Rome and Celtic Britain
Time: 11:00 - 17:00
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: RC052
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
The course will explore the relationship between Rome and Celtic Britain over the 500 years from Julius Caesar’s first expedition in 55 BC to the period after the Romans left in AD 410. The Romano-British still considered themselves to be part of the Roman sphere up to the 440s. The relationship was often violent but there was usually peace and a cross fertilisation of cultures.
What will we cover?
We will be concentrating on the period from 55 BC to AD 43 when Rome had a great interest in Britain but had not successfully incorporated it into the Empire. We will look at the reasons why Julius Caesar wanted to invade and the details of his two invasions in 55 and 54 BC. The relationship between Britain and Rome was a complex one with the British rulers trying to remain independent but on friendly terms with the Romans. Planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC and again in AD 40 came to nothing but there must have been close contact as a number of Roman goods appeared in Britain. We will look at the reasons for Claudius’s invasion in AD 43 and how he achieved the conquest despite fierce resistance led by Caractacus. We will also examine the relationship between Britain and Rome during the four centuries of occupation with reference to Boudicca’s rebellion, Agricola’s abortive attempt to incorporate Scotland, the decision by Hadrian and Antoninus to build walls at the northern frontier, the importance of Britain to Septimius Severus and Constantine and their families in their bids to become or remain emperor, the various usurpers in the C3rd and C4th and why the Romans ultimately abandoned Britain, leaving the old Celtic aristocracy to try to organise defences.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand why Julius Caesar invaded Britain
- Understand why Claudius conquered Britain
- Appreciate how Celtic Britain was important to the Romans.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Illustrated lectures, discussions, questions, reading and analysis of original texts (in translation), museum visit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Pen and paper and a good pair of shoes for the museum visit.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Another Classics history or art history class. See prospectus or website for details.
After a BA in History & Geography at Keele with Music, Education and Greek Studies as subsidiaries, William Sterling taught History full-time before becoming a Civil Servant working for the Departments of Transport and Education. This allowed him to study part-time for his MA from Birkbeck and PhD from King’s College, London. From 1992, he lectured in Adult Education at a number of colleges before joining the City Lit in 2008. Since 1994 he has been an official Gallery Guide at the British Museum, covering the whole museum but specialising in the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Etruscans, the Medieval & Modern European and Enlightenment Galleries. As a lecturer, he specialises in those same areas as well as Royal History (especially British Monarchs from 1603 to 1910), Composers’ Lives and other Cultural, especially interdisciplinary, topics. He also lectures on Cruise Ships on subjects ranging from Vikings to Shakespeare. He runs a website offering free resources on the subjects he teaches.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.