Top 10 things your pupils need to know about Roman Britain
1. Roman Britain was part of a huge empire ruled from Rome
Roman Britain was part of a huge empire ruled from Rome which lasted hundreds of years from AD43 to about AD410
2. The Romans did not arrive to a totally uncivilised country
The Romans did not arrive to a totally backward and uncivilised country. One reason for Rome’s interest in Britain was the country’s wealth, principally gold and silver.
3. Julius Caesar tried to invade and settle twice
Julius Caesar tried to invade and settle twice in BC56 and BC54 (looking for prestige but also because the Britons had supported the Gauls against the Roman empire), but his troops didn’t stay.
4. Britons carried on trading with the Romans
Even though it was not until almost 100 years later that Claudius invaded, the Britons carried on trading with the Romans after Caesar’s invasions.
5. The Roman army and their defences were very important
There were rebellions and problems in the first 100 years of occupation (such as Boudica’s rebellion in AD60-1), so the Roman army and their defences were very important. The Roman Army was a highly disciplined and efficient killing machine, defeating Boudica when she had possibly 20 times more men.
6. The Romans contributed much in both town and in countryside
The Romans contributed much in both town (where 10% lived) and in countryside. They recognised the value of cleanliness with their baths and aqueducts. They were also famous for their buildings and straight roads.
7. Many fine example of Roman building works in Britain remain today
There are still many fine examples of their building works which have survived for 2,000 years such as the Romans baths, Hadrian’s wall, Fishbourne palace, many of which we allowed to fall into disuse after the Roman armies left and were not discovered until quite recently
8. Arrival of Christianity into Britain
This period saw the arrival of Christianity into Britain for the first time after AD 313 but it was not until a few hundred years later that large parts of the country started to convert.
9. There were many social classes including slaves
There were many social classes including slaves. Rich Romans lived in lavishly decorated well-built rural villas with their wonderful mosaics whilst most lived in wattle and daub huts, which have not survived.
10. Much disappeared when the Romans left in the 5th century
Much disappeared when the Romans left in the 5th century but Roman culture continued in some places thereafter.