Fun for both adults and their children – this was the popular archaeology event that took place on 21 June at the archaeological park in Prague-Liboc organised by classical archaeologists from the CU Faculty of Arts to mark the two-thousandth anniversary of the death of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
Starting at ten o’clock, visitors could take part in a memorial for the deceased emperor, which ended with the lighting of a funeral pyre and was followed by a review of the legions, including demonstrations of exercises and gladiatorial games.
It was a great day out mainly for the children, who could look forward to not only an Ancient Roman school full of tasks and games, as well as a mini gladiators’ school. The smallest could then ride on a tortoise – not on its shell, but on the shields of legionaries, closed together in the well-known battle formation. All visitors could then take a close look at or put on Roman legionaries’ armour or try shooting from a manuballista, the Ancient Roman version of the crossbow.
Visitors could also get closer to the atmosphere of Ancient Rome with organisers in period costume, or dress in period costume themselves, as well as scenes from everyday life and period cuisine. Organisers also prepared sheets of information about less well-known aspects of life in ancient times. “First and foremost I have to thank the students of classical archaeology, without whose voluntary and enthusiastic assistance activities like this simply wouldn’t be possible,” said co-organiser PhDr. Pavel Titz. After their day out in Liboc, some children even wanted to come back to the suburban archaeological summer camp organised by Archaia, o. p. s., the company that operates the archaeological park, and the adults can only look forward to another trip to the past.
Saturday’s event was preceded on Friday by a colloquium entitled ‘Colloquium Augustum’, which brought classical archaeologists and historians with an interest in Antiquity together to discuss Augustus’ influence on not only his own period of Ancient Rome, but also his importance to the history of what are now the Czech lands and much later periods of history.