Roman Britain


Roman Britain
The Romans occupied Britain from around 55BC to AD410 and there are many signs of the occupation still visible today at archaeological sites and Roman roads and walls stretching across the countryside.
  Julius Caesar came to Britain in 55BC and 54BC, defeating some of the local Celtic tribes and introducing taxes and establishing trade. When, in AD43, this was under threat, the emperor Claudius ordered an invasion and southern Britain became Britannia, a province of the Roman Empire which was ruled by a Roman governor. In AD78 the governor Agricola brought Wales under Roman control, but failed to conquer the Picts and other Scottish tribes in the north. The emperor Hadrian visited Britain in AD122 and after that Hadrian’s Wall, much of which can still be seen today, was built between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bowness marking the northern frontier of the province.
  The Romans founded over 20 large towns called coloniae, including Colchester which was built as the new capital, Gloucester and Lincoln. It took many years before a town had all the things expected by a Roman citizen, such as a forum (= meeting place) with shops and a town hall, and baths and theatres, which were all highly decorated. London developed first as a trading centre and became the focus for several roads, soon replacing Colchester as the capital. Many roads were built to transport soldiers to border areas and for travel between towns, the most famous of which are Watling Street which ran from Dover to London and then on to St Albans and Chester, Ermine Street between London and York and the Fosse Way which ran from Exeter to Lincoln.
  By AD410, when Roman officials left Britain, the country had already been attacked by the Picts and invaded by Germanic tribes from northern Europe. More soldiers were sent to defend the province, but when part of the army was moved to deal with trouble elsewhere, the British rebelled against Roman rule and Roman influence declined. Germanic settlers, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, began arriving in Britain from about AD 430 and took over much of the south and east of the country.

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