swuklink: Roman Britain  
   
ROMAN BRITAIN
(AD 43 to 410)
Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
 Click here for more information

JULIUS CEASAR'S FIRST VISIT

Julius Caesar landed in Britain, probably near Deal in Kent, with a force of 10,000 men in 55 BC to punish the British Celts for aiding the Gauls with whom they shared their religion and Celtic kindred. The Romans returned to Gaul, a decisive victory having been prevented by Caesar's lack of cavalry, it being too late in the year for a sustained campaign, and much of the Roman fleet being destroyed by a storm.

Top of this page

JULIUS CEASAR'S SECOND ATTEMPT

Julius Caesar followed up his unsuccessful attempt to invade Britain the previous year with a huge expedition in 54BC. His forces comprised 20,000 men, 2,000 cavalry and 800 ships. Because of the size of his force, the landing was unopposed.

Cassivelaunus, the king of the Catuvellauni, attempted to unite all the British tribes into opposing the Roman incursion. Caesar's victory near Verulamium (modern St. Albans) and the opposition of the Trinobantes caused the submission of Cassivelaunus and the nominal submission of all the British tribes.

Top of this page

JULIUS CEASAR UNTIL 43 AD

Caesar's attempts of 55 and 54 BC did not ensure the permanent of Britain by the Romans and, for almost 100 years, Rome was otherwise pre-occupied dealing with a rising of the Gauls against Caesar, civil wars in Rome and the necessity of protecting the eastern and northern frontiers of the empire against the barbarians.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN CONQUEST OF BRITAIN (43 AD)

On the death of Cunobelinus, the king of the Trinobantes, his son and heir Caratacus renounced his father's friendship with Rome and the Emperor Claudius ordered the invasion of Britain led by Aulus Lautius.

Cunobelinus was the Cymbeline of Shakespeare.

In Welsh he is known as Caradog ; hence Caratacus not Caractacus.

Lautius captured the stronghold of Caratacus at Camulodunum (modern Colchester in Essex) and thus obtained the submission of the greater part of Britain - most of the territory which lay south of the line from the Humber to the Mersey. It would take the Romans another thirty years to subdue England and Wales (though they never conquered Scotland) and subject it to the Pax Romana which prevailed until the departure of the Roman legions from the British Isles at the beggining of the 5th century. If the conquest was long and difficult because of the valiant resistance of the Celts and the mountainous regions of England and Wales, the Romans were aided to a considerable extent by the refusal of the Celtic tribes to oppose the invaders in unison.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN

The Roman occupation of Britain, a province on the very ege of the empire, was primarily military and this was particularly true of Wales and Northern England on the very fringes and subject to danger of attack or revolt. It is probable that the stubborn resistance of the Roman-British to the would-be Anglo-Saxon invaders after the departure of the Roman presence in the early 5th century was due to their retention of at least part of the Roman military system.

Only four 'coloniae', Colchester, Gloucester, Lincoln and York and one 'municipium' were established by the Romans in Britain was Verulamium (St. Albans).

Julius Agricola (AD 78-85)

Agricola built many towns as well as military forts. The wealthy Britons were attracted to the luxuries of life available in the Roman towns and Agricola did much to introduce the Roman language and learning and to improve agriculture.

Although the lot of the poorest members of society was undoubtedly hard but probably little changed by the new rulers at the top of society, under Agricola there were fair assessments of tribute and the corn tax and the Britons became reconciled to the Roman occupation.

The Emperor Domitian recalled Agricola not only because of danger from the Danube, but also because his aggresive governorship of Britian was disapproved of in Rome.

Top of this page

Chronological Summary of the Occupation

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
Agriculture

The Romans developed agriculture in Britain and these islands became the granary of the western Empire.

The Britons had traded corn with the Greeks for many centuries before the Roman conquest and with the Phoenicians many centuries before the arrival of the Greeks.

Much wildwood was cleared for its timber freeing up the land for agriculture and marshes were drained allowing their fertile soils to be utilised.

Although there was a large increase in the urban population during the Roman occupation most of the British population continued to live in villages as they had done before the conquest. The Romans also introduced villae - Roman estates.

Top of this page

The Romans introduced ground elder into the British Isles.

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
Civilisation

The Romans introduced Latin language and culture into the British Isles and their more advanced civilisation. Roman-built towns appeared amongst the Celtic villages and attracted the welthier Celts.

The Latin castra, colonia, portus and strata have remained in British place-names; Doncaster, Lincoln, Portsmouth and Stratford.

The British Isles were brought into closer contact with continental Europe and there was a large increase in trade with Europe.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
Industry

Lead was mined in Derbyshire and elsewhere, tin was mined in Cornwall (where the industry was established in the Early Bronze Age) and iron was produced in the Weald.

It is thought that the Romans brought the watermill to the British Isles although these flourished under the Saxons so that there were some 6,000 watermills in England by the time of the Domesday Book (1086).

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
The Roman Roads

The occupation of the Roman provinces was essentialy military and the Pax Romana was delivered by the well-organised and efficient legions of the imperium. The Roman roads were built to move soldiers and equipment rapidly to where they were needed and were thus straight, most radiating out from Londinium which provided the Romans with a convenient centre for administration close to the continent.

Chief amongst the Roman Roads in the British Isles were Watling Street from Dover, through London, St Albans, Viroconium and on to Chester; Ermine Street from London, through Lincoln, Aldborough and Carlisle to Newcastle in recent times to become 'The Great North Road'; and The Foss Way from Exeter to Lincoln.

So well did the Romans engineer these highways that many were in use for many centuries after their builders' departure from Britain.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
RELIGION

Christianity

There is very little definate information on the introduction of Christianity and only a few relics such as a Christian church at Silchester but was probably introduced by Roman soldiers arriving from Gaul.

