An innovative, informative, and entertaining history of Roman Britain told through the lives of individuals in all walks of life
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.
About the Author
Guy de la Bédoyère is author of Roman Britain: A New History and many other histories. He lives in Lincolnshire, UK.
"This is a very enjoyable book: well-organized, smartly presented and written in a lively style. A 'good read.'"—David Kennedy, author of The Roman Army in the East
— David Kennedy
"De la Bédoyère is engaging and thought-provoking throughout, telling the well-worn story of Roman Britain from a compelling and deeply affecting standpoint. This is history at its best." – Miles Russell, BBC History
— Miles Russell
“[An] amazing, not overly-long book. . . . Mr. de la Bédoyère[,] your commentaries on the Boudican War, tribal politics, architecture, religion, the Imperial crisis of the third century, and much, much more provide a rich historical backdrop for the stories of the lives of the ordinary people who are the real stars of your book. Great read, and my hat is off to you, sir!”—Alex Johnston, UNRV.com — Alex Johnston
“De la Bédoyère considers each bit of evidence with wit and imagination, leading the reader with him on the path of discovery.”—Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins, from Shelf Awareness for Readers — Pamela Toler
“As a short history of Roman Britain, unencumbered by the apparatus of too much military history, it is one of the best available, both up-to-date and refreshingly skeptical.”—Mary Beard, New York Review of Books — Mary Beard