For the second year, the ancient city of Nimes in southern France is set to celebrate the Great Roman Games. The grand event will take place on the 23rd and 24th of April in the magnificent Nimes Arena, the elliptical Roman amphitheatre that dates from around 70 AD. Modelled on the Coliseum of Rome, it's the best preserved amphitheatre in France, and possibly in the world, which makes it the perfect location to stage this classical extravaganza of parades, drills, chariot races and fights.
The Great Roman Games in Nimes aim to be a historical representation of the type of games that would have been held in the Arena when the Romans occupied the town. The fighting techniques, weapons and arms are all based on accurately researched historical and archaeological data, as are the costumes of the gladiators, legionnaires, charioteers and all the Imperial Court.
On both days, the highlight of the events is the Emperor’s parade and military pageant. Presented by the praeco, this parade enacts a return from a military campaign, with legionnaires, Celts, gladiators and cavalrymen all taking part and paying homage to the Emperor. It is followed by demonstrations of equestrian vaulting and gladiator fights as well as chariot races and battle drills.
There are other a wide range of other activities, too: Hadrian’s campaign tent will be set up outside the amphitheatre and the Emperor and his Imperial Court will be welcoming visitors. There will also be workshops, themed tours, exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures. It will even be possible to hire a costume and attend the games dressed as a Roman citizen, which ensure you a prime position for the historical reenactment.
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