Roman Britain

Roman Britain

Encyclopedia
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 controlled by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.

The Romans referred to the imperial province
Imperial province
An imperial province was a Roman province where the Emperor had the sole right to appoint the governor . These provinces were often the strategically located border provinces....

 as Britannia
Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

 (Scotland). Before the Roman invasion, begun in AD 43, Iron Age Britain
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron-Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ireland, and which had an independent Iron Age culture of...

 already had established cultural and economic links with Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, but the Roman invaders introduced new developments in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, urbanisation, industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. Besides the native British record of the initial Roman invasion, Roman historians generally mention Britannia only in passing, thus, most knowledge of Roman Britain has derived from archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 investigations, and the epigraphic
Epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an Emperor of Rome
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, such as Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 (r. AD 117–38) and Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (r. AD 138–61), whose walls demarcated the northern borders of Roman Britain.

The first extensive Roman campaigns in Britain were by the armies of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 55 and in 54 BC, but the first significant campaign of conquest did not begin until AD 43, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

. Following the conquest of the native Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged under provincial government
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

, which, despite steadily extended territorial control northwards, was never able to exert definite control over Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

. The Romans demarcated the northern border of Britannia with Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, completed around the year 128. Fourteen years later, in AD 142, the Romans extended the Britannic frontier northwards, to the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 line, where they constructed the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

, but, after approximately twenty years, they then retreated to the border of Hadrian's Wall. Around the year 197, Rome divided Britannia into two provinces, Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

; sometime after AD 305, Britannia was further divided, and made into an imperial diocese
Roman diocese
A Roman or civil diocese was one of the administrative divisions of the later Roman Empire, starting with the Tetrarchy. It formed the intermediate level of government, grouping several provinces and being in turn subordinated to a praetorian prefecture....

. For much of the later period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 invasions and often came under the control of imperial usurpers and pretenders to the Roman Emperorship
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

.

Most Romans departed from Britain around the year 410, which began the sub-Roman period
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

 (AD 5–6 c.), but the legacy of the Roman Empire was felt for centuries in Britain.

Early contact



Britain was not unknown to the Classical world. As early as the 4th century BC, the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns and Carthaginians
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 traded for Cornish
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 tin. The Greeks refer to the Cassiterides
Cassiterides
The Cassiterides, meaning Tin Islands , are an ancient geographical name of islands that were regarded as situated somewhere near the west coasts of Europe...

, or "tin islands", and describe them as being situated somewhere near the west coast of Europe. The Carthaginian sailor Himilco
Himilco the Navigator
Himilco , a Carthaginian navigator and explorer, lived during the height of Carthaginian power, the 5th century BC....

 is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas
Pytheas
Pytheas of Massalia or Massilia , was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony, Massalia . He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe at about 325 BC. He travelled around and visited a considerable part of Great Britain...

 in the 4th. But it was regarded as a place of mystery, with some writers even refusing to believe it existed at all.

The first direct Roman contact came when the Roman general and future dictator, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, made two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC as an offshoot of his conquest of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, believing the Britons had been helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition, more a reconnaissance than a full invasion, gained a foothold on the coast of Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 but, undermined by storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry, was unable to advance further. The expedition was a military failure, but was at least a political success. The Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 declared a 20-day public holiday in Rome in honour of the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent.

In his second invasion, Caesar took with him a substantially larger force and proceeded to coerce or invite many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace. A friendly local king, Mandubracius
Mandubracius
Mandubracius or Mandubratius was a king of the Trinovantes of south-eastern Britain in the 1st century BC.-History:Mandubracius was the son of a Trinovantian king, named Imanuentius in some manuscripts of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, who was overthrown and killed by the warlord Cassivellaunus...

, was installed, and his rival, Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus was an historical British chieftain who led the defence against Julius Caesar's second expedition to Britain in 54 BC. The first British person whose name is recorded, Cassivellaunus led an alliance of tribes against Roman forces, but eventually surrendered after his location was...

, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether the tribute agreed was paid by the Britons after Caesar's return to Gaul with his forces.

Caesar had conquered no territory and had left behind no troops, but had established clients
Patronage in ancient Rome
Patronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus and his client . The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client...

 on the island and had brought Britain into Rome's sphere of political influence. Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, and the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing late in Augustus's reign, claims that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Likewise, archaeology shows an increase in imported luxury goods in southeastern Britain. Strabo also mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus' own Res Gestae
Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Res Gestae Divi Augusti, is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people...

refers to two British kings he received as refugees. When some of Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 in 16 AD, they were sent back by local rulers, telling tall tales of monsters.

Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
The Catuvellauni were a tribe or state of south-eastern Britain before the Roman conquest.The fortunes of the Catuvellauni and their kings before the conquest can be traced through numismatic evidence and scattered references in classical histories. They are mentioned by Dio Cassius, who implies...

, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus was a historical king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain.-History:Tasciovanus is known only through numismatic evidence. He appears to have become king of the Catuvellauni ca. 20 BC, ruling from Verlamion...

, and the Atrebates
Atrebates
The Atrebates were a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain before the Roman conquests.- Name of the tribe :Cognate with Old Irish aittrebaid meaning 'inhabitant', Atrebates comes from proto-Celtic *ad-treb-a-t-es, 'inhabitants'. The Celtic root is treb- 'building', 'home' The Atrebates (singular...

, ruled by the descendants of Commius
Commius
Commius was a historical king of the Belgic nation of the Atrebates, initially in Gaul, then in Britain, in the 1st century BC.-Ally of Caesar:...

.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40 AD, when Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 received an exiled member of the Catuvellaunian dynasty and staged an invasion of Britain that collapsed in farcical circumstances before it had even left Gaul. When Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 successfully invaded in 43 AD, it was in aid of another fugitive British ruler, this time Verica
Verica
Verica was a British client king of the Roman Empire in the years preceding the Claudian invasion of 43 AD.From his coinage, he appears to have been king of the Atrebates tribe and a son of Commius. He succeeded his elder brother Eppillus as king in about 15 AD, reigning at Calleva Atrebatum,...

 of the Atrebates.

Roman invasion


The invasion force in 43 AD was led by Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius was a Roman politician and general of the mid-1st century. He began the Roman conquest of Britain in 43, and became the first governor of the new province, serving from 43 to 47.-Career:...

. It is not known how many Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s were sent; only one legion, the II Augusta
Legio II Augusta
Legio secunda Augusta , was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in the 4th century...

, commanded by the future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, is directly attested to have taken part. The IX Hispana, the XIV Gemina (later styled Martia Victrix) and the XX
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

(later styled Valeria Victrix) are attested in 60/61 during the Boudican Revolt
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

, and are likely to have been there since the initial invasion. However, the Roman Army
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 was flexible, with units being used and moved whenever necessary, so this is not certain. Only the Legio IX Hispana is likely to have stayed there, as it is attested to being in residence at Eburacum (York) in 71 AD and on a building inscription there dated 108 AD, before its eventual destruction fighting in the East, likely during the Bar Kochba Revolt.

The invasion was delayed by a mutiny of the troops, who were eventually persuaded by an imperial freedman to overcome their fear of crossing the Ocean
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and campaigning beyond the limits of the known world. They sailed in three divisions, and probably landed at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, although some suggest that at least part of the invasion force landed on the south coast, in the Fishbourne
Fishbourne, West Sussex
Fishbourne is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England and is situated two miles west of Chichester. The name derives from fissaburna/fiseborne/fysshburn, all meaning "stream with fish"...

 area of West Sussex
West Sussex
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex , Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming...

.

The Romans defeated the Catuvellauni and their allies in two battles: the first, assuming a Richborough landing, on the river Medway
Battle of the Medway
The Battle of the Medway took place in 43 AD on the River Medway in the lands of the Iron Age tribe of the Cantiaci, now the English county of Kent...

, the second on the Thames. One of the Catuvellaunian leaders, Togodumnus
Togodumnus
Togodumnus was a historical king of the British Catuvellauni tribe at the time of the Roman conquest. He can probably be identified with the legendary British king Guiderius....

, was killed, but his brother Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

 survived to continue resistance elsewhere. Plautius halted at the Thames and sent for Claudius, who arrived with reinforcements, including artillery and elephants, for the final march to the Catuvellaunian capital, Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

). The future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 subdued the southwest, Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus was a 1st century king of the Regnenses or Regni tribe in early Roman Britain.Chichester and the nearby Roman villa at Fishbourne, believed by some to have been Cogidubnus' palace, were probably part of the territory of the Atrebates tribe before the Roman conquest of...

 was set up as a friendly king of several territories, and treaties were made with tribes outside the area under direct Roman control.

Roman rule is established


After capturing the south of the island, the Romans turned their attention to what is now Wales. The Silures
Silures
The Silures were a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorganshire of present day South Wales; and possibly Gloucestershire and Herefordshire of present day England...

, Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 and Deceangli
Deceangli
The Deceangli or Deceangi were one of the Celtic tribes living in Britain, prior to the Roman invasion of the island. The tribe lived mainly in what is now north-east Wales, though it is uncertain whether their territory covered only the modern counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire and part of...

 remained implacably opposed to the invaders and for the first few decades were the focus of Roman military attention, despite occasional minor revolts among Roman allies like the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 and the Iceni
Iceni
The Iceni or Eceni were a British tribe who inhabited an area of East Anglia corresponding roughly to the modern-day county of Norfolk between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD...

. The Silures were led by Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

, and he carried out an effective guerilla campaign against Governor Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula was a Roman statesman and general who governed Britain from 47 until his death, and was responsible for the defeat and capture of Caratacus.-Career:...

. Finally, in 51 AD, Ostorius lured Caratacus into a set-piece battle and defeated him. The British leader sought refuge among the Brigantes, but their queen, Cartimandua
Cartimandua
Cartimandua or Cartismandua was a queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now Northern England, in the 1st century. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome...

, proved her loyalty by surrendering him to the Romans. He was brought as a captive to Rome, where a dignified speech he made during Claudius's triumph persuaded the emperor to spare his life. However, the Silures were still not pacified, and Cartimandua's ex-husband Venutius
Venutius
Venutius was a 1st century king of the Brigantes in northern Britain at the time of the Roman conquest. Some have suggested he may have belonged to the Carvetii, a tribe which probably formed part of the Brigantes confederation....

 replaced Caratacus as the most prominent leader of British resistance.

In 60–61 AD, while Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, also spelled Paullinus, was a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica.-Career:...

 was campaigning in Wales, the southeast of Britain rose in revolt under the leadership of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. Boudica was the widow of the recently deceased king of the Iceni, Prasutagus. The Roman historian Tacitus reports that Prasutagus had left a will leaving half his kingdom to Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 in the hope that the remainder would be left untouched. He was wrong. When his will was enforced, Rome responded by violently seizing the tribe's lands in full. Boudica protested. In consequence, Rome punished her and her daughters by flogging and rape. In response, the Iceni, joined by the Trinovantes
Trinovantes
The Trinovantes or Trinobantes were one of the tribes of pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex and Suffolk, and included lands now located in Greater London. They were bordered to the north by the Iceni, and to the west by the Catuvellauni...

, destroyed the Roman colony at Camulodunum (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

) and routed the part of the IXth Legion that was sent to relieve it. Suetonius Paulinus rode to London, the rebels' next target, but concluded it could not be defended. Abandoned, it was destroyed, as was Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 (St. Albans). Between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed in the three cities. But Suetonius regrouped with two of the three legions still available to him, chose a battlefield, and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the rebels in the Battle of Watling Street
Battle of Watling Street
The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman-occupied Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Although outnumbered, the Romans decisively defeated the allied tribes, inflicting heavy losses on them...

. Boudica died not long afterwards, by self-administered poison or by illness. During this time, the Emperor Nero considered withdrawing Roman forces from Britain altogether.

There was further turmoil in 69 AD, the "year of four emperors". As civil war raged in Rome, weak governors were unable to control the legions in Britain, and Venutius of the Brigantes seized his chance. The Romans had previously defended Cartimandua against him, but this time were unable to do so. Cartimandua was evacuated, and Venutius was left in control of the north of the country. After Vespasian secured the empire, his first two appointments as governor, Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petilius Cerialis Caesius Rufus was a Roman general and administrator who served in Britain during Boudica's rebellion and who went on to participate in the civil wars after the death of Nero. He later defeated the rebellion of Julius Civilis and returned to Britain as its governor.His...

 and Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus was one of the most distinguished Roman aristocrats of the late 1st century AD, but is best known to the post-Classical world as an author of technical treatises, especially one dealing with the aqueducts of Rome....

, took on the task of subduing the Brigantes and Silures respectively. Frontinus extended Roman rule to all of South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, and initiated exploitation of the mineral resources, such as the gold mines at Dolaucothi.
In the following years, the Romans conquered more of the island, increasing the size of Roman Britain. Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. His biography, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, was the first published work of his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, and is the source for most of what is known about him.Born to a noted...

, father-in-law to the historian Tacitus, conquered the Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 in 78 AD. With the XXth Valeria Victrix
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

 legion, Agricola defeated the Caledonians
Caledonians
The Caledonians , or Caledonian Confederacy, is a name given by historians to a group of indigenous peoples of what is now Scotland during the Iron Age and Roman eras. The Romans referred to their territory as Caledonia and initially included them as Britons, but later distinguished as the Picts...

 in 84 AD at the Battle of Mons Graupius
Battle of Mons Graupius
According to Tacitus, the Battle of Mons Graupius took place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor and Tacitus' father-in-law, had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British auxiliaries, reached the site,...

, in northern Scotland. This was the high water mark of Roman territory in Britain: shortly after his victory, Agricola was recalled from Britain back to Rome, and the Romans retired to a more defensible line along the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 isthmus, freeing soldiers badly needed along other frontiers.

For much of the history of Roman Britain, a large number of soldiers were garrisoned on the island. This required that the emperor station a trusted senior man as governor of the province. As a result, many future emperors served as governors or legates in this province, including Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

, and Gordian I
Gordian I
Gordian I , was Roman Emperor for one month with his son Gordian II in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Caught up in a rebellion against the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, he was defeated by forces loyal to Maximinus before committing suicide.-Early life:...

.

Occupation and retreat from southern Scotland



There is no historical source describing the decades that followed Agricola's recall. Even the name of his replacement is unknown. Archaeology has shown that some Roman forts south of the Forth-Clyde isthmus were rebuilt and enlarged, although others appear to have been abandoned. Roman coins and pottery have been found circulating at native settlement sites in the Scottish Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 in the years before 100 AD, indicating growing Romanisation
Romanization (cultural)
Romanization or latinization indicate different historical processes, such as acculturation, integration and assimilation of newly incorporated and peripheral populations by the Roman Republic and the later Roman Empire...

. Some of the most important sources for this era are the writing tablets from the fort at Vindolanda
Vindolanda
Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England. Located near the modern village of Bardon Mill, it guarded the Stanegate, the Roman road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth...

 in Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, mostly dating to AD 90-110. These tablets provide vivid evidence for the operation of a Roman fort at the edge of the Roman Empire, where officers' wives maintained polite society while merchants, hauliers and military personnel kept the fort operational and supplied.

Around 105 AD, however, there appears to have been a serious setback at the hands of the tribes of the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 of Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

: several Roman forts were destroyed by fire, with human remains and damaged armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

 at Trimontium (at modern Newstead
Newstead, Scottish Borders
Newstead is a village in the Scottish Borders, just east of Melrose, coordinates 55.599704, -2.691987. It has a population of approximately 260, according to the 2001 census.It is reputedly the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Scotland...

, in SE Scotland) indicating hostilities at least at that site. There is also circumstantial evidence that auxiliary reinforcements were sent from Germany, and an unnamed British war of the period is mentioned on the gravestone of a tribune
Tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 of Cyrene
Cyrene (mythology)
In Greek mythology, as recorded in Pindar's 9th Pythian ode, Cyrene was the daughter of Hypseus, King of the Lapiths. When a lion attacked her father's sheep, Cyrene wrestled with the lion. Apollo, who was present, immediately fell in love with her and kidnapped her. He took her to North...

. However, Trajan's Dacian Wars may have led to troop reductions in the area or even total withdrawal followed by slighting of the forts by the Picts rather than an unrecorded military defeat. The Romans were also in the habit of destroying their own forts during an orderly withdrawal, in order to deny resources to an enemy. In either case, the frontier probably moved south to the line of the Stanegate
Stanegate
The Stanegate, or "stone road" , was an important Roman road built in what is now northern England. It linked two forts that guarded important river crossings; Corstopitum in the east, situated on Dere Street, and Luguvalium in the west...

 at the Solway
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

-Tyne
River Tyne
The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...

 isthmus around this time.


A new crisis occurred at the beginning of Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

's reign (117 AD): a rising in the north which was suppressed by Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.His complete name was Quintus Roscius Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullius Pius Iulius Eurycles Herculanus Pompeius Falco. Pompeius Falco was governor of Moesia Inferior between 116 and 117...

. When Hadrian reached Britannia on his famous tour of the Roman provinces around 120 AD, he directed an extensive defensive wall, known to posterity as Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, to be built close to the line of the Stanegate frontier. Hadrian appointed Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.Platorius Nepos was governor of Germania Inferior. He was a close friend and possible kinsman of the Emperor Hadrian and may have accompanied Hadrian on his visit to Britain in 122. In this year he was made governor of Roman...

 as governor to undertake this work who brought the VIth Victrix
Legio VI Victrix
Legio sexta Victrix was a Roman legion founded by Octavian in 41 BC. It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and perhaps held veterans of that legion, and some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion....

 legion with him from Lower Germany. This replaced the famous IXth Hispana
Legio IX Hispana
Legio Nona Hispana was a Roman legion, which operated from the first century BCE until mid 2nd century CE. The Spanish Legion's disappearance has raised speculations over its fate, largely of its alleged destruction in Scotland in about 117 CE, though some scholars believe it was destroyed in the...

 legion, whose disappearance has been much discussed. Archaeology indicates considerable political instability in Scotland during the first half of the 2nd century, and the shifting frontier at this time should be seen in this context.

In the reign of Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (138-161 AD) the Hadrianic border was briefly extended north to the Forth-Clyde isthmus, where the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 was built around 142 AD following the military reoccupation of the Scottish lowlands by a new governor, Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus was governor of Roman Britain between the years 139 and 142, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. He is named in the text known as the Augustan History, and his name appears on five Roman inscriptions from Britain; his career is set out in detail on a pair...

.
The first Antonine occupation of Scotland ended as a result of a further crisis in 155-157 AD, when the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 revolted. With limited options to despatch reinforcements, the Romans moved their troops south, and this rising was suppressed by Governor Cnaeus Julius Verus. Within a year the Antonine Wall was recaptured, but by 163 or 164 AD it was abandoned. The second occupation was probably connected with Antoninus' undertakings to protect the Votadini or his pride in enlarging the empire, since the retreat to the Hadrianic frontier occurred not long after his death when a more objective strategic assessment of the benefits of the Antonine Wall could be made. The Romans did not entirely withdraw from Scotland at this time, however: the large fort at Newstead was maintained along with seven smaller outposts until at least 180 AD.

During the twenty year period following the reversion of the frontier to Hadrian's Wall, Rome was concerned with continental issues, primarily problems in the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 provinces. Increasing numbers of hoard
Hoard
In archaeology, a hoard is a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards may be uncovered by...

s of buried coins in Britain at this time indicate that peace was not entirely achieved. Sufficient Roman silver has been found in Scotland to suggest more than ordinary trade, and it is likely that the Romans were reinforcing treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 agreements by paying tribute to their implacable enemies, the Picts.

In 175 AD a large force of Sarmatian cavalry, consisting of 5,500 men, arrived in Britannia, probably to reinforce troops fighting unrecorded uprisings. In 180 AD Hadrian's Wall was breached by the Picts and the commanding officer or governor was killed there in what Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 described as the most serious war of the reign of Commodus
Commodus
Commodus , was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. His name changed throughout his reign; see changes of name for earlier and later forms. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded...

. Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus was a Roman consular governor of Britannia who returned there as general of the later 2nd century.Ulpius Marcellus is recorded as governor of Roman Britain in an inscription of 176-80, and apparently returned to Rome after a tenure without serious incident...

 was sent as replacement governor and by 184 AD he had won a new peace, only to be faced with a mutiny from his own troops. Unhappy with Marcellus' strictness, they tried to elect a legate named Priscus
Caerellius Priscus
Caerellius Priscus was a governor of Roman Britain in the late 170s.His rule is recorded on an altar at Mainz, and he probably governed Britain between 178 and 180. He also served in Thracia, Moesia, Raetia and Germania....

 as usurper governor; he refused, but Marcellus was lucky to leave the province alive. The Roman army in Britannia continued its insubordination: they sent a delegation of 1,500 to Rome to demand the execution of Tigidius Perennis
Tigidius Perennis
Sextus Tigidius Perennis was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, during the reigns of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Under the latter, Perennis was the man who exercised the chief responsibilities of government in the Roman Empire...

, a Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian prefect
Praetorian prefect was the title of a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides...

 who they felt had earlier wronged them by posting lowly equites to legate ranks in Britannia. Commodus met the party outside Rome and agreed to have Perennis killed, but this only made them feel more secure in their mutiny.

The future emperor Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

 was sent to Britannia to quell the mutiny and was initially successful in regaining control. However, a riot broke out among the troops. Pertinax was attacked and left for dead, and asked to be recalled to Rome, where he briefly succeeded Commodus as emperor in 192 AD.

3rd century


The death of Commodus put into motion a series of events which eventually led to civil war. Following the short reign of Pertinax, several rivals for the emperorship emerged, including Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 and Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus was a Roman usurper proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania upon the murder of Pertinax in 193.-Life:...

. The latter was the new governor of Britannia, and had seemingly won the natives over after their earlier rebellions; he also controlled three legions, making him a potentially significant claimant. His sometime rival Severus promised him the title of Caesar in return for Albinus' support against Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

 in the east. Once Niger was neutralised however, Severus turned on his ally in Britannia—though it is likely that Albinus saw he would be the next target and was already preparing for war.

Albinus crossed to Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 in 195 AD, where the provinces were also sympathetic to him, and set up at Lugdunum
Lugdunum
Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul. The city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus. It served as the capital of the Roman province Gallia Lugdunensis. To 300 years after its foundation Lugdunum was the most important city to the west part of Roman...

. Severus arrived in February 196, and the ensuing battle was decisive. Although Albinus came close to victory, Severus' reinforcements won the day, and the British governor committed suicide. Severus soon purged Albinus' sympathisers and perhaps confiscated large tracts of land in Britain as punishment.

Albinus had demonstrated the major problem posed by Roman Britain. In order to maintain security, the province required the presence of three legions; but command of these forces provided an ideal power base for ambitious rivals. Deploying those legions elsewhere, however, would strip the island of its garrison, leaving the province defenceless against uprisings by the native Celtic tribes and against invasion by the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

.

The traditional view is that northern Britain descended into anarchy during Albinus' absence. Cassius Dio records that the new Governor, Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus was a Roman soldier and politician of the late second and early 3rd century.His parents were Lucius Virius, born c. 140, and wife Antonia, also born c. 140 and daughter of Marcus Antonius Zeno. His paternal grandparents were Quintus Virius, born c. 110, and wife Larcia, born c...

, was obliged to buy peace from a fractious northern tribe known as the Maeatae
Maeatae
The Maeatae were a confederation of tribes who lived probably beyond the Antonine Wall in Roman Britain. The historical sources are vague as to the exact region they inhabited....

. The succession of militarily distinguished governors who were subsequently appointed suggests that enemies of Rome were posing a difficult challenge, and Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Roman figure of the late 2nd - early 3rd centuries.-Career:Born in Curculum, now Djemila, in Africa, Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Romanized North African. He served as consul and as governor of Syria in 200. Between c...

's report to Rome in 207 AD describes barbarians "rebelling, over-running the land, taking loot and creating destruction". In order to rebel, of course, one must be a subject - although the Maeatae clearly did not consider themselves such. Senecio requested either reinforcements or an Imperial expedition, and Severus chose the latter, despite being 62 years old.

Archaeological evidence shows that Senecio had been rebuilding the defences of Hadrian's Wall and the forts beyond it, and Severus' arrival in Britain prompted the enemy tribes to sue for peace immediately. The emperor had not come all that way to leave without a victory, however, and it is likely that he wished to provide his teenage sons Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

 and Geta
Publius Septimius Geta
Geta , was a Roman Emperor co-ruling with his father Septimius Severus and his older brother Caracalla from 209 to his death.-Early life:Geta was the younger son of Septimius Severus by his second wife Julia Domna...

 with first-hand experience of controlling a hostile barbarian land.

An expedition led by Severus and probably numbering around 20,000 troops moved north in AD 208 or 209, crossing the Wall and passing through eastern Scotland on a route similar to that used by Agricola. Harried by punishing guerrilla raids by the northern tribes and slowed by an unforgiving terrain, Severus was unable to meet the Caledonians on a battlefield. The emperor's forces pushed north as far as the River Tay
River Tay
The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom. The Tay originates in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui , then flows easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Dochhart, Loch Lubhair and Loch Tay, then continues east through Strathtay , in...

, but little appears to have been achieved by the invasion, as peace treaties were signed with the Caledonians. By 210 Severus had returned to York, and the frontier had once again become Hadrian's Wall. He assumed the title Britannicus, but the title meant little with regard to the unconquered north, which (with Rome's power still ending at the Wall) clearly remained outside the authority of the Empire. And almost immediately another northern tribe, the Maeatae, again went to war. Caracalla left with a punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

, but by the following year his ailing father had died and he and his brother left the province to press their claim to the throne.

As one of his last acts, Severus tried to solve the problem of powerful and rebellious governors in Britain by dividing the province into Upper Britain
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Lower Britain
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

. This kept the potential for rebellion in check for almost a century. Historical sources provide little information on the following decades, a period known as the Long Peace. Even so, the number of buried hoards found from this period rises, suggesting continuing unrest. A string of forts were built along the coast of southern Britain to control piracy; and over the following hundred years they increased in number, becoming the Saxon Shore Forts.

During the middle of the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire was convulsed by barbarian invasions, rebellions and new imperial pretenders. Britannia apparently avoided these troubles, although increasing inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 had its economic effect. In 259 a so-called Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
The Gallic Empire is the modern name for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century....

 was established when Postumus
Postumus
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus was a Roman emperor of Batavian origin. He usurped power from Gallienus in 260 and formed the so-called Gallic Empire...

 rebelled against Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

. Britannia was part of this until 274 when Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 reunited the empire.

