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FACT OF THE DAY With Hadrien in the arenas, the show will be there

Some Picts happy to have ransacked a market (Photo Anthony Maurin).

With Hadrian, the war of the Picts, Edeis, the new delegate who organizes the show, plays big. For three days, more than 500 re-enactors will take part in the largest ancient fresco in Europe in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

It is difficult to start from scratch a show that has attracted tens of thousands of spectators. For ten years, the brand of the Great Roman Games has made Nîmes shine. Today, the delegate has changed. The story took another turn, the teams work differently but the result should not be far from what the regulars know. The quality will be there, the story too and the notion of spectacle will not be forgotten.

Here’s a quick recap of the show coming May 6, 7, and 8. We are in the year 122 and the Emperor Hadrian is passing through Nîmes. Attested passage, it is moreover from there that the story that links us to the show begins because, on this occasion, the emperor brings the best gladiators from all over the empire to fight in the amphitheater which has just just be built. More than 500 extras, gladiators, Roman legionaries, Celtic warriors, Roman horses and chariots will bring to life these great battles between the Roman legions and the peoples of Scotland: the famous Picts who gave the show its name.

The Romans train (Photo Anthony Maurin).

The show will be on point. The praeco, the excellent Éric Dars, will be a bit of an accompanist to the public. It is he who will speak to describe each action, each painting. Thus, history lovers will see their dreams materialize, while neophytes will know what it’s all about when they go into the details of the great story. The first of many novelties will be found at the start of the show with the apotheosis of Plotina. Let’s not forget that a woman from Nîmes, deceased wife of the august Trajan, was deified on her death… This memorial procession will be followed by the very traditional exercise of the legions, then by a lustration and a prayer to Jupiter. Mass effect, the 500 reenactors will take their ease on the track at the moment. After, will come the turn of the gladiators with several fights including a very surprising one, on horseback with essedaires.

Are we in Rome? In Egypt ? No, in Nîmes in a two-thousand-year-old amphitheater (Photo Anthony Maurin).

In the aftermath, the public will literally step into history by witnessing the Roman vision of northern Brittany (Great Britain therefore Scotland). A few assassins, the sack of a market, a stampede on the Roman side and a god of the dead who comes to embark them in his infernal paradise populated by lemures. In the table that will follow, it is the turn of the Senate of Rome to enter the arena with a decision fraught with consequences to be taken, Hadrian goes to war. We will see later the beginning of the construction of the great wall which took its name. As you will have understood, it is at the foot of this stone giant that the final pitched battle of the 2022 edition will take place. The two camps will face each other, the Romans on the south side of the wall, in a camp adjoining the wall and which occupies a good half of the arenas, and the Picts who will storm them. The end ? You know it because it is completely real, it is Hadrian who will be entitled to his triumphal entry into Nîmes.

Queen Gala is played by Marie Barcelo, and her sidekick Locatos by a head known to the public of the arenas of Nîmes, Clément Mauger (Photo Anthony Maurin).

Troops from France, of course, but also from Italy, of course, and from Spain, Germany, Croatia or even England will thus be in Nîmes for a historic weekend with Mediterranean accents. Add to that the volunteers of the association Les Ministri des Arènes and a real enthusiasm for the resumption of this animation and you obtain an almost guaranteed success.

Part of the scenery: here a market (which will be flourishing), an altar and a temple on which your servant is perched (Photo Anthony Maurin).

New in town this year. The Roman Days tumble and, with them, many activities are planned in the program. If the Roman banquet is already full, visitors can go to the fort of the legionnaires, a fort rebuilt as close as possible to reality and located at the Bosquet de la Fontaine. Inside, about fifty legionnaires pass the time and occupy the place day and night. Admission is charged (5 euros) but worth the detour! Otherwise other free activities will be organized: parades, an antique market…

Is it happening or not? Answer from May 6! (Photo Anthony Maurin).

And you, onlookers in Nîmes or simply passing through the city of the Antonins, make the effort to dress up, be the ambassadors of this beautiful Roman week. Don’t be ashamed, buy a trinket and put yourself in the colors of Roman Nîmes. Thus, in the shoes of a modern Roman, you will have plenty of time to stroll along the Latin accents.

The tanks and the know-how of Ange Ruiz and his family will also be on the program! (Photo Anthony Maurin).

To buy your tickets, it’s here. Friday May 6 at 5:30 p.m., Saturday May 7 and Sunday May 8 at 3:30 p.m. (doors open 2 hours before the show). Duration 2 hours, prices from 5 to 59 euros.

The Romans can’t help it… A piece of wood and they think it’s a telephone. Long live the selfie! (Photo Anthony Maurin).

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