Roman Britain: 43 – 410 AD

Long before 1066, Britain had been at the crossroads of both invaders and marauders, who by a significant paradox, brought about the wonders of this country. In British history, this period of time is an era to celebrate. It is commonly known as the age of conquest. This was when the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans came to inhabit the island and brought about their patterns of living.

Celtic Britain up to 55 BC

After a long period of settlement, the Celts succeeded in founding one of the fascinating cultures in the island. They managed to make of lowlands very prosperous but noticeably unstable. In fact, being at constant wars put their lands, and mainly their wealth, through foreign aggression. Accordingly, Celtic Britain first came in contact with Rome in 55 BC. This was when Julius Caesar moved with his legions towards the troublesome Celtic spots. Eventually, Caesar encountered a number of challenges that might have impeded his full scale invasion, but he could pave the way for the coming of the Romans as invaders. From then on, the Romans worked on how to annex the island to their world. They subjected the Celts to a gradual process of transforming every single aspect of life in the island.

Romanizing the Island after 43 AD

In 43 AD, Emperor Claudius made a start of a full-scale invasion. He mobilized a great force to impose the Roman rule on the Celts for he had always seen the island as part of the Roman world. Soon, the Romans established camps and built walls to maintain order and prevent any foreign aggression.

For both economic and political purposes, they built an impressive network of roads. They laid down the foundations of an administrative system to carry out regulations and ensure discipline (O’Driscoll 17). Peace in return helped trade to prosper the fact that brought scholars, philosophers, religious mentors, artisans and many others to the island. In fact, they aimed at nothing but making the island a piece of Rome. Latin became part of the island if not a means to “Chistianize” the pagans. Towns and villages changed in both size and character. They became no longer places to live in but places for entertainment and recreation. In brief, Britannia was gradually absorbing the grandeur and the magnificence of Rome.

The Britons did really enjoy living in the lap of the Roman luxury. There existed all that city-dwellers could need: forums for meetings, halls for ceremonies and coliseums for gladiatorial combats. Almost for four centuries, the Roman manners, tastes and even ideals were the chief features of the island’s scene, but these would not last for ever (Dragie 34).

The Roman occupation, though it annihilated one kind of Britain, it could bring about a couple of transformations that are still part of the present day character. A lot of British city names still bear the ending, “Chester”, which means a military camp in Latin.     


Dargie, Richard. A History of Britain, London: Arcturus Publishing Limited, 2007

O’ Driscoll, J. Britain: The Country and its People, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003

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Roman Britain