|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication Date||December 2, 1993|
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In The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain, noted classical historian Peter Salway provides a rich account of Britain's centuries under Roman rule. Britain, Salway writes, was a place of fascination for the Romans--a fascination he brings to life with hundreds of beautiful illustrations and a thorough, authoritative narrative.
Before and even after the first contact with the Britons, the author writes, the Romans thought of the British Isles as an exotic place at the edge of the world, across the only ocean they knew. Salway introduces us to what is known of the pre-Roman Britons, and deftly describes Julius Caesar's dramatic expeditions in 55 and 54 B.C; in the years that followed, new contacts grew between the Romans and the inhabitants of this strange island. Salway's comprehensive narrative blends together the changing politics and ways of life of the native Britons, the climactic conquest under Claudius and the subsequent, often violent consolidation, and the place of the new province in Imperial affairs. Time and time again, he notes, this distant part of the Roman Empire demanded the finest military commanders and vast expenditures for fortifications and development. He explores the process of urbanization, as British aristocrats adapted to Roman norms, and such issues as the changing religion (with the spread of first Roman cults and then Christianity). He carefully integrates the story of Roman Britain into the story of the Empire itself, showing the close attention the emperors paid to British affairs, and the interventions in imperial politics by the legions stationed there. Salway draws on the latest archeological finds, thoughtfully assessing the evidence and weaving it into his seamless narrative.
Of course, The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain features hundreds of outstanding photographs and diagrams--all chosen to offer fresh insight into this distant period. Archeological sites, artifacts, coins, reconstructions, present day settings, and much more appear in both black and white and full color photographs, with informative captions by the author. Highly authoritative and highly readable, this volume brings alive the classical past of a familiar part of today's world.