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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable account of Roman London, 7 Sep 2009
Torben Retboll (Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Roman London (The Museum of London) (Paperback)
This book about Roman London is written by Jenny Hall and Ralph Merrifield. It is published by the Museum of London. The first edition was published in 1986. The second edition appeared in the year 2000.

The authors know their topic very well: Jenny Hall is Roman curator at the Museum of London. Her responsibility is early London history. Ralph Merrifield is the former deputy director of the same museum.

The book is divided into four chapters:

* Chapter 1 - The history of Roman London. This chapter has three sections: the beginning of London, London as the capital of Roman Britain, and the end of Roman London.

* Chapter 2 - The fabric of Roman London. This chapter has four sections: buildings of Roman London, London's port, London's fort, and London's walls.

* Chapter 3 - Life in Roman London. This chapter has three sections: Roman Londoners, London's trade with the empire, and religion in Roman London.

* Chapter 4 - A guide to Roman London. This chapter has three sections: the discovery of Roman London, Roman London today and a bibliography.

The book is fully illustrated with drawings, photos and maps from different periods. There are 123 small and large illustrations, almost all of them in colour. This is very good. On the cover of the new edition from the year 2000 there is a drawing which shows us Roman London seen from the air. This reconstruction by Peter Froste must be a new drawing, because the Roman amphitheatre is shown here, and this monument was not discovered until 1988. But inside the book the authors have used the same maps and the same drawings that were used in the first edition from 1986. This is unfortunate. At least seven illustrations should have been updated, because they cover the area where the amphitheatre was, but they do not show this building. Here is a list of the relevant illustrations:

Page 9 # 14 - The public buildings of Londinium

Page 11 # 20 - Londinium looking south-east

Page 15 # 34 - Londinium and the Roman settlement

Page 19 # 45 - Londinium in the reign of Hadrian, ca. AD 125

Page 27 # 68 - The walled circuit of Londinium, ca. AD 200

Page 28 # 69 - An aerial view of Londinium from the north-west

Page 44 # 115 - The cemetery areas of Londinium

The amphitheatre does not appear until the very last page of the book. On page 48 we find a small drawing (illustration # 122) that shows the location of the amphitheatre, next to the Roman fort.

The bibliography is useful, but two important items are missing:

(1) Londinium: A Descriptive Map and Guide to Roman London. This map is published by Ordnance Survey in collaboration with the Museum of London. The first edition was published in 1981. The second edition appeared in 1983. A new and updated edition was published in 2011. Here is a link: Londinium: A New Map and Guide to Roman London.

(2) Gladiators at the Guildhall: The Story of London's Roman Amphitheatre and Medieval Guildhall. This book is written by Nick Bateman. It was published in the year 2000. A second edition with the short title Roman London's Amphitheatre was published in 2011.

Jenny Hall and Ralph Merrifield provide a valuable account of Roman London. The text is well written and the illustrations are useful. I like it. For reasons explained above, I can only give it four stars.
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Roman London (The Museum of London)
Roman London (The Museum of London) by Ralph Merrifield (Paperback - Sep 1986)
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