In the late 270s, a half-Brythonic
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 usurper named Bononus rebelled to avoid the repercussions of letting his fleet be burnt by barbarians at Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. He was quickly crushed by Probus, but soon afterwards an unnamed governor in Britannia also attempted an uprising. Irregular troops of Vandals and Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 were sent across the Channel by Probus to put down the uprising, perhaps in 278 AD.

The last of the string of rebellions to affect Britannia was that of Carausius
Carausius
Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius was a military commander of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. He was a Menapian from Belgic Gaul, who usurped power in 286, declaring himself emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. He did this only 13 years after the Gallic Empire of the Batavian...

 and his successor Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Carausius was a naval commander, probably in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. He was accused of keeping pirate booty for himself, and his execution was ordered by the Emperor Maximian
Maximian
Maximian was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent...

. In 286 AD he set himself up as emperor in Britain and northern Gaul and remained in power whilst Maximian dealt with uprisings elsewhere. In 288 an invasion failed to unseat the usurper. An uneasy peace ensued, during which Carausius issued coins proclaiming his legitimacy and inviting official recognition.

In 293 AD, Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

 launched a second offensive, besieging the rebel's port at Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and cutting it off from naval assistance. After the town fell, Constantius tackled Carausius' Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 allies. Subsequently the usurper was murdered by his treasurer, Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Allectus' brief reign was brought to an end when Julius Asclepiodotus landed near Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 and defeated him in a land battle.

Constantius arrived in London to receive the victory and chose to divide the province further, into four provinces (each with its own governor):
  • Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis was the name of one of the four provinces of later Roman Britain . Its capital was Londinium and probably encompassed what is now south east England. Originally, its governors were of equestrian rank but by the mid fourth century they had to be of consular rank...

     (based on London), from Upper Britannia
  • Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD. It was probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. In the 3rd century, the Romans created...

    , from Upper Britannia
  • Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis was one of the provinces of Roman Britain.It was created in the early 4th century under the reforms of Diocletian and it has been suggested that its capital may have been at Lincoln...

    , from Lower Britannia
  • Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD and probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. The governors of Britannia Secunda were of...

    , from Lower Britannia


In the same year, under the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 reforms of the emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, Britannia became one of the four dioceses—governed by a vicarius—of the praetorian prefecture of Galliae ('the Gauls'), comprising the provinces of Gaul, Britannia, Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 and Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. This added, in effect, a fifth governor of Britannia. Thus, in place of one unchallenged military commander, the province now had five officers, each with command of only a small fraction of the garrison.

4th century


Constantius Chlorus returned in 306 AD, aiming to invade northern Britain. The province's defences had been rebuilt in the preceding years, and although his health was poor Constantius wished to penetrate into enemy territory. Little is known of his campaigns, and there is little archaeological evidence for them. From fragmentary historical sources it seems he reached the far north of Britain and won a great battle in early summer before returning south to York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

.

Constantius remained in Britain for the rest of the time he was part of the Tetrarchy, dying in York in July 306 AD. His son, Constantine I, was at his side at that moment and assumed his duties in Britannia. Unlike the earlier usurper, Albinus, he succeeded in using his base in Britannia as the starting point of his march to the imperial throne.

In the middle of the century, for a few years the province was loyal to the usurper Magnentius
Magnentius
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a usurper of the Roman Empire .-Early life and career:...

, who succeeded Constans
Constans
Constans , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 350. He defeated his brother Constantine II in 340, but anger in the army over his personal life and preference for his barbarian bodyguards saw the general Magnentius rebel, resulting in Constans’ assassination in 350.-Career:Constans was the third and...

 following the latter's death. After the defeat and death of Magnentius in the Battle of Mons Seleucus
Battle of Mons Seleucus
The Battle of Mons Seleucus was fought in 353 between the forces of the legitimate Roman emperor Constantius II of the line of Constantine I the Great and the forces of the usurper Magnentius. Constantius' forces were victorious, and Magnentius later committed suicide.It took place in today's...

 in 353 AD, Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 dispatched his chief imperial notary Paulus Catena
Paulus Catena
Paulus was the name of an imperial notary, or senior civil servant, who served under the Roman Emperor Constantius II in the middle of the 4th century. He is described by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who probably met him. According to Marcellinus, his cruelty was infamous throughout the...

 to Britain to hunt down Magnentius' supporters. The investigation deteriorated into a witch hunt
Witch-hunt
A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials...

, which forced the vicarius Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus was a vicarius of Roman Britain c. 353 under Constantius II.He tried to control the violent recriminations following the defeat of Magnentius. Martinus tried to rein in the vengeance of Constantius' notary Paulus Catena who had been sent to Britain to ruthlessly hunt down...

 to intervene. When Paulus retaliated by accusing Martinus of treason, the vicarius physically attacked Paulus with a sword, with the aim of assassinating him, but in the end he committed suicide.

As the 4th century progressed there were increasing attacks from the Saxons in the east and the Irish in the west. A series of forts was already being built, starting around 280 AD, to defend the coasts, but these preparations were not enough when a general assault of Saxons, Irish and Attacotti
Attacotti
Attacotti refers to a people who despoiled Roman Britain between 364 and 368, along with Scotti, Picts, Saxons, Roman military deserters, and the indigenous Britons themselves. The marauders were defeated by Count Theodosius in 368...

, combined with apparent dissension in the garrison on Hadrian's Wall, left Roman Britain prostrate in 367 AD. This crisis, sometimes called the Barbarian Conspiracy or the Great Conspiracy
Great Conspiracy
The Great Conspiracy is a term given to a year-long war that occurred in Roman Britain near the end of the Roman occupation of the island. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus described it as a barbarica conspiratio that capitalized on a depleted military force in the province brought about by...

, was settled by Count Theodosius
Count Theodosius
Flavius Theodosius or Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western Roman Empire. He achieved the rank of Comes Britanniarum and as such, he is usually referred to as Comes Theodosius...

 with a string of military and civil reforms.

Another imperial usurper, Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

, raised the standard of revolt at Segontium (Caernarfon) in north Wales in 383 AD, and crossed the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. Maximus held much of the western empire, and fought a successful campaign against the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Scoti
Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. It was thus synonymous with the modern term Gaels...

 around 384. His continental exploits required troops from Britain, and it appears that forts at Chester and elsewhere were abandoned in this period, triggering raids and settlement in north Wales by the Irish. His rule was ended in 388, but not all the British troops may have returned: the Empire's military resources were struggling after the catastrophic Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378. Around 396 there were increasing barbarian incursions into Britain, and an expedition - possibly led by Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

 - brought naval action against the raiders. It seems peace was restored by 399, although it is likely that no further garrisoning was ordered; and indeed by 401 more troops were withdrawn, to assist in the war against Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

.

End of Roman rule




The traditional view of historians, informed by the work of Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, or Rostovtsev was one of the 20th century's foremost authorities on ancient Greek, Iranian, and Roman history....

, was of a widespread economic decline at the beginning of the 5th century. However, consistent archaeological evidence has told another story, and the accepted view is undergoing re-evaluation, though some features are agreed: more opulent but fewer urban houses, an end to new public building and some abandonment of existing ones, with the exception of defensive structures, and the widespread formation of "black earth" deposits indicating increased horticulture within urban precincts. Turning over the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 at Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 to industrial uses in the late 3rd century, doubtless officially condoned, marks an early stage in the de-urbanisation of Roman Britain. The abandonment of some sites is now believed to be later than had formerly been thought. Many buildings changed use but were not destroyed. There were growing barbarian attacks, but these were focused on vulnerable rural settlements rather than towns. Some villas such as Great Casterton
Great Casterton
Great Casterton is a village and civil parish in the county of Rutland in the East Midlands of England. It is located at the crossing of the Roman Ermine Street and the River Gwash.-Geography:...

 in Rutland
Rutland
Rutland is a landlocked county in central England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire and southeast by Peterborough and Northamptonshire....

 and Hucclecote
Hucclecote
Hucclecote is an affluent and sought-after village in Gloucestershire , England situated on the old Roman road connecting Gloucester with Barnwood, Brockworth, Cirencester and Cheltenham...

 in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

 had new mosaic floors laid around this time, suggesting that economic problems may have been limited and patchy, although many suffered some decay before being abandoned in the 5th century; the story of Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland, although Brigid of Kildare and Colmcille are also formally patron saints....

 indicates that villas were still occupied until at least 430. Exceptionally, new buildings were still going up in this period in Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 and Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

. Some urban centres, for example Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

, Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

, Winchester and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

, remained active during the 5th and 6th centuries, surrounded by large farming estates.

Urban life had generally grown less intense by the fourth quarter of the 4th century, and coins minted between 378 and 388 are very rare, indicating a likely combination of economic decline, diminishing numbers of troops, and problems with the payment of soldiers and officials. Coinage circulation increased during the 390s, although it never attained the levels of earlier decades. Copper coins are very rare after 402, although minted silver and gold coins from hoards indicate they were still present in the province even if they were not being spent. By 407 there were no new Roman coins going into circulation, and by 430 it is likely that coinage as a medium of exchange had been abandoned. Pottery mass production probably ended a decade or two previously; the rich continued to use metal and glass vessels, while the poor probably adopted leather or wooden ones.

Sub-Roman Britain



Britain came under increasing pressure from barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 attack on all sides towards the end of the 4th century, and troops were too few to mount an effective defence. The army rebelled and, after elevating two disappointing usurpers, chose a soldier, Constantine III
Constantine III (usurper)
Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known in English as Constantine III was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in Britannia in 407 and established himself in Gaul. Recognised by the Emperor Honorius in 409, collapsing support and military setbacks saw him abdicate in 411...

, to become emperor in 407. He soon crossed to Gaul with an army and was defeated by Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

; it is unclear how many troops remained or ever returned, or whether a commander-in-chief in Britain was ever reappointed. A Saxon
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 incursion in 408 was apparently repelled by the Britons, and in 409 Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

 records that the natives expelled the Roman civilian administration (although Zosimus may be referring to the Bacaudic rebellion of the Breton inhabitants of Armorica since he describes how, in the aftermath of the revolt, all of Armorica and the rest of Gaul followed the example of the Brettaniai). A later appeal for help by the British communities was rejected by the Emperor Honorius in 410. This apparent contradiction has been explained by EA Thompson as a peasant revolt against the landowning classes, with the latter group asking for Roman help; an uprising certainly occurred in Gaul at the time. With the higher levels of the military and civil government gone, administration and justice fell to municipal authorities, and small warlords gradually emerged all over Britain, still aspiring to Roman ideals and conventions. Laycock (Britannia the Failed State, 2008) has investigated this process of fragmentation and emphasised elements of continuity from the British tribes in the pre-Roman and Roman periods to the kingdoms that formed in the post-Roman period.

By tradition, the pagan Saxons were invited by Vortigern
Vortigern
Vortigern , also spelled Vortiger and Vortigen, was a 5th-century warlord in Britain, a leading ruler among the Britons. His existence is considered likely, though information about him is shrouded in legend. He is said to have invited the Saxons to settle in Kent as mercenaries to aid him in...

 to assist in fighting the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Irish, though archaeology has suggested some official settlement as landed mercenaries as early as the 3rd century. Germanic migration into Roman Britannia may well have begun much earlier even than that. There is recorded evidence, for example, of Germanic Roman auxiliaries being brought to Britain in the 1st and 2nd centuries to support the legions. The new arrivals rebelled, plunging the country into a series of wars that eventually led to the Saxon occupation of Lowland Britain by 600. Around this time many Britons fled to Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 (hence its name). A significant date in sub-Roman Britain is the famous Groans of the Britons
Groans of the Britons
The Groans of the Britons is the name of the final appeal made by the Britons to the Roman military for assistance against barbarian invasion. The appeal is first referenced in Gildas' 6th-century De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae; Gildas' account was later repeated in Bede's Historia...

, an unanswered appeal to Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

, leading general of the western Empire, for assistance against Saxon invasion in 446; another is the Battle of Dyrham in 577, after which the significant cities of Bath, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

 and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 fell and the Saxons reached the western sea.

Most scholars reject the historicity of the later legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s of King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

, which seem to be set in this period, but some such as John Morris
John Morris (historian)
John Robert Morris was an English historian who specialised in the study of the institutions of the Roman Empire and the history of Sub-Roman Britain...

 see it as evidence behind which may lie a plausible grain of truth.

Trade

See also: Trade between Iron Age Britain and the Roman world


During the Roman period Britain’s continental trade was principally directed across the Southern North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Eastern Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, focusing on the narrow Strait of Dover
Strait of Dover
The Strait of Dover or Dover Strait is the strait at the narrowest part of the English Channel. The shortest distance across the strait is from the South Foreland, 6 kilometres northeast of Dover in the county of Kent, England, to Cap Gris Nez, a cape near to Calais in the French of...

, though there were also more limited links via the Atlantic seaways. The most important British ports were London and Richborough, whilst the continental ports most heavily engaged in trade with Britain were Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and the sites of Domburg
Domburg
Domburg is a seaside resort on the North Sea, on the northwest coast of Walcheren in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Veere, and lies about 11 km northwest of the city of Middelburg, the provincial capital.-Demographics:...

 and Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat is a town in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Noord-Beveland, and lies about 20 km northeast of Middelburg.In 2001, the town of Colijnsplaat had 1563 inhabitants...

 at the mouth of the river Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

. During the Late Roman period it is likely that the shore forts
Saxon Shore
Saxon Shore could refer to one of the following:* Saxon Shore, a military command of the Late Roman Empire, encompassing southern Britain and the coasts of northern France...

 played some role in continental trade alongside their defensive functions.

Imports to Britain included: coin
Roman currency
The Roman currency during most of the Roman Republic and the western half of the Roman Empire consisted of coins including the aureus , the denarius , the sestertius , the dupondius , and the as...

; pottery
Ancient Roman pottery
Pottery was produced in enormous quantities in ancient Rome, mostly for utilitarian purposes. It is found all over the former Roman Empire and beyond...

, particularly red-gloss terra sigillata
Terra sigillata
Terra sigillata is a term with at least three distinct meanings: as a description of medieval medicinal earth; in archaeology, as a general term for some of the fine red Ancient Roman pottery with glossy surface slips made in specific areas of the Roman Empire; and more recently, as a description...

(samian ware) from southern, central and eastern Gaul
Roman Gaul
Roman Gaul consisted of an area of provincial rule in the Roman Empire, in modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. Roman control of the area lasted for less than 500 years....

, as well as various other wares from Gaul and the Rhine provinces; olive oil from southern Spain
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 in amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

e; wine from Gaul in amphorae and barrels; salted fish products from the western Mediterranean and Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 in barrels and amphorae; preserved olives from southern Spain in amphorae; lava querns
Quern-stone
Quern-stones are stone tools for hand grinding a wide variety of materials. They were used in pairs. The lower, stationary, stone is called a quern, whilst the upper, mobile, stone is called a handstone...

 from Mayen
Mayen
Mayen is a town in the Mayen-Koblenz District of the Rhineland-Palatinate Federal State of Germany, in the eastern part of the Volcanic Eifel Region. As well as the main town, there are five further settlements which are part of Mayen, they are: Alzheim, Kürrenberg, Hausen-Betzing, Hausen and Nitztal...

 on the middle Rhine; glass; and some agricultural products. Britain’s exports are harder to detect archaeologically, but will have included metals, such as silver and gold and some lead, iron and copper. Other exports probably included agricultural products, oysters and salt, whilst large quantities of coin would have been re-exported back to the continent as well.

These products moved as a result of private trade and also through payments and contracts established by the Roman state to support its military forces and officials on the island, as well as through state taxation and extraction of resources. Up until the mid-3rd century AD the Roman state’s payments appear to have been unbalanced, with far more products sent to Britain, to support its large military force (which had reached c. 53,000 by the mid-2nd century AD), than were extracted from the island.

It has been argued that Roman Britain’s continental trade peaked in the late 1st century AD and thereafter declined as a result of an increasing reliance on local products by the population of Britain, caused by economic development on the island and by the Roman state’s desire to save money by shifting away from expensive long-distance imports. Evidence has, however, been outlined that demonstrates that the principal decline in Roman Britain’s continental trade came in the late 2nd century AD, from c. 165 AD onwards. This has been linked to the economic impact of contemporary Empire-wide crises: the Antonine plague
Antonine Plague
The Antonine Plague, AD 165–180, also known as the Plague of Galen, who described it, was an ancient pandemic, either of smallpox or measles, brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East...

 and the Marcomannic wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

.

From the mid-3rd century AD onwards Britain no longer received such a wide range and extensive quantity of foreign imports as it did during the earlier part of the Roman period; however, vast quantities of coin from continental mints reached the island, whilst there is historical evidence for the export of large amounts of British grain to the continent during the mid-4th century AD. During the latter part of the Roman period British agricultural products, paid for by both the Roman state and by private consumers, clearly played an important role in supporting the military garrisons and urban centres of the northwestern continental Empire. This came about as a result of the rapid decline in the size of the British garrison from the mid-3rd century AD onwards (thus freeing up more goods for export), and because of ‘Germanic’ incursions across the Rhine, which appear to have reduced rural settlement and agricultural output in northern Gaul.

Economy

See also: Roman economy
Roman economy
The history of the Roman economy covers the period of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.Recent research has led to a positive reevaluation of the size and sophistication of the Roman economy within the constraints generally imposed on agricultural societies in the preindustrial age.- Gross...

See also: Mining in Roman Britain
Mining in Roman Britain
Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...



Mineral extraction sites such as the Dolaucothi gold mine
Dolaucothi Gold Mines
The Dolaucothi Gold Mines , also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine, are Roman surface and deep mines located in the valley of the River Cothi, near Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales...

 was probably first worked by the Roman army from ca 75 AD, and at some later stage passed to civilian operators. The mine developed as a series of opencast workings, mainly by the use of hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 methods. They are described by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 in his Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

 in great detail. Essentially, water supplied by aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s was used to prospect for ore veins by stripping away soil to reveal the bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

. If veins were present, they were attacked using fire-setting
Fire-setting
Fire-setting is a method of mining used since prehistoric times up to the Middle Ages. Fires were set against a rock face to heat the stone, which was then doused with water...

 and the ore removed for crushing and comminution
Comminution
Comminution is the process in which solid materials are reduced in size, by crushing, grinding and other processes. It occurs naturally during faulting in the upper part of the crust and is an important operation in mineral processing, ceramics, electronics and other fields. Within industrial uses,...

. The dust was washed in a small stream of water and the heavy gold dust and gold nugget
Gold nugget
A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Watercourses often concentrate and grow the nuggets. Nuggets are recovered by placer mining, but they are also found in residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins or lodes are weathered...

s collected in riffles. The diagram at right shows how Dolaucothi developed from ca 75 AD through to the 1st century. When opencast work was no longer feasible, tunnels were driven to follow the veins. The evidence from the site shows advanced technology probably under the control of army engineers.

The Weald
Weald
The Weald is the name given to an area in South East England situated between the parallel chalk escarpments of the North and the South Downs. It should be regarded as three separate parts: the sandstone "High Weald" in the centre; the clay "Low Weald" periphery; and the Greensand Ridge which...

en ironworking zone, the lead and silver mines of the Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
The Mendip Hills is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon Valley to the north...

 and the tin mines of Cornwall seem to have been private enterprises leased from the government for a fee. Although mining had long been practised in Britain (see Grimes Graves
Grimes Graves
Grime's Graves is a large Neolithic flint mining complex near Brandon in England close to the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. It was worked between around circa 3000 BC and circa 1900 BC, although production may have continued well into the Bronze and Iron Ages owing to the low cost of flint...

), the Romans introduced new technical knowledge and large-scale industrial production to revolutionise the industry. It included hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 to prospect for ore by removing overburden as well as work alluvial deposits. The water needed for such large-scale operations was supplied by one or more aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, those surviving at Doalucothi being especially impressive. Many prospecting areas were in dangerous, upland
Highland (geography)
The term highland or upland is used to denote any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, the term upland tends to be used for ranges of hills, typically up to 500-600m, and highland for ranges of low mountains.The Scottish Highlands refers to the mountainous...

 country, and, although mineral exploitation was presumably one of the main reasons for the Roman invasion, it had to wait until these areas were subdued.

Although Roman designs were most popular, rural craftsmen still produced items derived from the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 La Tène
La Tène culture
The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where a rich cache of artifacts was discovered by Hansli Kopp in 1857....

 artistic traditions. Local pottery rarely attained the standards of the Gaulish industries although the Castor ware of the Nene Valley was able to withstand comparison with the imports. Most native pottery was unsophisticated however and intended only for local markets.

By the 3rd century, Britain's economy was diverse and well established, with commerce extending into the non-Romanised north. The design of Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 especially catered to the need for customs inspections of merchants' goods.

Provincial government


Under the Roman Empire, administration of peaceful provinces was ultimately the remit of the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

, but those, like Britain, that required permanent garrisons were placed under the Emperor's control. In practice imperial provinces were run by resident governors
Roman governor
A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire...

 who were members of the Senate and had held the consulship
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

. These men were carefully selected often having strong records of military success and administrative ability. In Britain, a governor's role was primarily military, but numerous other tasks were also his responsibility such as maintaining diplomatic relations with local client kings, building roads, ensuring the public courier system functioned, supervising the civitates and acting as a judge in important legal cases. When not campaigning he would travel the province hearing complaints and recruiting new troops.

To assist him in legal matters he had an adviser, the legatus iuridicus, and those in Britain appear to have been distinguished lawyers perhaps because of the challenge of incorporating tribes into the imperial system and devising a workable method of taxing them. Financial administration was dealt with by a procurator
Promagistrate
A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the promagistracy was invented in order to provide Rome with governors of overseas territories instead of having to elect...

with junior posts for each tax-raising power. Each legion in Britain had a commander who answered to the governor and in time of war probably directly ruled troublesome districts. Each of these commands carried a tour of duty of two to three years in different provinces. Below these posts was a network of administrative managers covering intelligence gathering, sending reports to Rome, organising military supplies and dealing with prisoners. A staff of seconded soldiers provided clerical services.

Colchester was probably the earliest capital of Roman Britain, but it was soon eclipsed by London with its strong mercantile connections.

Town and country



During their occupation of Britain the Romans founded a number of important settlements, many of which still survive. The towns suffered attrition in the later 4th century, when public building ceased and some were abandoned to private uses. Though place names survived the deurbanized Sub-Roman and early Anglo-Saxon periods, and historiography has been at pains to signal the expected survivals, archaeology shows that a bare handful of Roman towns were continuously occupied. According to S.T. Loseby, the very idea of a town as a centre of power and administration was reintroduced to England by the Roman Christianizing mission to Canterbury, and its urban revival was delayed to the 10th century.

Roman towns can be broadly grouped in two categories. Civitates, "public towns" were formally laid out on a grid plan, and their role in imperial administration occasioned the construction of public buildings. The much more numerous category of vici
Vicus
Vicus may refer to:*Vicus , plural vici, a neighborhood or local administrative unit of ancient Rome**Vicus Tuscus in Rome**Vicus Jugarius, leading into the Roman Forum** Gensis in Moesia Superior...

, "small towns" grew on informal plans, often round a camp or at a ford or crossroads; some were not small, others were scarcely urban, some not even defended by a wall, the characteristic feature of a place of any importance.

Cities and towns which have Roman origins, or were extensively developed by them are listed with their Latin names in brackets; civitates are marked C
  • Alcester
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

     (Alauna
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

    )
  • Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough is a village in the civil parish of Boroughbridge, part of the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, what is now known as Aldborough was built on the site of a major Romano-British town, Isurium Brigantum...

     (Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Aldborough, in North Yorkshire, England.-Possible Roman fort:...

    ) C
  • Bath (Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Bath, located in the English county of Somerset.-Baths and temple complex:...

    )
  • Brough-on-Humber (Petuaria
    Petuaria
    Petuaria was originally a Roman fort situated where the town of Brough-on-Humber in the East Riding of Yorkshire now stands. Petuaria means something like 'quarter' or 'fourth part', incorporating the archaic Brythonic *petuar, 'four' .It was founded in 70 AD and abandoned in about 125...

    ) C
  • Buxton
    Buxton
    Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, England. It has the highest elevation of any market town in England. Located close to the county boundary with Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south, Buxton is described as "the gateway to the Peak District National Park"...

     (Aquae Arnemetiae)
  • Caerleon
    Caerleon
    Caerleon is a suburban village and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, South Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hill fort...

     (Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

    )
  • Caernarfon
    Caernarfon
    Caernarfon is a Royal town, community and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,611. It lies along the A487 road, on the east banks of the Menai Straits, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is to the northeast, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and southeast...

     (Segontium
    Segontium
    Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

    )
  • Caerwent
    Caerwent
    Caerwent is a village and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located about five miles west of Chepstow and eleven miles east of Newport, and was founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum, an important settlement of the Brythonic Silures tribe. The modern village is built...

     (Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia or Britain. Today it consists of remains in the village of Caerwent in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. Much of it has been archaeologically excavated and is on display to the public....

    ) C
  • Caister-on-Sea
    Caister Roman Site
    Caister Roman Site is a Roman Saxon Shore fort, located in Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk. It was constructed around AD 200 for a unit of the Roman army and navy and occupied until around 370-390 AD...

     C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    ) C
  • Canterbury
    Canterbury
    Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

     (Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Canterbury, located in the English county of Kent. It occupied a strategic location on Watling Street, at the convergence of the roads coming from the rest of the Roman Empire via the ports of Dubris ,...

    ) C
  • Carlisle (Luguvalium
    Luguvalium
    Luguvalium was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carlisle, located in the English county of Cumbria .-Pre-Roman:...

    ) C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    )
  • Chester
    Chester
    Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

     (Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix, or simply Deva, was a legionary fortress and town in the Roman province of Britannia. The settlement evolved into Chester, the county town of Cheshire, England...

    )
  • Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street is a town in County Durham, England. It has a history going back to Roman times when it was called Concangis. The town is located south of Newcastle upon Tyne and west of Sunderland on the River Wear...

     (Concangis
    Concangis
    Concangis was an auxiliary castra close to Dere Street, in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior . Its foundations are located at Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England...

    )
  • Chichester
    Chichester
    Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings...

