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