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History of Roman Britain

Julius Caesar has gotten such good press over the ages, both through his own books and the books of others, that we forget the mighty Roman failed to hold Britain.

Nevertheless, ninety-five years later (41 AD), the Romans did arrive in force, to provide a triumph for Claudius, and Roman Britain remained a part of the Empire for about 400 years.

But the Roman yoke weighted lightly on the independent spirits of the Britons, and the great Roman roads were just about all to survive the chaos surrounding the withdrawal of Rome and the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, practically upon their heels - the roads, Christianity (which adopted by the Irish under the British missionary St. Patrick would transform the Celtic world), and the beginnings of the King Arthur legends.

History books on Roman Britain are followed by some general reading on life in the Roman Empire, the Roman army, Roman emperors, early Christianity, etc.

Buy Books about Roman Britain
The Legacy of Rome
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The Legacy Of Rome
by Lawrence Keppie


As an outpost of empire, Scotland played a significant, if unusual, role in the Roman world. The south and east were occupied intermittently from AD 79 to the early third century, while the north and west remained outside Roman control, though certainly not beyond its influence. The conquest was therefore incomplete in Scotland, and military occupation was not followed up by a period of peaceful development; no towns were built, and surviving remains are of camps and forts for the most part.

Despite this, the Romans left an important imprint on Scotland. Keppie sets out the various stages of Roman occupation in their historical context and shows how literary and archaeological evidence can be used to build up a picture of the Roman period. A detailed gazetteer introduces all the major Scottish sites and includes photographs and detailed plans.
Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier
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Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and Its People
by Alan K. Bowman


Sometimes, reading Roman authors, they seem so much like us that it's almost scary. Here, Bowman translates and arranges over 300 letters and documents recently discovered at an archeological site in northern England. Just like to soldiers serving far from home today, their mothers write "am sending socks". Roman Britain from a first-person view. Awesome.
Caesar's Legion
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Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome
by Stephen Dando-Collins


Dando-Collins brings to vivid life the soldiers of the famed 10th Legion - slogging through mud, setting up camp, fighting like crazy - all under the superb command of Caesar. Considered possibly the best infantry force in history, the 10th Legion traveled all over the ancient world. Fascinating and highly readable history.
Roman Britain and Early England
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Roman Britain and Early England 55 B.C. to A.D. 871
by Peter Blair


A clear, understandable account of the tremendous changes in England through Roman times, followed by the chaos of the withdrawal, the invasion of the Anglos-Saxons, and their slow progress towards unification of the country. These were interesting times in Britain, though historical records are relatively few. Mr. Blair makes the most of his material.
Roman Britain : Outpost of the Empire
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Roman Britain: Outpost of the Empire
by Howard H. Scullard


Readable history focusing entiring on the years of Roman rule in Britain. Lots of illustrations. Used in a lot of college history classes, offers a good overview of the historical and archeological records.
A History of Roman Britain
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A History of Roman Britain
by Peter Salway


A great choice if you pick just one. Engagingly written by an expert in the field, the author covers the Roman's fascination with Britain and how the British Isles fit into the overall Roman political schemes of the time, as well as thorough coverage of life in Roman Britain. Well illustrated, very readable.
Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome
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Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome
by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins


A wonderful guide to life in ancient Roman times, arranged by topic - military affairs, geography, town and countryside, travel and trade, writing, religion, economy and industry, and everyday life (entertainment, home furnishings, food and more). Accurate and accessible.
Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire
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Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire : From the First Century AD to the Third
by Edward N. Luttwak


Luttwak has written many books on military strategy, and his thesis in this one has provoked much lively discussion. An excellent resource for anyone interested in warfare and defensive strategy.
Christianizing the Roman Empire
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Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100-400)
by Ramsay MacMullen


Professor MacMullen (Yale) provides a balanced and historically unimpeachable history of early Christianity, beginning with pagan beliefs of the time, what Christianity offered, methods of evangelisation and reasons for conversion, etc. Sticks to facts without disparaging belief. Highly recommended.
Gladiatrix
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Gladiatrix: The True Story of History's Unknown Woman Warrior
by Amy Zoll


The remains of a female gladiator were discovered in London in 1996. This books tells the tale, along with other stories and legends (Amazons, Boudica) about female warriors.
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
by Edward Gibbon


We conclude our survey of Roman Britain with the most widely read history book of all time. After more than 200 years, Gibbon's work is still a classic and going strong. Belongs on every bookshelf as a monument to human nature and the lust for power.