     (Noviomagus Regnorum) C
  • Cirencester
    Cirencester
    Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

     (Corinium
    Corinium Dobunnorum
    Corinium Dobunnorum was the second largest town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Cirencester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Colchester
    Colchester
    Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

     (Camulodunum
    Camulodunum
    Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

    ) C
  • Corbridge
    Corbridge
     Corbridge is a village in Northumberland, England, situated west of Newcastle and east of Hexham. Villages in the vicinity include Halton, Acomb, Aydon and Sandhoe.-Roman fort and town:...

     (Coria
    Coria (Corbridge)
    Coria was a fort and town, located south of Hadrian's Wall, in the Roman province of Britannia. Its full Latin name is uncertain. Today it is known as Corchester or Corbridge Roman Site, adjoining Corbridge in the English county of Northumberland...

    ) C
  • Dorchester (Durnovaria
    Durnovaria
    Durnovaria is the Latin form of the Brythonic name for the Roman town of Dorchester in the modern English county of Dorset.-Romans at Maiden Castle:...

    ) C
  • Dover
    Dover
    Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

     (Portus Dubris
    Dubris
    Dubris or Portus Dubris was a town in Roman Britain. It is now Dover, Kent, England.As the closest point to continental Europe and the site of the estuary of the Dour, the site chosen for Dover was ideal for a cross-channel port...

    )
  • Exeter
    Exeter
    Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

     (Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia and the capital of Dumnonia in the sub-Roman period. Today it is known as Exeter, located in the English county of Devon.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Gloucester
    Gloucester
    Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

     (Glevum
    Glevum
    Glevum was a Roman fort in Roman Britain that become "colonia" of retired legionaries in AD 97. Today it is known as Gloucester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire...

    ) C
  • Ilchester
    Ilchester
    Ilchester is a village and civil parish, situated on the River Yeo or Ivel, five miles north of Yeovil, in the English county of Somerset. The parish, which includes the village of Sock Dennis and the old parish of Northover, has a population of 2,021...

      (Lindinis
    Lindinis
    Lindinis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Ilchester, located in the English county of Somerset....

    ) C
  • Leicester
    Leicester
    Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

     (Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Leicester, located in the English county of Leicestershire.-Name:...

    ) C
  • Lincoln
    Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

     (Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is called Lincoln, in the English county of Lincolnshire.-Fort and name:...

    ) C
  • London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     (Londinium
    Londinium
    The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

    ) C
  • Manchester
    Manchester
    Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

     (Mamucium)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

     (Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius or Newcastle Roman Fort was an auxiliary castra and small Roman settlement on Hadrian's Wall in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior...

    )
  • Northwich
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

     (Condate
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

    )
  • St Albans
    St Albans
    St Albans is a city in southern Hertfordshire, England, around north of central London, which forms the main urban area of the City and District of St Albans. It is a historic market town, and is now a sought-after dormitory town within the London commuter belt...

     (Verulamium
    Verulamium
    Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

    ) C
  • Silchester
    Silchester
    Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

     (Calleva Atrebatum) C
  • Towcester
    Towcester
    Towcester , the Roman town of Lactodorum, is a small town in south Northamptonshire, England.-Etymology:Towcester comes from the Old English Tófe-ceaster. Tófe refers to the River Tove; Bosworth and Toller compare it to the "Scandinavian proper names" Tófi and Tófa...

     (Lactodorum)
  • Whitchurch
    Whitchurch, Shropshire
    Whitchurch is a market town in Shropshire, England on the border between England and Wales. It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the town is 8,673, with a more recent estimate putting the population of the town at 8,934...

     (Mediolanum
    Mediolanum (Whitchurch)
    Mediolanum was a fort and small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Whitchurch, located in the English county of Shropshire....

    )
  • Winchester (Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia Superior. Today it is known as Winchester and is situated in the English county of Hampshire.-Development:...

    ) C
  • Wroxeter
    Wroxeter
    Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

     (Viroconium Cornoviorum) C
  • York
    York
    York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

     (Eboracum
    Eboracum
    Eboracum was a fort and city in Roman Britain. The settlement evolved into York, located in North Yorkshire, England.-Etymology:The first known recorded mention of Eboracum by name is dated circa 95-104 AD and is an address containing the Latin form of the settlement's name, "Eburaci", on a wooden...

    ) C

Pagan


The druid
Druid
A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, and possibly other parts of Celtic western Europe, during the Iron Age....

s, the Celtic priestly caste who were believed to originate in Britain, were outlawed by Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, and in 61 they vainly defended their sacred grove
Sacred grove
A sacred grove is a grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world...

s from destruction by the Romans on the island of Mona (Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

). However, under Roman rule the Britons continued to worship native Celtic deities, such as Ancasta
Ancasta
Ancasta was a Celtic goddess worshipped in Roman Britain. She is known from a single dedicatory inscription found in the United Kingdom at Bitterne, near Southampton...

, but often conflated with their Roman equivalents, like Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

 Rigonemetos at Nettleham
Nettleham
Nettleham is a large village and civil parish within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England.-Geography:It is located four miles north-east of the city of Lincoln between the A46 and A158, and has a total resident population of 6,514....

.

The degree to which earlier native beliefs survived is difficult to gauge precisely. Certain European ritual traits such as the significance of the number 3, the importance of the head and of water sources such as springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 remain in the archaeological record, but the differences in the votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s made at the Roman Baths (Bath), Bath, Somerset before and after the Roman conquest suggest that continuity was only partial. Worship of the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 is widely recorded, especially at military sites. The founding of a Roman temple
Roman temple
Ancient Roman temples are among the most visible archaeological remains of Roman culture, and are a significant source for Roman architecture. Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion. The main room housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was...

 to Claudius
Temple of Claudius, Colchester
]]The Temple of Claudius or Temple of the Deified Claudius built in Camulodunum sometime after the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, although it is not certain whether it was built before or after Claudius' death and deification in AD 54.In AD 60 or 61, during Boudica's uprising, Camulodunum ...

 at Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 was one of the impositions that led to the revolt of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. By the 3rd century, Pagans Hill Roman Temple
Pagans Hill Roman Temple
The Pagans Hill Roman Temple was a Romano-British-style temple excavated on Pagans Hill at Chew Stoke in the English county of Somerset.-Excavations:...

 in Somerset was able to exist peaceably and it did so into the 5th century.

Eastern cults such as Mithraism
Mithraism
The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The name of the Persian god Mithra, adapted into Greek as Mithras, was linked to a new and distinctive imagery...

 also grew in popularity towards the end of the occupation. The Temple of Mithras
Temple of Mithras, London
The Temple of Mithras, Walbrook is a Roman temple whose ruins were discovered in Walbrook, a street in the City of London, during rebuilding work in 1954. It is perhaps the most famous of all twentieth-century Roman discoveries in the City of London....

 is one example of the popularity of mystery religions
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

 amongst the rich urban classes and temples to Mithras also exist in military contexts at Vindobala
Vindobala
Vindobala was a Roman fort at the modern-day hamlet of Rudchester, Northumberland. It was the fourth fort on Hadrian's Wall, after Segedunum , Pons Aelius and Condercum. It was situated about to the west of Condercum. The name Vindobala means “White Strength”...

 on Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 (the Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras at Rudchester , an auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall, the northern frontier of Roman Britain. The temple was located 137m to the west of the castra.- Discovery :...

) and at Segontium
Segontium
Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

 in Roman Wales (the Caernarfon Mithraeum
Caernarfon Mithraeum
The Caernarfon Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras . The temple was located 137 metres north-east of the Roman castra of Segontium on the outskirts of modern Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales....

).

Christianity


It is not clear when or how Christianity came to Britain. A 2nd century "word square" has been discovered in Mamucium, the Roman settlement of Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. It consists of an anagram of PATER NOSTER
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

 carved on a piece of amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

. There has been discussion by academics whether the "word square" is actually a Christian artefact, but if it is, it is one of the earliest examples of early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 in Britain. The earliest confirmed written evidence for Christianity in Britain is a statement by Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, c. 200 AD, in which he described "all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons, inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ". Archaeological evidence for Christian communities begins to appear in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Small timber churches are suggested at Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 and Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 and baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

s have been found at Icklingham
Icklingham
Icklingham is a village in Suffolk, England.It takes its name from an Iron Age tribe, the Iceni, who lived in the area and has the remains of a Roman settlement to the South...

 and the Saxon Shore Fort at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

. The Icklingham font is made of lead, and visible in the British Museum. A Roman Christian graveyard exists at the same site in Icklingham. The Water Newton Treasure
Water Newton Treasure
The Water Newton Treasure is a hoard of fourth-century Roman silver, discovered near the Roman town of Durobrivae at Water Newton in the English county of Cambridgeshire. The hoard consisted of 27 silver items and one small gold plaque...

 is a hoard of Christian silver church plate from the early 4th century and the Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

s at Lullingstone
Lullingstone
Lullingstone is a village in the county of Kent, England. It is best known for its castle, Roman villa and its public golf course.- Pre-Roman :It is believed that an Iron Age hill fort is sited on the hill above the castle, although this is unconfirmed....

 and Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary is a village in north Dorset, England, situated on a low limestone ridge beside the River Stour, one mile north of the market town Sturminster Newton. The village has a population of 221...

 contained Christian wall paintings and mosaics respectively. A large 4th century cemetery at Poundbury
Poundbury
Poundbury is an experimental new town or urban extension on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England.The development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It is built according to the principles of Prince Charles...

 with its east-west oriented burials and lack of grave goods
Grave goods
Grave goods, in archaeology and anthropology, are the items buried along with the body.They are usually personal possessions, supplies to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. Grave goods are a type of votive deposit...

 has been interpreted as an early Christian burial ground, although such burial rites were also becoming increasingly common in pagan contexts during the period.

The Church in Britain seems to have developed the customary diocesan system, as evidenced from the records of the Council of Arles in Gaul in 314: represented at the Council were bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s from thirty-five sees
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 from Europe and North Africa, including three bishops from Britain, Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelphius, possibly a bishop of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln
The Bishop of Lincoln is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lincoln in the Province of Canterbury.The present diocese covers the county of Lincolnshire and the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The Bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral...

. No other early sees are documented, and the material remains of early church structures are far to seek. The existence of a church in the forum courtyard of Lincoln and the martyrium of Saint Alban
Saint Alban
Saint Alban was the first British Christian martyr. Along with his fellow saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three martyrs remembered from Roman Britain. Alban is listed in the Church of England calendar for 22 June and he continues to be venerated in the Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox...

 on the outskirts of Roman Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 are exceptional. Alban, the first British Christian martyr and by far the most prominent, is believed to have died in the early 4th century (although some date him in the middle 3rd century), followed by Saints Aaron and Julius of Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

. Christianity was legalised in the Roman Empire by Constantine I in 313. Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 made Christianity the state religion of the empire in 391, and by the 5th century it was well established. One heresy, Pelagianism
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

, was originated by a British monk teaching in Rome: Pelagius
Pelagius
Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid...

 lived c. 354 to c. 420/440.

A letter found on a lead tablet in Bath, Somerset, datable to c. 363, had been widely publicised as documentary evidence regarding the state of Christianity in Britain during Roman times. According to its first translator, it was written in Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

 by a Christian man called Vinisius to a Christian woman called Nigra, and was claimed as the first epigraphic record of Christianity in Britain. However, this translation of the letter was apparently based on grave paleographical errors, and the text, in fact, has nothing to do with Christianity, and in fact relates to pagan rituals.

Environmental changes


The Romans introduced a number of species to Britain, including possibly the now rare Roman nettle
Nettle
Nettles constitute between 24 and 39 species of flowering plants of the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, with a cosmopolitan though mainly temperate distribution. They are mostly herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annual and a few are shrubby...

 (Urtica pilulifera), said to have been used by soldiers to warm their arms and legs, and the edible snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

 Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia, common names the Burgundy snail, Roman snail, edible snail or escargot, is a species of large, edible, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae...

. There is also some evidence they may have introduced rabbits, but of the smaller southern mediterranean type. The European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

 (Oryctolagus cuniculus) prevalent in modern Britain is assumed to have been introduced from the continent after the Norman invasion of 1066.

Legacy



During their occupation of Britain the Romans built an extensive network of roads
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

 which continued to be used in later centuries and many are still followed today.

The Romans also built water supply, sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 and sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

 systems.

Many of Britain's major cities, such as London (Londinium
Londinium
The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

), Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 (Mamucium) and York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

 (Eburacum), were founded by the Romans.

Britain is also noteworthy as being the largest European region of the former Roman Empire whose majority language is neither:
  • A Romance language (although English, descended from the speech of Germanic tribes which arrived after the Romans had left Britain, has had a heavy influence from French, due primarily to the Norman conquest of England
    Norman conquest of England
    The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

    ), nor
  • A language descended from the pre-Roman inhabitants (such as Greek), though Welsh exists as a living minority language
    Minority language
    A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a territory. Such people are termed linguistic minorities or language minorities.-International politics:...

    , with many borrowings from Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

    , such as llaeth ("milk"), ffenestr ("window"). Fragmentory speakers of Cornish
    Cornish language
    Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

     survived into the early modern period.

See also

  • Prehistoric Britain
    Prehistoric Britain
    For the purposes of this article, Prehistoric Britain is that period of time between the first arrival of humans on the land mass now known as Great Britain and the start of recorded British history...

  • Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia is the original Latin name the Roman Empire gave to the island of Great Britain, a name later used for a female personification of the United Kingdom.Britannia may also refer to:* Britannia Bridge, a bridge across the Menai Strait...

  • End of Roman rule in Britain
  • List of Roman governors of Britain
  • Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    The Roman client kingdoms in Britain were native tribes who chose to align themselves with the Roman Empire because they saw it as the best option for self-preservation or for protection from other hostile tribes...

  • History of Britain
    History of the British Isles
    The history of the British Isles has witnessed intermittent periods of competition and cooperation between the people that occupy the various parts of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller adjacent islands, which together make up the British Isles, as well as with France, Germany, the Low...

  • Romano-British
    Romano-British
    Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

  • Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

  • Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    There are many Roman sites in the United Kingdom that are open to the public. There are many sites that do not require special access, including Roman roads, and sites that have not been uncovered.-England:*Ambleside Roman Fort , Cumbria...

  • Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...

  • Dolaucothi
  • Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire encompasses a period of protohistory from the arrival of Roman legions in c. AD 71 to their departure in 213. The history of the period is complex: the Roman empire influenced every part of Scotland during the period, however the occupation was neither complete nor...


Further reading


Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 controlled by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.

The Romans referred to the imperial province
Imperial province
An imperial province was a Roman province where the Emperor had the sole right to appoint the governor . These provinces were often the strategically located border provinces....

 as Britannia
Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

 (Scotland). Before the Roman invasion, begun in AD 43, Iron Age Britain
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron-Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ireland, and which had an independent Iron Age culture of...

 already had established cultural and economic links with Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, but the Roman invaders introduced new developments in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, urbanisation, industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. Besides the native British record of the initial Roman invasion, Roman historians generally mention Britannia only in passing, thus, most knowledge of Roman Britain has derived from archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 investigations, and the epigraphic
Epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an Emperor of Rome
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, such as Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 (r. AD 117–38) and Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (r. AD 138–61), whose walls demarcated the northern borders of Roman Britain.

The first extensive Roman campaigns in Britain were by the armies of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 55 and in 54 BC, but the first significant campaign of conquest did not begin until AD 43, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

. Following the conquest of the native Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged under provincial government
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

, which, despite steadily extended territorial control northwards, was never able to exert definite control over Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

. The Romans demarcated the northern border of Britannia with Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, completed around the year 128. Fourteen years later, in AD 142, the Romans extended the Britannic frontier northwards, to the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 line, where they constructed the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

, but, after approximately twenty years, they then retreated to the border of Hadrian's Wall. Around the year 197, Rome divided Britannia into two provinces, Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

; sometime after AD 305, Britannia was further divided, and made into an imperial diocese
Roman diocese
A Roman or civil diocese was one of the administrative divisions of the later Roman Empire, starting with the Tetrarchy. It formed the intermediate level of government, grouping several provinces and being in turn subordinated to a praetorian prefecture....

. For much of the later period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 invasions and often came under the control of imperial usurpers and pretenders to the Roman Emperorship
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

.

Most Romans departed from Britain around the year 410, which began the sub-Roman period
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

 (AD 5–6 c.), but the legacy of the Roman Empire was felt for centuries in Britain.

Early contact



Britain was not unknown to the Classical world. As early as the 4th century BC, the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns and Carthaginians
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 traded for Cornish
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 tin. The Greeks refer to the Cassiterides
Cassiterides
The Cassiterides, meaning Tin Islands , are an ancient geographical name of islands that were regarded as situated somewhere near the west coasts of Europe...

, or "tin islands", and describe them as being situated somewhere near the west coast of Europe. The Carthaginian sailor Himilco
Himilco the Navigator
Himilco , a Carthaginian navigator and explorer, lived during the height of Carthaginian power, the 5th century BC....

 is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas
Pytheas
Pytheas of Massalia or Massilia , was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony, Massalia . He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe at about 325 BC. He travelled around and visited a considerable part of Great Britain...

 in the 4th. But it was regarded as a place of mystery, with some writers even refusing to believe it existed at all.

The first direct Roman contact came when the Roman general and future dictator, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, made two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC as an offshoot of his conquest of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, believing the Britons had been helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition, more a reconnaissance than a full invasion, gained a foothold on the coast of Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 but, undermined by storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry, was unable to advance further. The expedition was a military failure, but was at least a political success. The Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 declared a 20-day public holiday in Rome in honour of the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent.

In his second invasion, Caesar took with him a substantially larger force and proceeded to coerce or invite many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace. A friendly local king, Mandubracius
Mandubracius
Mandubracius or Mandubratius was a king of the Trinovantes of south-eastern Britain in the 1st century BC.-History:Mandubracius was the son of a Trinovantian king, named Imanuentius in some manuscripts of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, who was overthrown and killed by the warlord Cassivellaunus...

, was installed, and his rival, Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus was an historical British chieftain who led the defence against Julius Caesar's second expedition to Britain in 54 BC. The first British person whose name is recorded, Cassivellaunus led an alliance of tribes against Roman forces, but eventually surrendered after his location was...

, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether the tribute agreed was paid by the Britons after Caesar's return to Gaul with his forces.

Caesar had conquered no territory and had left behind no troops, but had established clients
Patronage in ancient Rome
Patronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus and his client . The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client...

 on the island and had brought Britain into Rome's sphere of political influence. Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, and the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing late in Augustus's reign, claims that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Likewise, archaeology shows an increase in imported luxury goods in southeastern Britain. Strabo also mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus' own Res Gestae
Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Res Gestae Divi Augusti, is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people...

refers to two British kings he received as refugees. When some of Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 in 16 AD, they were sent back by local rulers, telling tall tales of monsters.

Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
The Catuvellauni were a tribe or state of south-eastern Britain before the Roman conquest.The fortunes of the Catuvellauni and their kings before the conquest can be traced through numismatic evidence and scattered references in classical histories. They are mentioned by Dio Cassius, who implies...

, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus was a historical king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain.-History:Tasciovanus is known only through numismatic evidence. He appears to have become king of the Catuvellauni ca. 20 BC, ruling from Verlamion...

, and the Atrebates
Atrebates
The Atrebates were a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain before the Roman conquests.- Name of the tribe :Cognate with Old Irish aittrebaid meaning 'inhabitant', Atrebates comes from proto-Celtic *ad-treb-a-t-es, 'inhabitants'. The Celtic root is treb- 'building', 'home' The Atrebates (singular...

, ruled by the descendants of Commius
Commius
Commius was a historical king of the Belgic nation of the Atrebates, initially in Gaul, then in Britain, in the 1st century BC.-Ally of Caesar:...

.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40 AD, when Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 received an exiled member of the Catuvellaunian dynasty and staged an invasion of Britain that collapsed in farcical circumstances before it had even left Gaul. When Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 successfully invaded in 43 AD, it was in aid of another fugitive British ruler, this time Verica
Verica
Verica was a British client king of the Roman Empire in the years preceding the Claudian invasion of 43 AD.From his coinage, he appears to have been king of the Atrebates tribe and a son of Commius. He succeeded his elder brother Eppillus as king in about 15 AD, reigning at Calleva Atrebatum,...

 of the Atrebates.

Roman invasion


The invasion force in 43 AD was led by Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius was a Roman politician and general of the mid-1st century. He began the Roman conquest of Britain in 43, and became the first governor of the new province, serving from 43 to 47.-Career:...

. It is not known how many Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s were sent; only one legion, the II Augusta
Legio II Augusta
Legio secunda Augusta , was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in the 4th century...

, commanded by the future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, is directly attested to have taken part. The IX Hispana, the XIV Gemina (later styled Martia Victrix) and the XX
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

(later styled Valeria Victrix) are attested in 60/61 during the Boudican Revolt
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

, and are likely to have been there since the initial invasion. However, the Roman Army
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 was flexible, with units being used and moved whenever necessary, so this is not certain. Only the Legio IX Hispana is likely to have stayed there, as it is attested to being in residence at Eburacum (York) in 71 AD and on a building inscription there dated 108 AD, before its eventual destruction fighting in the East, likely during the Bar Kochba Revolt.

The invasion was delayed by a mutiny of the troops, who were eventually persuaded by an imperial freedman to overcome their fear of crossing the Ocean
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and campaigning beyond the limits of the known world. They sailed in three divisions, and probably landed at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, although some suggest that at least part of the invasion force landed on the south coast, in the Fishbourne
Fishbourne, West Sussex
Fishbourne is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England and is situated two miles west of Chichester. The name derives from fissaburna/fiseborne/fysshburn, all meaning "stream with fish"...

 area of West Sussex
West Sussex
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex , Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming...

.

The Romans defeated the Catuvellauni and their allies in two battles: the first, assuming a Richborough landing, on the river Medway
Battle of the Medway
The Battle of the Medway took place in 43 AD on the River Medway in the lands of the Iron Age tribe of the Cantiaci, now the English county of Kent...

, the second on the Thames. One of the Catuvellaunian leaders, Togodumnus
Togodumnus
Togodumnus was a historical king of the British Catuvellauni tribe at the time of the Roman conquest. He can probably be identified with the legendary British king Guiderius....

, was killed, but his brother Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

 survived to continue resistance elsewhere. Plautius halted at the Thames and sent for Claudius, who arrived with reinforcements, including artillery and elephants, for the final march to the Catuvellaunian capital, Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

). The future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 subdued the southwest, Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus was a 1st century king of the Regnenses or Regni tribe in early Roman Britain.Chichester and the nearby Roman villa at Fishbourne, believed by some to have been Cogidubnus' palace, were probably part of the territory of the Atrebates tribe before the Roman conquest of...

 was set up as a friendly king of several territories, and treaties were made with tribes outside the area under direct Roman control.

Roman rule is established


After capturing the south of the island, the Romans turned their attention to what is now Wales. The Silures
Silures
The Silures were a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorganshire of present day South Wales; and possibly Gloucestershire and Herefordshire of present day England...

, Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 and Deceangli
Deceangli
The Deceangli or Deceangi were one of the Celtic tribes living in Britain, prior to the Roman invasion of the island. The tribe lived mainly in what is now north-east Wales, though it is uncertain whether their territory covered only the modern counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire and part of...

 remained implacably opposed to the invaders and for the first few decades were the focus of Roman military attention, despite occasional minor revolts among Roman allies like the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 and the Iceni
Iceni
The Iceni or Eceni were a British tribe who inhabited an area of East Anglia corresponding roughly to the modern-day county of Norfolk between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD...

. The Silures were led by Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

, and he carried out an effective guerilla campaign against Governor Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula was a Roman statesman and general who governed Britain from 47 until his death, and was responsible for the defeat and capture of Caratacus.-Career:...

. Finally, in 51 AD, Ostorius lured Caratacus into a set-piece battle and defeated him. The British leader sought refuge among the Brigantes, but their queen, Cartimandua
Cartimandua
Cartimandua or Cartismandua was a queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now Northern England, in the 1st century. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome...

, proved her loyalty by surrendering him to the Romans. He was brought as a captive to Rome, where a dignified speech he made during Claudius's triumph persuaded the emperor to spare his life. However, the Silures were still not pacified, and Cartimandua's ex-husband Venutius
Venutius
Venutius was a 1st century king of the Brigantes in northern Britain at the time of the Roman conquest. Some have suggested he may have belonged to the Carvetii, a tribe which probably formed part of the Brigantes confederation....

 replaced Caratacus as the most prominent leader of British resistance.

In 60–61 AD, while Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, also spelled Paullinus, was a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica.-Career:...

 was campaigning in Wales, the southeast of Britain rose in revolt under the leadership of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. Boudica was the widow of the recently deceased king of the Iceni, Prasutagus. The Roman historian Tacitus reports that Prasutagus had left a will leaving half his kingdom to Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 in the hope that the remainder would be left untouched. He was wrong. When his will was enforced, Rome responded by violently seizing the tribe's lands in full. Boudica protested. In consequence, Rome punished her and her daughters by flogging and rape. In response, the Iceni, joined by the Trinovantes
Trinovantes
The Trinovantes or Trinobantes were one of the tribes of pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex and Suffolk, and included lands now located in Greater London. They were bordered to the north by the Iceni, and to the west by the Catuvellauni...

, destroyed the Roman colony at Camulodunum (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

) and routed the part of the IXth Legion that was sent to relieve it. Suetonius Paulinus rode to London, the rebels' next target, but concluded it could not be defended. Abandoned, it was destroyed, as was Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 (St. Albans). Between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed in the three cities. But Suetonius regrouped with two of the three legions still available to him, chose a battlefield, and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the rebels in the Battle of Watling Street
Battle of Watling Street
The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman-occupied Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Although outnumbered, the Romans decisively defeated the allied tribes, inflicting heavy losses on them...

. Boudica died not long afterwards, by self-administered poison or by illness. During this time, the Emperor Nero considered withdrawing Roman forces from Britain altogether.

There was further turmoil in 69 AD, the "year of four emperors". As civil war raged in Rome, weak governors were unable to control the legions in Britain, and Venutius of the Brigantes seized his chance. The Romans had previously defended Cartimandua against him, but this time were unable to do so. Cartimandua was evacuated, and Venutius was left in control of the north of the country. After Vespasian secured the empire, his first two appointments as governor, Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petilius Cerialis Caesius Rufus was a Roman general and administrator who served in Britain during Boudica's rebellion and who went on to participate in the civil wars after the death of Nero. He later defeated the rebellion of Julius Civilis and returned to Britain as its governor.His...

 and Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus was one of the most distinguished Roman aristocrats of the late 1st century AD, but is best known to the post-Classical world as an author of technical treatises, especially one dealing with the aqueducts of Rome....

