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Invasion of Britain
(Iron Age/Praetorian)

Historically speaking, the Iron Age in the South of Britain ended with the Roman Invasion in 43AD. Although in a cultural sense, the distinctions between Iron Age Britain and Roman Britain, are somewhat blurred when it comes to many artefacts.
Some British tribes were trading with Rome long before the Claudian invasion. The trading links between many Iron Age Britons and Rome were strong. Our Iron Age Britons are happy to talk about their role in this turbulent time.

The Praetorians were mainly stationed in Rome (and occasionally came to Britain on imperial business) and there are many disagreements about what their armour and equipment actually looked like. (In the palace, on duty, many of them wore togas). Sometimes the Emperors themselves would go to war and on these campaigns, they would take the Praetorian Guards with them. When in battle, the Praetorian Guards probably dressed very similar to most Roman legionaries. But because they had to guard the Emperor, their equipment was likely to be much better in quality than the average legionary. Britannia's Praetorian unit has worked in television documentaries and on prestigious heritage sites like Roman Bath, Colchester Castle, Richborough Roman Fort's Claudian Gate, The Lunt Roman Fort and London's Guildhall Yard. We even bring an emperor or governor with us.

During Britannia's Gladiator Guildhall Shows for Museum of London's, members John Wheeler and Marc Byrne were discussing the feasibility of fielding an ‘in house’ unit of elite bodyguards for the game’s editor (Sponsor).The discussion led to more definite plans and with the additional help of members Kerry Ballard & Dylan Carter, together they spent the next two years researching and recreating some very impressive Praetorian guard’s kit.

Praetorians and Governor at Bath copy.jpg
Gladiators Wroxeter Britannia Gladiators copy.jpg


Britannia’s gladiators are a mixed bunch… a cross section of Romano-British society at the end of the first century AD. Among them you will find soldiers who found themselves on the wrong side of mutinies, criminals, slaves born to fight as well as debauched citizens who long for the thrill of the arena.
Some of them are fair-minded types. Others are more `creative’ when it comes to defeating an opponent. It may end in tears…or even worse.

Imagine for a moment. You are sitting in the amphitheatre in Londinium, waiting for things to start. A cheer goes up as trumpets blast, sending the wading birds feeding on the mud flats of the Thames wheeling up into the sky above you. From within the bowels of the arena, the pompa emerges – the summa rudis, Charun, Hermes, the libitarnii, the priestesses of Fortuna and finally – the gladiators themselves.

Britannia’s gladiatorial wing grew out of public demand following our work on the Ridley Scott film Gladiator.

We decided to concentrate on the gladiators of the provinces in the 1st century AD, as there is a greater amount of archaeological and narrative evidence to call upon from that period, also we wanted to cultivate the weathered provincial look and as there are at least 20 known amphitheatres in Britain we’re rarely short of authentic venues.

Fall of the Empire
(5th Century)

At the beginning of the 5th century, after nearly 400 years of occupation, the province of Britannia entered a period of crisis which would see it transformed from a Roman diocese to a patchwork of petty kingdoms. Whilst the overall lack of written evidence makes it impossible to establish with any certainty the course, sequence, chronology and nature of the events that took place, enough elements can be pieced together to construct a reasonable narrative, although any attempt to do so is always open to criticism and alternative interpretation.

For us this is a fascinating time, we have decided to concentrate on the period, 350AD to 450AD. This is a transitional stage of British and European history, in terms of the religious and political situation.
It's also an interesting time in terms of military equipment. It gives us plenty of scope for presentations on historical sites across Britain.

Late Roman Britannia at the Lunt tower 23 copy.jpeg
Medieval Britannia as Royal Guards in stall area copy.jpg


Our events covering the middle ages concentrate on what’s referred to as the ‘High Medieval period’. This was a chapter of European history that lasted from AD 1000 to 1300.

From the battle of Hastings to the reign of King John’s son Henry III. This was a time of rebellion, civil war, conflict with other kingdoms, castle building and political upheaval.

Meet our medieval warriors, templars, barons, royal guards, men at arms and their families from this troubled time. (Occasionally King John makes an appearance, but don’t ask him to agree to any legal documents).


Our Great War unit is a small, mixed living history team that demonstrates a variety of educational aspects involving World War 1.
We have Royal Engineers, Machine Gun Corps, civilians and a few French comrades to chat to the public about this fascinating and often moving period of British and European history.

WW1 unit.jpg
Gladiators St Pauls copy.JPG


For more information on how to book Britannia for your event or for your media project...

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