The Best Books On Roman Britain

The Books I Picked & Why

Roman Britain

By Richard Hobbs, Ralph Jackson

Roman Britain

Why this book?

This is the British Museum’s take on Roman Britain and as you’d expect, there are gorgeous photos on every page. If you can drag your eyes away from the visual feast, the text is intelligent and informative and there are suggestions for further reading. Don’t just leave it adorning the coffee table – pick it up and discover a lost world!


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Britain Begins

By Barry Cunliffe

Britain Begins

Why this book?

First, a confession: this book is not strictly about Roman Britain. But more lovely photos, plus lots of maps and plans, give us fascinating clues about life in these islands before—and after—the invasion. After all, even in “Roman” Britain, plenty of people were more or less beyond the sphere of Imperial control. 


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An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409

By David Mattingly

An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409

Why this book?

Part of what fascinates me about Roman Britain is the idea that centuries before Britain took control of large areas of the globe, we were once a scatter of remote islands on the fringe of somebody else’s Empire.  This book attempts to tell the story of the Roman occupation without starting from the assumption that the invasion was a Good Thing. After all, not everyone was desperate for better roads, posh crockery and a flashy bath house. 


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Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

By Charlotte Higgins

Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Why this book?

A modern tour around sites of Roman Britain, and a fascinating look at the stories we later Britons have told ourselves about the Roman era over the ensuing centuries – in ways that perhaps say more about us than they do about the Romans. 


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Roman Britain: A Sourcebook

By Stanley Ireland

Roman Britain: A Sourcebook

Why this book?

This is the place to go for the written evidence, conveniently gathered together in one slim paperback: all the way from the distant whispers of early Mediterranean travellers to fifth-century Christian writers. Letters, coins, altars, curses, graffiti and gravestones find a place here beside the scrolls of historians for whom “good writing” was not always synonymous with “sticking to the facts”. 


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