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Roman Britain. 55 BCE–410 AD. Anglo-Roman Britain.

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roman britain

Roman Britain

55 BCE–410 AD

anglo roman britain
Anglo-Roman Britain

The Anglo-Roman (55 BCE. - ca. 410 AD) period began with Julius Caesar’s first invasion of England and ended with the withdrawal of the last Roman Legion to the mainland. This period is clearly distinguished from the tribal Celtic and Anglo-Saxon period that preceded and followed it. There is evidence that while Roman customs, laws, and government dominated English life, many Celtic traditions, like a strong sense of local or regional order remained and were adapted to Roman Law–as, for example, the “hero-leader-chieftain.”. After the withdrawal of political Rome from England in the mid-5th century, cultural Rome remained in the strong respect for law as the basis of social order.

the ledenhall mosaic
The Ledenhall Mosaic
  • Ledenhall Street, London
  • Illustrates the extensive Roman influence on English life
  • The image is of a young god or noble.
the rudge cup
The Rudge Cup
  • This inscribed cup, found in Hadrian’s Wall lists, the names of five wall forts. The occupation of the fort illustrates Roman administration and maintenance of public order. The refined style shows the development of a high culture
iceni coin ca 60 ad
Iceni Coin (ca 60 AD)
  • From the time of Boudicca found in a buried cache. The incorporation of Celtic design and Roman coining techniques shows the mixture of Celtic and Roman styles on Romano-Britain. Shows the extent of the instability & fear at the time of the Iceni rebellion.
an exemplary text
An Exemplary Text

Tacitus the Roman historian provides an account of Boudicca’s rebellion )60-61 ad in The Annals, Book XIV, Chapters 29-35. Tacitus’ account was written between 110-120 ad. It provides a summary of the military campaign of Paulinus Suetonius, an ambitious general reversed previous Roman policy of consolidating rather than extending their rule in Britain. His campaign in Wales, particular on the Isle of Mona was vicious and brutal. Prasutagus, king of the Iceni tried secure peace and stability for his kingdom by bequeathing half in prosperous kingdom to the Roman governor.

tacitus cont
Tacitus (cont.)

However, Roman troops ‘ravaged the kingdom, raping his wife and daughters and enslaving the royal family. Boudicca, with the help of neighboring tribes, sought to rectify the wrong. Tacitus characterizes their motivation as “the neighboring states, not as yet taught to crouch in bondage, pledged themselves, in secret councils, to stand forth in the cause of liberty.” Boudicca’s speech to his troops before the final battle with the Roman’s recorded by Tacitus certainly characterizes the reason for the revolt as one of protecting traditional freedom and a protest against the injustices that Roman inflicted on the Britons.

tacitus cont9
Tacitus (cont.)

"This is not the first time that the Britons have been led to battle by a woman. But now she did not come to boast the pride of a long line of ancestry, nor even to recover her kingdom and the plundered wealth of her family. She took the field, like the meanest among them, to assert the cause of public liberty, and to seek revenge for her body seamed with ignominious stripes, and her two daughters infamously ravished. . . . Behold the proud display of warlike spirits, and consider the motives for which we draw the avenging sword. On this spot we must either conquer, or die with glory. There is no alternative. Though a woman, my resolution is fixed: the men, if they please, may survive with infamy, and live in bondage."

significance of this text
Significance of this text
  • Many dimensions of the British social and political thinking are shaped by the key idea, acting to assert or protect public liberty, expressed by Boudicca.
link to the summative essay
Link to the Summative Essay

History & Social Change