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Bill Thayer
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Britannia

The LacusCurtius Resources on Roman Britain

A wooden column capital depicting two affronted peacocks in a setting of luxurious stylized foliage. It is a sixth-century capital from Sicily.

A sixth-century wooden capital from Sicily, in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. (I realize this is a curious choice for a header picture. Wait 'til I go back to the UK.)

To provide a framework, a good general summary of the Romans in Britain written for the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica by F. J. Haverfield, the author of The Romanization of Roman Britain.

Then these items:

Link to a page of Codrington's Roman Roads in Britain

Thomas Codrington's Roman Roads in Britain, published in 1903, was authoritative in its time though now in part superseded. It still provides an enormous amount of information, however, and offers many insights into the basic tools and methods available to the student of Roman roads. For example, the introduction includes a general discussion of study methodology and of road construction techniques, plus the 15 British itinera of the Antonine Itinerary.

[ 1/4/99: 380 pages of print, 2 maps ]


[image ALT: A montage of the pattern of a leather book binding and a Roman funerary stele depicting a soldier using a lance to stab a man under his horse's hooves.]

In 1911 the archaeologist John Ward wrote a one-volume survey of The Roman Era in Britain incorporating information from much of the then latest excavations. After a general introduction, about a third of the book covers roads and buildings of all kinds, and fully half of it with pottery, glassware, and the so‑called instrumentum domesticumobjects of all kinds: coins, jewelry, lamps, tools, padlocks, oculists' stamps, strigils, shoes, knitting needles, you name it; the remainder of the book deals with tombs and religion.

[ 280 pages of print, 9 photographs,
52 drawings, 32 plans and maps ]


[image ALT: A montage of the pattern of a leather book binding and a Roman funerary stele depicting a soldier using a lance to stab a man under his horse's hooves.]

1911 was a busy year for Prof. Ward; his companion volume to the preceding also appeared: Romano-British Buildings and Earthworks covers the architecture of Roman Britain based on all the same latest excavations. Though inevitably dated, the book contains a wealth of material; the section on Roman camps and fortifications is particularly good.

[ 312 pages of print, 9 photographs,
23 drawings, 49 plans and maps ]


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A single webpage, but useful for some: an English translation of the chapter on Britain of Claudius Ptolemy's Geography, including a complete map of Britain drawn from his coördinates: ancient geography in modern clothes, as it were.

Regional and Local Works

[Onsite link]

George Witts's Archaeological Handbook of the County of Gloucester covers ancient British and Roman camps, Roman villas, long and round barrows, and ancient roads: "The object of this work is rather to call attention to those objects of antiquarian interest scattered far and wide throughout our county, and very little known to the majority of readers, than to dwell on the oft-told narrative of Roman remains in Corinium and Glevum."

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Thomas Wright was the 19c scholar who excavated the Roman town of Viroconium just outside the modern Wroxeter. His final summary of his excavations there was written up as a complete book in 1872; here we have a brief interim report from 1863, "Objects Illustrative of Roman Professions and Trades, Discovered in the Excavations at Wroxeter": it's actually rather interesting.


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Site updated: 11 Dec 20