Thanks to Irene for letting me do this guest post!
Our current read, “Island of Ghosts” by Gillian Bradshaw, sends Sarmatian cavalry to Hadrian’s Wall as a result of a treaty with Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Ariantes and his men are assigned to Cilurnum, known today as Chesters Roman Fort.
Chester’s has a wonderfully preserved bath house, located outside the fort walls, on the riverbank. The niches for storing clothes still survive and you can sit inside one of the baths!
I'm unsuccessful at uploading photos, so click on the link below for the English Heritage page on the fort. Scroll down to the gallery and click on the photos - they are incredible. At the administrative headquarters, you can even peer into the strong room where the money was kept. The strong room still has its original roof! You can also see the under floor heating system (hypocaust) in the commander's house. He had a private bath house as well.
We visited Cilurnum (Chesters) in 2008 and in 2010 and 2011 I was lucky enough to take part in archeology digs at Vindolanda Roman Fort.
If Ariantes and his fellow Sarmatians had to be posted on the Wall, then Cilurnum was one of the better forts. Although I think his fellow Sarmatian Prince, Arshak, got the best posting: Eboracum (modern-day York)!
One of the most memorable things about my visit to Cilurnum was at the gift shop. We asked the clerk to recommend a bed and breakfast. He recommended one a couple of miles down the military road. He said it was just past the Temple of Mithras. My mouth hung open! I made him repeat that there was a Temple of Mithras just down the road. We visited it and I still can't believe I was there. Here it is: