Darlene Foster's Blog

Mingling with Romans and Carthaginians

Posted on: October 6, 2016

The steady beat of drums, the swift march of soldiers, animal-skin clad barbarians, painted faces, colourful shields, standard bearers, gladiator sandals, dancing maidens, priests, soothsayers and elegant senators. We find ourselves in the midst of the Romans and Carthaginians Festival, just forty minutes from where we live. This spectacle is held every year to celebrate the vibrant history of the strategic port city of Cartagena.





Cartagena has more than 2000 years of history. The Romans and Carthaginians Festival is a remembrance of the second Punic War, beginning with the foundation of Qart Hadast, the name given to Cartagena by the Phoenicians in 228 BC, and ending with its capture by the Romans in 209 BC.

Throughout the last ten days of September, battles are re-enacted, ancient ceremonies held and troops in full battle dress march through the streets of Cartagena.  The Carthaginian and Roman armies arrive by sea in a dramatic display and then march through town to an encampment set up on the football field. We were very fortunate to witness part of this event during an evening I will never forget. The costumes and attention to historic detail are amazing as you will see from a few of the many pictures I took.







It was as if all the citizens were in costume for the event. And like everything in Spain, the entire family was involved.




Imagine my excitement when monks appeared leading large bulls through the narrow streets.



This ancient High Priest gave me a big smile after I took his picture


A serious soothsayer


Cheerful dancing maidens happy to pose for me.


A Nobel Senator and his good wife


One of many standards born through the streets of Cartagena.


There was so much more. I hope you enjoyed a sample of this spectacular festival where history comes to life. If you ever have an opportunity to be near Cartagena, Spain around the end of September, you must take this in.


The ultimate gladiator sandals. Now where can I buy a pair?

49 Responses to "Mingling with Romans and Carthaginians"

What a colorful display! And those costumes! Fortunately, the Romans and Carthaginian soldiers of today look a lot less violent than their ancestors!

I agree. In fact, I couldn’t help thinking how scary it must have been when these folks entered a town back in the day. The colours were astounding!

What a great event…I love the detail of the costumes. I can only imagine what it would be like to actually be there during the festival. Thank you very much for sharing!

You would have loved the colour and pageantry, Kirt. Some great painting ideas!

This was a wonderful peek! The costumes are marvelous — I imagine everyone has a great time. Do they cook Ancient Romanish food at the festival too?

I believe they do but we didn’t actually walk up to the encampment where they had food tents. Next year I plan to take more in. I guess we didn’t know what to expect. The excitement was contagious.

These are serious costumes, which shows this IS a big deal. Wonderful pictures, Darlene. Spain seems to celebrate some occasion every week–a fantastic less stressed life it seems. They sure enjoy life. 🙂

They really do enjoy life and celebrate everything. I love that they keep history alive.

We, in North America live too busy lives. Time to smell the coffee, right? Put on a parade. Mix with the neighbors. Sing and dance more. I want to go to Spain now. o_O

The costumes are amazing. It looks like you are on the set of a Hollywood movie. How wonderful to be there to take it all in!

I am always blown away by the costumes and these are ordinary citizens, not Holywood stars. It was so amazing to be part of it all!!

That looks like so much fun, Darlene! Shame it is during term time. That is something else that will have to wait until we retire!!!

It was so much fun!! You would love it. Something to put on the retirement list!!

Looks like a fun time. My favorite is the last photo of those gladiator sandals.

It is my favourite as well so I had to include it. Thanks for visiting my blog!!

AMAZING photo. These brought a smile to my face. So nice that these men and women were so pose-able, and didn’t mind the photo-taking. I almost feel like I was there – really neat event.

So pleased this post made you smile. Everyone was so proud of their costumes and only too happy to pose for us, even during the parade. I really fun event!!

A lot of extroverts at that parade. 🙂

Wow, that is some festival! The costumes look so authentic with such attention to details. Thanks for sharing these great pictures, Darlene!

I was so impressed by the costumes as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. It was hard to decide which ones to include.

I can’t believe all of the festivals around you. What a fun event for all. Great photos.

We are so fortunate to live near many amazing festivals, large and small. And there are so many we haven’t seen yet! I love the family feeling of these festivals.

What a wonderful spectacle! I was going to ask the same thing as Claudia, whether food was part of the festival! I’m usually all about the food 🙂

It was incredible. We did have some excellent tapas while waiting for the parade. There is always food at a Spanish event. Next time I go, I want to check out the encampment and see what food vendors are there.

So loved this Festival…the very fact I was there with my husband and The Foster friends made it even more spectacular and worthy of note. Definitely take it in if you are over there during Sept 2018:)

It was made all the more special because you were there with me my friend! They hold it every year.

I so enjoyed all your photographs Darlene, thank you for sharing them. There are certainly a lot of festivals in Spain.

Glad you enjoyed the photographs, Barbara. There are so many festivals and we have only taken in a few of them.

I love this post Darlene. I’m a big fan of Roman history, and when I travel I take every opportunity to visit Roman ruins and museums. I love the detail that you’ve captured in your photos. This festival is a wonderful reminder that not all Romans were warriors. I have a great deal of respect for the enactors who work so hard to make the costumes authentic. Thanks for an excellent post. ~James

I thought of you as I wrote this post as I know you love anything to do with Romans. You would so love Cartagena in Spain as it is very Roman. This event is amazing and glad we caught it this year. So pleased you enjoyed the post! Hope all is well with both of you.

Another incredible festival with amazing costumes and your pictures show them off brilliantly. You did really well getting people to pose so nicely for you. Spain must surely be the festival capital of the world.

Everyone was very happy to show off their costumes! We were also situated at a spot where the parade often stopped. So I was lucky to get some great shots. There is always a festival happening somewhere in Spain! Love it.

Oh, my gosh! As a former Latin teacher, I may have to add this to my bucket list!

Have you nominated for the Cybils award? Only two days left! http://www.cybils.com/2016/10/and-go-cybils-nominations-are-open.html

You would so love it. Thanks for following my blog and for the link!

[…] of catching up. There was beach time and shopping time, as well as visits to historic sites and a Roman and Carthaginian festival. We hung out with gladiators and ate tapas, paella and much more delicious Spanish food. My hubby […]

No holds barred on costume design and creation!

These were the best costumes ever!! I was so impressed.

[…] Please head over to Darlene’s blog to read the rest of the description and see all the magnificent photographs of this even celebrating the ancient history of this region of Spain:https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/mingling-with-romans-and-carthaginians/ […]

What a marvelous post, Darlene. I really enjoyed it.

It was an amazing spectacle to attend. Glad I could share it.

Your posts are always so colorful and interesting, Darlene ❤

Spain is a very colourful country.Glad you enjoyed this one!!

Oh what a fantastic share, thanks Darlene. It was like being taken to the backstage of the making of a biblical movie. 🙂 x

Yes, that is what it felt like. It was especially fun to mingle with the participants before the parade.

Nice clicks. Seems like a colorful Fest.
May I know the name of the Festival,
what Place and in which month and dates?

Thanks for visiting my blog. It is called the Festival of Carthaginians and Romans and is held in Cartagena, Spain from Sept 18 to 27. There is quite a lot of info on the internet. Glad you enjoyed my post.

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