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The Romans invaded Britain in AD 43, led by Aulus Platus, a Roman noble. It was arguably one of the most significant event ever to happen to the British Isles. After four centuries of rule Roman legions withdrew from Roman Britain in 410 AD. For approximately another two centuries existed the Subroman Britain until the beginning of the seventh century, with survival of Roman culture (and probably a neolatin language) in an increasingly anglosaxon Britain.
Just prior to the last of the Roman Legions leaving Britain, the administration of the country was taken over by prominent local chieftains and other native civic leaders. Although the Romans brought some technology, much British technology was well advanced and the Romans tried to improve on the existing skills.
Although the invention of concrete is attributed to the Romans there is evidence that it was already in use in a limited form in Britain during the first century BCE.
The British were skilled in the arts and produced ornamental jewelry and pottery which had been exported to Europe. They had constructed defensive structures such as hill forts. They were proficient in warfare with spears, bows and arrows. Small round stones found in such sites indicated the use of slings or catapults.
To maintain control, a number of forts and garrisons were established throughout Britain and the existing roads improved where necessary to facilitate the rapid deployment of troops and the distribution of supplies. The local population were required to maintain the road system and received tax relief for their efforts. The presence of these forts and garrisons required the provision of food and other services and vast areas were required to produce these goods. An example is the area of the Somerset levels which was like a huge market garden that provided supplies for the garrisons at Exeter, Gloucester, Bath and the forts in between. Local fishermen were contracted to supply fresh fish, and farmers contracted to grow sheep, pigs, cattle and poultry to service these establishments. Compliant local chiefs sometimes made a handsome living from these undertakings.[source?]
Initially efforts to paganize the country were attempted but later abandoned. Jewish Christian missionaries from Gaul began to mission the West country and before the end of the first century AD had established a 'Celtic' Christian Church that spread such that by the mid second century much of Cornwall, Devon, Western Dorset, and South Somerset had adopted Christianity and subsequently the spread of Christianity continued eastward and strongly northward into Wales through the next two centuries, especially after the adoption of Christianity by Rome. The Romans had built shrines and temples to their pagan gods and continued to patronize these, even after the adoption of Christianity by Rome. Such a temple was located on the end of Brean Down on the north coast of Somerset.
- The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (1998) Hornblower, Spawforth eds. Oxford University Press pp.129–131.
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