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Outline

Rome’s interaction with the island of Britain covers a time-span of over four hundred years, during which it developed from its Celtic origins to play an often major part in the history of the Empire as a whole. Our knowledge of Roman Britain is founded on two elements: 1) the historical sources provided by ancient writers, 2) an ever-growing volume of archaeological material - everything from forts, towns and villas, to tombstones, statuary, the accoutrements of everyday life, and letters that have survived by chance on ancient rubbish-heaps.

The module aims to introduce students to all this material: to provide an outline history of events, examining the literary and other sources that help establish that history, while at the same time demonstrating through the material remains some of the rich variety that made up Roman occupation both on an official level and in terms of day-to-day life. A prime aim of the module is also to develop a critical approach to the sources in all their forms so that the potential and limitations of the study of Roman Britain can be appreciated.

By the end of the module you will have: gained an understanding of Rome’s involvement with Britain, advanced your ability to absorb and critically examine the wide variety of information that the subject makes available, developed your ability to formulate arguments based on original sources and the work of modern scholars.