Roman Britain – 2e Romanisation
What impact did the Romans have on Britain?
In A.D. 410, the Romans had to leave Britain to defend Rome, but after they left, the country fell into chaos. Native tribes and foreign invaders battled each other for power. Many of the Roman towns in Britain crumbled away as people went back to living in the countryside.
But even after they were gone, the Romans left their mark all over the country. They gave us new towns, plants, animals, a new religion and ways of reading and counting. Even the word ‘Britain’ came from the Romans.
Britain had no proper roads before the Romans – there were just muddy tracks. So the Romans built new roads all across the landscape – over 16,000km (10,000 miles) in fact!
Before the Romans came, the native Britons were pagans. They believed in lots of different gods and spirits. In A.D313, the Emperor Constantine declared that Christians were free to worship in peace. By A.D391, Christianity was the official Roman religion.
Before the Romans came, very few people could read or write in Britain. Instead, information was usually passed from person to person by word of mouth. The Romans wrote down their history, their literature and their laws. Their language was called Latin, and it wasn’t long before some people in Britain started to use it too. However, it only really caught on in the new Roman towns, most people living in the countryside stuck to their old Celtic language.
The Romans introduced the idea of living in big towns and cities. Roman towns were laid out in a grid. Streets criss-crossed the town to form blocks called ‘insulae’. In the middle was the ‘forum’, a big market square where people came to trade.
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