A ludic-historical recreation: Arde Lucus

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Vanesa de la Fuente,  Leticia Mouriz

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Lugo, Roman city:

The city of Lugo was founded between the years 26 and 12 B.C. by Paulus Fabius Maximus, legate of Caesar Augustus and was named Lucus Augusti in his honor. It is the oldest urban centre in Galicia. At the beginning it was a Roman military camp and later became one of the three administrative capitals of Gallaecia, the Roman province that occupied the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Lugo has a Roman wall, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, built at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th century, during the Late Roman Empire. It is completely preserved and it surrounds the city centre.

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Arde Lucus: a Gallaecian-Roman festival

Arde Lucus, celebrated in the city since 2001 at the end of June, is a Galician festival of touristic interest. It revives the Gallaecian-Roman past of the city and it was started to commemorate its founding.

In 2011 it was declared Galician festival of Touristic Interest and in its last editions nearly one million people took part in it.

The atmosphere is extraordinary since locals and visitors take to the streets dressed in Roman-time clothes. The festival actually combines the citizens’ spontaneity with activities organized by the town council like military camps, Celtic weddings, craft fairs, Roman circus or sieges to the wall.

Activities in the Arde Lucus:

The activities mix up the Gallaecian-Roman past of the city, which also "opens the doors" to the celebration of Celtic rites inside the walls. We can mention the following:

Military camps

They are a series of camps which must be set up by the participants themselves, both private people and associations. The way of living in Roman times is recreated there because those who live in them must wear clothes and objects typical of that time.

Celtic weddings

Couples can marry following the ancient Celtic rite, a loving union that will last till the following year. The ceremony follows a simple ritual called “union of hands’ sacred ritual”. The bride and the bridegroom stand opposite each other and, as they hold each other’s hands, are tied up with a rope or a ribbon that symbolizes their union. The celebrant is a person designated by the couple. They usually have a witness each. The group of guests can be more or less numerous, according to the couple’s wishes.

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Macellum

It is a craft fair where typical products of the period are offered and, at the same time, shows of magic, juggling and music concerts take place.

Roman circus

The circus, one of the most important recreational facilities in a Roman city, was inspired by the Greek hippodromes and stadiums, but it was bigger.

During the Arde Lucus festival it is placed in the Rosalía de Castro Park. There are some activities similar to the ones in Roman circuses like gladiator fights, biga races and others.

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The Roman wall burning

This activity recreates the siege to a Roman city. It’s celebrated not in the Wall but in the Rosalía de Castro Park. All the associations and many volunteers participate in it.

Other activities

In addition to the previous ones, we can mention many other activities like bacchanalia (parties in the honor of the Roman God of Wine), the placement of guards at the Wall gates, battles of Celts against Romans, shows of magic, military parades, fancy dress contests, Roman games, gladiator fights, different activities to popularize Gallaecian and Roman traditions, slave sales, Roman weddings, military Roman training in the streets of the city, different exhibitions or different concerts.

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This page was written by the Spanish team. Only the Spanish team is responsible for its content.
For further information please contact: Jose Armesto o
r María Rodríguez Valcárcel | EPAPU Albeiros
Copyright (c) 2011 by EPAPU Albeiros | Lugo | Galicia | Spain | www.edu.xunta.es/centros/epapualbeiros

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