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Roman Britain: A New History Paperback – 22 Feb 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd (22 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287484
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 0.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born and educated in Wimbledon, the eldest of five children. My father gave me a Roman coin when I was about twelve and it was a decisive experience: I became transfixed by the past. I went to the Universities of Durham and London, studying History and Archaeology, and took an MA in Archaeology at University College, London. I actually worked for the BBC for most of the time between 1981 and 1999 but had started writing books on Roman Britain for Batsford by the late 1980s. In 1998 the Channel 4 TV series Time Team asked me to take part in a film at Papcastle and I soon became a regular participant as 'Roman expert' between then and 2011. I also took part in a number of other TV programmes along the way - so I left the BBC in 1999 and worked freelance as a writer and broadcaster until 2007.It was a privilege to be elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries along the way.
Time Team was a marvellous opportunity. I got to meet all sorts of interesting people and visit places I would never have got to otherwise. The show has been transmitted all over the world and I frequently get enquiries from across the globe. The most memorable dig of all was in the summer of 1999 when we excavated a WW2 Spitfire that had crashed in France on 23 May 1940. As a result I took a pilot's licence to find out what it was like to be in charge of an aircraft for myself.
In 2007-8 I decided to retrain as a schoolteacher, wanting to do something different. Since then I have taught History and Classical Civilization at a girls' grammar school (now an academy) in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. It's been a very invigorating (if sometimes frustrating) experience and one of my most recent titles, Cities of Roman Italy, was written as a textbook for the Classical Civiization course. A number of my students have gone on to study Classics, Archaeology or Ancient History and I'm pleased to have played a small part in their decision to pursue those routes.
I have numerous historical interests including collecting coins and travelling widely, especially in Italy, the United States and Australia. I give lectures occasionally, most recently to the Roman Archaeology Group at the University of Western Australia in Perth.
One of my great privileges is that being independent, as opposed to be tied to a university position, means I can pursue my interests in any direction they take me. Although I have mainly written on the Romans, I have also been able to publish books on the seventeenth-century diarists John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys.
My wife Rosemary (with whom I was at university) and I work together as History teachers now at our school. We've been married for over thirty years and I'm very grateful for the fact that she shares many of my interests and has been prepared to tolerate endless treks across Rome, Pompeii, US Civil War battlefields, and most recently a flight out to the Abrolhos Islands off Geraldton in Western Australia to see the 1629 wreck site of the Batavia, the tale of which is one of the most astonishing historical yarns of all time.

Product Description

Review

Simultaneously scholarly and attractive. "

About the Author

Guy de la Bedoyere is a frequent contributor to television programmes on archaeology and popular history. Among his other books are Hadrian's Wall - History and Guide, The Golden Age of Roman Britain and A Companion to Roman Britain. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Hobo on 14 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
A well written and detailed account of Britain from the Iron Age,immediatly before the Roman Conquest to the end of Roman Britain, when it was a case of "Everyone to themselves".The book has many photographs both colour and black and white together with re-constructions of how it may have looked. The book covers a wide range of topics, Slavery, tombstones, coins, the army etc.The Boudiccan revolt even suggests that it is possible that Boudica was only a "bit player", more of a figurehead for the revolt. The book is a useful addition for student and armchair historian alike in this most interesting period of our nations history.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By F. Aetius on 8 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Guy De La Bedoyere might be familiar to some for his infrequent appearances on Channel 4's Time Team. He is both a historian and an archaeologist, and therefore has some sound grounding in both fields, which is not to mention that he has already published thirteen books on this subject.

This title however is a New History of Roman Britain, making full use of some of the recent archaeological discoveries made in the field, as well as the most relevant discussions amongst historians and scholars.

The book is accessible and readable, and seems to be aimed at the layperson as well as the expert. The book is filled with up to 285 illustrations including photographs, maps and paintings.
It follows the history of Britain, from the Pre-Roman Iron Age tribes, to Caesar and later Claudius's invasions of the country. Along the way we learn about Suetonius Paulinius's conquest of Wales, Julius Agricola's campaigns in Scotland, Boudica's rebellion, Hadrian's Wall, the later campaigns of the Emperor Septimius Severus, the breakaway 'British' Empire of Allectus and Carausius, as well as Roman Britain before its fall.

Yet the book is much more than a chronological tour of the province. Bedoyere also describes life in Britain under the Romans. From the governing of the province, the army and the forts, the towns with their public baths, theatres and forums, industry and commerce, the countryside and the villas, as well as religion and the ordinary lives of the Romano-British citizens.

This book could be seen as the modern heir to the seminal 'A Companion to Roman Britain' by Peter Clayton. The only downside to this book is that, unlike Clayton's book, it does not contain an up-to-date gazetteer of Roman sites. Still, with that minor problem aside, this is probably the most readable and most up-to-date account of Roman Britain published. A good starting point for beginners, and a useful update for experts. Recommended!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ros on 9 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Well written, nicely illustrated and I liked the thematic organisation of material into chapters. I think one of the things I especially liked (and this may say more about my prior knowledge of the Romans in Britain) is that it gave a real sense of how LONG the Roman occupation lasted and that things changed quite a lot over time.
As a non-specialist I'm unable to comment on how accurate and authoritative the text is, but I liked the way it acknowledged that there are differences of opinion and that our understanding of the history of Roman Britain and interpretation of artefacts has changed over time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Helpless TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very readable, a modern interpretation of Roman Britain.
For a reader that might be begining to dabble in this period of history it is ideal, neither too academic or too simplistic.

The reproduction of some of the illustrations could be better and I am not entirely convinced that the maps are as good as they could be.

400 years of Roman occupation, it is a good book and worth a read.

Credit to the author in making it so readable.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Notman on 25 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a good synopsis of the current (i must say one of many) view of the romans in britain, and unlike some of the others its well written and readable (despite what the increasingly right wing current archaeology says about it). He may be a bit annoying on the TV but Guy de la Bedoyere knows his onions. Im glad to see hes also taking more notice of the smaller less spectacular sites that made up most of the roman provinces rather than giving us a 300 page lecture on legionary bases or villas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GratuitousViolets TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my father's Christmas and he admitted to it being an enjoyable read. The book is alot larger than I had expected (about the size of an A4 sheet of paper and a few inches thick). Full of pictures, diagrams, and easy to absorb information, this is just a great reference book and is packed with information.

I'd never heard of the author before but have been since told that the author is actually one of the frequent experts who appear on television series 'Time Team'. A great gift for history enthusiasts or a great treat for yourself.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. G. Raggett on 27 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This has merits as general picture of Roman Britain. It avoids the pitfall often seen in modern books and television of judging the Romans by modern standards of human rights, rather than by the standards of neighbouring peoples in either time or space. There is a feeling of appreciation for the positive sides of Roman civilisation, and the best parts of the book tend to relate to the everyday and economic life of the country.

The less satisfactory aspect of the book is an unwillingness to come to terms with the fragmentary nature of both written and archaeological evidence, which does seem to require a degree of reasoned speculation as to what might have been happening. No reasons are suggested for the switch of focus from towns to villas in the 3rd and 4th century. The possibility of Gnosticism in Britain is raised but not pursued. While there has been an accumulation of evidence for a greater degree of continuity into the post-Roman period, instances of this are dismissed as exceptions rather than being properly discussed.
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