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Roman Britain - Page 2


Keeping Roman Britain Quiet

The focus, however, was on military matters. Rome brought military rule, and great Roman forts spread throughout the land. Fortresses that could contain entire legions were built at Pevensey, Lymne, Porchester, and Camulodunum (Colchester).

Temporary troop encampments were made of clay, turf, and timbers, but others were made to be permanent. Colchester was a permanent fortress by AD75, while a stone wall went around York in AD107.

Signal stations were built along the North Sea and at Scarborough. For sea defense, fortresses were built at Carnarvon and Holyhead.

While most of Roman Britain can be found in the southern portion of England- Chester, Bath, and Lincoln (where the only Roman gateway stands that is to this day used by traffic), the North saw its fair share of attention.

Northern England, and Scotland

Why should Southern Britain have all the fun with Rome? The Lowlands of Scotland had their share, too. In AD81 the Governor of Britain, Argicola, held a position of power roughly from Edinburgh to Glasgow. A chain of forts was built, with the main base at Stirling.

However, shortly after Agricola had established himself, he received orders to withdraw. The Lowlands were abandoned, presumably forever.

The B6318 runs roughly parallel to this piece of Roman architecture. Stretching from Carlisle to Newcastle, it was strictly a stop-gap measure to prevent raiding parties from Scotland interfering with Roman occupation.

Built in the early 2nd century AD, Hadrian's Wall was intended to designate Roman Britain's Northern-most border. But as all conquering countries eventually feel, the border needed a bit of tweeking.

In AD142, the Antonine Wall, running from The Clyde to Bo'ness on the Forth, became the border. Running for 36 miles it too, was just a stop-gap measure. By the end of the 4th century, however, Rome had pulled out of The Lowlands, and Hadrian's Wall was back to being the bastian against Scotland.

The End of the Good Life

Although life was good in Roman Britain, other countries on The Continent weren't at all satisfied with The Empire. Around AD410, the legions based in England were recalled to Rome to help subdue Germanic tribes.

With very few civil servants in place, and most of the soldiers having departed, the social order of Roman Britain completely broke down. In-fighting began between tribes looking to take up the authority vacated by the Romans.

Famine and sickness became wide-spread. Towns slowly lost their populations, and the barter system came back into use. Eventually, all social and technological advances introduced into the country were forgotten.

The Dark Ages had begun.

Article by "Tudor Rose"

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