, took on the task of subduing the Brigantes and Silures respectively. Frontinus extended Roman rule to all of South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, and initiated exploitation of the mineral resources, such as the gold mines at Dolaucothi.
In the following years, the Romans conquered more of the island, increasing the size of Roman Britain. Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. His biography, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, was the first published work of his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, and is the source for most of what is known about him.Born to a noted...

, father-in-law to the historian Tacitus, conquered the Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 in 78 AD. With the XXth Valeria Victrix
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

 legion, Agricola defeated the Caledonians
Caledonians
The Caledonians , or Caledonian Confederacy, is a name given by historians to a group of indigenous peoples of what is now Scotland during the Iron Age and Roman eras. The Romans referred to their territory as Caledonia and initially included them as Britons, but later distinguished as the Picts...

 in 84 AD at the Battle of Mons Graupius
Battle of Mons Graupius
According to Tacitus, the Battle of Mons Graupius took place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor and Tacitus' father-in-law, had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British auxiliaries, reached the site,...

, in northern Scotland. This was the high water mark of Roman territory in Britain: shortly after his victory, Agricola was recalled from Britain back to Rome, and the Romans retired to a more defensible line along the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 isthmus, freeing soldiers badly needed along other frontiers.

For much of the history of Roman Britain, a large number of soldiers were garrisoned on the island. This required that the emperor station a trusted senior man as governor of the province. As a result, many future emperors served as governors or legates in this province, including Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

, and Gordian I
Gordian I
Gordian I , was Roman Emperor for one month with his son Gordian II in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Caught up in a rebellion against the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, he was defeated by forces loyal to Maximinus before committing suicide.-Early life:...

.

Occupation and retreat from southern Scotland



There is no historical source describing the decades that followed Agricola's recall. Even the name of his replacement is unknown. Archaeology has shown that some Roman forts south of the Forth-Clyde isthmus were rebuilt and enlarged, although others appear to have been abandoned. Roman coins and pottery have been found circulating at native settlement sites in the Scottish Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 in the years before 100 AD, indicating growing Romanisation
Romanization (cultural)
Romanization or latinization indicate different historical processes, such as acculturation, integration and assimilation of newly incorporated and peripheral populations by the Roman Republic and the later Roman Empire...

. Some of the most important sources for this era are the writing tablets from the fort at Vindolanda
Vindolanda
Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England. Located near the modern village of Bardon Mill, it guarded the Stanegate, the Roman road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth...

 in Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, mostly dating to AD 90-110. These tablets provide vivid evidence for the operation of a Roman fort at the edge of the Roman Empire, where officers' wives maintained polite society while merchants, hauliers and military personnel kept the fort operational and supplied.

Around 105 AD, however, there appears to have been a serious setback at the hands of the tribes of the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 of Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

: several Roman forts were destroyed by fire, with human remains and damaged armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

 at Trimontium (at modern Newstead
Newstead, Scottish Borders
Newstead is a village in the Scottish Borders, just east of Melrose, coordinates 55.599704, -2.691987. It has a population of approximately 260, according to the 2001 census.It is reputedly the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Scotland...

, in SE Scotland) indicating hostilities at least at that site. There is also circumstantial evidence that auxiliary reinforcements were sent from Germany, and an unnamed British war of the period is mentioned on the gravestone of a tribune
Tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 of Cyrene
Cyrene (mythology)
In Greek mythology, as recorded in Pindar's 9th Pythian ode, Cyrene was the daughter of Hypseus, King of the Lapiths. When a lion attacked her father's sheep, Cyrene wrestled with the lion. Apollo, who was present, immediately fell in love with her and kidnapped her. He took her to North...

. However, Trajan's Dacian Wars may have led to troop reductions in the area or even total withdrawal followed by slighting of the forts by the Picts rather than an unrecorded military defeat. The Romans were also in the habit of destroying their own forts during an orderly withdrawal, in order to deny resources to an enemy. In either case, the frontier probably moved south to the line of the Stanegate
Stanegate
The Stanegate, or "stone road" , was an important Roman road built in what is now northern England. It linked two forts that guarded important river crossings; Corstopitum in the east, situated on Dere Street, and Luguvalium in the west...

 at the Solway
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

-Tyne
River Tyne
The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...

 isthmus around this time.


A new crisis occurred at the beginning of Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

's reign (117 AD): a rising in the north which was suppressed by Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.His complete name was Quintus Roscius Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullius Pius Iulius Eurycles Herculanus Pompeius Falco. Pompeius Falco was governor of Moesia Inferior between 116 and 117...

. When Hadrian reached Britannia on his famous tour of the Roman provinces around 120 AD, he directed an extensive defensive wall, known to posterity as Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, to be built close to the line of the Stanegate frontier. Hadrian appointed Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.Platorius Nepos was governor of Germania Inferior. He was a close friend and possible kinsman of the Emperor Hadrian and may have accompanied Hadrian on his visit to Britain in 122. In this year he was made governor of Roman...

 as governor to undertake this work who brought the VIth Victrix
Legio VI Victrix
Legio sexta Victrix was a Roman legion founded by Octavian in 41 BC. It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and perhaps held veterans of that legion, and some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion....

 legion with him from Lower Germany. This replaced the famous IXth Hispana
Legio IX Hispana
Legio Nona Hispana was a Roman legion, which operated from the first century BCE until mid 2nd century CE. The Spanish Legion's disappearance has raised speculations over its fate, largely of its alleged destruction in Scotland in about 117 CE, though some scholars believe it was destroyed in the...

 legion, whose disappearance has been much discussed. Archaeology indicates considerable political instability in Scotland during the first half of the 2nd century, and the shifting frontier at this time should be seen in this context.

In the reign of Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (138-161 AD) the Hadrianic border was briefly extended north to the Forth-Clyde isthmus, where the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 was built around 142 AD following the military reoccupation of the Scottish lowlands by a new governor, Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus was governor of Roman Britain between the years 139 and 142, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. He is named in the text known as the Augustan History, and his name appears on five Roman inscriptions from Britain; his career is set out in detail on a pair...

.
The first Antonine occupation of Scotland ended as a result of a further crisis in 155-157 AD, when the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 revolted. With limited options to despatch reinforcements, the Romans moved their troops south, and this rising was suppressed by Governor Cnaeus Julius Verus. Within a year the Antonine Wall was recaptured, but by 163 or 164 AD it was abandoned. The second occupation was probably connected with Antoninus' undertakings to protect the Votadini or his pride in enlarging the empire, since the retreat to the Hadrianic frontier occurred not long after his death when a more objective strategic assessment of the benefits of the Antonine Wall could be made. The Romans did not entirely withdraw from Scotland at this time, however: the large fort at Newstead was maintained along with seven smaller outposts until at least 180 AD.

During the twenty year period following the reversion of the frontier to Hadrian's Wall, Rome was concerned with continental issues, primarily problems in the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 provinces. Increasing numbers of hoard
Hoard
In archaeology, a hoard is a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards may be uncovered by...

s of buried coins in Britain at this time indicate that peace was not entirely achieved. Sufficient Roman silver has been found in Scotland to suggest more than ordinary trade, and it is likely that the Romans were reinforcing treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 agreements by paying tribute to their implacable enemies, the Picts.

In 175 AD a large force of Sarmatian cavalry, consisting of 5,500 men, arrived in Britannia, probably to reinforce troops fighting unrecorded uprisings. In 180 AD Hadrian's Wall was breached by the Picts and the commanding officer or governor was killed there in what Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 described as the most serious war of the reign of Commodus
Commodus
Commodus , was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. His name changed throughout his reign; see changes of name for earlier and later forms. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded...

. Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus was a Roman consular governor of Britannia who returned there as general of the later 2nd century.Ulpius Marcellus is recorded as governor of Roman Britain in an inscription of 176-80, and apparently returned to Rome after a tenure without serious incident...

 was sent as replacement governor and by 184 AD he had won a new peace, only to be faced with a mutiny from his own troops. Unhappy with Marcellus' strictness, they tried to elect a legate named Priscus
Caerellius Priscus
Caerellius Priscus was a governor of Roman Britain in the late 170s.His rule is recorded on an altar at Mainz, and he probably governed Britain between 178 and 180. He also served in Thracia, Moesia, Raetia and Germania....

 as usurper governor; he refused, but Marcellus was lucky to leave the province alive. The Roman army in Britannia continued its insubordination: they sent a delegation of 1,500 to Rome to demand the execution of Tigidius Perennis
Tigidius Perennis
Sextus Tigidius Perennis was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, during the reigns of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Under the latter, Perennis was the man who exercised the chief responsibilities of government in the Roman Empire...

, a Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian prefect
Praetorian prefect was the title of a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides...

 who they felt had earlier wronged them by posting lowly equites to legate ranks in Britannia. Commodus met the party outside Rome and agreed to have Perennis killed, but this only made them feel more secure in their mutiny.

The future emperor Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

 was sent to Britannia to quell the mutiny and was initially successful in regaining control. However, a riot broke out among the troops. Pertinax was attacked and left for dead, and asked to be recalled to Rome, where he briefly succeeded Commodus as emperor in 192 AD.

3rd century


The death of Commodus put into motion a series of events which eventually led to civil war. Following the short reign of Pertinax, several rivals for the emperorship emerged, including Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 and Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus was a Roman usurper proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania upon the murder of Pertinax in 193.-Life:...

. The latter was the new governor of Britannia, and had seemingly won the natives over after their earlier rebellions; he also controlled three legions, making him a potentially significant claimant. His sometime rival Severus promised him the title of Caesar in return for Albinus' support against Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

 in the east. Once Niger was neutralised however, Severus turned on his ally in Britannia—though it is likely that Albinus saw he would be the next target and was already preparing for war.

Albinus crossed to Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 in 195 AD, where the provinces were also sympathetic to him, and set up at Lugdunum
Lugdunum
Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul. The city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus. It served as the capital of the Roman province Gallia Lugdunensis. To 300 years after its foundation Lugdunum was the most important city to the west part of Roman...

. Severus arrived in February 196, and the ensuing battle was decisive. Although Albinus came close to victory, Severus' reinforcements won the day, and the British governor committed suicide. Severus soon purged Albinus' sympathisers and perhaps confiscated large tracts of land in Britain as punishment.

Albinus had demonstrated the major problem posed by Roman Britain. In order to maintain security, the province required the presence of three legions; but command of these forces provided an ideal power base for ambitious rivals. Deploying those legions elsewhere, however, would strip the island of its garrison, leaving the province defenceless against uprisings by the native Celtic tribes and against invasion by the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

.

The traditional view is that northern Britain descended into anarchy during Albinus' absence. Cassius Dio records that the new Governor, Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus was a Roman soldier and politician of the late second and early 3rd century.His parents were Lucius Virius, born c. 140, and wife Antonia, also born c. 140 and daughter of Marcus Antonius Zeno. His paternal grandparents were Quintus Virius, born c. 110, and wife Larcia, born c...

, was obliged to buy peace from a fractious northern tribe known as the Maeatae
Maeatae
The Maeatae were a confederation of tribes who lived probably beyond the Antonine Wall in Roman Britain. The historical sources are vague as to the exact region they inhabited....

. The succession of militarily distinguished governors who were subsequently appointed suggests that enemies of Rome were posing a difficult challenge, and Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Roman figure of the late 2nd - early 3rd centuries.-Career:Born in Curculum, now Djemila, in Africa, Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Romanized North African. He served as consul and as governor of Syria in 200. Between c...

's report to Rome in 207 AD describes barbarians "rebelling, over-running the land, taking loot and creating destruction". In order to rebel, of course, one must be a subject - although the Maeatae clearly did not consider themselves such. Senecio requested either reinforcements or an Imperial expedition, and Severus chose the latter, despite being 62 years old.

Archaeological evidence shows that Senecio had been rebuilding the defences of Hadrian's Wall and the forts beyond it, and Severus' arrival in Britain prompted the enemy tribes to sue for peace immediately. The emperor had not come all that way to leave without a victory, however, and it is likely that he wished to provide his teenage sons Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

 and Geta
Publius Septimius Geta
Geta , was a Roman Emperor co-ruling with his father Septimius Severus and his older brother Caracalla from 209 to his death.-Early life:Geta was the younger son of Septimius Severus by his second wife Julia Domna...

 with first-hand experience of controlling a hostile barbarian land.

An expedition led by Severus and probably numbering around 20,000 troops moved north in AD 208 or 209, crossing the Wall and passing through eastern Scotland on a route similar to that used by Agricola. Harried by punishing guerrilla raids by the northern tribes and slowed by an unforgiving terrain, Severus was unable to meet the Caledonians on a battlefield. The emperor's forces pushed north as far as the River Tay
River Tay
The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom. The Tay originates in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui , then flows easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Dochhart, Loch Lubhair and Loch Tay, then continues east through Strathtay , in...

, but little appears to have been achieved by the invasion, as peace treaties were signed with the Caledonians. By 210 Severus had returned to York, and the frontier had once again become Hadrian's Wall. He assumed the title Britannicus, but the title meant little with regard to the unconquered north, which (with Rome's power still ending at the Wall) clearly remained outside the authority of the Empire. And almost immediately another northern tribe, the Maeatae, again went to war. Caracalla left with a punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

, but by the following year his ailing father had died and he and his brother left the province to press their claim to the throne.

As one of his last acts, Severus tried to solve the problem of powerful and rebellious governors in Britain by dividing the province into Upper Britain
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Lower Britain
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

. This kept the potential for rebellion in check for almost a century. Historical sources provide little information on the following decades, a period known as the Long Peace. Even so, the number of buried hoards found from this period rises, suggesting continuing unrest. A string of forts were built along the coast of southern Britain to control piracy; and over the following hundred years they increased in number, becoming the Saxon Shore Forts.

During the middle of the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire was convulsed by barbarian invasions, rebellions and new imperial pretenders. Britannia apparently avoided these troubles, although increasing inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 had its economic effect. In 259 a so-called Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
The Gallic Empire is the modern name for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century....

 was established when Postumus
Postumus
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus was a Roman emperor of Batavian origin. He usurped power from Gallienus in 260 and formed the so-called Gallic Empire...

 rebelled against Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

. Britannia was part of this until 274 when Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 reunited the empire.

In the late 270s, a half-Brythonic
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 usurper named Bononus rebelled to avoid the repercussions of letting his fleet be burnt by barbarians at Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. He was quickly crushed by Probus, but soon afterwards an unnamed governor in Britannia also attempted an uprising. Irregular troops of Vandals and Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 were sent across the Channel by Probus to put down the uprising, perhaps in 278 AD.

The last of the string of rebellions to affect Britannia was that of Carausius
Carausius
Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius was a military commander of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. He was a Menapian from Belgic Gaul, who usurped power in 286, declaring himself emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. He did this only 13 years after the Gallic Empire of the Batavian...

 and his successor Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Carausius was a naval commander, probably in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. He was accused of keeping pirate booty for himself, and his execution was ordered by the Emperor Maximian
Maximian
Maximian was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent...

. In 286 AD he set himself up as emperor in Britain and northern Gaul and remained in power whilst Maximian dealt with uprisings elsewhere. In 288 an invasion failed to unseat the usurper. An uneasy peace ensued, during which Carausius issued coins proclaiming his legitimacy and inviting official recognition.

In 293 AD, Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

 launched a second offensive, besieging the rebel's port at Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and cutting it off from naval assistance. After the town fell, Constantius tackled Carausius' Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 allies. Subsequently the usurper was murdered by his treasurer, Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Allectus' brief reign was brought to an end when Julius Asclepiodotus landed near Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 and defeated him in a land battle.

Constantius arrived in London to receive the victory and chose to divide the province further, into four provinces (each with its own governor):
  • Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis was the name of one of the four provinces of later Roman Britain . Its capital was Londinium and probably encompassed what is now south east England. Originally, its governors were of equestrian rank but by the mid fourth century they had to be of consular rank...

     (based on London), from Upper Britannia
  • Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD. It was probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. In the 3rd century, the Romans created...

    , from Upper Britannia
  • Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis was one of the provinces of Roman Britain.It was created in the early 4th century under the reforms of Diocletian and it has been suggested that its capital may have been at Lincoln...

    , from Lower Britannia
  • Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD and probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. The governors of Britannia Secunda were of...

    , from Lower Britannia


In the same year, under the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 reforms of the emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, Britannia became one of the four dioceses—governed by a vicarius—of the praetorian prefecture of Galliae ('the Gauls'), comprising the provinces of Gaul, Britannia, Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 and Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. This added, in effect, a fifth governor of Britannia. Thus, in place of one unchallenged military commander, the province now had five officers, each with command of only a small fraction of the garrison.

4th century


Constantius Chlorus returned in 306 AD, aiming to invade northern Britain. The province's defences had been rebuilt in the preceding years, and although his health was poor Constantius wished to penetrate into enemy territory. Little is known of his campaigns, and there is little archaeological evidence for them. From fragmentary historical sources it seems he reached the far north of Britain and won a great battle in early summer before returning south to York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

.

Constantius remained in Britain for the rest of the time he was part of the Tetrarchy, dying in York in July 306 AD. His son, Constantine I, was at his side at that moment and assumed his duties in Britannia. Unlike the earlier usurper, Albinus, he succeeded in using his base in Britannia as the starting point of his march to the imperial throne.

In the middle of the century, for a few years the province was loyal to the usurper Magnentius
Magnentius
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a usurper of the Roman Empire .-Early life and career:...

, who succeeded Constans
Constans
Constans , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 350. He defeated his brother Constantine II in 340, but anger in the army over his personal life and preference for his barbarian bodyguards saw the general Magnentius rebel, resulting in Constans’ assassination in 350.-Career:Constans was the third and...

 following the latter's death. After the defeat and death of Magnentius in the Battle of Mons Seleucus
Battle of Mons Seleucus
The Battle of Mons Seleucus was fought in 353 between the forces of the legitimate Roman emperor Constantius II of the line of Constantine I the Great and the forces of the usurper Magnentius. Constantius' forces were victorious, and Magnentius later committed suicide.It took place in today's...

 in 353 AD, Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 dispatched his chief imperial notary Paulus Catena
Paulus Catena
Paulus was the name of an imperial notary, or senior civil servant, who served under the Roman Emperor Constantius II in the middle of the 4th century. He is described by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who probably met him. According to Marcellinus, his cruelty was infamous throughout the...

 to Britain to hunt down Magnentius' supporters. The investigation deteriorated into a witch hunt
Witch-hunt
A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials...

, which forced the vicarius Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus was a vicarius of Roman Britain c. 353 under Constantius II.He tried to control the violent recriminations following the defeat of Magnentius. Martinus tried to rein in the vengeance of Constantius' notary Paulus Catena who had been sent to Britain to ruthlessly hunt down...

 to intervene. When Paulus retaliated by accusing Martinus of treason, the vicarius physically attacked Paulus with a sword, with the aim of assassinating him, but in the end he committed suicide.

As the 4th century progressed there were increasing attacks from the Saxons in the east and the Irish in the west. A series of forts was already being built, starting around 280 AD, to defend the coasts, but these preparations were not enough when a general assault of Saxons, Irish and Attacotti
Attacotti
Attacotti refers to a people who despoiled Roman Britain between 364 and 368, along with Scotti, Picts, Saxons, Roman military deserters, and the indigenous Britons themselves. The marauders were defeated by Count Theodosius in 368...

, combined with apparent dissension in the garrison on Hadrian's Wall, left Roman Britain prostrate in 367 AD. This crisis, sometimes called the Barbarian Conspiracy or the Great Conspiracy
Great Conspiracy
The Great Conspiracy is a term given to a year-long war that occurred in Roman Britain near the end of the Roman occupation of the island. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus described it as a barbarica conspiratio that capitalized on a depleted military force in the province brought about by...

, was settled by Count Theodosius
Count Theodosius
Flavius Theodosius or Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western Roman Empire. He achieved the rank of Comes Britanniarum and as such, he is usually referred to as Comes Theodosius...

 with a string of military and civil reforms.

Another imperial usurper, Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

, raised the standard of revolt at Segontium (Caernarfon) in north Wales in 383 AD, and crossed the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. Maximus held much of the western empire, and fought a successful campaign against the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Scoti
Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. It was thus synonymous with the modern term Gaels...

 around 384. His continental exploits required troops from Britain, and it appears that forts at Chester and elsewhere were abandoned in this period, triggering raids and settlement in north Wales by the Irish. His rule was ended in 388, but not all the British troops may have returned: the Empire's military resources were struggling after the catastrophic Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378. Around 396 there were increasing barbarian incursions into Britain, and an expedition - possibly led by Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

 - brought naval action against the raiders. It seems peace was restored by 399, although it is likely that no further garrisoning was ordered; and indeed by 401 more troops were withdrawn, to assist in the war against Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

.

End of Roman rule




The traditional view of historians, informed by the work of Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, or Rostovtsev was one of the 20th century's foremost authorities on ancient Greek, Iranian, and Roman history....

, was of a widespread economic decline at the beginning of the 5th century. However, consistent archaeological evidence has told another story, and the accepted view is undergoing re-evaluation, though some features are agreed: more opulent but fewer urban houses, an end to new public building and some abandonment of existing ones, with the exception of defensive structures, and the widespread formation of "black earth" deposits indicating increased horticulture within urban precincts. Turning over the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 at Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 to industrial uses in the late 3rd century, doubtless officially condoned, marks an early stage in the de-urbanisation of Roman Britain. The abandonment of some sites is now believed to be later than had formerly been thought. Many buildings changed use but were not destroyed. There were growing barbarian attacks, but these were focused on vulnerable rural settlements rather than towns. Some villas such as Great Casterton
Great Casterton
Great Casterton is a village and civil parish in the county of Rutland in the East Midlands of England. It is located at the crossing of the Roman Ermine Street and the River Gwash.-Geography:...

 in Rutland
Rutland
Rutland is a landlocked county in central England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire and southeast by Peterborough and Northamptonshire....

 and Hucclecote
Hucclecote
Hucclecote is an affluent and sought-after village in Gloucestershire , England situated on the old Roman road connecting Gloucester with Barnwood, Brockworth, Cirencester and Cheltenham...

 in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

 had new mosaic floors laid around this time, suggesting that economic problems may have been limited and patchy, although many suffered some decay before being abandoned in the 5th century; the story of Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland, although Brigid of Kildare and Colmcille are also formally patron saints....

 indicates that villas were still occupied until at least 430. Exceptionally, new buildings were still going up in this period in Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 and Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

. Some urban centres, for example Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

, Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

, Winchester and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

, remained active during the 5th and 6th centuries, surrounded by large farming estates.

Urban life had generally grown less intense by the fourth quarter of the 4th century, and coins minted between 378 and 388 are very rare, indicating a likely combination of economic decline, diminishing numbers of troops, and problems with the payment of soldiers and officials. Coinage circulation increased during the 390s, although it never attained the levels of earlier decades. Copper coins are very rare after 402, although minted silver and gold coins from hoards indicate they were still present in the province even if they were not being spent. By 407 there were no new Roman coins going into circulation, and by 430 it is likely that coinage as a medium of exchange had been abandoned. Pottery mass production probably ended a decade or two previously; the rich continued to use metal and glass vessels, while the poor probably adopted leather or wooden ones.

Sub-Roman Britain



Britain came under increasing pressure from barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 attack on all sides towards the end of the 4th century, and troops were too few to mount an effective defence. The army rebelled and, after elevating two disappointing usurpers, chose a soldier, Constantine III
Constantine III (usurper)
Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known in English as Constantine III was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in Britannia in 407 and established himself in Gaul. Recognised by the Emperor Honorius in 409, collapsing support and military setbacks saw him abdicate in 411...

, to become emperor in 407. He soon crossed to Gaul with an army and was defeated by Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

; it is unclear how many troops remained or ever returned, or whether a commander-in-chief in Britain was ever reappointed. A Saxon
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 incursion in 408 was apparently repelled by the Britons, and in 409 Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

 records that the natives expelled the Roman civilian administration (although Zosimus may be referring to the Bacaudic rebellion of the Breton inhabitants of Armorica since he describes how, in the aftermath of the revolt, all of Armorica and the rest of Gaul followed the example of the Brettaniai). A later appeal for help by the British communities was rejected by the Emperor Honorius in 410. This apparent contradiction has been explained by EA Thompson as a peasant revolt against the landowning classes, with the latter group asking for Roman help; an uprising certainly occurred in Gaul at the time. With the higher levels of the military and civil government gone, administration and justice fell to municipal authorities, and small warlords gradually emerged all over Britain, still aspiring to Roman ideals and conventions. Laycock (Britannia the Failed State, 2008) has investigated this process of fragmentation and emphasised elements of continuity from the British tribes in the pre-Roman and Roman periods to the kingdoms that formed in the post-Roman period.

By tradition, the pagan Saxons were invited by Vortigern
Vortigern
Vortigern , also spelled Vortiger and Vortigen, was a 5th-century warlord in Britain, a leading ruler among the Britons. His existence is considered likely, though information about him is shrouded in legend. He is said to have invited the Saxons to settle in Kent as mercenaries to aid him in...

 to assist in fighting the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Irish, though archaeology has suggested some official settlement as landed mercenaries as early as the 3rd century. Germanic migration into Roman Britannia may well have begun much earlier even than that. There is recorded evidence, for example, of Germanic Roman auxiliaries being brought to Britain in the 1st and 2nd centuries to support the legions. The new arrivals rebelled, plunging the country into a series of wars that eventually led to the Saxon occupation of Lowland Britain by 600. Around this time many Britons fled to Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 (hence its name). A significant date in sub-Roman Britain is the famous Groans of the Britons
Groans of the Britons
The Groans of the Britons is the name of the final appeal made by the Britons to the Roman military for assistance against barbarian invasion. The appeal is first referenced in Gildas' 6th-century De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae; Gildas' account was later repeated in Bede's Historia...

, an unanswered appeal to Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

, leading general of the western Empire, for assistance against Saxon invasion in 446; another is the Battle of Dyrham in 577, after which the significant cities of Bath, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

 and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 fell and the Saxons reached the western sea.

Most scholars reject the historicity of the later legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s of King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

, which seem to be set in this period, but some such as John Morris
John Morris (historian)
John Robert Morris was an English historian who specialised in the study of the institutions of the Roman Empire and the history of Sub-Roman Britain...

 see it as evidence behind which may lie a plausible grain of truth.

