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The Real Lives of Roman Britain by Guy de la…
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The Real Lives of Roman Britain

by Guy de la Bedoyere

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The percentage of people living in Roman Britain from the Conquest in 43 AD to 410, when the Roman Army departed for good and shortly thereafter for which we have any record, was maybe 1% of the total population. But we're lucky to have at least the names of people who actually lived, and for some, more of their stories. Through the years archaeologists have uncovered inscriptions, some besides giving us names, also listed accomplishments. We have the records of both the high and the low, the latter mostly tradesmen and artisans. Interesting examples are: the incompetent Aldgate-Pulborough potter; Regina, the freed British slave of a Syrian trader--arguably the most famous woman after Boudica; various soldiers of all ranks who put up altars, fulfilling vows; a letter from one of the two wives of the commanders of two forts on Hadrian's Wall to another--this last was found among the Vindolanda Tablets, a treasure trove of information about the army--and many others. During the reigns of the pretenders Carausius and Allectus, soldiers were pulled from the Wall to fight for them and the spate of military inscriptions ceased. In the last few generations, opulent villas, a pagan temple complex, and treasure troves with engraving on some of the pieces [mostly spoons] give us clues as to the Romano-Britons who may have possessed them or at least buried them.

This was a fascinating recent archaeological study where the author tried to give us a sense of Roman Britain and people who really lived although what remains of their lives to us are merely snapshots. I appreciated the numerous color plates. Recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Nov 29, 2016 |
Review to come. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
Guy de la Bedoyere tried to connect some of the existing epigraphy of the Romans in Britannia with what other evidence we have for the lives revealed by the written material. Sadly, there are blanks spots in the record and they grow larger as the end of the Roman period on the island approaches. Barring the invention of a time machine, a certain amount of this book is dedicated to describing the present state of the art of identification of Roman individuals. But the book has value as a snapshot of the state of archaeological effort in this area. ( )
  DinadansFriend | May 13, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300207190, Hardcover)

The Britain of the Roman Occupation is, in a way, an age that is dark to us. While the main events from 55 BC to AD 410 are little disputed, and the archaeological remains of villas, forts, walls, and cities explain a great deal, we lack a clear sense of individual lives. This book is the first to infuse the story of Britannia with a beating heart, the first to describe in detail who its inhabitants were and their place in our history.
 
A lifelong specialist in Romano-British history, Guy de la Bédoyère is the first to recover the period exclusively as a human experience. He focuses not on military campaigns and imperial politics but on individual, personal stories. Roman Britain is revealed as a place where the ambitious scramble for power and prestige, the devout seek solace and security through religion, men and women eke out existences in a provincial frontier land. De la Bédoyère introduces Fortunata the slave girl, Emeritus the frustrated centurion, the grieving father Quintus Corellius Fortis, and the brilliant metal worker Boduogenus, among numerous others. Through a wide array of records and artifacts, the author introduces the colorful cast of immigrants who arrived during the Roman era while offering an unusual glimpse of indigenous Britons, until now nearly invisible in histories of Roman Britain.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:31:16 -0400)

"The Britain of the Roman Occupation is, in a way, an age that is dark to us. While the main events from 55 BC to AD 410 are little disputed, and the archaeological remains of villas, forts, walls, and cities explain a great deal, we lack a clear sense of individual lives. This book is the first to infuse the story of Britannia with a beating heart, the first to describe in detail who its inhabitants were and their place in our history. A lifelong specialist in Romano-British history, Guy de la Bedoyere is the first to recover the period exclusively as a human experience. He focuses not on military campaigns and imperial politics but on individual, personal stories. Roman Britain is revealed as a place where the ambitious scramble for power and prestige, the devout seek solace and security through religion, men and women eke out existences in a provincial frontier land. De la Bedoyere introduces Fortunata the slave girl, Emeritus the frustrated centurion, the grieving father Quintus Corellius Fortis, and the brilliant metal worker Boduogenus, among numerous others. Through a wide array of records and artifacts, the author introduces the colorful cast of immigrants who arrived during the Roman era while offering an unusual glimpse of indigenous Britons, until now nearly invisible in histories of Roman Britain"--… (more)

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