Vaison-la-Romaine is a fitting location for the Augustus Caesar Praetoria association, which reenacts historical scenes based on Roman Emperor Hadrien and his pretorian guard.

The attention to details and use of historical materials and techniques are quite amazing and very photogenic, all instagram material 😉

It started in the morning with a military parade, here fittingly shot in the Villasse archeological site

We could than visit the camp set up in the same location

I started with the hospital tent. There, learned that the Romans where adepts of phytotherapy, and also that they had some serious knowledge of surgery, as testified by the surgical instruments on display:

Next was a centurions’ tent, complete with a folding bed, a miniature temple and plenty of space

Next was a soldier’s tent… just mattresses on the floor and the same tent sleeps 8 >.<… (and yes, sometimes a smartphone does break up the spell, it happens to the biggest superproductions 😉

Than we get an upgrade: senator, pretorian guard, magistrates.. as we approach the emperor’s tent

And eventually, the big boss Himself, emperor Hadrien, who wears his costume with much aplomb and dignity, flanked by his lovely wife, emperess Vibia Sabina, and his personal guard.

There were also a couple of shops adequately set up in the commercial “street” of the Villasse archeological site (as you will learn in another post here)

The first one was Atelier Bonillo, from Suze-la-Rousse. He recreates terracotta oil lamps based on historical models from museum. He doesn’t need to go very far for inspiration, as Vaison-la-Romaine’s Museum has a nice collection of originals! Enjoyed those creations, which are very reasonably priced and practical (only need to carefully pour some olive oil and lit the wick). Each model is based on a home made mold, and crafted using the original technique

Next was Artisa Chimaera, a mind boggling engineer from the prestigious French Arts et Metiers school , who recreates objects using historical techniques, re-inventing tools and processes if necessary. All objects are hand made and unique, most are made to order.

It is difficult / impossible to make a list of the things on offer here, it is “un inventaire a la Prevert” like we say in France. But I will try: Curule seats, bronze mirrors (high on my wish-list..), spintriae, knifes, stylets to write on beeswax tablets (way more stylish than an email isn’t it?), medieval or antique jewellery, bronze furniture hardware, bronze hardware for belts and clothes…

I very much recommend the website, which is a mine for any history or unicity amateur: Artisa Chimaera

Below, Kamasutra first comes to mind, but it’s obviously historically and geographically incorrect. A Spintria is a coin used to pay the prostitutes in a brothel during antiquity: since the emperor is sacred, paying with a coin with his head stamped on for that kind of services would be very inappropriate. Some ingenious mind created a parallel money for that specific matter: with a practical mind, the requested service is illustrated on the coin, which allows us a insight into sexual habits of the times..

All in all, this website is a real mine for an interior designer, it gets a prime position on my favorites list…

A big applause for this dedicated crowd who dutifully stood up to the canicule and offered us a fascinating trip in the past!