all. However all there is to see is a huge open field. Colchester is far more interesting. The museum although containing very few artefacts does have some excellent displays, some of which are interactive. There is a reconstructed chariot and a superb scale model showing the layout of the race track and spectator stand. Outside there is a reconstruction of the foundations of the starting gates with a window to look through showing an elevation of how this part of the stadium might have looked. Very clever idea! There is also a metal frame work set up showing the profile of the spectator stands and the lines of the inner and outer walls have been marked out in the ground.


Profile of spectator stands


For anyone interested in Ancient Rome and chariot racing then I highly recommend a visit to this place. They have done an excellent job of providing information and designing displays both indoors and outside which enable the visitor to visualize what must have been a magnificent sports stadium. To the Romans this was surely their equivalent of Wembley

The Circus Centre is only a few minutes drive from the centre of Colchester and there is a car park on Butt Road ( which was free when I went ).

Contact details are as follows:

Roman Circus Centre, Roman Circus House, Roman Circus Walk, Colchester, CO2 7GZ.

Tel 01206 501785



Related articles

Who Ruled Roman Britain?

How Rome ruled Britain


The Emperor Hadrian

When Britain became a province of the Roman Empire it was ruled by a Governor. As Britain was a military province the Governor was appointed by the Emperor.

The official title of the Governor as legatus Augusti pro praetore and he would be a man of senatorial rank. Appointments were usually for three or four years.

His duties included:

  • Military Commander in Chief
  • Chief Judge ( with the power of life or death over citizens )
  • Head of civil administration
  • Maintaining relationships with friendly chieftains and kings

The Governor was the Emperors representative and bore responsibility for implementing the directives of central government.

Book a Roman Day for your school.


The End Of The Roman Empire

Why Did The Roman Empire Fall?

English: Roman SPQR banner

English: Roman SPQR banner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whilst discussing holidays with a friend we got onto talking about Italy as he has had some very enjoyable holidays in Tuscany. He is also quite interested in history and knowing that I do school workshops on Romans he asked me whatever caused the Roman Empire to decline and fall.  At the time I couldn’t give a clear and concise answer. I knew there  were many contributory factors and I couldn’t think where to start without boring my friend to death!

I recently read an article by Dr Miles Russell, a senior lecturer in Roman archaeology summarizing the main reasons for the fall of Ancient Rome in an article written for History Extra. I was very impressed with Dr Russell’s explanation. I made a list of the  key points below:

  • disease
  • invasion
  • civil war
  • social unrest
  • inflation
  • economic collapse

Dr Russell states that during the third and fourth century the continual internal power struggles between rival emperors was the most significant factor. The Empire turned in on itself and gradually tore itself apart. The army could no longer effectively defend the borders against constant attacks by waves of invaders from the north.

Although the eastern half of the empire continued the west broke up into a number of separate kingdoms effectively ending the Roman Empire and beginning the Dark Ages.

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Roman History Workshop Day


Modern replica of lorica segmentata type armor...
Roman History Day is the perfect way to inspire the children in your school to learn more about the ancient Romans, The Roman Army and what it was like to live in Roman Times.

This exciting school workshop experience brings history to life enabling children to learn from listening to interesting facts, looking at fascinating visual displays, examining a range of unusual artifacts, taking part in teacher lead discussions and participating in a range of practical activities.

In addition to finding out about the daily life of a Roman citizen the children get to meet a Roman soldier, to see his armour, weapons and equipment and practice Roman Army battle tactics.

Roman History Day covers the following aspects of Roman culture and civilization:

  • Food and Dining
  • Family
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Politics and Law
  • Goverment
  • Entertainment, Sports and Amusements
  • Slavery
  • Religion
  • The Roman Army
  • Architecture and Engineering

Roman History Day explains how Rome began, the expansion of the Roman Empire and the Roman Conquest of Britain. The importance of the Roman Army including:

  • Weapons and Equipment
  • Tactics
  • Roman Forts
  • Roman Roads
  • Hadrian’s Wall

Roman History Day is factual and fun. It is a great WOW day for Primary Schools and can be booked for KS1 or KS2.
The content and style of presentation is age appropriate and allowance is made for different levels of ability.

CALL NOW for your FREE quotation.

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