Primary History

Romans: Roman remains

  • What happened to Roman Britain?

    From the 2nd century A.D. Roman Britain found itself under attack from people who lived outside the Roman borders. The Romans thought these people were not civilised and called them barbarians . The Roman army and navy defended Britain.

    By the 5th century A.D. barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Roman Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere. He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave. They must fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. In AD 410 the last Romans left.

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  • Did people go on living in Roman towns?

    The Anglo-Saxons and other newcomers settled in Britain and set up new kingdoms. They were farmers, not townspeople. Roman stone buildings were not used or repaired. They slowly crumbled away. People took away stones to build farmhouses or churches. People built new wooden towns inside the old Roman ones. Many Roman towns kept at least parts of their walls until the Middle Ages. Part of London's Roman Wall is still standing!

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  • What did the Romans leave behind?

    The Roman army left Britain over 1,500 years ago. They left behind a changed country. Britain had roads and towns. It had new plants and animals, such as parsley, sweet chestnut and chickens. Measurements (miles, feet and inches) still used by many people come from the Romans.

    The Romans also introduced Christianity to Britain. Many churches are still built using designs like a Roman Basilica .

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  • How did the Romans change the way we speak and write?

    The Romans wrote their history, their literature and their laws. Before the Romans conquered Britain, very few people in Britain could read or write. Stories and knowledge were passed on by word of mouth. From Roman times onwards, people in Britain wrote things down. Educated people wrote in Latin, but later wrote books in their own languages, English and Welsh, for example. The English and Welsh languages changed because of the Romans. Many words in English and Welsh have links to Latin. 'Pedestrian' is one. See if you can find some more....

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  • How can we find out more about the Romans?

    In Britain, there are archaeological sites and museums. Some are at places you can visit, where the Romans actually lived. In museums and site exhibitions, you can see, and sometimes touch, objects and buildings made by Roman people. You can walk round the ruins of a Roman fort, or a Roman baths, or what was once the dining room of a Roman villa.

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Fun Facts
  • Some people believe that King Arthur (of the Knights and Round Table) was a Roman-British general who fought the Saxons.

  • For about a thousand years after the Romans left, nearly all books in Britain were written in Latin.

  • The calendar we use dates from Roman times. The old Roman calendar had 10 months, not 12. Julius Caesar organised a new calendar in 45 B.C. He made the New Year start in January, not March.

  • Julius Caesar had a new month, July, named after him. Another new month was later added for the Emperor Augustus (August). That meant the 8th month October (octo means 8 in Latin) became the 10th month!

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Jump to: A-D | E-G | H-L | M-O | P-Z

A to D

Acropolis [a-CROP-olis]
The Acropolis is a large hill in the centre of Athens. On top of it were many temples and other buildings, the remains of which can be seen today.
A place like a stadium, where Romans went to watch animals and people fighting.
A system of pipes and channels used to bring water into towns.
archaeological site
A place such as a ruined fort studied by archaeologists.
People who study the past by looking at old things, often found underground.
Studying the past by looking at old things, often found underground.
Aristophanes [aris-TOF-a-neez]
Lived in Athens in the 5th century BC. He wrote comedies for the theatre in Athens.
Aspasia [as-PAY-zia]
Was a woman to taught public speaking in Athens. She was the partner of the famous general Perikles. Aspasia had much more independence than most women in Athens.
A person who lived outside the Roman Empire, seen by Romans as violent and uncivilized.
A large building where town business was carried out (like a modern Town Hall).
The Assembly was the public meeting of the giovernment of the city. All citizens could take part and vote there.
The patron goddess of Athens. A huge statue of Athena stood outside the Parthenon.
Attica [A-tik-a]
The region around Athens.
aulos [OW-los]
A wind instrument with a reed similar to a modern oboe.
capital city
Main city of a country, the centre of government.
A machine that threw rocks or burning tar at the enemies. In Latin it was called an onager.
Soldiers who fight on horseback.
Cart with two wheels pulled by horses. Romans raced chariots, and Celtic warriors rode into battle on them.
People who lived in Europe, including Britain, and who fought the Romans.
An officer commanding about 80 legionaries.
Person with special rights such as the right to vote and own property in the Roman Empire. Only men could be full Roman citizens.
There were ten cohorts in a legion.
Weapon like a bow and arrow, only the string is pulled back by turning a handle and the bow is fired by releasing a trigger. In Latin it was called a ballista
The priests of the old Celtic religion.

E to G

Process where people vote to choose the people they want to be in charge.
A large area with many people ruled by one strong leader, called an emperor.
An open space in the middle of a town for markets and meeting people (like a market square). It was the centre of Roman town life.
A building with walls to keep out enemies, used by soldiers.
Firm base for a road or building.
leader of an army, the soldier giving the orders to everyone else.
A person trained to fight other gladiators or animals in amphitheatres.
The ruler of Roman Britain, who worked for the Roman Emperor.

H to L

Roman central heating. Hot air from a furnace (fire) flowed through gaps between walls and flooring
The language spoken and written by the Romans
The officer commanding a whole legion.
The main battle unit of the Roman army, its soldiers were called legionaries. There were between 4,000 and 6,000 legionaries in a legion.
A story made up about people in the past

M to O

A pattern made from coloured pieces of stones and pottery.
A made-up story, often about gods and spirits, told to explain things such as why the sun rises and sets every day.

P to Z

Money paid to a retired worker or soldier.
people who lived in Scotland
A country without a king, queen or emperor. The Roman republic was ruled by the elected Senate. Most countries today are republics.
Something that is believed to be holy and to have a special connection with a god or gods.
Roman book, written on a long strip of paper rolled around a stick.
The Roman government, made up of senators.
A person elected to the Roman Senate who helped run the government. Some countries today, like the U.S.A., have senators.
Dirty water and toilet waste which flows into sewers from drains and toilets.
Pipes or tunnels that carry away sewage.
Someone who can be sold to another person to work for nothing. A slave is not free and has no rights.
Weapon for throwing stones, made from a long strip of leather and whirled around by the thrower.
Roman army emblem, a pole with special decorations (such as a metal eagle) carried by a soldier. Each legion had its own standards.
the metal holder for a rider's foot. Attached to a horse's saddle by a leather strap.
A metal object used in Roman baths to scrape sweat, dirt and excess oil off.
A metal pen for scratching words into soft wax on wooden tablets.
Money or items taken by the government from people, to pay for things like the army, wars, emperor's palaces and building roads.
Thatched roofs
Roofs of buildings made from bundles of straw or reeds.
Machine like a big wheel inside which slaves walked round, to turn the machine.
A group of people who live in one part of a country and are ruled by a chief.
A teacher who gives lessons to a student at home.
A gloomy place where Romans believed your soul went after you died.
A large house in the country. Some Roman villas were farmhouses and some were like palaces.
A trained soldier, someone used to fighting in wars.
A ring or crown made of leaves or flowers.