Romans

Before the Romans invaded, Celts lived in Britain. There were lots of different tribes ruled by kings or chiefs. Chiefs often fought one another. A chief would lead his warriors into battle in chariots pulled by horses. For defence against enemies, they built forts on hilltops. In Celtic Britain there were no towns. Most people were farmers living in villages. They made round houses from wood and mud, with Thatched roofs. There were no roads. People travelled by boats on rivers, or along muddy paths. Some British Celts crossed the sea to trade with other Celts in the Roman Empire.

Boudicca

Boudicca

Massive invasion of a Roman army in 43AD started Roman era in Britain. Some Celts made friends with the Romans, in return for keeping their kingdoms. Their leaders were called ‘client kings’. They agreed to obey Roman laws, and pay Roman taxes. One client king was Cogidumnus, the ruler of the Atrebates of southern Britain. The Roman palace at Fishbourne (West Sussex) was probably built for him. He was a ‘Roman Briton’. Other British leaders fought the Romans. At Maiden Castle (a hill-fort near Dorchester in Dorset) archaeologists found evidence of a battle which the Romans had won. Buried on the site were the skeletons of young men, some of which had cut marks of Roman swords on the bones. The best British leader was Caratacus, but he was beaten in A.D. 51. The Romans took him as a prisoner to Rome, but treated him well.

In AD 60, King Prastagus of the Iceni tribe, who had signed a peace treaty with the Romans, died. His wife, Boudicca, became Queen and intended to remain at peace with the Romans. However, the Romans said that all Prastagus’s land and possessions now belonged to them. They attacked the Iceni tribe, took their land and Prastagus’s two daughters. Boudicca was not happy and planned revenge on the Romans. Boudicca joined forces with the Trinovantes and together they raised an army to fight the Romans. Boudicca’s army captured and burned London, Colchester and St Albans. The Romans were forced to raise the largest army they had ever had to defeat Queen Boudicca. The Romans killed anyone who had fought them. Boudicca poisoned herself to prevent the Romans from capturing her.

Roman Soldiers

Roman Soldiers

The Roman invasion of Britain was arguably the most significant event ever to happen to the British Isles. It affected language, culture, geography, architecture and even the way we think. Our island has a Roman name, its capital is a Roman city and for centuries (even after the Norman Conquest) the language of our religion and administration was a Roman one. The Romans gave us: language, the calendar, laws and legal system, the census, straight roads, central heating, concrete, aqueducts. It is such a shame that several years later after Romans left, everything was forgotten! People fell in to dirtiest and smelliest Middle Adges…Just think, where we would be today, if Romans didn’t leave and their knowledge and culture had a chance to develop without breaks…

By the 5th century A.D. barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Roman Empire. Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere. He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave. They must fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. In AD 410 the last Romans left. The Anglo-Saxons and other newcomers settled in Britain and set up new kingdoms. They were farmers, not townspeople. Roman stone buildings were not used or repaired. They slowly crumbled away. People took away stones to build farmhouses or churches. People built new wooden towns inside the old Roman ones. Many Roman towns kept at least parts of their walls until the Middle Ages. Part of London’s Roman Wall is still standing!

Famous Romans

Gaius Marius

Gaius Marius

Marius – The great Man of the Army (Gaius Marius was the man who organized the army into the most effective fighting machine on earth.)

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

Caesar – General, Politician, Statesman (He conquered Gaul and also led expeditions into Germany and Britain. Julius Caesar also reformed the calendar. With only minor changes his is the calendar we use today. One month, July, is named in his honour.)

Augustus

Augustus

Augustus – The first Emperor (Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. His real name was Octavian. He defeated Mark Antony together with the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra and thereafter, together with the senate of Rome, created a new constitution for the great empire.)

Constantine

Constantine

Constantine the Great – Unifier of the divided Empire (Constantine the great was the first Christian emperor of the Roman empire.  He also decided to move the capital of the empire from Rome to a town called Byzantium, which he renamed after himself – Constantinopolis.)

 

 

 

 

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