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.

Events and what we offer

Throughout the year, Magister Militum attend at least two multi-period events featuring re-enactment groups of Ancient Greek through to Second World War history. These events are always open to the public and provide an excellent opportunity for learning about a large array of historical topics, surrounded by authentic campsites and living history displays (as well as arena shows) over the course of a weekend. We also attend a series of Roman festivals during the season. 

In addition to these events, we are also available for and are experienced in providing a display for a private event such as a museum talk, film work for both features and documentaries (as either background participants or presenters and narrators), community projects, and more Some of our members have also attended academic conferences concerning Roman military equipment as either participants or demonstrators.  

If you would like the group to attend an event you are hosting, please get in touch via the Contact button below or the link in the navigation bar above. We can provide an engaging living history display for a day or a short presentation for any occasion you have in mind, and can discuss a suitable package for your event. 

Our options include, but are not limited to:

  • Table displays for indoor events (museums, schools, community events etc.) with reconstructed artefacts from military and daily life in the Roman era 
  • A living history camp showing life on the march for Roman soldiers, as well as crafts and skills in addition to displays of weapons and armour 
  • Arena displays including weapons demonstrations, as well as ‘kit through the ages’ and ‘dressing the legionary’ talks

All options are flexible depending on your needs. 

Downloadable brochure coming soon!

As a group we can present impressions of soldiers from the basic legionary to the highest-ranking general of the early through to middle 4th century AD in the Roman army. Our specialty is providing a living history encampment of period-accurate tents, sleeping arrangements, and basic apparel for day-to-day living in a field army, from cooking and eating to hygiene and clothing. We also produce battle-kit versions of our impressions, with authentically recreated arms and armour that would be worn by the soldiers of Julian's army.

Each member carefully researches and commissions or manufactures their own equipment according to the material sources available from the period, from the archaeological record through to literary and artistic devices. This ensures a high level of accuracy in our kit, and that all members are both well-informed about their panoply and happy to discuss it with visitors.

The Team

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