Roman Britain

Roman Britain

Roman Britain

Roman Britain

Synopsis

Shotter offers a concise introduction to this popular period, drawing on the wealth of recent scolarship to explain the progress of the Romans and their objectives in conquering Britain. Concentrating on the changes experienced by the British as part of the Roman Empire, he surveys the diversity of people, activities and aspirations that became a thriving Romano-British economy and society.

Excerpt

Monty Python's Life of Brian flippantly posed the question, 'What did the Romans do for us?' In the context of that film, the answers provided touched on most aspects of what we might call 'civilised life'; further, scholars and non-specialists alike have been exercised over how the question might be answered with respect to Roman Britain. One answer was put by the Roman historian, Tacitus in his Life of Agricola, into the mouth of the Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus, on the eve of his decisive battle with the Roman army in AD 83: 'They create a desolation, and they call it peace.'

More recent answers have varied: at one time it was traditional to view the Britons as rather sullen spectators of the activities of their Roman oppressors, suffering a loss of their freedom, compounded by occasional 'rape and pillage'. Others, in calling the Roman occupation an 'interlude' in Celtic tribalism, have minimised the long-term effect of the Roman presence in Britain for three and a half centuries.

Nowadays, we approach the question rather less 'globally'; first of all, we now take on board the fact that Britain saw relatively few Italians, let alone Romans. The bulk of those who acted in Britain in Rome's name were themselves members of Romanised provincial families from many different parts of the empire. Provincials themselves were certainly not condemned to eking out

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