Shadows of the Past

St Albans, just north of London, is named for a Roman man, Alban. Alban was a citizen of the Roman town, Virulamium, who helped a Christian priest escape from the Romans. He was executed for his kindness. Over the subsequent centuries, tales of miraculous healing arose and a monastery was built on the site of his execution.

Virulamium, one of the largest Roman cities in England was located on top of an Iron Age town that dates back to about 20 BCE. Verlamion (which roughly means ‘settlement’) was a town of the Catuvellauni, a tribe of Celts that it is thought might have originated in Gaul.

I visited Roman St Albans over the holidays. When you see the exterior photos, bear in mind that the first was taken at 12:50pm, the others between 3:00 and 3:10pm. It is winter in England and shadows are a constant no matter what time of day.  So, you might as well play a little.

St Albans Cathedral, grown from a Norman Abby, built virtually on top of an 8th century Saxon Basilica dedicated to Alban.
St Albans Cathedral, grown from a Norman Abby, built virtually on top of an 8th century Saxon Basilica dedicated to Alban.
Built around 140-180 CE, this is the Roman theatre at Virulamium. The column was one of three that supported the roof that covered the backstage area to the right and the stage itself to the left. For once, backstage is more brightly lit than the stage itself!
Built around 140-180 CE, this is the Roman theatre at Virulamium. The column was one of three that supported the roof that covered the backstage area to the right and the stage itself to the left. For once, backstage is more brightly lit than the stage itself!
The three low stone walls in front of the column supported a raked stage. Gladiators fought in the sand in front. the bare patch on the far side was a dressing room.
The three low stone walls in front of the column supported a raked stage. Gladiators fought in the sand in front. the bare patch on the far side was a dressing room.
From the top of the wall surrounding the theatre, we perform a shadow play on the mound covering a bank of seats.
From the top of the wall surrounding the theatre, we perform a shadow play on the mound covering a bank of seats.
Caught taking a picture of the amazing stone wall at Virulamium Museum, her shadow self stands quietly, contemplating the beauty.
Caught taking a picture of the amazing stone wall at Virulamium Museum, her shadow self stands quietly, contemplating the beauty.
This stunning mosaic sits in the Virulamium Museum. I love how the shadows in the mosaic are mimicked by those created by the lighting.
This stunning mosaic sits in the Virulamium Museum. I love how the shadows in the mosaic are mimicked by those created by the lighting.
This Roman townhouse has been restored and preserved. The original wall colour is still incredibly vibrant.
This Roman townhouse has been restored and preserved. The original wall colour is still incredibly vibrant.
He used to live here. He was buried here. This bronze head was cast based on an analysis of his skull, found in the lead casket directly below him.
He used to live here. He was buried here. This bronze head was cast based on an analysis of his skull, found in the lead casket directly below him.
A bronze Celtic treskele from circa 1 CE found on the site of Verlamion.
A bronze Celtic treskele from circa 1 CE found on the site of Verlamion.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your short tour of the shadows of the past of St Albans. Shadows allow us to appreciate light; sometimes they help illuminate our understanding. They create contours,  richness and depth.

For more Shadows go to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Shadowed.”

2 thoughts on “Shadows of the Past

  1. A magnificent account of a magnificent day!  My mum will enjoy this treat.  Thank you for it.   From: A Canuck’s Eye View To: dmcapret@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2015 8:49 AM Subject: [New post] Shadows of the Past #yiv6085640175 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6085640175 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6085640175 a.yiv6085640175primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6085640175 a.yiv6085640175primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6085640175 a.yiv6085640175primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6085640175 a.yiv6085640175primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6085640175 WordPress.com | A Canucks Eye View posted: “St Albans, just north of London, is named for a Roman man, Alban. Alban was a citizen of the Roman town, Virulamium, who helped a Christian priest escape from the Romans. He was executed for his kindness. Over the subsequent centuries, tales of miraculous” | |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s