So What Happened To The Romans In Britain?

As we all know, the Romans colonized the island of Britain in the 1st Century AD (under Claudius). They maintaned links with Rome, and several imperial legions were stationed in Britain. The, as the 4th century waned, Imperial Rome started to crumble…and the sarmy was recalled from Britain. After that, the island was invaded by the Saxons and the picts, and Roman Britain essentially disappears from history.
My question: was’nt there a sufficient presence of rome in Britain? I mean, why did people all of a sudden abandon their nice hot-water baths ans villas, and revert to living in thjose filthy,drafty castles?
The Roman way of life seems much superior to that of the dark and Medieval ages…why did such a refined way of life collapse soquickly?:smack:

Well without a central authority with sufficient resources to hold back the raids it seems inevitable that the civilization would decay. If you’re too busy beating back the hordes, or trying to keep the bandits out you wont have time to fix the baths.

Essentially, the Romans left because various Army officers decided if they brought enough troops from Britain they could march into Rome and assume the throne. So, the British garrisons got thinner and thinner, and the last Roman troops left Britain to protect Rome from the Goths and Visigoths.

At the same time, the Saxons, Jutes, Fresians, and Angles started pouring in, and destroyed much of what the Romans had built. They didn’t have the same technology as the Romans, so they started building huts from wattle and daub for themselves. It was really the Normans who started building large-scale fortifications such as castles. Does that help?

What happened to the Romans in Britain? I could answer that question with a metaphor.

What happened to the hippies in western culture? Many of you will recall that at one point in our culture the wearing of long hair and beard by a male caused riots, and yet 50 years before that all the men had long hair and beards! So rather than shave their hair, which is ineffective, all the men started wearing long hair. Now it’s no longer a threat. As well, hippies no longer exist because everybody’s wearing hippie clothing.

The biological views different as dangerous. Xenophobia is based upon the biological imperative to maintain the purity of the racial strain.

You can see by this that the biological’s first line of defense is absorption. Normally there is always an urge by a conquered people to drive out an invader, the occupying forces, from their country. Any number of times in history we can see a resident populace’s first reaction to a foreign invader is to immediately drive them out.

In general, of course, human beings don’t want to be dominated by a foreign power. It’s a drag to have to learn a new language, use it in court and in business. Nobody wants to be under the influence or domination of a foreign power and be forced to learn entirely new customs. The first thing a population is going to think of is to rid itself of the invaders.

There are of course two historical exceptions: the reaction of the British to the Roman invaders, and the indefatigable Japanese, who never turned anyone away until they had copied their technology.

There are few notable exceptions of non-military solutions, one of which is the Druids use of the process of assimilation rather than battle to destroy the Romans in England.

When the Romans invaded, the Druids, who were the spiritual leaders at that time, told the women to marry the soldiers, have their children and lead them into submission. They knew the Romans wouldn’t kill the people who bore their own children; they’d be killing their own kids. The Druids knew not to fight them, but to absorb them into submission. And they were right.

They married with them and crossbred them into submission. The Romans eventually disappeared in Britain; what happened was that they became Britons. The process of assimilation was much more potent than a counterattack, a counterrevolution, or an insurgency.


Interesting. Nothing to do with why Briton society devolved once the Romans presence left, but still interesting.

Yes, the rantings of a lunatic can be “interesting”.

Basically, what happened was the Anglo-Saxons whose raids and later colonization of Great Britain thwarted the Romano-Britons vein attempts to hang onto their Roman lifestyle.

They make pretty picture some times. :wink:

Bath house maintenance costs money, which is kind of hard to come by when suddenly the main unit of currency seems to be the goat.

As well as the removal of the largest best paying customers. Suddenly there’s all this surplus food, iron, livestock etc. that no one wants to buy.

Actually the bath house at Bath managed to stay in pretty good shape considering it’s age and it’s well worth a visit whenever anyone’s over in the UK.

Were there any permanent temples, villas, forts, etc., built by the Romans in Britain? So far we’ve only mentioned baths.

Yes there were many villas and forts built in Britain and quite a few temples too.

Yes. Here is
one large roman building standing quite near where I am at the moment.

A wonderful just so tale, where is the documentation of this fabulous Druid story? Especially insofar as the Druids left no such records.

I believe, by the way, that the proper answer is a two fold one.

Roman troops were withdrawn bit by bit in the late Imperial period, with Britian finally being abandoned.

However, that does not mean “Romans” – meaning Romanized native Britons and Roman settlers (themselves possibly Roman-Latinized settlers from the colonies-provinces) up and disappeared. In regards to the Germanic invasions, the historical record records Romano-British generals, as well as Celtic tribals.

As to why the lifestyle collapsed, ralph need only reflect critically on the economic aspects of maintaining the lifestyle. The economy could no longer support such, above all under extended periods of fairly extreme violence and anarchy.

In case you want to do some half-assed Roman searching, a good hint is - Any English or Welsh town name that ends in, or contains the word “Chester” is usually on the site of a Roman Army camp - “Castra”…

It’s a bit of a myth that the Roman Empire was all civilization and advanced culture and technology, and then Europe fell into dark ages and lost all its culture. The Romans were eventually driven out by new invaders from Germany and Scandinavia, but they brought much in the way of culture, craft and their own brand of civilisation in the second half of the first millennium AD.

These new Britons produced the earliest English literature: Caedmon, Cynewulf, “Beowulf”, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Bede, The Battle of Maldon, etc. (I believe there are some older Celtic texts, but the Romans in Britain produced nothing of literary merit). Also there was the craftsmanship exhibited in archaelogical sites like Sutton Hoo, which contained astonishing jewelry and armour.

Also remember that the Roman culture was based around hot Rome, not cold, wet Britain, and I don’t think a Roman villa was particularly warm. The Anglo-Saxons didn’t have villas, but did have big drinking halls (as described in Beowulf), which were almost certainly far more pleasant and cosy than a drafty Romanesque dwelling.

bardos: :confused:

Well it’s thought that Pelagius was from Britian and he had an impact on 4th century Christian thought through his letters. Ok no one is making 9th graders read them but still. :slight_smile: