BricksandStones's avatar
Legionaries, monks and a centaur
By BricksandStones   |   Watch
275 69 1K (1 Today)
Published: March 23, 2019

This is the medieval, 12th C. Augustinian priory in the corner of the Antique Roman fort in Portchester, England. Dating from the 3rd Century AD, the fort in Porthester is the best preserved Roman fortification in Britain. Regularly planned, it overlooks the waters of the English channel – legionaries stationed here were given the task to protect the coasts of Britain from barbarian raids and pirates. Together with other similar outposts, Portchester was meant to keep shipping routes connecting Britain with Gaul and the rest of the empire open. It fulfilled that role for approximately 100 years when, after periods of revolts and invasions, Rome lost its authority over Britain. The fort, however, does not seem to have ever been abandoned. Instead, it found new masters and eventually, its walls were made to serve a prestigious, Anglo-Saxon residence. When that power waned as well, Portchester was taken by the Normans who converted the ancient fort into a castle. A powerful keep was built in one of the corners of the fort (that’s from where the photo was taken) and Augustinian monks were given the land opposite to it.

After more than 800 years since the fort was built, it may seem that there was nothing Roman left about the site – just an empty shell of walls used by different warlords or knights. However, if one would look closely at the Romanesque portal of Augustinian priory today, one would discern barely visible outline of a centaur holding a bow and a pair of fish swirling one behind the other. These are the ancient symbols of the zodiac used in calendars ever since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. The centaur a creature of the Antique, remained part of medieval imagination just as numerous Antique texts of Aristotle, Boetius, Cicero, Augustine and others were still kept and read in monastic libraries. Though Roman empire fell in the West, its culture survived and, together with the centaur, returned to Portchester.

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anonymous's avatar
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Comments (67)
ZiemiaLubawska's avatar
Fajnie wygląda :) Trochę jak katedra w Tristram z gier z serii Diablo :happybounce: :happybounce: :happybounce: 
Sam zobacz: diablo.fandom.com/pl/wiki/Kate…
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BricksandStones's avatar
:) Prawda - ach, pamiętam jak grałem w pierwsze Diablo, jeszcze w szkole podstawowej :) Najpierw graliśmy z kolegą w demo, które miało tylko pierwszy poziom, dopiero później ogarnąłem całość - dziękuję za komentarz - bardzo mi miło :) !
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cfowler7-SFM's avatar
cfowler7-SFM|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I took this shot at the very same place. I is one of the few finest castles remaining in the south. I amazes me it was untouched during the war. 
Archway by cfowler7-SFM
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BricksandStones's avatar
Well said! I was also surprsied how well it is preserved! This lever of survival of Roman architecture is very rare even in regions closer to Rome than Britain..... Your photo of the castle is very good - thank you very much for sharing it!
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anasofiajc's avatar
anasofiajc|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Interresting story! Wonderful photo!
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BricksandStones's avatar
It is so nice to see that someone took the time to read the story - thank you very much! It is always a pleasure to hear from you :) Thank you again and all the best!
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anasofiajc's avatar
anasofiajc|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very welcome!I always read ☺All the best to you too 😃
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MedievalJunkie's avatar
This one is a lovely one. I love the way the medieval building is squeezed into a much older structure... and both have survived the ages. 
Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I learn about so many wonderful medieval places thanks to you!
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BricksandStones's avatar
You are very kind - it is always a pleasure to get some positive feedback :) I also like medieval sites that show a degreee of continuity with the Antique. In popular culture, medieval is often presented as a period almost completely cut off from the Antique culture, iconography, knowledge and traditions while in reality, in my view, there was much more continuity then people would admit.. Than you very much for taking the time to view this and comment - I really appreciate it! Cheers and all the best!
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MedievalJunkie's avatar
It is my pleasure. I think work like yours needs the encouragement and praise. BTW, if you have the time and a bit of money to spare, do come to Gottland at the beginning of august for the battle of Visby! You are going to love it.
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Gequibren's avatar
Gequibren|Student General Artist
Cute place! :) but it would be interesting to see the outline of the centaur too. Maybe if you put it in the corner of this image with a zoom
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BricksandStones's avatar
I added the centaur in the first comment but now it has moved down the line and you have to go all the way to the begining of comments to see it. Here is is again - thank you very much for showing interest, I really appreciate it! Cheers and all the best from Warsaw! DSC07796 po BMP by BricksandStones  
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Gequibren's avatar
Gequibren|Student General Artist
Oh! a bit hard to see a centaur over there, but probably the centuries have wreaked havoc on the definition
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BricksandStones's avatar
Yes, especially close to the sea, all the salt in the wind damages the stone even more. This carving once depicted a centaur with a bow - you can just discern the legs and torso of the horse together with human upper part holding the bow. Thank you very much once again, it is always a pleasure to  hear from you!
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calimer00's avatar
Amazing history of this impressive place!
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BricksandStones's avatar
:) I am very glad you like it - I visited this site when I was teaching in the University of Reading (in faact it was my fist field trip as a teacher, not a student :) ) thank you very much for viewing this - I really appreciate it! As always, I wish you all the best!
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Eldr-Fire's avatar
Eldr-Fire|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
All right, you had me at the title! :D Nice photo though, and interesting history as always. :)
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BricksandStones's avatar
Admittedly - it was a bit of a clickbait :) I am sorry if it was a bit dissapointing! I visited Portchester when I was teching first year archeology students - it was an awesome fieldtrip. Thank you, as always, for visiting my gallery and taking the time to read the description - I really appreciate it! All the best from Warsaw!
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patrickbrandy's avatar
Excellente photo
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BricksandStones's avatar
I am very glad you think so - thank you very much for taking the time to view it!
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miirex's avatar
miirex|Hobbyist Photographer
Interesująca praca.
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BricksandStones's avatar
Dziękuję - jak zawsze miło mi, że zajrzał Pan do mojej galerii :) dzięki jeszcze raz i pozdrawiam!
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roxidraw's avatar
Jakoś te nakropi zwracają moją uwagę. Ładne zdjęcie i spokojne miejsce :)
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BricksandStones's avatar
To prawda, wyobrażam sobie, że bardzo miło byłoby wybrać się tam na spacer z psem - jest woda, jest trawa, przestrzeń i cisza - wszystko czego piesek (przynajmniej mój) pragnie od spaceru :) Dziękuję za komentarz!
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anonymous's avatar
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