Trade

See also: Trade between Iron Age Britain and the Roman world


During the Roman period Britain’s continental trade was principally directed across the Southern North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Eastern Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, focusing on the narrow Strait of Dover
Strait of Dover
The Strait of Dover or Dover Strait is the strait at the narrowest part of the English Channel. The shortest distance across the strait is from the South Foreland, 6 kilometres northeast of Dover in the county of Kent, England, to Cap Gris Nez, a cape near to Calais in the French of...

, though there were also more limited links via the Atlantic seaways. The most important British ports were London and Richborough, whilst the continental ports most heavily engaged in trade with Britain were Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and the sites of Domburg
Domburg
Domburg is a seaside resort on the North Sea, on the northwest coast of Walcheren in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Veere, and lies about 11 km northwest of the city of Middelburg, the provincial capital.-Demographics:...

 and Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat is a town in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Noord-Beveland, and lies about 20 km northeast of Middelburg.In 2001, the town of Colijnsplaat had 1563 inhabitants...

 at the mouth of the river Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

. During the Late Roman period it is likely that the shore forts
Saxon Shore
Saxon Shore could refer to one of the following:* Saxon Shore, a military command of the Late Roman Empire, encompassing southern Britain and the coasts of northern France...

 played some role in continental trade alongside their defensive functions.

Imports to Britain included: coin
Roman currency
The Roman currency during most of the Roman Republic and the western half of the Roman Empire consisted of coins including the aureus , the denarius , the sestertius , the dupondius , and the as...

; pottery
Ancient Roman pottery
Pottery was produced in enormous quantities in ancient Rome, mostly for utilitarian purposes. It is found all over the former Roman Empire and beyond...

, particularly red-gloss terra sigillata
Terra sigillata
Terra sigillata is a term with at least three distinct meanings: as a description of medieval medicinal earth; in archaeology, as a general term for some of the fine red Ancient Roman pottery with glossy surface slips made in specific areas of the Roman Empire; and more recently, as a description...

(samian ware) from southern, central and eastern Gaul
Roman Gaul
Roman Gaul consisted of an area of provincial rule in the Roman Empire, in modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. Roman control of the area lasted for less than 500 years....

, as well as various other wares from Gaul and the Rhine provinces; olive oil from southern Spain
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 in amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

e; wine from Gaul in amphorae and barrels; salted fish products from the western Mediterranean and Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 in barrels and amphorae; preserved olives from southern Spain in amphorae; lava querns
Quern-stone
Quern-stones are stone tools for hand grinding a wide variety of materials. They were used in pairs. The lower, stationary, stone is called a quern, whilst the upper, mobile, stone is called a handstone...

 from Mayen
Mayen
Mayen is a town in the Mayen-Koblenz District of the Rhineland-Palatinate Federal State of Germany, in the eastern part of the Volcanic Eifel Region. As well as the main town, there are five further settlements which are part of Mayen, they are: Alzheim, Kürrenberg, Hausen-Betzing, Hausen and Nitztal...

 on the middle Rhine; glass; and some agricultural products. Britain’s exports are harder to detect archaeologically, but will have included metals, such as silver and gold and some lead, iron and copper. Other exports probably included agricultural products, oysters and salt, whilst large quantities of coin would have been re-exported back to the continent as well.

These products moved as a result of private trade and also through payments and contracts established by the Roman state to support its military forces and officials on the island, as well as through state taxation and extraction of resources. Up until the mid-3rd century AD the Roman state’s payments appear to have been unbalanced, with far more products sent to Britain, to support its large military force (which had reached c. 53,000 by the mid-2nd century AD), than were extracted from the island.

It has been argued that Roman Britain’s continental trade peaked in the late 1st century AD and thereafter declined as a result of an increasing reliance on local products by the population of Britain, caused by economic development on the island and by the Roman state’s desire to save money by shifting away from expensive long-distance imports. Evidence has, however, been outlined that demonstrates that the principal decline in Roman Britain’s continental trade came in the late 2nd century AD, from c. 165 AD onwards. This has been linked to the economic impact of contemporary Empire-wide crises: the Antonine plague
Antonine Plague
The Antonine Plague, AD 165–180, also known as the Plague of Galen, who described it, was an ancient pandemic, either of smallpox or measles, brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East...

 and the Marcomannic wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

.

From the mid-3rd century AD onwards Britain no longer received such a wide range and extensive quantity of foreign imports as it did during the earlier part of the Roman period; however, vast quantities of coin from continental mints reached the island, whilst there is historical evidence for the export of large amounts of British grain to the continent during the mid-4th century AD. During the latter part of the Roman period British agricultural products, paid for by both the Roman state and by private consumers, clearly played an important role in supporting the military garrisons and urban centres of the northwestern continental Empire. This came about as a result of the rapid decline in the size of the British garrison from the mid-3rd century AD onwards (thus freeing up more goods for export), and because of ‘Germanic’ incursions across the Rhine, which appear to have reduced rural settlement and agricultural output in northern Gaul.

Economy

See also: Roman economy
Roman economy
The history of the Roman economy covers the period of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.Recent research has led to a positive reevaluation of the size and sophistication of the Roman economy within the constraints generally imposed on agricultural societies in the preindustrial age.- Gross...

See also: Mining in Roman Britain
Mining in Roman Britain
Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...



Mineral extraction sites such as the Dolaucothi gold mine
Dolaucothi Gold Mines
The Dolaucothi Gold Mines , also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine, are Roman surface and deep mines located in the valley of the River Cothi, near Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales...

 was probably first worked by the Roman army from ca 75 AD, and at some later stage passed to civilian operators. The mine developed as a series of opencast workings, mainly by the use of hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 methods. They are described by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 in his Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

 in great detail. Essentially, water supplied by aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s was used to prospect for ore veins by stripping away soil to reveal the bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

. If veins were present, they were attacked using fire-setting
Fire-setting
Fire-setting is a method of mining used since prehistoric times up to the Middle Ages. Fires were set against a rock face to heat the stone, which was then doused with water...

 and the ore removed for crushing and comminution
Comminution
Comminution is the process in which solid materials are reduced in size, by crushing, grinding and other processes. It occurs naturally during faulting in the upper part of the crust and is an important operation in mineral processing, ceramics, electronics and other fields. Within industrial uses,...

. The dust was washed in a small stream of water and the heavy gold dust and gold nugget
Gold nugget
A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Watercourses often concentrate and grow the nuggets. Nuggets are recovered by placer mining, but they are also found in residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins or lodes are weathered...

s collected in riffles. The diagram at right shows how Dolaucothi developed from ca 75 AD through to the 1st century. When opencast work was no longer feasible, tunnels were driven to follow the veins. The evidence from the site shows advanced technology probably under the control of army engineers.

The Weald
Weald
The Weald is the name given to an area in South East England situated between the parallel chalk escarpments of the North and the South Downs. It should be regarded as three separate parts: the sandstone "High Weald" in the centre; the clay "Low Weald" periphery; and the Greensand Ridge which...

en ironworking zone, the lead and silver mines of the Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
The Mendip Hills is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon Valley to the north...

 and the tin mines of Cornwall seem to have been private enterprises leased from the government for a fee. Although mining had long been practised in Britain (see Grimes Graves
Grimes Graves
Grime's Graves is a large Neolithic flint mining complex near Brandon in England close to the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. It was worked between around circa 3000 BC and circa 1900 BC, although production may have continued well into the Bronze and Iron Ages owing to the low cost of flint...

), the Romans introduced new technical knowledge and large-scale industrial production to revolutionise the industry. It included hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 to prospect for ore by removing overburden as well as work alluvial deposits. The water needed for such large-scale operations was supplied by one or more aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, those surviving at Doalucothi being especially impressive. Many prospecting areas were in dangerous, upland
Highland (geography)
The term highland or upland is used to denote any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, the term upland tends to be used for ranges of hills, typically up to 500-600m, and highland for ranges of low mountains.The Scottish Highlands refers to the mountainous...

 country, and, although mineral exploitation was presumably one of the main reasons for the Roman invasion, it had to wait until these areas were subdued.

Although Roman designs were most popular, rural craftsmen still produced items derived from the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 La Tène
La Tène culture
The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where a rich cache of artifacts was discovered by Hansli Kopp in 1857....

 artistic traditions. Local pottery rarely attained the standards of the Gaulish industries although the Castor ware of the Nene Valley was able to withstand comparison with the imports. Most native pottery was unsophisticated however and intended only for local markets.

By the 3rd century, Britain's economy was diverse and well established, with commerce extending into the non-Romanised north. The design of Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 especially catered to the need for customs inspections of merchants' goods.

Provincial government


Under the Roman Empire, administration of peaceful provinces was ultimately the remit of the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

, but those, like Britain, that required permanent garrisons were placed under the Emperor's control. In practice imperial provinces were run by resident governors
Roman governor
A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire...

 who were members of the Senate and had held the consulship
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

. These men were carefully selected often having strong records of military success and administrative ability. In Britain, a governor's role was primarily military, but numerous other tasks were also his responsibility such as maintaining diplomatic relations with local client kings, building roads, ensuring the public courier system functioned, supervising the civitates and acting as a judge in important legal cases. When not campaigning he would travel the province hearing complaints and recruiting new troops.

To assist him in legal matters he had an adviser, the legatus iuridicus, and those in Britain appear to have been distinguished lawyers perhaps because of the challenge of incorporating tribes into the imperial system and devising a workable method of taxing them. Financial administration was dealt with by a procurator
Promagistrate
A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the promagistracy was invented in order to provide Rome with governors of overseas territories instead of having to elect...

with junior posts for each tax-raising power. Each legion in Britain had a commander who answered to the governor and in time of war probably directly ruled troublesome districts. Each of these commands carried a tour of duty of two to three years in different provinces. Below these posts was a network of administrative managers covering intelligence gathering, sending reports to Rome, organising military supplies and dealing with prisoners. A staff of seconded soldiers provided clerical services.

Colchester was probably the earliest capital of Roman Britain, but it was soon eclipsed by London with its strong mercantile connections.

Town and country



During their occupation of Britain the Romans founded a number of important settlements, many of which still survive. The towns suffered attrition in the later 4th century, when public building ceased and some were abandoned to private uses. Though place names survived the deurbanized Sub-Roman and early Anglo-Saxon periods, and historiography has been at pains to signal the expected survivals, archaeology shows that a bare handful of Roman towns were continuously occupied. According to S.T. Loseby, the very idea of a town as a centre of power and administration was reintroduced to England by the Roman Christianizing mission to Canterbury, and its urban revival was delayed to the 10th century.

Roman towns can be broadly grouped in two categories. Civitates, "public towns" were formally laid out on a grid plan, and their role in imperial administration occasioned the construction of public buildings. The much more numerous category of vici
Vicus
Vicus may refer to:*Vicus , plural vici, a neighborhood or local administrative unit of ancient Rome**Vicus Tuscus in Rome**Vicus Jugarius, leading into the Roman Forum** Gensis in Moesia Superior...

, "small towns" grew on informal plans, often round a camp or at a ford or crossroads; some were not small, others were scarcely urban, some not even defended by a wall, the characteristic feature of a place of any importance.

Cities and towns which have Roman origins, or were extensively developed by them are listed with their Latin names in brackets; civitates are marked C
  • Alcester
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

     (Alauna
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

    )
  • Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough is a village in the civil parish of Boroughbridge, part of the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, what is now known as Aldborough was built on the site of a major Romano-British town, Isurium Brigantum...

     (Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Aldborough, in North Yorkshire, England.-Possible Roman fort:...

    ) C
  • Bath (Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Bath, located in the English county of Somerset.-Baths and temple complex:...

    )
  • Brough-on-Humber (Petuaria
    Petuaria
    Petuaria was originally a Roman fort situated where the town of Brough-on-Humber in the East Riding of Yorkshire now stands. Petuaria means something like 'quarter' or 'fourth part', incorporating the archaic Brythonic *petuar, 'four' .It was founded in 70 AD and abandoned in about 125...

    ) C
  • Buxton
    Buxton
    Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, England. It has the highest elevation of any market town in England. Located close to the county boundary with Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south, Buxton is described as "the gateway to the Peak District National Park"...

     (Aquae Arnemetiae)
  • Caerleon
    Caerleon
    Caerleon is a suburban village and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, South Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hill fort...

     (Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

    )
  • Caernarfon
    Caernarfon
    Caernarfon is a Royal town, community and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,611. It lies along the A487 road, on the east banks of the Menai Straits, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is to the northeast, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and southeast...

     (Segontium
    Segontium
    Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

    )
  • Caerwent
    Caerwent
    Caerwent is a village and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located about five miles west of Chepstow and eleven miles east of Newport, and was founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum, an important settlement of the Brythonic Silures tribe. The modern village is built...

     (Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia or Britain. Today it consists of remains in the village of Caerwent in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. Much of it has been archaeologically excavated and is on display to the public....

    ) C
  • Caister-on-Sea
    Caister Roman Site
    Caister Roman Site is a Roman Saxon Shore fort, located in Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk. It was constructed around AD 200 for a unit of the Roman army and navy and occupied until around 370-390 AD...

     C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    ) C
  • Canterbury
    Canterbury
    Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

     (Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Canterbury, located in the English county of Kent. It occupied a strategic location on Watling Street, at the convergence of the roads coming from the rest of the Roman Empire via the ports of Dubris ,...

    ) C
  • Carlisle (Luguvalium
    Luguvalium
    Luguvalium was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carlisle, located in the English county of Cumbria .-Pre-Roman:...

    ) C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    )
  • Chester
    Chester
    Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

     (Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix, or simply Deva, was a legionary fortress and town in the Roman province of Britannia. The settlement evolved into Chester, the county town of Cheshire, England...

    )
  • Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street is a town in County Durham, England. It has a history going back to Roman times when it was called Concangis. The town is located south of Newcastle upon Tyne and west of Sunderland on the River Wear...

     (Concangis
    Concangis
    Concangis was an auxiliary castra close to Dere Street, in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior . Its foundations are located at Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England...

    )
  • Chichester
    Chichester
    Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings...

     (Noviomagus Regnorum) C
  • Cirencester
    Cirencester
    Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

     (Corinium
    Corinium Dobunnorum
    Corinium Dobunnorum was the second largest town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Cirencester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Colchester
    Colchester
    Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

     (Camulodunum
    Camulodunum
    Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

    ) C
  • Corbridge
    Corbridge
     Corbridge is a village in Northumberland, England, situated west of Newcastle and east of Hexham. Villages in the vicinity include Halton, Acomb, Aydon and Sandhoe.-Roman fort and town:...

     (Coria
    Coria (Corbridge)
    Coria was a fort and town, located south of Hadrian's Wall, in the Roman province of Britannia. Its full Latin name is uncertain. Today it is known as Corchester or Corbridge Roman Site, adjoining Corbridge in the English county of Northumberland...

    ) C
  • Dorchester (Durnovaria
    Durnovaria
    Durnovaria is the Latin form of the Brythonic name for the Roman town of Dorchester in the modern English county of Dorset.-Romans at Maiden Castle:...

    ) C
  • Dover
    Dover
    Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

     (Portus Dubris
    Dubris
    Dubris or Portus Dubris was a town in Roman Britain. It is now Dover, Kent, England.As the closest point to continental Europe and the site of the estuary of the Dour, the site chosen for Dover was ideal for a cross-channel port...

    )
  • Exeter
    Exeter
    Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

     (Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia and the capital of Dumnonia in the sub-Roman period. Today it is known as Exeter, located in the English county of Devon.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Gloucester
    Gloucester
    Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

     (Glevum
    Glevum
    Glevum was a Roman fort in Roman Britain that become "colonia" of retired legionaries in AD 97. Today it is known as Gloucester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire...

    ) C
  • Ilchester
    Ilchester
    Ilchester is a village and civil parish, situated on the River Yeo or Ivel, five miles north of Yeovil, in the English county of Somerset. The parish, which includes the village of Sock Dennis and the old parish of Northover, has a population of 2,021...

      (Lindinis
    Lindinis
    Lindinis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Ilchester, located in the English county of Somerset....

    ) C
  • Leicester
    Leicester
    Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

     (Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Leicester, located in the English county of Leicestershire.-Name:...

    ) C
  • Lincoln
    Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

     (Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is called Lincoln, in the English county of Lincolnshire.-Fort and name:...

    ) C
  • London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     (Londinium
    Londinium
    The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

    ) C
  • Manchester
    Manchester
    Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

     (Mamucium)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

     (Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius or Newcastle Roman Fort was an auxiliary castra and small Roman settlement on Hadrian's Wall in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior...

    )
  • Northwich
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

     (Condate
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

    )
  • St Albans
    St Albans
    St Albans is a city in southern Hertfordshire, England, around north of central London, which forms the main urban area of the City and District of St Albans. It is a historic market town, and is now a sought-after dormitory town within the London commuter belt...

     (Verulamium
    Verulamium
    Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

    ) C
  • Silchester
    Silchester
    Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

     (Calleva Atrebatum) C
  • Towcester
    Towcester
    Towcester , the Roman town of Lactodorum, is a small town in south Northamptonshire, England.-Etymology:Towcester comes from the Old English Tófe-ceaster. Tófe refers to the River Tove; Bosworth and Toller compare it to the "Scandinavian proper names" Tófi and Tófa...

     (Lactodorum)
  • Whitchurch
    Whitchurch, Shropshire
    Whitchurch is a market town in Shropshire, England on the border between England and Wales. It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the town is 8,673, with a more recent estimate putting the population of the town at 8,934...

     (Mediolanum
    Mediolanum (Whitchurch)
    Mediolanum was a fort and small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Whitchurch, located in the English county of Shropshire....

    )
  • Winchester (Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia Superior. Today it is known as Winchester and is situated in the English county of Hampshire.-Development:...

    ) C
  • Wroxeter
    Wroxeter
    Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

     (Viroconium Cornoviorum) C
  • York
    York
    York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

     (Eboracum
    Eboracum
    Eboracum was a fort and city in Roman Britain. The settlement evolved into York, located in North Yorkshire, England.-Etymology:The first known recorded mention of Eboracum by name is dated circa 95-104 AD and is an address containing the Latin form of the settlement's name, "Eburaci", on a wooden...

    ) C

Pagan


The druid
Druid
A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, and possibly other parts of Celtic western Europe, during the Iron Age....

s, the Celtic priestly caste who were believed to originate in Britain, were outlawed by Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, and in 61 they vainly defended their sacred grove
Sacred grove
A sacred grove is a grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world...

s from destruction by the Romans on the island of Mona (Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

). However, under Roman rule the Britons continued to worship native Celtic deities, such as Ancasta
Ancasta
Ancasta was a Celtic goddess worshipped in Roman Britain. She is known from a single dedicatory inscription found in the United Kingdom at Bitterne, near Southampton...

, but often conflated with their Roman equivalents, like Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

 Rigonemetos at Nettleham
Nettleham
Nettleham is a large village and civil parish within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England.-Geography:It is located four miles north-east of the city of Lincoln between the A46 and A158, and has a total resident population of 6,514....

.

The degree to which earlier native beliefs survived is difficult to gauge precisely. Certain European ritual traits such as the significance of the number 3, the importance of the head and of water sources such as springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 remain in the archaeological record, but the differences in the votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s made at the Roman Baths (Bath), Bath, Somerset before and after the Roman conquest suggest that continuity was only partial. Worship of the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 is widely recorded, especially at military sites. The founding of a Roman temple
Roman temple
Ancient Roman temples are among the most visible archaeological remains of Roman culture, and are a significant source for Roman architecture. Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion. The main room housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was...

 to Claudius
Temple of Claudius, Colchester
]]The Temple of Claudius or Temple of the Deified Claudius built in Camulodunum sometime after the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, although it is not certain whether it was built before or after Claudius' death and deification in AD 54.In AD 60 or 61, during Boudica's uprising, Camulodunum ...

 at Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 was one of the impositions that led to the revolt of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. By the 3rd century, Pagans Hill Roman Temple
Pagans Hill Roman Temple
The Pagans Hill Roman Temple was a Romano-British-style temple excavated on Pagans Hill at Chew Stoke in the English county of Somerset.-Excavations:...

 in Somerset was able to exist peaceably and it did so into the 5th century.

Eastern cults such as Mithraism
Mithraism
The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The name of the Persian god Mithra, adapted into Greek as Mithras, was linked to a new and distinctive imagery...

 also grew in popularity towards the end of the occupation. The Temple of Mithras
Temple of Mithras, London
The Temple of Mithras, Walbrook is a Roman temple whose ruins were discovered in Walbrook, a street in the City of London, during rebuilding work in 1954. It is perhaps the most famous of all twentieth-century Roman discoveries in the City of London....

 is one example of the popularity of mystery religions
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

 amongst the rich urban classes and temples to Mithras also exist in military contexts at Vindobala
Vindobala
Vindobala was a Roman fort at the modern-day hamlet of Rudchester, Northumberland. It was the fourth fort on Hadrian's Wall, after Segedunum , Pons Aelius and Condercum. It was situated about to the west of Condercum. The name Vindobala means “White Strength”...

 on Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 (the Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras at Rudchester , an auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall, the northern frontier of Roman Britain. The temple was located 137m to the west of the castra.- Discovery :...

) and at Segontium
Segontium
Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

 in Roman Wales (the Caernarfon Mithraeum
Caernarfon Mithraeum
The Caernarfon Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras . The temple was located 137 metres north-east of the Roman castra of Segontium on the outskirts of modern Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales....

).

Christianity


It is not clear when or how Christianity came to Britain. A 2nd century "word square" has been discovered in Mamucium, the Roman settlement of Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. It consists of an anagram of PATER NOSTER
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

 carved on a piece of amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

. There has been discussion by academics whether the "word square" is actually a Christian artefact, but if it is, it is one of the earliest examples of early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 in Britain. The earliest confirmed written evidence for Christianity in Britain is a statement by Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, c. 200 AD, in which he described "all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons, inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ". Archaeological evidence for Christian communities begins to appear in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Small timber churches are suggested at Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 and Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 and baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

s have been found at Icklingham
Icklingham
Icklingham is a village in Suffolk, England.It takes its name from an Iron Age tribe, the Iceni, who lived in the area and has the remains of a Roman settlement to the South...

 and the Saxon Shore Fort at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

. The Icklingham font is made of lead, and visible in the British Museum. A Roman Christian graveyard exists at the same site in Icklingham. The Water Newton Treasure
Water Newton Treasure
The Water Newton Treasure is a hoard of fourth-century Roman silver, discovered near the Roman town of Durobrivae at Water Newton in the English county of Cambridgeshire. The hoard consisted of 27 silver items and one small gold plaque...

 is a hoard of Christian silver church plate from the early 4th century and the Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

s at Lullingstone
Lullingstone
Lullingstone is a village in the county of Kent, England. It is best known for its castle, Roman villa and its public golf course.- Pre-Roman :It is believed that an Iron Age hill fort is sited on the hill above the castle, although this is unconfirmed....

 and Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary is a village in north Dorset, England, situated on a low limestone ridge beside the River Stour, one mile north of the market town Sturminster Newton. The village has a population of 221...

 contained Christian wall paintings and mosaics respectively. A large 4th century cemetery at Poundbury
Poundbury
Poundbury is an experimental new town or urban extension on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England.The development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It is built according to the principles of Prince Charles...

 with its east-west oriented burials and lack of grave goods
Grave goods
Grave goods, in archaeology and anthropology, are the items buried along with the body.They are usually personal possessions, supplies to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. Grave goods are a type of votive deposit...

 has been interpreted as an early Christian burial ground, although such burial rites were also becoming increasingly common in pagan contexts during the period.

The Church in Britain seems to have developed the customary diocesan system, as evidenced from the records of the Council of Arles in Gaul in 314: represented at the Council were bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s from thirty-five sees
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 from Europe and North Africa, including three bishops from Britain, Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelphius, possibly a bishop of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln
The Bishop of Lincoln is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lincoln in the Province of Canterbury.The present diocese covers the county of Lincolnshire and the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The Bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral...

. No other early sees are documented, and the material remains of early church structures are far to seek. The existence of a church in the forum courtyard of Lincoln and the martyrium of Saint Alban
Saint Alban
Saint Alban was the first British Christian martyr. Along with his fellow saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three martyrs remembered from Roman Britain. Alban is listed in the Church of England calendar for 22 June and he continues to be venerated in the Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox...

 on the outskirts of Roman Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 are exceptional. Alban, the first British Christian martyr and by far the most prominent, is believed to have died in the early 4th century (although some date him in the middle 3rd century), followed by Saints Aaron and Julius of Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

. Christianity was legalised in the Roman Empire by Constantine I in 313. Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 made Christianity the state religion of the empire in 391, and by the 5th century it was well established. One heresy, Pelagianism
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

, was originated by a British monk teaching in Rome: Pelagius
Pelagius
Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid...

 lived c. 354 to c. 420/440.

A letter found on a lead tablet in Bath, Somerset, datable to c. 363, had been widely publicised as documentary evidence regarding the state of Christianity in Britain during Roman times. According to its first translator, it was written in Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

 by a Christian man called Vinisius to a Christian woman called Nigra, and was claimed as the first epigraphic record of Christianity in Britain. However, this translation of the letter was apparently based on grave paleographical errors, and the text, in fact, has nothing to do with Christianity, and in fact relates to pagan rituals.

Environmental changes


The Romans introduced a number of species to Britain, including possibly the now rare Roman nettle
Nettle
Nettles constitute between 24 and 39 species of flowering plants of the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, with a cosmopolitan though mainly temperate distribution. They are mostly herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annual and a few are shrubby...

 (Urtica pilulifera), said to have been used by soldiers to warm their arms and legs, and the edible snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

 Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia, common names the Burgundy snail, Roman snail, edible snail or escargot, is a species of large, edible, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae...

. There is also some evidence they may have introduced rabbits, but of the smaller southern mediterranean type. The European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

 (Oryctolagus cuniculus) prevalent in modern Britain is assumed to have been introduced from the continent after the Norman invasion of 1066.

Legacy



During their occupation of Britain the Romans built an extensive network of roads
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

 which continued to be used in later centuries and many are still followed today.

The Romans also built water supply, sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 and sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

 systems.

Many of Britain's major cities, such as London (Londinium
Londinium
The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

), Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 (Mamucium) and York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

 (Eburacum), were founded by the Romans.

