Cirencester is a lovely market town in southern England. Its history dates back to the Roman times, hence me talking about the Roman Amphitheater and the Corinium Museum in this post. If you are looking for a city-break, I would definitely suggest visiting Cirencester, especially if you live in London, as it’s only 80 miles away.
Corinium Museum gets its name from the Roman name of the town. The museum is quite big and it has a lot of amazing artefacts on display. I picked a few to talk about. The museum covers the whole period from Roman times to present day, but I was more interested in the Roman history.
In the entrance there are two gorgeous Roman mosaics on the wall. One was discovered on Victoria Road and it was excavated in 1947. The other one, on the left, was found in a local Roman townhouse. This second mosaic dates back to the 4th century CE.
This is a reconstruction of Roman barracks, inspired by a 1st century CE Roman Fort that was at the time in Cirencester.
Another stunning mosaic, called The Hunting Dogs. It was discovered in 1849. The original floor is from the 2nd century CE, the new part of the mosaic, that was relaid most likely due to a partial collapse into the hypocaust, is at least a century later. The style of the new floor is very different.
It’s quite amazing that a large section of wall plaster, from the 1st century, was so nicely preserved. It’s also amazing that it was so colourful and vibrant. There are many more examples of plaster from the Roman times in the museum.
Of course I took the chance to write my name. The museum goes on to show the Anglo-Saxon period, then the medieval period.
Than I had the opportunity to dress up as a monk, quite a creepy monk. I imagine monks in medieval times didn’t laugh a lot, so this picture might be more appropriate than the other one, when I’m laughing.
Corinium Museum is on Park St, Cirencester, GL7 2BX. The entry fee is £5.60 for adults. The museum is open all year, but check on their website for more details before visiting it.
The Roman Amphitheater is another must see in Cirencester. Only the earthworks can be seen, but they are so impressive. Their shape makes it clear how the Amphitheater would have looked like in its heyday.
When the Amphitheater was built, Corinium was the second largest city in Roman Britain, with a population of over 10,000. The Amphitheatre became a fortress a few centuries after the Romans left, as the town leaders wanted to safeguard their community. In the Middle Ages it was referred to as the Bull ring, so it might have been used again for blood games, such as bull-baiting, a return to its original purpose.
It was so big that up to 8,000 people could gather in the Amphitheater to watch the shows.
The Roman Amphitheater Cirencester is owned by English Heritage and managed by Cirencester Town Council. There isn’t an entry fee. Look on their website for more details, if you fancy.
The Roman Amphitheater is on Cotswold Avenue, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1XW.