Christianity spread through the 2nd century and became the predominant religion in Britain during the 3rd century despite the persecution of Diocletian.

 

During the Diocletian persecution, a Christian Roman soldier, Albanus, suffered martyrdom at St Albans in AD 304 giving the town its name.

Christian bishoprics were established at London and York.

The Pelagian Heresy which denied the doctrine of original sin was founded by Pelagius, a Briton.

Top of this page

Mythraic Worship

There is much evidence in the British Isles of Mythraic worship - sun-worship originating in the Orient.

Roman Paganism

Roman Paganism was based to a large extent on the deities of Ancient Greece.

Druidism

Suetonius Paulinus (AD 59-75) conquered Mona (modern Anglesea) which was the centre of the Druids, the religious leaders of the Britons and destroyed their sacred groves. The Romans probably saw crushing the religion of the Britons as one of the means of assisting in their subjugation.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
SCOTLAND

Some territory to the north of Agricola's forts stretching between the Clyde and Forth was occupied for a short period but after AD 180 Hadrian's Wall from Wallsend to Bowness became the northern boundary of the Empire.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
Towns

The Celtic British had lived in villages scattered throughout the country before the arrival of the Romans who built a considerable number of towns the luxury of which, in turn, attracted the wealthier Brtons to town life.

The towns contained the buildings which could be expected to be found in any Roman town on mainland Europe with temples, public baths, stadia and military barracks as well as domestic dwellings.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
Trade

The Roman occupation caused much closer contact between the British Isles and Continental Europe and a large increase in trade. Although the Celts had traded corn and Tin for many hunreds of years before the arrival of the Romans, first with the Phoenicians and later with the Greeks, the Romans imported the luxury goods they had become used to on the continent and exported goods for profit.

London, offering easy access to and from Europe to the necessary shipping and being the hub of the system of Roman roads became a commercial centre.

Top of this page

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN
WALES

Wales was never thoroughly conquered and remained Celtic unlike Gaul which was Romanised. There are very few Roman remains in Wales and the Welsh language was only slightly affected by the Latin language of the Romans.

Top of this page >
BibliographyDiscuss this PageHits on this PageLegals
LinksLocally
Time-Line

This time-line has been generated for this page from our general time-line
which you can view by clicking here or on the dates in the left-hand column.

To view links to related pages, click here

367Picts, Scots and Saxons simultaneously invade the British Isles
BAAAGBRO BAAAGEKC BAAAGEHV
369Romans restore order to the British province
BAAAGEHV
circa 380Magnus Maximus becomes comes Britanniae
BAAAGEHW
381Magnus Maximus defeats an incursion of the Picts and Scots
BAAAGEKC BAAAGEHW
391Roman Emperor Theodosius orders the closure of pagan temples throughout the Empire as Christianity becomes the established religion
BAAAGEII
1727Discovery of The Minerva Head at Bath
BAAAGEII
1790Solid Roman pavement discovered 4 metres below ground during the digging of foundations for the new Pump Room at Bath
BAAAGEII

Year   Word/Phrase    
BibliographyDiscuss this PageHits on this PageLegals
LocallyTime-Line
Links

Links to Other Pages on this Site

 

Iron Age Britain Roman Britain
see also
Bronze Age Britain
Roman Britain

BibliographyDiscuss this PageHits on this PageLegals
LinksLocally

The Libyan-born Roman Emperor Septimus Severinus came to Britian with his family to quell a rebellion in the north. He took ill and died at York in 211AD. African legionaires would have formed part of the Roman forces manning Hadrian's Wall at the time.

BibliographyDiscuss this PageHits on this PageLegals
LinksTime-Line
Locally

Links to Other Pages on this Site

 

DORSET

Agglestone
Christchurch
Hengistbury Head
Poole


SOMERSET
  Cadbury Castle

WILTSHIRE
Sorbiodunum (Salisbury)



BibliographyDiscuss this PageLegalsLinksLocally
Time-Line
Hits on this Page
Hits on this page since December 6th

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

current year: previous year:

 Close this Menu Panel
ALPHABETICAL
SITE INDEX
Select ;-

Aa-Az   Ba-Bz   Ca-Cz   Da-Dz   Ea-Ez   Fa-Fz   Ga-Gz   Ha-Hz   Ia-Iz   Ja-Jz   Ka-Kz   La-Lz   Ma-Mz   Na-Nz   Oa-Oz   Pa-Pz   Qa-Qz   Ra-Rz   Sa-Sz   Ta-Tz   Ua-Uz   Va-Vz   Wa-Wz   Ya-Yz   
SW COUNTIES
BibliographyHits on this PageLegalsLinksLocally
Time-Line
Discuss this Page

No messages posted on this page

Only Members of the Site can post messages in this section. Signing in is easy from our Home Page.

BibliographyDiscuss this PageHits on this PageLinks
LocallyTime-Line
Legals

DISCLAIMER: Whilst we endeavour to ensure the content of this site is correct, we cannot undertake that information you find here, is, or will remain accurate and complete. We do not warrant that any information contained on this site is fit for any purpose. If you wish to place reliance on any such information you must check its accuracy by some other means before doing so.

MEMBERS get aditional features on our pages and will soon be able to interact with the site and add their views and informastion. Sign up, from the Home-Page, is simple and involves typing in your email address and a password of your choice.

If you are in any way connected with any location or interested in the subject mentioned on this page and have an hour or two a month to spare, we would welcome you as a local moderator - please email the webmaster by CLICKING HERE.

Privacy Policy

last updated on
Copyright © 2000-2003 swukink.com
page ref: BAAAGBRE