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Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds Master Caelestis, I present Tribunus Silvius Sebastianus, brought straight to us from Count Theodosius. Please, rest yourself.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 seconds You come directly from the Count? Yes, I left him at Eboracum two days ago. He has charged me with informing the commanders along the wall that he wishes to carry out inspections in a month’s time. I was to inform the commanders of the arcani, the frontier scouts. And you have orders to return to the count at Eboracum? No, I am to meet him at Arbeia, here, in a month’s time. Then be at rest, Sebastianus. The comforts of my house are yours to enjoy in the coming weeks. I shall send messengers to my fellow commanders and bring them here. I’m sure we should like to have a feast for our most noble count.

Introduction to the banquet. Episode 1: Greetings

Visualising a banquet

The sequences you are about to see are set immediately prior to the arrival of Count Theodosius on Hadrian’s Wall.

While we have used a certain amount of imagination to visualise events at this time, and the actual names of the officers and family members depicted are not known, it is highly probable that the units and places named would have been scrutinised by the Count and his officers.

As you watch the following videos, therefore, remember that the main concern for every character will be what the visit of Theodosius will mean for them. Will their behaviour before and during the ‘Barbarian Conspiracy’ be deemed beyond reproach?

Episode 1: greetings

The characters in this video are:

  • Flavius Julius Caelestis, Gallic-born Commander of the Numerus Barcariorum Tigrisiensium (the unit of bargemen raised from on the Tigris River) based at Arbeia, and the host of the gathering
  • Silvius Sebastianus, officer on the staff of Count Theodosius, dispatched to the Wall in advance of Theodosius’ visit
  • Urbanus, majordomo of Caelestis


Silvius Sebastianus arrives at Arbeia (South Shields) and informs Caelestis - the fort commander - that Count Theodosius is on his way. Caelestis offers Sebastianus hospitality.

  • How might Caelestis feel about the news that the Count is on his way?

All characters played by students from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University. They aren’t actors, so please be nice!

Recreating the past is not perfect, and there are imperfections in our videos. Whilst there are some mistakes, we don’t want them to be distracting to the main purpose of our discussion.

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This video is from the free online course:

Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

Newcastle University

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