All MCPL branches will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24, and will remain closed on Thursday, November 25, for Thanksgiving Day. Our Virtual Branch is available 24/7.

Back to top

When Britain Was Roman

When Britain Was Roman

November 8, 2021

I was raised in an Italian family, but I always had a fondness for the British Isles. From a very early age, I was watching television from that region, including my favorites—Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People. I became a fan of Shakespeare as a teenager (yes, seriously!), and I still hope to visit Great Britain and Ireland someday.

Well maybe it was my genes calling me home, because when I became an adult, I discovered that I was nearly 100 percent British (I was adopted as an infant). I have everything: Welsh, Scottish, English, Irish. I also have a smidgeon of some of the invaders of more recent history, like Norwegian and Danish, courtesy of the Vikings and the Danes. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of my family’s Italian heritage.

Now, I’m sure there are some people who might be wondering why a person who is so British would bother looking for Italian in her genes. One of the aspects of British history that doesn’t seem to get that much attention is the occupation of the Isles by the Romans just after the turn of the first millennia, starting around 43 AD. Britain would be considered part of the Roman Empire for the next 367 years until problems back home forced the Romans to leave.

Today, many view Britain as a powerful country with a long history of its Kings and Queens forming world-spanning empires. However, long ago, Britain was just a collection of tribes that were seen by the Romans as uncivilized and backwards. People like the Brigantes, Silures, and Iceni (the famous Boudicca’s people) fought hard to resist Roman conquest.

But it was only the tribes of the northern Scottish Highlands, such as the Caledonians, who were able to hold back the conquerors. They were such a thorn in the side of the Romans that they eventually gave up and created Hadrian’s Wall (named after the famed General) to separate the northern part of Britain and Scotland from the rest of the island.

This portion of British history is fascinating to me because it shows how so much of that time was just nonstop invasion by mainland Europeans. It is sad that, except for Boudicca’s rebellion, the Romans’ time in Britain gets much less attention than the Norman and Viking conquests. If you are as interested in this history as I am, MCPL has some wonderful materials you should check out:

Whether you are looking into your own heritage, the history of the Roman Empire, or you just like to go back in time, I highly recommend delving into that long-ago era when Great Britain was Roman.

Pamela M.
Antioch Branch

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

View All Blogs

Read Similar Blogs:
History of the World

Resources You May Also Like


Learn history in a dynamic multimedia experience.
More Info

American Indian Correspondence

Explore letters and images from 1833 to 1893.
More Info

Irish Newspaper Archives

Find articles from Ireland’s leading newspapers.
More Info

Events You May Also Like

Beginning Genealogy (Zoom)

Mon, Jan 10 2022
2:00pm - 3:00pm Central
Virtual Event
Find out the fundamentals of beginning your genealogical research project. We will discuss organization, census information, vital records, and where to look for information.

Blogs You May Also Like

Reads for Kwanzaa!
Read More

Reads for Kwanzaa!

Wednesday, December 26, was the first day of Kwanzaa, a weeklong holiday that pays tribute to African heritage and culture
When Britain Was Roman
Read More

When Britain Was Roman

I was raised in an Italian family, but I always had a fondness for the British Isles.
Meet Cathay Williams: The Only Female Buffalo Soldier
Read More

Meet Cathay Williams: The Only Female Buffalo Soldier

Join Mid-Continent Public Library on
Tale of a “Friend”-ly Visit
Read More

Tale of a “Friend”-ly Visit

Wilbur opened the door to my Quaker ancestry.

Was this page helpful? Yes No