Sub-Roman Britain is the name given to Britain from the withdrawal of the Roman legions in 410 AD to the beginning of the seventh century.
History[change | change source]
After four centuries of rule, Roman legions withdrew from Roman Britain at the beginning of the fifth century. However Roman culture and probably a vernacular Latin language survived for another two centuries with a gradual invasion by the Anglo-Saxons from northern Germany and the Jutland peninsula.
The invasion was initially halted by the Romano-British. The Anglo-Saxons obtained control of eastern England at the end of the 5th century. In the mid-6th century they started expanding again into the English Midlands. Then in the 7th century they expanded again into the south-west and the north of England. The unconquered parts of southern Britain, notably Wales and surrounding areas of western Britain, retained their Romano-British culture, in particular Christianity.
Some Anglo-Saxon histories (in context) refer to the Romano-British people by the term "Welsh", which is an Old English word meaning 'foreigner', referring to the old inhabitants of southern Britain. Historically, Wales and the south-western peninsula were known respectively as North Wales and West Wales.
One of the last Sub-Roman cities to be conquered by the Anglo-Saxons was Deva Victrix (Chester), where Roman "amphoras" were used until 616 AD. The Romano-British may have survived partly because of the Chester city walls; the city had been defended by walls since the foundation of the Deva Victrix fort on the site in 79 AD.
Notes[change | change source]
- World Wide Words
- Roger White and Philip Barker, Wroxeter: Life and Death of a Roman City, (Stroud: Tempus, 1998)
- P. Carrington, Eng. Heritage Bk. of Chester, 53; cf. S. Ward and others, Excavations at Chester: Saxon Occupation within Roman Fortress, 32-5; V.C.H. Ches. i. 238.
Bibliography[change | change source]
- Mann, J. C. Spoken Latin in Britain as evidenced by the Inscriptions, in Britannia 2 (1971)
- Morris, John. The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650. Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 1996. ISBN 1842124773
- Pearsall, Derek. Arthurian Romance: a short introduction. Blackwell. Oxford, 2005
- Smith, C. Vulgar Latin in Roman Britain: Epigraphic and other Evidence, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt 2.29.2 (1983), pp. 893 – 948
- Snyder, Christopher A. Sub-Roman Britain (AD 400-600): A Gazetteer of Sites. British Archaeological Reports (BAR) British Series No. 247. Oxford, 1996: Tempvs Reparatvm.