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By Malcolm Todd

This significant survey of the background and tradition of Roman Britain spans the interval from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.

  • Major survey of the heritage and tradition of Roman Britain
  • Brings jointly experts to supply an summary of contemporary debates approximately this period
  • Exceptionally extensive assurance, embracing political, monetary, cultural and spiritual life
  • Focuses on adjustments in Roman Britain from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD
  • Includes pioneering reviews of the human inhabitants and animal assets of the island.

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Amphorae [from Hengistbury]. In B. Cunliffe, Hengistbury Head. Oxford, 271–5. Wright, E. , Hedges, R. E. , Bayliss, A. and Van de Noort, R. 2001. New AMS radiocarbon dates for the North Ferriby boats – a contribution to dating prehistoric seafaring in north-western Europe. Antiquity, 75, 726–34. CH A P T E R T W O Society and Polity in Late Iron Age Britain COLIN HASELGROVE We know surprisingly little about social and political organization in Late Iron Age Britain. Most previous discussions have started from the few contemporary Classical sources and so tend to be couched in terms of Roman social and political categories, and their perceived modern equivalents.

Coins bearing fully Roman legends are essentially confined to the areas where we also find heavily Romaninfluenced styles of coin design, suggesting that they were the work of rulers who had been officially recognized by the Romans as ‘friendly kings’, most notably Eppillus, Tincomaros and Verica south of the Thames, and Tasciovanus and Cunobelinus in eastern England. It has even recently been suggested that many client rulers had a Roman upbringing, as obsides (hostages) taken by Caesar and his successors (Creighton 2000).

Ironically, while the division which Caesar drew between different parts of Britain probably stems from the contemporary Classical attitude to ‘barbarians’, whereby the further a territory from the Mediterranean centre of civilization, the more savage its inhabitants (Webster 1999), there are valid archaeological reasons for differentiating between the north and west of the island on the one hand and the south and east on the other, as we shall see. Similar qualifications apply to Caesar’s mentions of specific individuals or identity groups, not least that they represent a mere snapshot in time of a society which the Roman invasion had put under exceptional stress.

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