Frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium and natatio. Sounds like one of Harry Potter’s spells! In fact, they describe the wide range of facilities on offer to the Second Augustan Legion and other residents at their state-of-the-art leisure complex. We are talking heated changing rooms, a series of cold and warm baths, covered exercise rooms and even an open-air swimming pool. Roman Britain wasn’t that bad at all if you were a Roman.
Leisure time was important and Caerleon – or Isca as it was known in Roman times – had it all laid out. Your average resident liked nothing better after a relaxing bathe and swim than to head off to the nearby amphitheatre for a bit of blood and gore. Ringside seats would have been rather a messy affair as gladiator and beast fought tooth and claw for their lives.
The remains on view at Caerleon provide the visitor with a vivid picture of life in second-century Roman Britain. Some 12 miles down the Roman road you will come across Venta Silurum, the first town in Wales and the tribal capital of the Silures. We call it Caerwent today. If you get a chance, pop down to see its surrounding walls and the remains of shops, a Romano-Celtic temple and the forum-basilica.