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The initial interest in Britain by the Romans was primarily gold and fame.  Caesar claimed he had to invade Britain because otherwise the British Celts would rouse the Gallic Celts to revolt.  Caesar’s first invasion in 55 B.C. failed, but his second attempt in 54 B.C. was successful, despite not finding any gold.

In A.D. 43, the Romans returned and finally conquered all of Britain.  Through Roman influence great roads connected every region of Britain and still do today.  Urban life changed as the city became popular.  London sprang into existence, and luxury towns like Bath took shape.  Wealthy Romans built country villas which they staffed with Celtic peoples.

The first Roman to truly care about Britain’s future was Agricola.  Agricola’s biggest influence was his great Hadrian’s Wall.  The wall separates modern-day Scotland and England.  It is just less than eighty miles long and is fifteen to thirty feet high.  Agricola built it to keep out the Picts and to provide a launching point for attacks.  It was not extremely useful because the Picts could sail down the coastline and attack.  Hadrian’s Wall finally became just a demarcation line between Romans and Picts.

Ultimately, Christianity was the greatest contribution by the Romans.  The pagans were converted and churches, monasteries, and scriptoria were built everywhere.  When the Romans left, Celtic Christianity developed on its own until the arrival of Augustine years later.

– Hannah S. Bowers

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