Britain is also noteworthy as being the largest European region of the former Roman Empire whose majority language is neither:
  • A Romance language (although English, descended from the speech of Germanic tribes which arrived after the Romans had left Britain, has had a heavy influence from French, due primarily to the Norman conquest of England
    Norman conquest of England
    The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

    ), nor
  • A language descended from the pre-Roman inhabitants (such as Greek), though Welsh exists as a living minority language
    Minority language
    A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a territory. Such people are termed linguistic minorities or language minorities.-International politics:...

    , with many borrowings from Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

    , such as llaeth ("milk"), ffenestr ("window"). Fragmentory speakers of Cornish
    Cornish language
    Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

     survived into the early modern period.

See also

  • Prehistoric Britain
    Prehistoric Britain
    For the purposes of this article, Prehistoric Britain is that period of time between the first arrival of humans on the land mass now known as Great Britain and the start of recorded British history...

  • Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia is the original Latin name the Roman Empire gave to the island of Great Britain, a name later used for a female personification of the United Kingdom.Britannia may also refer to:* Britannia Bridge, a bridge across the Menai Strait...

  • End of Roman rule in Britain
  • List of Roman governors of Britain
  • Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    The Roman client kingdoms in Britain were native tribes who chose to align themselves with the Roman Empire because they saw it as the best option for self-preservation or for protection from other hostile tribes...

  • History of Britain
    History of the British Isles
    The history of the British Isles has witnessed intermittent periods of competition and cooperation between the people that occupy the various parts of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller adjacent islands, which together make up the British Isles, as well as with France, Germany, the Low...

  • Romano-British
    Romano-British
    Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

  • Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

  • Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    There are many Roman sites in the United Kingdom that are open to the public. There are many sites that do not require special access, including Roman roads, and sites that have not been uncovered.-England:*Ambleside Roman Fort , Cumbria...

  • Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...

  • Dolaucothi
  • Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire encompasses a period of protohistory from the arrival of Roman legions in c. AD 71 to their departure in 213. The history of the period is complex: the Roman empire influenced every part of Scotland during the period, however the occupation was neither complete nor...


Further reading


Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 controlled by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.

The Romans referred to the imperial province
Imperial province
An imperial province was a Roman province where the Emperor had the sole right to appoint the governor . These provinces were often the strategically located border provinces....

 as Britannia
Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

 (Scotland). Before the Roman invasion, begun in AD 43, Iron Age Britain
British Iron Age
The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron-Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ireland, and which had an independent Iron Age culture of...

 already had established cultural and economic links with Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, but the Roman invaders introduced new developments in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, urbanisation, industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. Besides the native British record of the initial Roman invasion, Roman historians generally mention Britannia only in passing, thus, most knowledge of Roman Britain has derived from archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 investigations, and the epigraphic
Epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an Emperor of Rome
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, such as Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 (r. AD 117–38) and Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (r. AD 138–61), whose walls demarcated the northern borders of Roman Britain.

The first extensive Roman campaigns in Britain were by the armies of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 55 and in 54 BC, but the first significant campaign of conquest did not begin until AD 43, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

. Following the conquest of the native Britons
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged under provincial government
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

, which, despite steadily extended territorial control northwards, was never able to exert definite control over Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

. The Romans demarcated the northern border of Britannia with Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, completed around the year 128. Fourteen years later, in AD 142, the Romans extended the Britannic frontier northwards, to the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 line, where they constructed the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

, but, after approximately twenty years, they then retreated to the border of Hadrian's Wall. Around the year 197, Rome divided Britannia into two provinces, Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

; sometime after AD 305, Britannia was further divided, and made into an imperial diocese
Roman diocese
A Roman or civil diocese was one of the administrative divisions of the later Roman Empire, starting with the Tetrarchy. It formed the intermediate level of government, grouping several provinces and being in turn subordinated to a praetorian prefecture....

. For much of the later period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 invasions and often came under the control of imperial usurpers and pretenders to the Roman Emperorship
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

.

Most Romans departed from Britain around the year 410, which began the sub-Roman period
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

 (AD 5–6 c.), but the legacy of the Roman Empire was felt for centuries in Britain.

Early contact



Britain was not unknown to the Classical world. As early as the 4th century BC, the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns and Carthaginians
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 traded for Cornish
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 tin. The Greeks refer to the Cassiterides
Cassiterides
The Cassiterides, meaning Tin Islands , are an ancient geographical name of islands that were regarded as situated somewhere near the west coasts of Europe...

, or "tin islands", and describe them as being situated somewhere near the west coast of Europe. The Carthaginian sailor Himilco
Himilco the Navigator
Himilco , a Carthaginian navigator and explorer, lived during the height of Carthaginian power, the 5th century BC....

 is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas
Pytheas
Pytheas of Massalia or Massilia , was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony, Massalia . He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe at about 325 BC. He travelled around and visited a considerable part of Great Britain...

 in the 4th. But it was regarded as a place of mystery, with some writers even refusing to believe it existed at all.

The first direct Roman contact came when the Roman general and future dictator, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, made two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC as an offshoot of his conquest of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, believing the Britons had been helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition, more a reconnaissance than a full invasion, gained a foothold on the coast of Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 but, undermined by storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry, was unable to advance further. The expedition was a military failure, but was at least a political success. The Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 declared a 20-day public holiday in Rome in honour of the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent.

In his second invasion, Caesar took with him a substantially larger force and proceeded to coerce or invite many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace. A friendly local king, Mandubracius
Mandubracius
Mandubracius or Mandubratius was a king of the Trinovantes of south-eastern Britain in the 1st century BC.-History:Mandubracius was the son of a Trinovantian king, named Imanuentius in some manuscripts of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, who was overthrown and killed by the warlord Cassivellaunus...

, was installed, and his rival, Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus
Cassivellaunus was an historical British chieftain who led the defence against Julius Caesar's second expedition to Britain in 54 BC. The first British person whose name is recorded, Cassivellaunus led an alliance of tribes against Roman forces, but eventually surrendered after his location was...

, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether the tribute agreed was paid by the Britons after Caesar's return to Gaul with his forces.

Caesar had conquered no territory and had left behind no troops, but had established clients
Patronage in ancient Rome
Patronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus and his client . The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client...

 on the island and had brought Britain into Rome's sphere of political influence. Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, and the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing late in Augustus's reign, claims that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Likewise, archaeology shows an increase in imported luxury goods in southeastern Britain. Strabo also mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus' own Res Gestae
Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Res Gestae Divi Augusti, is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people...

refers to two British kings he received as refugees. When some of Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 in 16 AD, they were sent back by local rulers, telling tall tales of monsters.

Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
The Catuvellauni were a tribe or state of south-eastern Britain before the Roman conquest.The fortunes of the Catuvellauni and their kings before the conquest can be traced through numismatic evidence and scattered references in classical histories. They are mentioned by Dio Cassius, who implies...

, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus
Tasciovanus was a historical king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain.-History:Tasciovanus is known only through numismatic evidence. He appears to have become king of the Catuvellauni ca. 20 BC, ruling from Verlamion...

, and the Atrebates
Atrebates
The Atrebates were a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain before the Roman conquests.- Name of the tribe :Cognate with Old Irish aittrebaid meaning 'inhabitant', Atrebates comes from proto-Celtic *ad-treb-a-t-es, 'inhabitants'. The Celtic root is treb- 'building', 'home' The Atrebates (singular...

, ruled by the descendants of Commius
Commius
Commius was a historical king of the Belgic nation of the Atrebates, initially in Gaul, then in Britain, in the 1st century BC.-Ally of Caesar:...

.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40 AD, when Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 received an exiled member of the Catuvellaunian dynasty and staged an invasion of Britain that collapsed in farcical circumstances before it had even left Gaul. When Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 successfully invaded in 43 AD, it was in aid of another fugitive British ruler, this time Verica
Verica
Verica was a British client king of the Roman Empire in the years preceding the Claudian invasion of 43 AD.From his coinage, he appears to have been king of the Atrebates tribe and a son of Commius. He succeeded his elder brother Eppillus as king in about 15 AD, reigning at Calleva Atrebatum,...

 of the Atrebates.

Roman invasion


The invasion force in 43 AD was led by Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius
Aulus Plautius was a Roman politician and general of the mid-1st century. He began the Roman conquest of Britain in 43, and became the first governor of the new province, serving from 43 to 47.-Career:...

. It is not known how many Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s were sent; only one legion, the II Augusta
Legio II Augusta
Legio secunda Augusta , was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in the 4th century...

, commanded by the future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, is directly attested to have taken part. The IX Hispana, the XIV Gemina (later styled Martia Victrix) and the XX
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

(later styled Valeria Victrix) are attested in 60/61 during the Boudican Revolt
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

, and are likely to have been there since the initial invasion. However, the Roman Army
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 was flexible, with units being used and moved whenever necessary, so this is not certain. Only the Legio IX Hispana is likely to have stayed there, as it is attested to being in residence at Eburacum (York) in 71 AD and on a building inscription there dated 108 AD, before its eventual destruction fighting in the East, likely during the Bar Kochba Revolt.

The invasion was delayed by a mutiny of the troops, who were eventually persuaded by an imperial freedman to overcome their fear of crossing the Ocean
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and campaigning beyond the limits of the known world. They sailed in three divisions, and probably landed at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, although some suggest that at least part of the invasion force landed on the south coast, in the Fishbourne
Fishbourne, West Sussex
Fishbourne is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England and is situated two miles west of Chichester. The name derives from fissaburna/fiseborne/fysshburn, all meaning "stream with fish"...

 area of West Sussex
West Sussex
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex , Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming...

.

The Romans defeated the Catuvellauni and their allies in two battles: the first, assuming a Richborough landing, on the river Medway
Battle of the Medway
The Battle of the Medway took place in 43 AD on the River Medway in the lands of the Iron Age tribe of the Cantiaci, now the English county of Kent...

, the second on the Thames. One of the Catuvellaunian leaders, Togodumnus
Togodumnus
Togodumnus was a historical king of the British Catuvellauni tribe at the time of the Roman conquest. He can probably be identified with the legendary British king Guiderius....

, was killed, but his brother Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

 survived to continue resistance elsewhere. Plautius halted at the Thames and sent for Claudius, who arrived with reinforcements, including artillery and elephants, for the final march to the Catuvellaunian capital, Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

). The future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 subdued the southwest, Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus
Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus was a 1st century king of the Regnenses or Regni tribe in early Roman Britain.Chichester and the nearby Roman villa at Fishbourne, believed by some to have been Cogidubnus' palace, were probably part of the territory of the Atrebates tribe before the Roman conquest of...

 was set up as a friendly king of several territories, and treaties were made with tribes outside the area under direct Roman control.

Roman rule is established


After capturing the south of the island, the Romans turned their attention to what is now Wales. The Silures
Silures
The Silures were a powerful and warlike tribe of ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorganshire of present day South Wales; and possibly Gloucestershire and Herefordshire of present day England...

, Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 and Deceangli
Deceangli
The Deceangli or Deceangi were one of the Celtic tribes living in Britain, prior to the Roman invasion of the island. The tribe lived mainly in what is now north-east Wales, though it is uncertain whether their territory covered only the modern counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire and part of...

 remained implacably opposed to the invaders and for the first few decades were the focus of Roman military attention, despite occasional minor revolts among Roman allies like the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 and the Iceni
Iceni
The Iceni or Eceni were a British tribe who inhabited an area of East Anglia corresponding roughly to the modern-day county of Norfolk between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD...

. The Silures were led by Caratacus
Caratacus
Caratacus was a first century British chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe, who led the British resistance to the Roman conquest....

, and he carried out an effective guerilla campaign against Governor Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula
Publius Ostorius Scapula was a Roman statesman and general who governed Britain from 47 until his death, and was responsible for the defeat and capture of Caratacus.-Career:...

. Finally, in 51 AD, Ostorius lured Caratacus into a set-piece battle and defeated him. The British leader sought refuge among the Brigantes, but their queen, Cartimandua
Cartimandua
Cartimandua or Cartismandua was a queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now Northern England, in the 1st century. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome...

, proved her loyalty by surrendering him to the Romans. He was brought as a captive to Rome, where a dignified speech he made during Claudius's triumph persuaded the emperor to spare his life. However, the Silures were still not pacified, and Cartimandua's ex-husband Venutius
Venutius
Venutius was a 1st century king of the Brigantes in northern Britain at the time of the Roman conquest. Some have suggested he may have belonged to the Carvetii, a tribe which probably formed part of the Brigantes confederation....

 replaced Caratacus as the most prominent leader of British resistance.

In 60–61 AD, while Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, also spelled Paullinus, was a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica.-Career:...

 was campaigning in Wales, the southeast of Britain rose in revolt under the leadership of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. Boudica was the widow of the recently deceased king of the Iceni, Prasutagus. The Roman historian Tacitus reports that Prasutagus had left a will leaving half his kingdom to Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 in the hope that the remainder would be left untouched. He was wrong. When his will was enforced, Rome responded by violently seizing the tribe's lands in full. Boudica protested. In consequence, Rome punished her and her daughters by flogging and rape. In response, the Iceni, joined by the Trinovantes
Trinovantes
The Trinovantes or Trinobantes were one of the tribes of pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex and Suffolk, and included lands now located in Greater London. They were bordered to the north by the Iceni, and to the west by the Catuvellauni...

, destroyed the Roman colony at Camulodunum (Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

) and routed the part of the IXth Legion that was sent to relieve it. Suetonius Paulinus rode to London, the rebels' next target, but concluded it could not be defended. Abandoned, it was destroyed, as was Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 (St. Albans). Between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed in the three cities. But Suetonius regrouped with two of the three legions still available to him, chose a battlefield, and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the rebels in the Battle of Watling Street
Battle of Watling Street
The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman-occupied Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Although outnumbered, the Romans decisively defeated the allied tribes, inflicting heavy losses on them...

. Boudica died not long afterwards, by self-administered poison or by illness. During this time, the Emperor Nero considered withdrawing Roman forces from Britain altogether.

There was further turmoil in 69 AD, the "year of four emperors". As civil war raged in Rome, weak governors were unable to control the legions in Britain, and Venutius of the Brigantes seized his chance. The Romans had previously defended Cartimandua against him, but this time were unable to do so. Cartimandua was evacuated, and Venutius was left in control of the north of the country. After Vespasian secured the empire, his first two appointments as governor, Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Quintus Petilius Cerialis Caesius Rufus was a Roman general and administrator who served in Britain during Boudica's rebellion and who went on to participate in the civil wars after the death of Nero. He later defeated the rebellion of Julius Civilis and returned to Britain as its governor.His...

 and Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Sextus Julius Frontinus was one of the most distinguished Roman aristocrats of the late 1st century AD, but is best known to the post-Classical world as an author of technical treatises, especially one dealing with the aqueducts of Rome....

, took on the task of subduing the Brigantes and Silures respectively. Frontinus extended Roman rule to all of South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

, and initiated exploitation of the mineral resources, such as the gold mines at Dolaucothi.
In the following years, the Romans conquered more of the island, increasing the size of Roman Britain. Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. His biography, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, was the first published work of his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, and is the source for most of what is known about him.Born to a noted...

, father-in-law to the historian Tacitus, conquered the Ordovices
Ordovices
The Ordovices were one of the Celtic tribes living in Great Britain, before the Roman invasion of Britain. Its tribal lands were located in present day Wales and England between the Silures to the south and the Deceangli to the north-east...

 in 78 AD. With the XXth Valeria Victrix
Legio XX Valeria Victrix
Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century...

 legion, Agricola defeated the Caledonians
Caledonians
The Caledonians , or Caledonian Confederacy, is a name given by historians to a group of indigenous peoples of what is now Scotland during the Iron Age and Roman eras. The Romans referred to their territory as Caledonia and initially included them as Britons, but later distinguished as the Picts...

 in 84 AD at the Battle of Mons Graupius
Battle of Mons Graupius
According to Tacitus, the Battle of Mons Graupius took place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor and Tacitus' father-in-law, had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British auxiliaries, reached the site,...

, in northern Scotland. This was the high water mark of Roman territory in Britain: shortly after his victory, Agricola was recalled from Britain back to Rome, and the Romans retired to a more defensible line along the Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

-Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 isthmus, freeing soldiers badly needed along other frontiers.

For much of the history of Roman Britain, a large number of soldiers were garrisoned on the island. This required that the emperor station a trusted senior man as governor of the province. As a result, many future emperors served as governors or legates in this province, including Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

, and Gordian I
Gordian I
Gordian I , was Roman Emperor for one month with his son Gordian II in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Caught up in a rebellion against the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, he was defeated by forces loyal to Maximinus before committing suicide.-Early life:...

.

Occupation and retreat from southern Scotland



There is no historical source describing the decades that followed Agricola's recall. Even the name of his replacement is unknown. Archaeology has shown that some Roman forts south of the Forth-Clyde isthmus were rebuilt and enlarged, although others appear to have been abandoned. Roman coins and pottery have been found circulating at native settlement sites in the Scottish Lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 in the years before 100 AD, indicating growing Romanisation
Romanization (cultural)
Romanization or latinization indicate different historical processes, such as acculturation, integration and assimilation of newly incorporated and peripheral populations by the Roman Republic and the later Roman Empire...

. Some of the most important sources for this era are the writing tablets from the fort at Vindolanda
Vindolanda
Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England. Located near the modern village of Bardon Mill, it guarded the Stanegate, the Roman road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth...

 in Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, mostly dating to AD 90-110. These tablets provide vivid evidence for the operation of a Roman fort at the edge of the Roman Empire, where officers' wives maintained polite society while merchants, hauliers and military personnel kept the fort operational and supplied.

Around 105 AD, however, there appears to have been a serious setback at the hands of the tribes of the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 of Alba
Alba
Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate to Alba in Irish and Nalbin in Manx, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as similar words in the Brythonic Insular Celtic languages of Cornish and Welsh also meaning Scotland.- Etymology :The term first appears in...

: several Roman forts were destroyed by fire, with human remains and damaged armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

 at Trimontium (at modern Newstead
Newstead, Scottish Borders
Newstead is a village in the Scottish Borders, just east of Melrose, coordinates 55.599704, -2.691987. It has a population of approximately 260, according to the 2001 census.It is reputedly the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Scotland...

, in SE Scotland) indicating hostilities at least at that site. There is also circumstantial evidence that auxiliary reinforcements were sent from Germany, and an unnamed British war of the period is mentioned on the gravestone of a tribune
Tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 of Cyrene
Cyrene (mythology)
In Greek mythology, as recorded in Pindar's 9th Pythian ode, Cyrene was the daughter of Hypseus, King of the Lapiths. When a lion attacked her father's sheep, Cyrene wrestled with the lion. Apollo, who was present, immediately fell in love with her and kidnapped her. He took her to North...

. However, Trajan's Dacian Wars may have led to troop reductions in the area or even total withdrawal followed by slighting of the forts by the Picts rather than an unrecorded military defeat. The Romans were also in the habit of destroying their own forts during an orderly withdrawal, in order to deny resources to an enemy. In either case, the frontier probably moved south to the line of the Stanegate
Stanegate
The Stanegate, or "stone road" , was an important Roman road built in what is now northern England. It linked two forts that guarded important river crossings; Corstopitum in the east, situated on Dere Street, and Luguvalium in the west...

 at the Solway
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

-Tyne
River Tyne
The River Tyne is a river in North East England in Great Britain. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.The North Tyne rises on the...

 isthmus around this time.


A new crisis occurred at the beginning of Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

's reign (117 AD): a rising in the north which was suppressed by Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco
Quintus Pompeius Falco was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.His complete name was Quintus Roscius Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullius Pius Iulius Eurycles Herculanus Pompeius Falco. Pompeius Falco was governor of Moesia Inferior between 116 and 117...

. When Hadrian reached Britannia on his famous tour of the Roman provinces around 120 AD, he directed an extensive defensive wall, known to posterity as Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

, to be built close to the line of the Stanegate frontier. Hadrian appointed Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos
Aulus Platorius Nepos was a Roman politician of the early 2nd century.Platorius Nepos was governor of Germania Inferior. He was a close friend and possible kinsman of the Emperor Hadrian and may have accompanied Hadrian on his visit to Britain in 122. In this year he was made governor of Roman...

 as governor to undertake this work who brought the VIth Victrix
Legio VI Victrix
Legio sexta Victrix was a Roman legion founded by Octavian in 41 BC. It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and perhaps held veterans of that legion, and some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion....

 legion with him from Lower Germany. This replaced the famous IXth Hispana
Legio IX Hispana
Legio Nona Hispana was a Roman legion, which operated from the first century BCE until mid 2nd century CE. The Spanish Legion's disappearance has raised speculations over its fate, largely of its alleged destruction in Scotland in about 117 CE, though some scholars believe it was destroyed in the...

 legion, whose disappearance has been much discussed. Archaeology indicates considerable political instability in Scotland during the first half of the 2nd century, and the shifting frontier at this time should be seen in this context.

In the reign of Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 (138-161 AD) the Hadrianic border was briefly extended north to the Forth-Clyde isthmus, where the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 was built around 142 AD following the military reoccupation of the Scottish lowlands by a new governor, Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus was governor of Roman Britain between the years 139 and 142, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. He is named in the text known as the Augustan History, and his name appears on five Roman inscriptions from Britain; his career is set out in detail on a pair...

.
The first Antonine occupation of Scotland ended as a result of a further crisis in 155-157 AD, when the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 revolted. With limited options to despatch reinforcements, the Romans moved their troops south, and this rising was suppressed by Governor Cnaeus Julius Verus. Within a year the Antonine Wall was recaptured, but by 163 or 164 AD it was abandoned. The second occupation was probably connected with Antoninus' undertakings to protect the Votadini or his pride in enlarging the empire, since the retreat to the Hadrianic frontier occurred not long after his death when a more objective strategic assessment of the benefits of the Antonine Wall could be made. The Romans did not entirely withdraw from Scotland at this time, however: the large fort at Newstead was maintained along with seven smaller outposts until at least 180 AD.

During the twenty year period following the reversion of the frontier to Hadrian's Wall, Rome was concerned with continental issues, primarily problems in the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 provinces. Increasing numbers of hoard
Hoard
In archaeology, a hoard is a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards may be uncovered by...

s of buried coins in Britain at this time indicate that peace was not entirely achieved. Sufficient Roman silver has been found in Scotland to suggest more than ordinary trade, and it is likely that the Romans were reinforcing treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 agreements by paying tribute to their implacable enemies, the Picts.

In 175 AD a large force of Sarmatian cavalry, consisting of 5,500 men, arrived in Britannia, probably to reinforce troops fighting unrecorded uprisings. In 180 AD Hadrian's Wall was breached by the Picts and the commanding officer or governor was killed there in what Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 described as the most serious war of the reign of Commodus
Commodus
Commodus , was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. His name changed throughout his reign; see changes of name for earlier and later forms. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded...

. Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus
Ulpius Marcellus was a Roman consular governor of Britannia who returned there as general of the later 2nd century.Ulpius Marcellus is recorded as governor of Roman Britain in an inscription of 176-80, and apparently returned to Rome after a tenure without serious incident...

 was sent as replacement governor and by 184 AD he had won a new peace, only to be faced with a mutiny from his own troops. Unhappy with Marcellus' strictness, they tried to elect a legate named Priscus
Caerellius Priscus
Caerellius Priscus was a governor of Roman Britain in the late 170s.His rule is recorded on an altar at Mainz, and he probably governed Britain between 178 and 180. He also served in Thracia, Moesia, Raetia and Germania....

 as usurper governor; he refused, but Marcellus was lucky to leave the province alive. The Roman army in Britannia continued its insubordination: they sent a delegation of 1,500 to Rome to demand the execution of Tigidius Perennis
Tigidius Perennis
Sextus Tigidius Perennis was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, during the reigns of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Under the latter, Perennis was the man who exercised the chief responsibilities of government in the Roman Empire...

, a Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian prefect
Praetorian prefect was the title of a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides...

 who they felt had earlier wronged them by posting lowly equites to legate ranks in Britannia. Commodus met the party outside Rome and agreed to have Perennis killed, but this only made them feel more secure in their mutiny.

The future emperor Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

 was sent to Britannia to quell the mutiny and was initially successful in regaining control. However, a riot broke out among the troops. Pertinax was attacked and left for dead, and asked to be recalled to Rome, where he briefly succeeded Commodus as emperor in 192 AD.

3rd century


The death of Commodus put into motion a series of events which eventually led to civil war. Following the short reign of Pertinax, several rivals for the emperorship emerged, including Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 and Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus was a Roman usurper proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania upon the murder of Pertinax in 193.-Life:...

. The latter was the new governor of Britannia, and had seemingly won the natives over after their earlier rebellions; he also controlled three legions, making him a potentially significant claimant. His sometime rival Severus promised him the title of Caesar in return for Albinus' support against Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

 in the east. Once Niger was neutralised however, Severus turned on his ally in Britannia—though it is likely that Albinus saw he would be the next target and was already preparing for war.

Albinus crossed to Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 in 195 AD, where the provinces were also sympathetic to him, and set up at Lugdunum
Lugdunum
Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul. The city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus. It served as the capital of the Roman province Gallia Lugdunensis. To 300 years after its foundation Lugdunum was the most important city to the west part of Roman...

. Severus arrived in February 196, and the ensuing battle was decisive. Although Albinus came close to victory, Severus' reinforcements won the day, and the British governor committed suicide. Severus soon purged Albinus' sympathisers and perhaps confiscated large tracts of land in Britain as punishment.

Albinus had demonstrated the major problem posed by Roman Britain. In order to maintain security, the province required the presence of three legions; but command of these forces provided an ideal power base for ambitious rivals. Deploying those legions elsewhere, however, would strip the island of its garrison, leaving the province defenceless against uprisings by the native Celtic tribes and against invasion by the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

.

The traditional view is that northern Britain descended into anarchy during Albinus' absence. Cassius Dio records that the new Governor, Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus was a Roman soldier and politician of the late second and early 3rd century.His parents were Lucius Virius, born c. 140, and wife Antonia, also born c. 140 and daughter of Marcus Antonius Zeno. His paternal grandparents were Quintus Virius, born c. 110, and wife Larcia, born c...

, was obliged to buy peace from a fractious northern tribe known as the Maeatae
Maeatae
The Maeatae were a confederation of tribes who lived probably beyond the Antonine Wall in Roman Britain. The historical sources are vague as to the exact region they inhabited....

