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Roman Britain: A New History Paperback – May 1, 2010

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A detailed portrait for nonspecialists of the many facets of Romano-British society as revealed by archaeological excavation, including the most recent discoveries...may become the standard archaeological survey of Roman Britain for students and lay readers.” (Historian)

“Simultaneously scholarly and attractive.” (Classical Bulletin)

About the Author

Guy de la Bédoyère is the author of numerous books on the period, including Eagles Over Britannia, Roman Towns in Britain, and Defying Rome: The Rebels of Roman Britain. He lives in England.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287484
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Chris Sterling on January 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift but much enjoyed going through and reading chunks of it before giving it. While I have seen many of the places discussed, that's not a requirement to enjoy this combination of good writing and modern publishing which can use run-of-color throughout. The author does a fine job of melding the physical remains of today with the long period (nearly 400 years) of Roman occupation of Britain. And it's not all about soldiers and fighting either--much of the book is given over to everyday life in Roman Britain, both by the small and wealthy elite and the far more numerous but individually forgotten common people. This is a fine example to show how history can be anything but dry and boring---the author does a good job communicating his enthusiam for his subject.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By N. Evans on December 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I like Bedoyere. His introduction sets the stage for the book in a fine way. His reminder that perhaps archaeology is not as infallible as many these days would like to believe is both welcome and the sign of a well-balanced historian. The book deals first with the history of the period of Roman occupation of Britain and then with social aspects of this era. The first half is sometimes dry and gets bogged down in facts and counter-facts. The second half is a great improvement and one gets an excellent picture of what Roman life in a frontier province could be like. His evidence is up to date, and includes information on the stadium unearthed in 2005. Bedoyere's style is uninteresting, and his work is nothing groundbreaking, but this goes by unnoticed because of the illustrations and the great interest he takes in the period. He is not afraid of making didactic points now and again, and occasionally draws comparisons between our world and its attitudes and the Roman world. Whether he's right or wrong in his conclusions, this is the sign of a good historian and I would encourage him to further develop this aspect of his work. Additionally, the fabulous presentation he gives by way of colorful maps, drawings and pictures are reason enough to buy this book. Pictures, especially to the student of history, are indeed worth a thousand words, and in this respect the book far exceeds expectations.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband on September 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Whenever encountering a quality book published by Thames & Hudson, I will always take note of it. The swirling dolphins on the spine generally indicate a very good quality book for the money.

Until I purchased a copy of this book last year (2006) the only meaningful book on my shelves was ROMAN BRITAIN by Salway but the addition of this beautiful book rivals that from 1993 issued by Peter Salway.

Though this book is a bit smaller in overall size than the Salway book, it has as many pages and is loaded with both photographs and color illustrations, 285 illustrations and 75 color. Covering multitude of subjects from conquering and garrisoning, to town building and administration, to people, places, and religion, this is a wonderful book. It would be difficult to choose which book, this one or the Salway, is the better.

If a reader has any interest in this period, then this is a book he/she may want to at the very least browse through.

Semper Fi.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HistoryGradStudent on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Roman Britain is a tough subject to study. Many historians avoid it, and many feel challenged by it. Bedoyere's Roman Britain is a very well organized, argued, and presented book on the subject, and can be a great start before reading the classic study from Peter Salway. The book is filled with details that allow the reader to get a very full understanding of the origins of Britain's people, as well as the influence that Rome had on Britain.

The book includes numerous maps and photographs of the landscapes and archaeological findings that provide the interpretation of a very difficult subject to grasp. It also places a high emphasis on etymology and language.

Like most ancient civilization books, it can be bogged down with too much detail and information that can lead the book to seem very dry. Another criticism I have for the book comes from the many interpretations from archeology. Many interpretations of Ancient civilizations have a "probably" factor to them since written documents are limited to explain the significance of architecture and artifacts. These details can wander the reader from the main point the author is attempting to make, and Bedayore is no different. However, the book is a wonderful introduction for complete and full understanding of Roman Britain.
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Format: Paperback
This well written and unusually well illustrated book is a solid introduction to Roman Britain. To a considerable extent, this is a thoughtful and cautious overview of the primary source of information about Roman Britain, the archaeological record. The author opens with 2 concise chapters summarizing the narrative history of Roman Britain with an initial chapter on pre-Roman Britain, the conquest of Britain, and the establishment of Roman institutions through the middle of the second century. The second chapter summarizes the conventional narrative through the end of Roman rule in the fifth century. The following chapters cover the administration of Roman Britain, military installations (a particularly important part of the archaeological remains), towns, the economy, the countryside (including discussion of another prominent archaeological remnant - villas), the population of Britain, religion, and the aftermath of the end of Roman rule. Several themes emerge. One is the essential feature of Britain as a Roman province. This includes the wholesale transformation of much of Britain with incorporation into the wider economic world of the empire, the emergence of towns, and the spread of Roman-Mediterranean cultural institutions. The key role of the Roman state in mediating the transformation of Britain and in particular, the importance of the Roman military, whose roles extended into administration and public works, is an important theme. At the same time, de la Bedoyere emphasizes the importance of indigenous British adoption of Roman practices, the somewhat syncretic aspects of Roman Britain, and the important of clientage in governing Britain. The author's analysis is generally useful in sense that it casts light on Roman Imperial administrative practices.Read more ›
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