Who we are
In Magister Militum, our main focus is in recreating a realistic campsite of the Roman Army on the march in the middle of the 4th Century AD. This is just before the Roman military begins to withdraw from the British Isles, and the Western half of the empire is only a century away from downfall. Despite this, the later period of Roman military history is still of great interest for study; the Roman army had evolved to adopt a more flexible system of organisation, and military technology was at an all-time zenith. The legions of old were long gone, replaced in part by smaller mobile field armies and a strong corps of palatial troops serving directly under the emperor.
Late Roman field armies were highly mobile and had the chance to visit, fight and integrate with many peoples across the empire. These troops functioned as a rapid-response force to any enemies managing to break through the empire’s borders (manned by permanent garrison troops in strong fortifications). Our primary interpretation are the elite guards units of Emperor Julian the Apostate stationed in Europe during his wars against the Alemanni, although we can also represent the units sent into Britain during the latter half of the 4th Century under the father of the future emperor Theodosius (Theodosius the Great) to quell The Great Conspiracy of AD 367 – 368, as the Ioviani (one of our units) were one of the four regiments sent to the island to deal with the marauding Pictish invaders. This gives us a wide range of cultures, objects, and histories to explore for our impressions, and we try to bring as much of this part of the Roman world to life including their dress, equipment, language, manufacture and fighting skills from Britain to Mauritania.
Right: group member Ross' recreation of one of the magistri militae in battle dress, Christopher Doyle Photography.