. The succession of militarily distinguished governors who were subsequently appointed suggests that enemies of Rome were posing a difficult challenge, and Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio
Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Roman figure of the late 2nd - early 3rd centuries.-Career:Born in Curculum, now Djemila, in Africa, Lucius Alfenus Senecio was a Romanized North African. He served as consul and as governor of Syria in 200. Between c...

's report to Rome in 207 AD describes barbarians "rebelling, over-running the land, taking loot and creating destruction". In order to rebel, of course, one must be a subject - although the Maeatae clearly did not consider themselves such. Senecio requested either reinforcements or an Imperial expedition, and Severus chose the latter, despite being 62 years old.

Archaeological evidence shows that Senecio had been rebuilding the defences of Hadrian's Wall and the forts beyond it, and Severus' arrival in Britain prompted the enemy tribes to sue for peace immediately. The emperor had not come all that way to leave without a victory, however, and it is likely that he wished to provide his teenage sons Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

 and Geta
Publius Septimius Geta
Geta , was a Roman Emperor co-ruling with his father Septimius Severus and his older brother Caracalla from 209 to his death.-Early life:Geta was the younger son of Septimius Severus by his second wife Julia Domna...

 with first-hand experience of controlling a hostile barbarian land.

An expedition led by Severus and probably numbering around 20,000 troops moved north in AD 208 or 209, crossing the Wall and passing through eastern Scotland on a route similar to that used by Agricola. Harried by punishing guerrilla raids by the northern tribes and slowed by an unforgiving terrain, Severus was unable to meet the Caledonians on a battlefield. The emperor's forces pushed north as far as the River Tay
River Tay
The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom. The Tay originates in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui , then flows easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Dochhart, Loch Lubhair and Loch Tay, then continues east through Strathtay , in...

, but little appears to have been achieved by the invasion, as peace treaties were signed with the Caledonians. By 210 Severus had returned to York, and the frontier had once again become Hadrian's Wall. He assumed the title Britannicus, but the title meant little with regard to the unconquered north, which (with Rome's power still ending at the Wall) clearly remained outside the authority of the Empire. And almost immediately another northern tribe, the Maeatae, again went to war. Caracalla left with a punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

, but by the following year his ailing father had died and he and his brother left the province to press their claim to the throne.

As one of his last acts, Severus tried to solve the problem of powerful and rebellious governors in Britain by dividing the province into Upper Britain
Britannia Superior
Britannia Superior was one of the provinces of Roman Britain created around 197 AD by Emperor Septimus Severus immediately after winning a civil war against Clodius Albinus, a war fought to determine who would be the next emperor. Albinus was the governor of Britannia during that civil war...

 and Lower Britain
Britannia Inferior
Britannia Inferior was a subdivision of the Roman province of Britannia established c. 214 by the emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus. Located in modern northern England, the region was governed from the city of Eboracum by a praetorian legate in command of a single legion stationed in...

. This kept the potential for rebellion in check for almost a century. Historical sources provide little information on the following decades, a period known as the Long Peace. Even so, the number of buried hoards found from this period rises, suggesting continuing unrest. A string of forts were built along the coast of southern Britain to control piracy; and over the following hundred years they increased in number, becoming the Saxon Shore Forts.

During the middle of the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire was convulsed by barbarian invasions, rebellions and new imperial pretenders. Britannia apparently avoided these troubles, although increasing inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 had its economic effect. In 259 a so-called Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
The Gallic Empire is the modern name for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century....

 was established when Postumus
Postumus
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus was a Roman emperor of Batavian origin. He usurped power from Gallienus in 260 and formed the so-called Gallic Empire...

 rebelled against Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

. Britannia was part of this until 274 when Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 reunited the empire.

In the late 270s, a half-Brythonic
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 usurper named Bononus rebelled to avoid the repercussions of letting his fleet be burnt by barbarians at Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. He was quickly crushed by Probus, but soon afterwards an unnamed governor in Britannia also attempted an uprising. Irregular troops of Vandals and Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 were sent across the Channel by Probus to put down the uprising, perhaps in 278 AD.

The last of the string of rebellions to affect Britannia was that of Carausius
Carausius
Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius was a military commander of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. He was a Menapian from Belgic Gaul, who usurped power in 286, declaring himself emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. He did this only 13 years after the Gallic Empire of the Batavian...

 and his successor Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Carausius was a naval commander, probably in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. He was accused of keeping pirate booty for himself, and his execution was ordered by the Emperor Maximian
Maximian
Maximian was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent...

. In 286 AD he set himself up as emperor in Britain and northern Gaul and remained in power whilst Maximian dealt with uprisings elsewhere. In 288 an invasion failed to unseat the usurper. An uneasy peace ensued, during which Carausius issued coins proclaiming his legitimacy and inviting official recognition.

In 293 AD, Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

 launched a second offensive, besieging the rebel's port at Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and cutting it off from naval assistance. After the town fell, Constantius tackled Carausius' Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 allies. Subsequently the usurper was murdered by his treasurer, Allectus
Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. Allectus' brief reign was brought to an end when Julius Asclepiodotus landed near Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 and defeated him in a land battle.

Constantius arrived in London to receive the victory and chose to divide the province further, into four provinces (each with its own governor):
  • Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis
    Maxima Caesariensis was the name of one of the four provinces of later Roman Britain . Its capital was Londinium and probably encompassed what is now south east England. Originally, its governors were of equestrian rank but by the mid fourth century they had to be of consular rank...

     (based on London), from Upper Britannia
  • Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima
    Britannia Prima was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD. It was probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. In the 3rd century, the Romans created...

    , from Upper Britannia
  • Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis
    Flavia Caesariensis was one of the provinces of Roman Britain.It was created in the early 4th century under the reforms of Diocletian and it has been suggested that its capital may have been at Lincoln...

    , from Lower Britannia
  • Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda
    Britannia Secunda was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD and probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. The governors of Britannia Secunda were of...

    , from Lower Britannia


In the same year, under the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 reforms of the emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, Britannia became one of the four dioceses—governed by a vicarius—of the praetorian prefecture of Galliae ('the Gauls'), comprising the provinces of Gaul, Britannia, Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 and Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. This added, in effect, a fifth governor of Britannia. Thus, in place of one unchallenged military commander, the province now had five officers, each with command of only a small fraction of the garrison.

4th century


Constantius Chlorus returned in 306 AD, aiming to invade northern Britain. The province's defences had been rebuilt in the preceding years, and although his health was poor Constantius wished to penetrate into enemy territory. Little is known of his campaigns, and there is little archaeological evidence for them. From fragmentary historical sources it seems he reached the far north of Britain and won a great battle in early summer before returning south to York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

.

Constantius remained in Britain for the rest of the time he was part of the Tetrarchy, dying in York in July 306 AD. His son, Constantine I, was at his side at that moment and assumed his duties in Britannia. Unlike the earlier usurper, Albinus, he succeeded in using his base in Britannia as the starting point of his march to the imperial throne.

In the middle of the century, for a few years the province was loyal to the usurper Magnentius
Magnentius
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a usurper of the Roman Empire .-Early life and career:...

, who succeeded Constans
Constans
Constans , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 350. He defeated his brother Constantine II in 340, but anger in the army over his personal life and preference for his barbarian bodyguards saw the general Magnentius rebel, resulting in Constans’ assassination in 350.-Career:Constans was the third and...

 following the latter's death. After the defeat and death of Magnentius in the Battle of Mons Seleucus
Battle of Mons Seleucus
The Battle of Mons Seleucus was fought in 353 between the forces of the legitimate Roman emperor Constantius II of the line of Constantine I the Great and the forces of the usurper Magnentius. Constantius' forces were victorious, and Magnentius later committed suicide.It took place in today's...

 in 353 AD, Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 dispatched his chief imperial notary Paulus Catena
Paulus Catena
Paulus was the name of an imperial notary, or senior civil servant, who served under the Roman Emperor Constantius II in the middle of the 4th century. He is described by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who probably met him. According to Marcellinus, his cruelty was infamous throughout the...

 to Britain to hunt down Magnentius' supporters. The investigation deteriorated into a witch hunt
Witch-hunt
A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials...

, which forced the vicarius Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus
Flavius Martinus was a vicarius of Roman Britain c. 353 under Constantius II.He tried to control the violent recriminations following the defeat of Magnentius. Martinus tried to rein in the vengeance of Constantius' notary Paulus Catena who had been sent to Britain to ruthlessly hunt down...

 to intervene. When Paulus retaliated by accusing Martinus of treason, the vicarius physically attacked Paulus with a sword, with the aim of assassinating him, but in the end he committed suicide.

As the 4th century progressed there were increasing attacks from the Saxons in the east and the Irish in the west. A series of forts was already being built, starting around 280 AD, to defend the coasts, but these preparations were not enough when a general assault of Saxons, Irish and Attacotti
Attacotti
Attacotti refers to a people who despoiled Roman Britain between 364 and 368, along with Scotti, Picts, Saxons, Roman military deserters, and the indigenous Britons themselves. The marauders were defeated by Count Theodosius in 368...

, combined with apparent dissension in the garrison on Hadrian's Wall, left Roman Britain prostrate in 367 AD. This crisis, sometimes called the Barbarian Conspiracy or the Great Conspiracy
Great Conspiracy
The Great Conspiracy is a term given to a year-long war that occurred in Roman Britain near the end of the Roman occupation of the island. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus described it as a barbarica conspiratio that capitalized on a depleted military force in the province brought about by...

, was settled by Count Theodosius
Count Theodosius
Flavius Theodosius or Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western Roman Empire. He achieved the rank of Comes Britanniarum and as such, he is usually referred to as Comes Theodosius...

 with a string of military and civil reforms.

Another imperial usurper, Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

, raised the standard of revolt at Segontium (Caernarfon) in north Wales in 383 AD, and crossed the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. Maximus held much of the western empire, and fought a successful campaign against the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Scots
Scoti
Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. It was thus synonymous with the modern term Gaels...

 around 384. His continental exploits required troops from Britain, and it appears that forts at Chester and elsewhere were abandoned in this period, triggering raids and settlement in north Wales by the Irish. His rule was ended in 388, but not all the British troops may have returned: the Empire's military resources were struggling after the catastrophic Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378. Around 396 there were increasing barbarian incursions into Britain, and an expedition - possibly led by Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

 - brought naval action against the raiders. It seems peace was restored by 399, although it is likely that no further garrisoning was ordered; and indeed by 401 more troops were withdrawn, to assist in the war against Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

.

End of Roman rule




The traditional view of historians, informed by the work of Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
Mikhail Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, or Rostovtsev was one of the 20th century's foremost authorities on ancient Greek, Iranian, and Roman history....

, was of a widespread economic decline at the beginning of the 5th century. However, consistent archaeological evidence has told another story, and the accepted view is undergoing re-evaluation, though some features are agreed: more opulent but fewer urban houses, an end to new public building and some abandonment of existing ones, with the exception of defensive structures, and the widespread formation of "black earth" deposits indicating increased horticulture within urban precincts. Turning over the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 at Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 to industrial uses in the late 3rd century, doubtless officially condoned, marks an early stage in the de-urbanisation of Roman Britain. The abandonment of some sites is now believed to be later than had formerly been thought. Many buildings changed use but were not destroyed. There were growing barbarian attacks, but these were focused on vulnerable rural settlements rather than towns. Some villas such as Great Casterton
Great Casterton
Great Casterton is a village and civil parish in the county of Rutland in the East Midlands of England. It is located at the crossing of the Roman Ermine Street and the River Gwash.-Geography:...

 in Rutland
Rutland
Rutland is a landlocked county in central England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire and southeast by Peterborough and Northamptonshire....

 and Hucclecote
Hucclecote
Hucclecote is an affluent and sought-after village in Gloucestershire , England situated on the old Roman road connecting Gloucester with Barnwood, Brockworth, Cirencester and Cheltenham...

 in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

 had new mosaic floors laid around this time, suggesting that economic problems may have been limited and patchy, although many suffered some decay before being abandoned in the 5th century; the story of Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland, although Brigid of Kildare and Colmcille are also formally patron saints....

 indicates that villas were still occupied until at least 430. Exceptionally, new buildings were still going up in this period in Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 and Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

. Some urban centres, for example Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

, Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

, Winchester and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

, remained active during the 5th and 6th centuries, surrounded by large farming estates.

Urban life had generally grown less intense by the fourth quarter of the 4th century, and coins minted between 378 and 388 are very rare, indicating a likely combination of economic decline, diminishing numbers of troops, and problems with the payment of soldiers and officials. Coinage circulation increased during the 390s, although it never attained the levels of earlier decades. Copper coins are very rare after 402, although minted silver and gold coins from hoards indicate they were still present in the province even if they were not being spent. By 407 there were no new Roman coins going into circulation, and by 430 it is likely that coinage as a medium of exchange had been abandoned. Pottery mass production probably ended a decade or two previously; the rich continued to use metal and glass vessels, while the poor probably adopted leather or wooden ones.

Sub-Roman Britain



Britain came under increasing pressure from barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 attack on all sides towards the end of the 4th century, and troops were too few to mount an effective defence. The army rebelled and, after elevating two disappointing usurpers, chose a soldier, Constantine III
Constantine III (usurper)
Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known in English as Constantine III was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in Britannia in 407 and established himself in Gaul. Recognised by the Emperor Honorius in 409, collapsing support and military setbacks saw him abdicate in 411...

, to become emperor in 407. He soon crossed to Gaul with an army and was defeated by Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

; it is unclear how many troops remained or ever returned, or whether a commander-in-chief in Britain was ever reappointed. A Saxon
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 incursion in 408 was apparently repelled by the Britons, and in 409 Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

 records that the natives expelled the Roman civilian administration (although Zosimus may be referring to the Bacaudic rebellion of the Breton inhabitants of Armorica since he describes how, in the aftermath of the revolt, all of Armorica and the rest of Gaul followed the example of the Brettaniai). A later appeal for help by the British communities was rejected by the Emperor Honorius in 410. This apparent contradiction has been explained by EA Thompson as a peasant revolt against the landowning classes, with the latter group asking for Roman help; an uprising certainly occurred in Gaul at the time. With the higher levels of the military and civil government gone, administration and justice fell to municipal authorities, and small warlords gradually emerged all over Britain, still aspiring to Roman ideals and conventions. Laycock (Britannia the Failed State, 2008) has investigated this process of fragmentation and emphasised elements of continuity from the British tribes in the pre-Roman and Roman periods to the kingdoms that formed in the post-Roman period.

By tradition, the pagan Saxons were invited by Vortigern
Vortigern
Vortigern , also spelled Vortiger and Vortigen, was a 5th-century warlord in Britain, a leading ruler among the Britons. His existence is considered likely, though information about him is shrouded in legend. He is said to have invited the Saxons to settle in Kent as mercenaries to aid him in...

 to assist in fighting the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 and Irish, though archaeology has suggested some official settlement as landed mercenaries as early as the 3rd century. Germanic migration into Roman Britannia may well have begun much earlier even than that. There is recorded evidence, for example, of Germanic Roman auxiliaries being brought to Britain in the 1st and 2nd centuries to support the legions. The new arrivals rebelled, plunging the country into a series of wars that eventually led to the Saxon occupation of Lowland Britain by 600. Around this time many Britons fled to Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 (hence its name). A significant date in sub-Roman Britain is the famous Groans of the Britons
Groans of the Britons
The Groans of the Britons is the name of the final appeal made by the Britons to the Roman military for assistance against barbarian invasion. The appeal is first referenced in Gildas' 6th-century De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae; Gildas' account was later repeated in Bede's Historia...

, an unanswered appeal to Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

, leading general of the western Empire, for assistance against Saxon invasion in 446; another is the Battle of Dyrham in 577, after which the significant cities of Bath, Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

 and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 fell and the Saxons reached the western sea.

Most scholars reject the historicity of the later legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s of King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

, which seem to be set in this period, but some such as John Morris
John Morris (historian)
John Robert Morris was an English historian who specialised in the study of the institutions of the Roman Empire and the history of Sub-Roman Britain...

 see it as evidence behind which may lie a plausible grain of truth.

Trade

See also: Trade between Iron Age Britain and the Roman world


During the Roman period Britain’s continental trade was principally directed across the Southern North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Eastern Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, focusing on the narrow Strait of Dover
Strait of Dover
The Strait of Dover or Dover Strait is the strait at the narrowest part of the English Channel. The shortest distance across the strait is from the South Foreland, 6 kilometres northeast of Dover in the county of Kent, England, to Cap Gris Nez, a cape near to Calais in the French of...

, though there were also more limited links via the Atlantic seaways. The most important British ports were London and Richborough, whilst the continental ports most heavily engaged in trade with Britain were Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 and the sites of Domburg
Domburg
Domburg is a seaside resort on the North Sea, on the northwest coast of Walcheren in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Veere, and lies about 11 km northwest of the city of Middelburg, the provincial capital.-Demographics:...

 and Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat
Colijnsplaat is a town in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Noord-Beveland, and lies about 20 km northeast of Middelburg.In 2001, the town of Colijnsplaat had 1563 inhabitants...

 at the mouth of the river Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

. During the Late Roman period it is likely that the shore forts
Saxon Shore
Saxon Shore could refer to one of the following:* Saxon Shore, a military command of the Late Roman Empire, encompassing southern Britain and the coasts of northern France...

 played some role in continental trade alongside their defensive functions.

Imports to Britain included: coin
Roman currency
The Roman currency during most of the Roman Republic and the western half of the Roman Empire consisted of coins including the aureus , the denarius , the sestertius , the dupondius , and the as...

; pottery
Ancient Roman pottery
Pottery was produced in enormous quantities in ancient Rome, mostly for utilitarian purposes. It is found all over the former Roman Empire and beyond...

, particularly red-gloss terra sigillata
Terra sigillata
Terra sigillata is a term with at least three distinct meanings: as a description of medieval medicinal earth; in archaeology, as a general term for some of the fine red Ancient Roman pottery with glossy surface slips made in specific areas of the Roman Empire; and more recently, as a description...

(samian ware) from southern, central and eastern Gaul
Roman Gaul
Roman Gaul consisted of an area of provincial rule in the Roman Empire, in modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. Roman control of the area lasted for less than 500 years....

, as well as various other wares from Gaul and the Rhine provinces; olive oil from southern Spain
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 in amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

e; wine from Gaul in amphorae and barrels; salted fish products from the western Mediterranean and Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 in barrels and amphorae; preserved olives from southern Spain in amphorae; lava querns
Quern-stone
Quern-stones are stone tools for hand grinding a wide variety of materials. They were used in pairs. The lower, stationary, stone is called a quern, whilst the upper, mobile, stone is called a handstone...

 from Mayen
Mayen
Mayen is a town in the Mayen-Koblenz District of the Rhineland-Palatinate Federal State of Germany, in the eastern part of the Volcanic Eifel Region. As well as the main town, there are five further settlements which are part of Mayen, they are: Alzheim, Kürrenberg, Hausen-Betzing, Hausen and Nitztal...

 on the middle Rhine; glass; and some agricultural products. Britain’s exports are harder to detect archaeologically, but will have included metals, such as silver and gold and some lead, iron and copper. Other exports probably included agricultural products, oysters and salt, whilst large quantities of coin would have been re-exported back to the continent as well.

These products moved as a result of private trade and also through payments and contracts established by the Roman state to support its military forces and officials on the island, as well as through state taxation and extraction of resources. Up until the mid-3rd century AD the Roman state’s payments appear to have been unbalanced, with far more products sent to Britain, to support its large military force (which had reached c. 53,000 by the mid-2nd century AD), than were extracted from the island.

It has been argued that Roman Britain’s continental trade peaked in the late 1st century AD and thereafter declined as a result of an increasing reliance on local products by the population of Britain, caused by economic development on the island and by the Roman state’s desire to save money by shifting away from expensive long-distance imports. Evidence has, however, been outlined that demonstrates that the principal decline in Roman Britain’s continental trade came in the late 2nd century AD, from c. 165 AD onwards. This has been linked to the economic impact of contemporary Empire-wide crises: the Antonine plague
Antonine Plague
The Antonine Plague, AD 165–180, also known as the Plague of Galen, who described it, was an ancient pandemic, either of smallpox or measles, brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East...

 and the Marcomannic wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

.

From the mid-3rd century AD onwards Britain no longer received such a wide range and extensive quantity of foreign imports as it did during the earlier part of the Roman period; however, vast quantities of coin from continental mints reached the island, whilst there is historical evidence for the export of large amounts of British grain to the continent during the mid-4th century AD. During the latter part of the Roman period British agricultural products, paid for by both the Roman state and by private consumers, clearly played an important role in supporting the military garrisons and urban centres of the northwestern continental Empire. This came about as a result of the rapid decline in the size of the British garrison from the mid-3rd century AD onwards (thus freeing up more goods for export), and because of ‘Germanic’ incursions across the Rhine, which appear to have reduced rural settlement and agricultural output in northern Gaul.

Economy

See also: Roman economy
Roman economy
The history of the Roman economy covers the period of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.Recent research has led to a positive reevaluation of the size and sophistication of the Roman economy within the constraints generally imposed on agricultural societies in the preindustrial age.- Gross...

See also: Mining in Roman Britain
Mining in Roman Britain
Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...



Mineral extraction sites such as the Dolaucothi gold mine
Dolaucothi Gold Mines
The Dolaucothi Gold Mines , also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine, are Roman surface and deep mines located in the valley of the River Cothi, near Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales...

 was probably first worked by the Roman army from ca 75 AD, and at some later stage passed to civilian operators. The mine developed as a series of opencast workings, mainly by the use of hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 methods. They are described by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 in his Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

 in great detail. Essentially, water supplied by aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s was used to prospect for ore veins by stripping away soil to reveal the bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

. If veins were present, they were attacked using fire-setting
Fire-setting
Fire-setting is a method of mining used since prehistoric times up to the Middle Ages. Fires were set against a rock face to heat the stone, which was then doused with water...

 and the ore removed for crushing and comminution
Comminution
Comminution is the process in which solid materials are reduced in size, by crushing, grinding and other processes. It occurs naturally during faulting in the upper part of the crust and is an important operation in mineral processing, ceramics, electronics and other fields. Within industrial uses,...

. The dust was washed in a small stream of water and the heavy gold dust and gold nugget
Gold nugget
A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Watercourses often concentrate and grow the nuggets. Nuggets are recovered by placer mining, but they are also found in residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins or lodes are weathered...

s collected in riffles. The diagram at right shows how Dolaucothi developed from ca 75 AD through to the 1st century. When opencast work was no longer feasible, tunnels were driven to follow the veins. The evidence from the site shows advanced technology probably under the control of army engineers.

The Weald
Weald
The Weald is the name given to an area in South East England situated between the parallel chalk escarpments of the North and the South Downs. It should be regarded as three separate parts: the sandstone "High Weald" in the centre; the clay "Low Weald" periphery; and the Greensand Ridge which...

en ironworking zone, the lead and silver mines of the Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
The Mendip Hills is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon Valley to the north...

 and the tin mines of Cornwall seem to have been private enterprises leased from the government for a fee. Although mining had long been practised in Britain (see Grimes Graves
Grimes Graves
Grime's Graves is a large Neolithic flint mining complex near Brandon in England close to the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. It was worked between around circa 3000 BC and circa 1900 BC, although production may have continued well into the Bronze and Iron Ages owing to the low cost of flint...

), the Romans introduced new technical knowledge and large-scale industrial production to revolutionise the industry. It included hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 to prospect for ore by removing overburden as well as work alluvial deposits. The water needed for such large-scale operations was supplied by one or more aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, those surviving at Doalucothi being especially impressive. Many prospecting areas were in dangerous, upland
Highland (geography)
The term highland or upland is used to denote any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, the term upland tends to be used for ranges of hills, typically up to 500-600m, and highland for ranges of low mountains.The Scottish Highlands refers to the mountainous...

 country, and, although mineral exploitation was presumably one of the main reasons for the Roman invasion, it had to wait until these areas were subdued.

Although Roman designs were most popular, rural craftsmen still produced items derived from the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 La Tène
La Tène culture
The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where a rich cache of artifacts was discovered by Hansli Kopp in 1857....

 artistic traditions. Local pottery rarely attained the standards of the Gaulish industries although the Castor ware of the Nene Valley was able to withstand comparison with the imports. Most native pottery was unsophisticated however and intended only for local markets.

By the 3rd century, Britain's economy was diverse and well established, with commerce extending into the non-Romanised north. The design of Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 especially catered to the need for customs inspections of merchants' goods.

Provincial government


Under the Roman Empire, administration of peaceful provinces was ultimately the remit of the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

, but those, like Britain, that required permanent garrisons were placed under the Emperor's control. In practice imperial provinces were run by resident governors
Roman governor
A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire...

 who were members of the Senate and had held the consulship
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

. These men were carefully selected often having strong records of military success and administrative ability. In Britain, a governor's role was primarily military, but numerous other tasks were also his responsibility such as maintaining diplomatic relations with local client kings, building roads, ensuring the public courier system functioned, supervising the civitates and acting as a judge in important legal cases. When not campaigning he would travel the province hearing complaints and recruiting new troops.

To assist him in legal matters he had an adviser, the legatus iuridicus, and those in Britain appear to have been distinguished lawyers perhaps because of the challenge of incorporating tribes into the imperial system and devising a workable method of taxing them. Financial administration was dealt with by a procurator
Promagistrate
A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the promagistracy was invented in order to provide Rome with governors of overseas territories instead of having to elect...

with junior posts for each tax-raising power. Each legion in Britain had a commander who answered to the governor and in time of war probably directly ruled troublesome districts. Each of these commands carried a tour of duty of two to three years in different provinces. Below these posts was a network of administrative managers covering intelligence gathering, sending reports to Rome, organising military supplies and dealing with prisoners. A staff of seconded soldiers provided clerical services.

Colchester was probably the earliest capital of Roman Britain, but it was soon eclipsed by London with its strong mercantile connections.

Town and country



During their occupation of Britain the Romans founded a number of important settlements, many of which still survive. The towns suffered attrition in the later 4th century, when public building ceased and some were abandoned to private uses. Though place names survived the deurbanized Sub-Roman and early Anglo-Saxon periods, and historiography has been at pains to signal the expected survivals, archaeology shows that a bare handful of Roman towns were continuously occupied. According to S.T. Loseby, the very idea of a town as a centre of power and administration was reintroduced to England by the Roman Christianizing mission to Canterbury, and its urban revival was delayed to the 10th century.

