Monday, 8 July 2013

Batavi Iuniores Britanniciani - Late Romans, Lunt Roman Fort - Part 1 of 3

To quote directly from their website Batavi
"The BATAVI are a small, friendly group who re-enact military and civilian life in the 4th to 6th centuries A.D. Our military activities are based around a late Roman army unit, the Batavi Iuniores Britanniciani, which arrived in Britain in 360 A.D. and returned in 367 A.D. They then formed part of the mobile field army and remained here at least until the end of Roman rule in Britain. There is a strong probability that parts of the unit may have stayed to defend Britain against the Saxon invaders, as part of the Romano-British forces into the 5th century."
It seems only a short time since my brother and myself last visited the Lunt-Roman Fort but in fact its been over two years ago. As the site changes very little over the years, with the earthwork ramparts slowly being allowed to collapse, the only reason to revisit the site is to attend the numerous re-enactment events held there. The official website indicated that a late Roman group would be attending. 

I personally think that after you've seen one Imperial 1st century re-enactment group such as the famous Ermine Street Guard you've generally not going to see anything new at another event. Therefore an opportunity to see and chat to a group that displays the uniform and equipment of a 4th century late Roman field army was an chance I didn't want to miss. 

I find this particular time period fascinating, the style and innovations developed by the Roman(o-British) army during this time holds far more relevance for me than any 1st century soldiers. And don't forget it was soldiers of this type that won around 50% of their battles against enemies that were their equal (or even superior such as the Sassanids) unlike their early Imperial Roman army counterparts who were routinely thrashed whenever facing similar opposition. 

Soldiers dressed such as these would have been a far more common (and welcome) sight throughout the later Roman period of occupation of Britain than the far more familiar steel clad 1st century legionaries. In particular the helmet and shield styles would remain influential for several hundred years even well into the medieval period.


It's taken a while to post these pictures as I've attempted (very crudely) to remove any kids picking their nose/eating ice-creams, guards in hi-vest jackets etc. from the images. I'll be posting two more sets of pictures over the next few days.

More images and details about the group can be found their own website Late Roman Batavi

As already stated on their website the group really are friendly and also very knowledgeable. If you get the chance to see them I'd highly recommend that you do.

Part 2 - Batavi Iuniores Britanniciani
Part 3 Batavi Iuniores Britanniciani


  1. Very interesting and a period that I have (briefly) wrestled with, using Revel's Late Imperial Legion 1/72 stuff.
    I enjoyed the group's website - nice one ;)

  2. Nice sun hats! Not seen those before.

    1. Same thing I noticed, have never seen that before.

    2. It was one of the first things I noticed as well. There are sculptures of (Republic) Romans showing them wearing wide brimmed hats. There was also style know as a 'petasos', a wide-brimmed hat made from felt or straw. With additional wings this form of hat became the symbol of the god Hermes (or Mercury to the Romans).

      And more importantly, as you can see on a sunny day they are very practical (and cheap).

  3. I would love to own some of those shields. Nice pics and it looks like you had a grand time of it.

    1. Thank you Anne, the shields are eye-catching. The hound device for the Batavi Iuniores is unique as far as I know.

  4. Cracking photographs Matt, a wonderful reference.