Britain was part of the Roman world for over four hundred years.
Before the Romans arrived, Britain was made up of Celtic tribal regions each with its own administrative centre and Chieftain. A bit like counties today.
Some tribes were pro-Rome while others remained fiercely independent.
Those tribes that looked towards Rome adopted Roman culture and lifestyle through trade. The leaders sent their children to Rome to be schooled and they returned to promote what they had learned about the Roman way of life.
Either by invitation, diplomacy, trade or by conquest Roman rule was established in Britain and it joined the empire.
Most people worked the land and did not live in cities. Life would have continued for them much as it did before.
If you were a tribal leader, a rich landowner, or merchant you could show off your wealth and importance by building a nice big house in the country for your family to live in. These were called villas.
Villas ranged in size from simple farmhouses to huge palaces fit for an Emperor.
They could be made out of whatever building materials were available locally. Roofs could be tiled in clay tiles, slate, or even thatched.
Walls could be made out of clay bricks, stone, or a timber frame with the gaps filled in with animal dung mixed with straw (wattle and daub).
Most villas had a similar layout. A central corridor connected internal rooms and two wings in a U shape. A peristyle acted as an entrance and created a sheltered enclosed space similar to a medieval cloister.
If you were lucky enough to live in a Villa you could enjoy central heating, glass windows, brightly painted plaster walls, and mosaic floors. If you were really lucky your villa would have its own indoor heated swimming pool.
After four hundred years Britain was no longer part of the Roman world. There is an argument whether Britain left Rome or Rome left Britain. Britain had been a troublesome province for the Empire and had caused many problems. The final act of defiance was expelling Roman diplomats and to produce a rebel Emperor (Flavius Claudius Constantinus). Who in 407 CE challenged the power of the Emperor in Rome. This caused a civil war and made Rome less able to defend its empire.
Most history books give the reasons for Roman legions leaving Britain was to defend Rome. Another reason is that British Legions may have been leaving with the usurper Emperor in order to attack Roman Forces in the continent.
Whatever happened Britain had trouble defending its own borders from the Picts and Scots attacking from the north. When Rome was approached for help in 450 CE it was reluctant to help.
Britain had reverted to being a collection of city-states rather than a centralised administration able to raise armies and taxes.
Unable to rely on the Roman Legions they hired Saxon mercenaries to defend them. This was the beginning of Saxon England.
Now you can create your own slice of Roman Britain by building your own Roman Villa. This model can be printed on card or on paper and stuck to cardboard.
Use PVA Clear Glue for construction.
Download the template here.
Print on card or paper and glue on card.
Print on a colour printer or colour in using felt tip pens.
|Cut out the three pieces by cutting around the thick black outline,
|Score and fold along the dotted lines.
|glue the long tab to the base of the peristyle.
|glue and tuck in the tabs to the end of the peristyle.
|Leave the peristyle to dry.
|Glue the central far right tab on to the base of the domus.
|repeat with the right wing.
|Repeat with the left wing.
|Turn the model over making sure the roofs of the wings overlap the central roof as in the picture.
|Glue and tuck in the tabs on left and right wings
|Glue and tuck in the tabs at each end of the central corridor.
|You may need to gently apply pressure until the glue starts to bond.
|Place glue on the back of the Peristyle and glue to the villa.
|Place glue to the four corner tabs of the base and glue together so that it resembles a 'pizza box'.
|Glue the edge tabs and fold down the lid and leave to dry.
|Reverse the base.
|Place glue on the base of the domus and peristyle and glue to base.
|leave to dry and your model villa is complete.
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