CHESTER'S final festive parade of the season saw Roman Legion soldiers take to the streets on Thursday, December 16 with flaming torches.

Lighting their torches and marching through the city centre, Chester’s Deva Victrix 20th Legion took back control of their city as Chester Roman Tours celebrated Saturnalia.

Once more, Nick Fry assumed the role of Emperor Domitian, addressing his subjects: “Let none of you be mistaken, the Romans are still here, at certain times of the year you will see us marching once more through our fortress.

“Remember who and what I am. I am a sword that sings in the dark. I am the sound of a legion marching to war. I am the axe that thuds into your scull. I am accuser, judge and executioner. I am Imperator. I am a living God. I am Caesar. I am Rome.”

Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn. Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day on December 17 but it was so popular it extended to a week, from the 17 to 23 December, despite Augustus' efforts to reduce it to three days, and Caligula's, to five.

Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of roles, with slaves and masters switching places. Clothing was relaxed and included the peaked woollen cap that symbolised the freed slave. A member of the familia (family plus slaves) was appointed Saturnalicius princeps, roughly, Lord of Misrule.

Following the release of Chester’s Lord of Misrule at the Christmas Market in Town Hall Square, the Winter Watch Parade shared the stage for a final march through the city, having marched the previous Thursday.

See a gallery of photos from the parade, taken by photographer Simon Warburton.