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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds This is a bit bold even for you, Desi. Shh. We must be quick before we’re discovered. As you wish, my lady. No. That is not what I meant. In fact, never again. Our friendship puts us all in danger and it must end. What is wrong? Why have you called me in here? Serena has set me to thinking you might be in danger when Count Theodosius arrives. Why? They are calling the recent troubles the Barbarian Conspiracy. So? What does this have to do with me? Oh! Don’t you see? The Barbarians have been blamed for an organised conspiracy against the Empire. Who do they think should be blamed for not detecting this conspiracy? Hah!

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds As if anyone could believe that all the tribes north of the Wall could band together. And with the Hibernians, too? And the arcani get the blame? That’s ridiculous. You don’t understand what the imperial court is like, Ursus. Count Theodosius must present a report to the Emperor Valentinian. Your cousin. My distant cousin. And Count Theodosius must also report a culprit. Someone or some group must be blamed for what has happened in Britain. The Barbarians have already been blamed, but they will not be the last villains named. I have been reporting on the unrest north of the wall for years. It is not my fault the Empire didn’t act on the information. It doesn’t matter.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds I’m must go now before I am missed. But think on my words. If the arcani are blamed, it will not be only your reputation that is in danger. Now leave me.

Episode 4: The tryst

The characters appearing in this video are:

  • Desiderata Melania, Pannonian-born wife of Frigidianus, distantly related to the Emperors Valentinian and Valens
  • Fidelis Ursus, one of the areani; the son of Fidelis Broadshield, chief of the Votadini; Ursus is valued by the Roman authorities for the information he supplies on tribal activities beyond the Wall


Melania and Ursus have in fact been having an affair.

When Ursus arrives at Arbeia Melania quietly draws him aside to warn him of the dangers Count Theodosius’ visit might pose.

  • What points does Melania wish to make to Ursus?

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

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Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

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