Roman towns can be broadly grouped in two categories. Civitates, "public towns" were formally laid out on a grid plan, and their role in imperial administration occasioned the construction of public buildings. The much more numerous category of vici
Vicus
Vicus may refer to:*Vicus , plural vici, a neighborhood or local administrative unit of ancient Rome**Vicus Tuscus in Rome**Vicus Jugarius, leading into the Roman Forum** Gensis in Moesia Superior...

, "small towns" grew on informal plans, often round a camp or at a ford or crossroads; some were not small, others were scarcely urban, some not even defended by a wall, the characteristic feature of a place of any importance.

Cities and towns which have Roman origins, or were extensively developed by them are listed with their Latin names in brackets; civitates are marked C
  • Alcester
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

     (Alauna
    Alcester
    Alcester is an old market town of Roman origin at the junction of the River Alne and River Arrow in Warwickshire, England. It is situated approximately west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 8 miles south of Redditch, close to the Worcestershire border...

    )
  • Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough, North Yorkshire
    Aldborough is a village in the civil parish of Boroughbridge, part of the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, what is now known as Aldborough was built on the site of a major Romano-British town, Isurium Brigantum...

     (Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum
    Isurium Brigantum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Aldborough, in North Yorkshire, England.-Possible Roman fort:...

    ) C
  • Bath (Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis
    Aquae Sulis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Bath, located in the English county of Somerset.-Baths and temple complex:...

    )
  • Brough-on-Humber (Petuaria
    Petuaria
    Petuaria was originally a Roman fort situated where the town of Brough-on-Humber in the East Riding of Yorkshire now stands. Petuaria means something like 'quarter' or 'fourth part', incorporating the archaic Brythonic *petuar, 'four' .It was founded in 70 AD and abandoned in about 125...

    ) C
  • Buxton
    Buxton
    Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, England. It has the highest elevation of any market town in England. Located close to the county boundary with Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south, Buxton is described as "the gateway to the Peak District National Park"...

     (Aquae Arnemetiae)
  • Caerleon
    Caerleon
    Caerleon is a suburban village and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, South Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hill fort...

     (Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta
    Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

    )
  • Caernarfon
    Caernarfon
    Caernarfon is a Royal town, community and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,611. It lies along the A487 road, on the east banks of the Menai Straits, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is to the northeast, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and southeast...

     (Segontium
    Segontium
    Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

    )
  • Caerwent
    Caerwent
    Caerwent is a village and community in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located about five miles west of Chepstow and eleven miles east of Newport, and was founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum, an important settlement of the Brythonic Silures tribe. The modern village is built...

     (Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum
    Venta Silurum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia or Britain. Today it consists of remains in the village of Caerwent in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. Much of it has been archaeologically excavated and is on display to the public....

    ) C
  • Caister-on-Sea
    Caister Roman Site
    Caister Roman Site is a Roman Saxon Shore fort, located in Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk. It was constructed around AD 200 for a unit of the Roman army and navy and occupied until around 370-390 AD...

     C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    ) C
  • Canterbury
    Canterbury
    Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

     (Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum
    Durovernum Cantiacorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Canterbury, located in the English county of Kent. It occupied a strategic location on Watling Street, at the convergence of the roads coming from the rest of the Roman Empire via the ports of Dubris ,...

    ) C
  • Carlisle (Luguvalium
    Luguvalium
    Luguvalium was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carlisle, located in the English county of Cumbria .-Pre-Roman:...

    ) C
  • Carmarthen
    Carmarthen
    Carmarthen is a community in, and the county town of, Carmarthenshire, Wales. It is sited on the River Towy north of its mouth at Carmarthen Bay. In 2001, the population was 14,648....

     (Moridunum
    Moridunum (Carmarthen)
    Moridunum was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire .-Fort:...

    )
  • Chester
    Chester
    Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

     (Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix
    Deva Victrix, or simply Deva, was a legionary fortress and town in the Roman province of Britannia. The settlement evolved into Chester, the county town of Cheshire, England...

    )
  • Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street
    Chester-le-Street is a town in County Durham, England. It has a history going back to Roman times when it was called Concangis. The town is located south of Newcastle upon Tyne and west of Sunderland on the River Wear...

     (Concangis
    Concangis
    Concangis was an auxiliary castra close to Dere Street, in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior . Its foundations are located at Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England...

    )
  • Chichester
    Chichester
    Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings...

     (Noviomagus Regnorum) C
  • Cirencester
    Cirencester
    Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

     (Corinium
    Corinium Dobunnorum
    Corinium Dobunnorum was the second largest town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Cirencester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Colchester
    Colchester
    Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

     (Camulodunum
    Camulodunum
    Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

    ) C
  • Corbridge
    Corbridge
     Corbridge is a village in Northumberland, England, situated west of Newcastle and east of Hexham. Villages in the vicinity include Halton, Acomb, Aydon and Sandhoe.-Roman fort and town:...

     (Coria
    Coria (Corbridge)
    Coria was a fort and town, located south of Hadrian's Wall, in the Roman province of Britannia. Its full Latin name is uncertain. Today it is known as Corchester or Corbridge Roman Site, adjoining Corbridge in the English county of Northumberland...

    ) C
  • Dorchester (Durnovaria
    Durnovaria
    Durnovaria is the Latin form of the Brythonic name for the Roman town of Dorchester in the modern English county of Dorset.-Romans at Maiden Castle:...

    ) C
  • Dover
    Dover
    Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

     (Portus Dubris
    Dubris
    Dubris or Portus Dubris was a town in Roman Britain. It is now Dover, Kent, England.As the closest point to continental Europe and the site of the estuary of the Dour, the site chosen for Dover was ideal for a cross-channel port...

    )
  • Exeter
    Exeter
    Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

     (Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum
    Isca Dumnoniorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia and the capital of Dumnonia in the sub-Roman period. Today it is known as Exeter, located in the English county of Devon.-Fortress:...

    ) C
  • Gloucester
    Gloucester
    Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

     (Glevum
    Glevum
    Glevum was a Roman fort in Roman Britain that become "colonia" of retired legionaries in AD 97. Today it is known as Gloucester, located in the English county of Gloucestershire...

    ) C
  • Ilchester
    Ilchester
    Ilchester is a village and civil parish, situated on the River Yeo or Ivel, five miles north of Yeovil, in the English county of Somerset. The parish, which includes the village of Sock Dennis and the old parish of Northover, has a population of 2,021...

      (Lindinis
    Lindinis
    Lindinis was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Ilchester, located in the English county of Somerset....

    ) C
  • Leicester
    Leicester
    Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

     (Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum
    Ratae Corieltauvorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Leicester, located in the English county of Leicestershire.-Name:...

    ) C
  • Lincoln
    Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

     (Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia
    Lindum Colonia was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is called Lincoln, in the English county of Lincolnshire.-Fort and name:...

    ) C
  • London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     (Londinium
    Londinium
    The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

    ) C
  • Manchester
    Manchester
    Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

     (Mamucium)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

     (Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius
    Pons Aelius or Newcastle Roman Fort was an auxiliary castra and small Roman settlement on Hadrian's Wall in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior...

    )
  • Northwich
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

     (Condate
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

    )
  • St Albans
    St Albans
    St Albans is a city in southern Hertfordshire, England, around north of central London, which forms the main urban area of the City and District of St Albans. It is a historic market town, and is now a sought-after dormitory town within the London commuter belt...

     (Verulamium
    Verulamium
    Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

    ) C
  • Silchester
    Silchester
    Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

     (Calleva Atrebatum) C
  • Towcester
    Towcester
    Towcester , the Roman town of Lactodorum, is a small town in south Northamptonshire, England.-Etymology:Towcester comes from the Old English Tófe-ceaster. Tófe refers to the River Tove; Bosworth and Toller compare it to the "Scandinavian proper names" Tófi and Tófa...

     (Lactodorum)
  • Whitchurch
    Whitchurch, Shropshire
    Whitchurch is a market town in Shropshire, England on the border between England and Wales. It is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the town is 8,673, with a more recent estimate putting the population of the town at 8,934...

     (Mediolanum
    Mediolanum (Whitchurch)
    Mediolanum was a fort and small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Whitchurch, located in the English county of Shropshire....

    )
  • Winchester (Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum
    Venta Belgarum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia Superior. Today it is known as Winchester and is situated in the English county of Hampshire.-Development:...

    ) C
  • Wroxeter
    Wroxeter
    Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

     (Viroconium Cornoviorum) C
  • York
    York
    York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

     (Eboracum
    Eboracum
    Eboracum was a fort and city in Roman Britain. The settlement evolved into York, located in North Yorkshire, England.-Etymology:The first known recorded mention of Eboracum by name is dated circa 95-104 AD and is an address containing the Latin form of the settlement's name, "Eburaci", on a wooden...

    ) C

Pagan


The druid
Druid
A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, and possibly other parts of Celtic western Europe, during the Iron Age....

s, the Celtic priestly caste who were believed to originate in Britain, were outlawed by Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, and in 61 they vainly defended their sacred grove
Sacred grove
A sacred grove is a grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world...

s from destruction by the Romans on the island of Mona (Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

). However, under Roman rule the Britons continued to worship native Celtic deities, such as Ancasta
Ancasta
Ancasta was a Celtic goddess worshipped in Roman Britain. She is known from a single dedicatory inscription found in the United Kingdom at Bitterne, near Southampton...

, but often conflated with their Roman equivalents, like Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

 Rigonemetos at Nettleham
Nettleham
Nettleham is a large village and civil parish within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England.-Geography:It is located four miles north-east of the city of Lincoln between the A46 and A158, and has a total resident population of 6,514....

.

The degree to which earlier native beliefs survived is difficult to gauge precisely. Certain European ritual traits such as the significance of the number 3, the importance of the head and of water sources such as springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 remain in the archaeological record, but the differences in the votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s made at the Roman Baths (Bath), Bath, Somerset before and after the Roman conquest suggest that continuity was only partial. Worship of the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 is widely recorded, especially at military sites. The founding of a Roman temple
Roman temple
Ancient Roman temples are among the most visible archaeological remains of Roman culture, and are a significant source for Roman architecture. Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion. The main room housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was...

 to Claudius
Temple of Claudius, Colchester
]]The Temple of Claudius or Temple of the Deified Claudius built in Camulodunum sometime after the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, although it is not certain whether it was built before or after Claudius' death and deification in AD 54.In AD 60 or 61, during Boudica's uprising, Camulodunum ...

 at Camulodunum
Camulodunum
Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and...

 was one of the impositions that led to the revolt of Boudica
Boudica
Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

. By the 3rd century, Pagans Hill Roman Temple
Pagans Hill Roman Temple
The Pagans Hill Roman Temple was a Romano-British-style temple excavated on Pagans Hill at Chew Stoke in the English county of Somerset.-Excavations:...

 in Somerset was able to exist peaceably and it did so into the 5th century.

Eastern cults such as Mithraism
Mithraism
The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The name of the Persian god Mithra, adapted into Greek as Mithras, was linked to a new and distinctive imagery...

 also grew in popularity towards the end of the occupation. The Temple of Mithras
Temple of Mithras, London
The Temple of Mithras, Walbrook is a Roman temple whose ruins were discovered in Walbrook, a street in the City of London, during rebuilding work in 1954. It is perhaps the most famous of all twentieth-century Roman discoveries in the City of London....

 is one example of the popularity of mystery religions
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

 amongst the rich urban classes and temples to Mithras also exist in military contexts at Vindobala
Vindobala
Vindobala was a Roman fort at the modern-day hamlet of Rudchester, Northumberland. It was the fourth fort on Hadrian's Wall, after Segedunum , Pons Aelius and Condercum. It was situated about to the west of Condercum. The name Vindobala means “White Strength”...

 on Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

 (the Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum
Rudchester Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras at Rudchester , an auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall, the northern frontier of Roman Britain. The temple was located 137m to the west of the castra.- Discovery :...

) and at Segontium
Segontium
Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north Wales.It probably takes its name from the nearby River Seiont, and may be related to the Segontiaci, a British tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or...

 in Roman Wales (the Caernarfon Mithraeum
Caernarfon Mithraeum
The Caernarfon Mithraeum is a Roman Temple to the Roman god Mithras . The temple was located 137 metres north-east of the Roman castra of Segontium on the outskirts of modern Caernarfon in Gwynedd, Wales....

).

Christianity


It is not clear when or how Christianity came to Britain. A 2nd century "word square" has been discovered in Mamucium, the Roman settlement of Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. It consists of an anagram of PATER NOSTER
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

 carved on a piece of amphora
Amphora
An amphora is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body...

. There has been discussion by academics whether the "word square" is actually a Christian artefact, but if it is, it is one of the earliest examples of early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 in Britain. The earliest confirmed written evidence for Christianity in Britain is a statement by Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, c. 200 AD, in which he described "all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons, inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ". Archaeological evidence for Christian communities begins to appear in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Small timber churches are suggested at Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 and Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 and baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

s have been found at Icklingham
Icklingham
Icklingham is a village in Suffolk, England.It takes its name from an Iron Age tribe, the Iceni, who lived in the area and has the remains of a Roman settlement to the South...

 and the Saxon Shore Fort at Richborough
Richborough
Richborough is a settlement north of Sandwich on the east coast of the county of Kent, England. Richborough lies close to the Isle of Thanet....

. The Icklingham font is made of lead, and visible in the British Museum. A Roman Christian graveyard exists at the same site in Icklingham. The Water Newton Treasure
Water Newton Treasure
The Water Newton Treasure is a hoard of fourth-century Roman silver, discovered near the Roman town of Durobrivae at Water Newton in the English county of Cambridgeshire. The hoard consisted of 27 silver items and one small gold plaque...

 is a hoard of Christian silver church plate from the early 4th century and the Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

s at Lullingstone
Lullingstone
Lullingstone is a village in the county of Kent, England. It is best known for its castle, Roman villa and its public golf course.- Pre-Roman :It is believed that an Iron Age hill fort is sited on the hill above the castle, although this is unconfirmed....

 and Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary
Hinton St Mary is a village in north Dorset, England, situated on a low limestone ridge beside the River Stour, one mile north of the market town Sturminster Newton. The village has a population of 221...

 contained Christian wall paintings and mosaics respectively. A large 4th century cemetery at Poundbury
Poundbury
Poundbury is an experimental new town or urban extension on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England.The development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It is built according to the principles of Prince Charles...

 with its east-west oriented burials and lack of grave goods
Grave goods
Grave goods, in archaeology and anthropology, are the items buried along with the body.They are usually personal possessions, supplies to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. Grave goods are a type of votive deposit...

 has been interpreted as an early Christian burial ground, although such burial rites were also becoming increasingly common in pagan contexts during the period.

The Church in Britain seems to have developed the customary diocesan system, as evidenced from the records of the Council of Arles in Gaul in 314: represented at the Council were bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s from thirty-five sees
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 from Europe and North Africa, including three bishops from Britain, Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelphius, possibly a bishop of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln
The Bishop of Lincoln is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lincoln in the Province of Canterbury.The present diocese covers the county of Lincolnshire and the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The Bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral...

. No other early sees are documented, and the material remains of early church structures are far to seek. The existence of a church in the forum courtyard of Lincoln and the martyrium of Saint Alban
Saint Alban
Saint Alban was the first British Christian martyr. Along with his fellow saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three martyrs remembered from Roman Britain. Alban is listed in the Church of England calendar for 22 June and he continues to be venerated in the Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox...

 on the outskirts of Roman Verulamium
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 are exceptional. Alban, the first British Christian martyr and by far the most prominent, is believed to have died in the early 4th century (although some date him in the middle 3rd century), followed by Saints Aaron and Julius of Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon on the northern outskirts of the city of Newport in South Wales.-Name:...

. Christianity was legalised in the Roman Empire by Constantine I in 313. Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 made Christianity the state religion of the empire in 391, and by the 5th century it was well established. One heresy, Pelagianism
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

, was originated by a British monk teaching in Rome: Pelagius
Pelagius
Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid...

 lived c. 354 to c. 420/440.

A letter found on a lead tablet in Bath, Somerset, datable to c. 363, had been widely publicised as documentary evidence regarding the state of Christianity in Britain during Roman times. According to its first translator, it was written in Wroxeter
Wroxeter
Wroxeter is a village in Shropshire, England. It forms part of the civil parish of Wroxeter and Uppington and is located in the Severn Valley about south-east of Shrewsbury.-History:...

 by a Christian man called Vinisius to a Christian woman called Nigra, and was claimed as the first epigraphic record of Christianity in Britain. However, this translation of the letter was apparently based on grave paleographical errors, and the text, in fact, has nothing to do with Christianity, and in fact relates to pagan rituals.

Environmental changes


The Romans introduced a number of species to Britain, including possibly the now rare Roman nettle
Nettle
Nettles constitute between 24 and 39 species of flowering plants of the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, with a cosmopolitan though mainly temperate distribution. They are mostly herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annual and a few are shrubby...

 (Urtica pilulifera), said to have been used by soldiers to warm their arms and legs, and the edible snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

 Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia, common names the Burgundy snail, Roman snail, edible snail or escargot, is a species of large, edible, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae...

. There is also some evidence they may have introduced rabbits, but of the smaller southern mediterranean type. The European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

 (Oryctolagus cuniculus) prevalent in modern Britain is assumed to have been introduced from the continent after the Norman invasion of 1066.

Legacy



During their occupation of Britain the Romans built an extensive network of roads
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

 which continued to be used in later centuries and many are still followed today.

The Romans also built water supply, sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 and sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

 systems.

Many of Britain's major cities, such as London (Londinium
Londinium
The city of London was established by the Romans around AD 43. It served as a major imperial commercial centre until its abandonment during the 5th century.-Origins and language:...

), Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 (Mamucium) and York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

 (Eburacum), were founded by the Romans.

Britain is also noteworthy as being the largest European region of the former Roman Empire whose majority language is neither:
  • A Romance language (although English, descended from the speech of Germanic tribes which arrived after the Romans had left Britain, has had a heavy influence from French, due primarily to the Norman conquest of England
    Norman conquest of England
    The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

    ), nor
  • A language descended from the pre-Roman inhabitants (such as Greek), though Welsh exists as a living minority language
    Minority language
    A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a territory. Such people are termed linguistic minorities or language minorities.-International politics:...

    , with many borrowings from Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

    , such as llaeth ("milk"), ffenestr ("window"). Fragmentory speakers of Cornish
    Cornish language
    Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

     survived into the early modern period.

See also

  • Prehistoric Britain
    Prehistoric Britain
    For the purposes of this article, Prehistoric Britain is that period of time between the first arrival of humans on the land mass now known as Great Britain and the start of recorded British history...

  • Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia (disambiguation)
    Britannia is the original Latin name the Roman Empire gave to the island of Great Britain, a name later used for a female personification of the United Kingdom.Britannia may also refer to:* Britannia Bridge, a bridge across the Menai Strait...

  • End of Roman rule in Britain
  • List of Roman governors of Britain
  • Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    Roman client kingdoms in Britain
    The Roman client kingdoms in Britain were native tribes who chose to align themselves with the Roman Empire because they saw it as the best option for self-preservation or for protection from other hostile tribes...

  • History of Britain
    History of the British Isles
    The history of the British Isles has witnessed intermittent periods of competition and cooperation between the people that occupy the various parts of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller adjacent islands, which together make up the British Isles, as well as with France, Germany, the Low...

  • Romano-British
    Romano-British
    Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

  • Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain
    Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

  • Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    Roman sites in the United Kingdom
    There are many Roman sites in the United Kingdom that are open to the public. There are many sites that do not require special access, including Roman roads, and sites that have not been uncovered.-England:*Ambleside Roman Fort , Cumbria...

  • Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining in Roman Britain
    Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the...

  • Dolaucothi
  • Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire
    Scotland during the Roman Empire encompasses a period of protohistory from the arrival of Roman legions in c. AD 71 to their departure in 213. The history of the period is complex: the Roman empire influenced every part of Scotland during the period, however the occupation was neither complete nor...


Further reading



Iron Age background
  • Creighton, J. 2000. Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cunliffe, B. W. 2005. Iron Age Communities in Britain (fourth edition). London: Routledge.


General works on Roman Britain
  • De la Bédoyère, G. 2006. Roman Britain: a New History. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Esmonde Cleary, S. 1989. The Ending of Roman Britain. London: Batsford.
  • Frere, S. S. 1987. Britannia. A History of Roman Britain (third edition). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Laycock, S. 2008. Britannia: the Failed State. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin.
  • Millet, M. 1990. The Romanization of Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Salway, P. 1993. A History of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Todd, M. (ed.), 2004. A Companion to Roman Britain. Oxford: Blackwell.


Historical sources and inscriptions
  • Birley, A. R. 2005. The Roman Government of Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Collingwood, R. G. Wright, R. P. and Tomlin, R. S. O. 1995. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Vol. I: Inscriptions on Stone (revised edition). Stroud.
  • Frere, S. S. Roxan, M. and Tomlin, R. S. O. 1990. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Vol. II. Instrumentum Domesticum. Fasc. I. The Military diplomata; metal ingots; tesserae; dies; labels; and lead sealings. Stroud.
  • Frere, S. S. and Tomlin, R. S. O. 1991-1995. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Vol. II. Fascs. 2-8. Stroud.
  • Ireland, S. 1986. Roman Britain: a Sourcebook. London: Croom Helm.
  • Andreas Kakoschke: Die Personennamen im römischen Britannien, Alpha-Omega. Lexika - Indizes - Konkordanzen zur Klassischen Philologie 259. Hildesheim 2011.
  • Rivet, A. L. F. and Smith, C. 1979. The Place-names of Roman Britain. London: Batsford.


Trade
  • Carreras Monfort, C. and Funari, P. P. A. 1998. Britannia y el Mediterráneo: Estudios Sobre el Abastecimiento de Aceite Bético y africano en Britannia. Barcelona.
  • du Plat Taylor, J. and Cleere, H. (eds.), 1978. Roman Shipping and Trade: Britain and the Rhine Provinces. London.
  • Fulford, M. G. 1977. ‘Pottery and Britain’s foreign trade in the Later Roman period’, in Peacock, D. P. S. (ed.), Pottery and Early Commerce. Characterization and Trade in Roman and Later Ceramics. London: Academic Press: 35-84.
  • Fulford, M. G. 1984. ‘Demonstrating Britannia’s economic dependence in the first and second centuries’, in Blagg, T. F. C. and King, A. C. (eds.), Military and Civilian in Roman Britain: Cultural Relationships in a Frontier Province. Oxford: 129-142.
  • Fulford, M. G. 1991. ‘Britain and the Roman Empire: the evidence for regional and long distance trade’, in Jones, R. F. J. (ed.), Roman Britain: Recent Trends. Sheffield: 35-47.
  • Fulford, M. G. 2007. ‘Coasting Britannia: Roman trade and traffic around the shores of Britain’, in Gosden, C. Hamerow, H. de Jersey, P. and Lock, G. (eds.), Communities and Connections: Essays in Honour of Barry Cunliffe. Oxford: Oxbow: 54-74.
  • Morris, F. M. 2010. North Sea and Channel Connectivity during the Late Iron Age and Roman Period (175/150 BC – AD 409). Oxford: Archaeopress.
  • Peacock, D. P. S. and Williams, D. F. 1986. Amphorae in the Roman Economy. London.
  • Tyers, P. 1996a. Roman Pottery in Britain. London: Batsford.
  • Tyers, P. 1996b. ‘Roman amphoras in Britain’, Internet Archaeology 1.


Economy
  • Allason-Jones, L. 2002. ‘The jet industry and allied trades in Roman Britain’, in Wilson, P, and Price, J. (eds.), Aspects of Industry in Roman Yorkshire and the North. Oxford: Oxbow: 125-132.
  • Allen, J. R. L. and Fulford, M. G. 1996. ‘The distribution of South-East Dorset Black Burnished Category I Pottery in South-West Britain’, Britannia 27: 223-281.
  • Allen, J. R. L. Fulford, M. G. and Todd, J. A. 2007. ‘Burnt Kimmeridgian shale at Early Roman Silchester, south-east England, and the Roman Poole-Purbeck complex-agglomerated geomaterials industry’, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26 (2): 167-191.
  • Cleere, H. F. and Crossley, D. 1995. The Iron Industry of the Weald (second edition). Merton Priory Press.
  • Fulford, M. G. 1989. ‘The economy of Roman Britain’, in Todd, M. (ed.), Research on Roman Britain 1960-89. London: 175-201.
  • Fulford, M. G. 2004. ‘Economic Structures’, in Todd, M. (ed.), A Companion to Roman Britain. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Going, C. J. 1992. ‘Economic ‘Long Waves’ in the Roman Period? A Reconnaissance of the Romano-British Ceramic Evidence’, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 11 (1): 93-117.
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (see pp. 179–232).
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin (see pp. 491–528).
  • Reece, R. 2002. The Coinage of Roman Britain. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Tyers, P. 1996a. Roman Pottery in Britain. London: Batsford.
  • Young, C. J. 1977. The Roman Pottery Industry of the Oxford Region. BAR 43. Oxford.


Provincial government
  • Birley, A. R. 2005. The Roman Government of Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Provincial development
  • Burgers, A. 2001. The Water Supplies and Related Structures of Roman Britain. Oxford.
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (see pp. 141–178).
  • Margary, I. 1967. Roman Roads in Britain. London.
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin.
  • Millet, M. 1990. The Romanization of Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


The Roman military in Britain
  • Bowman, A. K. 2003. Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and its People (third edition). London: British Museum.
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (see pp. 64–140).
  • Manley, J. F. 2002. The Roman Invasion of Britain: a Reassessment. Stroud.
  • Mason, D. J. 2003. Roman Britain and the Roman Navy. Stroud: Tempus.
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin (see pp. 85–252).
  • Pearson, A. F. 2002. The Roman Shore Forts: Coastal Defences of Southern Britain. Stroud: Tempus.


Urban life
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin (see pp. 253–350).
  • Millet, M. 1990. The Romanization of Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wacher, J. S. 1975. The Towns of Roman Britain. London: Batsford.


Rural life
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (see pp. 233–263).
  • Mattingly, D. J. 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. London: Penguin (see pp. 351–427).
  • Millet, M. 1990. The Romanization of Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Percival, J. 1976. The Roman Villa. London: Batsford.


Religion
  • Henig, M. 1984. Religion in Roman Britain. London: Batsford.
  • Jones, G. B. D. and Mattingly, D. 1990. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (see pp. 264–305).


Art
  • Henig, M. 1995. The Art of Roman Britain. London.

External links