Ancient Rome and Roman Britain

Rome developed from a small city state, constantly at war with its neighbours, into the super-power of the ancient western world, and for a time subjected to its authority all of the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea and almost all of north-west Europe.

Even in one of furthest outposts of their conquests, the Romans left an indelible mark on Britain. They were great builders. They founded new towns and cities. The remains of their roads, fortifications, villas, baths and theatres occur throughout the land. Roman law formed the basis of English civil law and the Roman language, Latin, gave an abundance of words to the English language and Rome was responsible for the widespread adoption of the Christian religion.

Emergence of an empire

Specially-commissioned books in the History Matters collections tell the story of Rome’s development from its beginnings, through the republican phase to being not one, but two great empires.

The Romans in Britain

The sheer scale of Roman construction is impressive. Hadrian’s Wall, built to keep marauding Picts out of southern Britain, was 74 miles long, and milecastles, turrets and forts were built to accommodate its garrison.

Roman arms

The Romans developed a formidable military machine with long-serving professional soldiers. Training and strict discipline, as much as superior weapons and armour, enabled them to overcome primitive tribes and opponents.

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