Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Braga Romana Displays — The Military Encampment.

 A month has slipped by since our return from our trip on June 4th. I did get in one post here and another at my Victorian Scribbles blog next door,  just before we left. But on arrival, the election was the very next day here in California. Then my husband had cataract surgery — which turned out well. Then there was gardening to catch up on (pesky weeds); and much of my time has been taken with political matters (I'll be marching this coming Saturday to protest the breaking up of families at the border.)

Still, our trip to Braga, Portugal was filled with spectacular events, and I don't want it to get lost in the busy-ness of life. See the picture of the Roman soldier to the left? There is a four-day festival each year toward the end of May, celebrating Braga's Roman past. It's called Braga Romana, and the whole city turns out in costume, including a children's parade that kicks off the celebration with students of all ages. Performances are held at various sites. Tents and kiosks display arts and crafts, mostly in keeping with Braga's Roman and Celtic past.

The soldier above was posted at one side of a re-created military encampment in the Largo do Paço, a plaza surrounded on three sides by wings of the former Archbishop's Palace. (Paço means palace, and the building now houses books and archives for the University of Minho.) This largo was the perfect site for the "encampment." Here is a better view of the false "entrance":

Before we went entered, outside the gate, two men were demonstrating the way rope was made in ancient times.


Once inside, there were areas with people working the old crafts: weaving, carving utensils, blacksmithing, etc. And something was supposedly cooking in that dangling pot:

         Meanwhile, we became intrigued by how soldiers and visitors were looking at one particular tent:
Even standing guard at one time. What was inside that tent? All kinds of wonders.

              Remember I said this site was perfect for the encampment? Well drapes transformed the arcade of pillars into housing for the Roman big wigs that planned troop movements, and enjoyed perks of power, etc.
Imperial Rome Map

Imperial big wigs resting.
Little vehicles to attend to
big wigs' whims. 

Then, as we came out the exit, we saw the Roman weapons of war shown below. Notice the battering ram with the ram's head:

Finally we exited the encampment itself, into the street, where a Roman legion was passing by:

Throughout the four days, Roman troops appeared regularly, marching through the streets and saying "Ave, Caesar." etc. It really was a kick.

The military encampment was an ongoing feature for the entire festival, day and night. There were other performances and displays that I will share in my next post. I hope you've enjoyed the pictures.

Meanwhile, if you like mysteries involving Sherlock Holmes, I've reviewed a good read on my Victorian Scribbles blog HERE . 

Have you been to festivals where everyone dresses the part and arts and crafts reflect the era? Do you enjoy those kind of events? Do you ever dress up in costume to attend one?


Elephant's Child said...

It sounds like a heap of fun. I have never been to any re-enactment. Of anything.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I've been to some Medieval Fairs with dressing up and a few performances, and I did go to a Dickens Fair one year, which was great. I suppose that was more or less and enactment, but it was in the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Braga Romana is the only time I've seen much of a city turn out in costume. I/m thoroughly hooked.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad your husband's surgery went well. No, I've never been to anything like this. Sounds like another fun trip for you. That's awesome!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Natalie. This participation of a whole city in a re-enactment of history is new for me. I have to say, it's very unique. There are so many things about Braga that are unique. The city has captured our hearts. Thanks for the good wishes about Rajan's cataract surgery. He says it makes quite a difference.

Kate Larkindale said...

12-year-old me was obsessed with the ancient roman legions after reading Rosemary Sutcliff and I would have absolutely adored this event. Probably still would...

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Kate, you might. It's just so much fun. Especially seeing little children run around wearing togas and wreaths on their heads. But really, it's all fun. So many performances. I'll be posting more about the various programs, so do come back. Meanwhile, a friend in Galicia sent me a YouTube of a similar event in Lugo, Spain. You might want to check it out here:

Mark Noce said...

So cool to see them reliving a part of history :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

It really is, Mark. You would love it. And they really throw themselves into it with such enthusiasm. Thanks for stopping by.