Roman Invasion

It has been well reported in history books that before the Romans invaded Britain, the nation had no sense of unity, and was instead a series of local tribes, with no overriding control, religion or culture. An invasion of this land would have an impact, but Roman occupation of Britain was seen as one of the most significant events in British history.

The Roman civilisation itself was founded by a tribe called the Latins, who built up the city of Rome after settling in Italy some 3,000 years ago. The Romans didn’t just want to build a city though, they wanted to build an Empire, which would look pretty good on the CV’s of the senior military figures who led the invasions (if they were successful). Power was all important to the Romans, particularly in Julius Caesar’s time, whose success stories included conquering Gaul (later to be known as France).

When it came to invading Britain, Caesar had mixed results.  Several crossings resulted in little more than a few battle victories in the South East of the country. 100 years later and Emperor Claudius was in power, and looking for a way to prove his worth as a leader. A better planned invasion of British shores started, and had much greater success. The Romans arrived back on British soil in 43AD, moving from the South up through the country. Battles around the River Medway were hard fought yet won, while invasions of the area surrounding Maiden Castle/Hod Hill proved to be no problem. Emperor Claudius himself also made an appearance, spending 16 days in the country, triumphantly parading through Colchester on his way. 30 years later the Romans had conquered all of Britain bar parts of Scotland, with Hadrian’s Wall and large numbers of forts and castles built to defend their realm.

Although during this time many local tribes did stand up in support of the Romans, there were some revolts from rebel forces. Boudicca led a large army of men women and children towards Colchester, on a mission to destroy anything that was a symbol of Rome. Their revolt also killed thousands of people and burnt down Colchester, London and St Albans. There were also rebel forces called The Druids battling the Roman Army in North Wales.

But eventually Roman rule was established, and changed the geography, architecture, religion and culture of Britain forever.  Changes included the introduction of Latin, the official language of the Roman Government, the formation of well organised Roman towns, the introduction of taxes on land, and goods bought and sold, and a system of running water fed through Aqueducts. Britain was also described as a ‘melting pot’ for Religion. The rulers expected the British people to worship Roman gods, though they could continue to worship their own gods and goddesses. One of the new religions that came to Britain was Christianity, which was banned by the Romans, who threatened execution of anyone caught practicing it. This is just a snapshot of the Roman invasion, and the changes it brought to the Britain, but it’s enough for you to realise what an impact this period had on British history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *