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Chester

Roman Amphitheatre

Two thousand years ago, this simple stone block was the scene of many brutal activities where humans and animals were chained and ended their lives trying to defend themselves against ferocious beasts and warriors - all in the name of entertainment and the glory of the Roman Empire. Welcome to the Gladiator's arena!

Amphitheatre Boar

The bloody spectacle

Chester's Roman Amphitheatre was more than just a source of savage entertainment. It was a landmark building for the region and a focus of activity, commerce, and culture.

Meet Marcus Aurelius Nepos - a centurion of the 20th legion and your guide to the arena's bloodied and brutal past. As he walks you through its many points of interest, you'll get a glimpse into the lives of the Roman soliders, their families, local merchants, and gladiators who shared in the prosperity of the arena.

Imagine the smell of the foods cooking in the merchant stalls, hear the roar of the exultant crowd, and feel the dread that filled the hearts of gladiators as they stepped out onto the field of battle to glory, or to their doom.

 

 

Landscape

A gladiator's heart, a victim's chains

Any person who risks life and limb for a chance at celebrity fascinates us. The gladiators, whether willing or reluctant, were given a chance to ascend from the depths of social stigma to the status of stardom every time they stepped into the arena.

They were a strange mixture of slave warriors, convicts, and careerist fighters who had little to lose except their lives. Occasionally, even a nobleman or military veteran would step into the arena to show off their skills. Regular contenders, however, often had a short spell in the limelight and an even shorter life expectancy.

Powerful and powerless, made and martyred - the gladiators of Chester's arena would cast a spell of fascination on people that would last a thousand years.

 

 

Chester

About your visit

The app

Meet William Shakespeare, the Venerable Bede, Sir Joseph Banks, and a cast of colourful figures ready to take you on a journey through the annals of history. Along the way, you'll discover some of England's tallest tales, horrifying histories, magical myths, and larger-than-life legends.

All these stories and more will give you unique insight into the history of England's most stunning heritage sites. Simply download the English Historic Cities app now and take it with you to one of our 12 essential locations around the UK.

Useful info

Roman Amphitheatre
Little St John St
Chester
CH1 1RF

Opening hours: During daylight hours

0370 333 1181

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