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British Pasts
Ruled Britannia
The Roman Conquest
Romano Britain
Celtic Tribes:
Caledoni, Vacomagi,
Taxali, Venicones,
Dumonii, Selgovae,
Novantae, Votadini,
Brigantes, Parisi,
Deceangli, Cornovii,
Ordovices, Corieltauvi,
Iceni, Demetae, Silures,
Catuvellauni, Dobunni,
Atrebates, Cantii,
Durotriges, Dumnonii
First Roman Invasion
• 55-54 BC: Attempted
invasion by Julius Caesar
• Romans joined forces with
Trinovantes to defeat a
British coalition under
Cassivellaunus, king of
• Caesar foiled by rebellion
in Gaul
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Second Roman Invasion
• May, 43 AD: Roman
commander Aulus
Plautius lands in Britain
with four legions and
about 20,000 auxiliary
• Early autumn: Emperor
Claudius arrives with
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Second Roman Invasion
• 43 AD: Fall of
Camulodunum (Colchester),
centre of the Catuvellauni,
to the Romans
• Tribal kings surrender
• 51 AD: Caractacus (King of
the Catuvellauni) captured
• AD 75-7: Wales subdued,
conquest complete
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
• Legions penetrate
as far as Cornwall,
Wales, the Humber
• Road construction
begun, Londinium
(London) founded
Rebellion of the Iceni, 60-1 AD
• Brutalisation of Iceni tribe
and its queen, Boudica
• Boudica raises rebellion
against Rome with support
of Trinovantes
• Sacking of Colchester,
London and St Albans
• Defeat of British tribes by
Roman governor,
Suetonius Paulinus
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
“...a terrible disaster occurred in Britain. Two cities were
sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies
perished, and the island was lost to Rome. Moreover, all
this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a
fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame....But
the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the
natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the
person who was thought worthy to be their leader and
who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica,
a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of
greater intelligence than often belongs to women....In
stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying,
in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was
harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips;
around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she
wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle
was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable
Cassio Dio
Images of Boudicca
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Anglesey and the North, 77-83 AD
• 77-83 AD: Governor Agricola
campaigns against Ordovices
in Wales and northern tribes
• 78 AD: Agricola crosses Menai
Strait to take Anglesey
• 79-80 AD: Agricola
consolidates military control of
southern ‘Scotland’
• 81-83 AD: Agricola campaigns
against the Calidoni
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
“The enemy lined the shore in a dense armed mass.
Among them were black-robed women with dishevelled
hair like Furies, brandishing torches. Close by stood
Druids, raising their hands to heaven and screaming
dreadful curses.
This weird spectacle awed the Roman soldiers into a
sort of paralysis. They stood still, and presented
themselves as a target. But then they urged each other
(and were urged by the general) not to fear a horde of
fanatical women. Onward pressed their standards and
they bore down their opponents, enveloping them in the
flames of their own torches. Suetonius garrisoned the
conquered island. The groves devoted to Mona's
barbarous superstitions he demolished. For it was their
religion to drench their altars in the blood of prisoners
and consult their gods by means of human entrails.”
‘Romanisation’ of Britain 43-409 AD
• Roman civilisation
flourishes in military and
urban centres, particularly
in the south
• ‘Romanisation’ of
architecture, dress,
entertainment and religion
• Improvements in areas of
communication, sanitation
and medicine
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
The Roman Baths, Bath
Religious spa,
constructed c. 45 AD
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Towns built to house
military and
personnel, including
Verulaminium (St
Albans and Lindum
Palace at
early 70s AD
• South of the
country becomes a
prosperous Roman
• North is continually
troubled; defences
(Hadrian’s Wall, the
Antonine Wall)
Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall
• 122-139 AD: Emperor
Hadrian has 75-mile
wall constructed along
the Tyne-Solway line
• 142-144 AD: Emperor
Antonine has 37-mile
wall built
• 160 AD: Romans
abandon gains north
of Hadrian’s wall
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Situation of Walls
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Division of Britain, c. 216 AD
• Britain divided into Britannia
Superior, with legions at
Caerleon and Chester, and
Britannia inferior, with
legions at York and
Hadrian’s wall
• Emperor Septimus Severus
conducts campaigns in
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
The Gallic Empire, 260-274 AD
• Rebellion by Roman
general Postumus:
Britain and Gaul
become independent
• 274: Tetricus
surrenders Gallic
Empire back to Roman
Empire Aurelian
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Empire of Carausius, 286-296 AD
• Carausius seizes
Britain and northern
Gaul; work begins on
Saxon Shore
• 293 AD: Carausius
murdered by Allectus
• 296 AD: Allectus falls
to Emperor
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Provinces Restructured, c. 296
• Britannia Superior split into:
• Britannia Prima (centre
• Maxima Caesariensis (centre
• Britannia Inferior split into:
• Britannia Secunda (centre
• Flavia Caesariensis (centre
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Constantine I and Christianity 314 AD
• 306 AD: Constantine
becomes Emperor
• 312 AD: Constantine
defeats his rival Maxentius
at the Milvian Bridge after a
religious visitation
• Constantine makes
Christianity imperial
religion; foundation of
• 325 AD: Council of Nicea
agrees on Nicene Creed
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Invasions: Picts, Scoti, Saxons 367 AD
• 367 AD: Land and sea
invasion: Picts, Scoti,
Attacotti, Saxons
• By 400 AD: three nonRoman kingdoms
established: Strathclyde,
Goddoddin, Galloway
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Invasions, c. 390 AD
• From late fourth
century: Angles,
Saxons and Jutes
settle extensively
in southern and
central Britain
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Abandonment of Britain, 410 AD
• From c. 400 AD:
Roman troops
continually withdrawn
• 410 AD: Roman
citizens of Britain
petition Emperor
Honorius for
assistance; they are
told to ‘look to their
own defences’
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
The final
years of
Next week:
Saxons, Jutes
and Vikings
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts
Assignment for Next Week
• Group 1: Find out what exactly we know about
King Arthur. Where does historical fact end and
myth begin?
• Group 2: Find out about the life of Eric Bloodaxe.
• Group 3: Find out about the life and achievements
of King Offa.
• Group 4: Find out about Anglo-Saxon religion,
particularly with reference to the Anglo-Saxon
calendar and the days of the week.
• Group 5: Find out about the life and achievements
of King Alfred.
Look at the website (homework assignments)
for a starting point
Dewhurst: WS 2004/05
British Pasts