Official Post 3: The Romans 

Today we had a major travel day. We traveled from Bath to Cirencester starting at 8 am, taking three different buses and having a quick walk in the rain. When we finally arrived in Cirencester and got settled at our hostel, we made our way to the Corinium Museum, so the Roman Museum that displayed a lot of the archeological items of the Cotswolds. The museum is located right in the middle of downtown Cirencester, and the main displays are from a Roman town called Corinium Dobunnorum; the museum also took us through a timeline of the Cotswolds from the prehistoric times all the way to modern day. I found the whole museum in general to be very interesting, but there were specific things that really stood out to me.  The Celtic Art, so art produced in Britain during the pre-Roman Iron Age, is different from the classical Mediterranean world. The style did have traditional decorative elements, but adapted those motifs to its own needs. This led to pieces looking abstract. Celtic art was made for the aristocracy, weapons, horse fittings, battle equipment and detail on important religious items. I also found it interesting that the aristocracy of the Dobunni was very into the Celtic decoration and that the surviving pieces show such detail.

I was also enthralled by the legionary equipment. Each legionary wore a linen under-tunic and a short-sleeved and knee length woolen tunic. He would wear open work boots known as caligae. Then over that was a shirt of metal armor or boys armor and a galea (a helmet). The shield carried was known as a scutum and was rectangular and curved to fit the legion’s body; it was made of wood and was covered in leather and linen. Each legion also had two heavy javelins known as pilas, a gladius also known as a sword and a dagger called a pugio.  

One of the most interesting things l learned at the museum is that the Romans had heated floors. This really blew my mind because this was done in an era so long ago. Larger and wealthier houses in Corinium used an underfloor heating system known as a hypocaust. Other places hypocausts were used were in public buildings and villas. The whole process of making the hypocaust is extensive. The floor of the room was supported on small columns called pilae, which were made from square tiles cemented together on top of each other, or solid stone blocks were used. Larger tiles were used to take up the extra space between the pilae and the floor. Then a stoke hole had to be made and a fire had to be constantly burning in order for the floor to stay heated, so the stoke hole was usually kept burning by slaves. By creating the fire along with the bricks or stone, the hot air and smoke circulated under the floors up into hollow parts of the wall known as tubuli, and the fumes were circulated out through the vents at the eaves. The only way to make sure the fire did not get out of hand was to constantly watch the fire.

These are just a few of the countless things that the Corinium Museum has to offer and for all to explore. I am beyond excited to see what else Cirencester has to offer!


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