Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from 43 to 410 CE. During that time, the territory conquered was raised to the status of a Roman province, Britannia.

Roman General Julius Caesar had invaded Britain in 55-54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars. Emperors Augustus and Caligula organized planned invasions which were called off at various points between 34 BC and 40 CE. Finally, under Emperor Claudius, the Province of Britannia was established in 43 CE. By 84, Britannia comprised virtually all of present-day England and Wales. However, the northerly land of Caledonia (modern Scotland) proved difficult to conquer, and Emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius had two walls (including Hadrian's Wall) built to keep out the Caledonians. Around 197 AD, Emperor Septimus Severus divided Britain into two provinces: Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. Further subdivisions were established in the 3rd and 4th centuries. As the Roman heartland came under increasing threats, the final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410; the native kingdoms are considered to have formed Sub-Roman Britain after that.

Britannia is still used as a figurative term for England and/or the United Kingdom, or a gynomorphic personification thereof.

Britannia in Agent of Byzantium[]

Nine centuries after the Western Empire withdrew from Britannia, loyal Romans such as Basil Argyros still thought of the region by that name. The area had been thoroughly settled by Germanic tribes, who rejected the Latin name, and instead called their country Angleland.[1]

Britannia in "A Massachusetts Yankee in King Arthur's Court"[]

Little is known about the history of Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the rise of the Saxon kingdoms. In 1963, an archaeological expedition to Colchester, England found an American dime in a pre-Saxon town which was believed to be a historical analog of King Arthur's Camelot. While most believed that it was left there by a careless tourist in recent times, visiting US President John F. Kennedy knew better.

Britannia in "Merchants of Discord"[]

During the reign of Severus Alexander, Britannia was a region where men of many different cultural backgrounds mixed and met. Sometimes these meetings had tragic results. Quintus Vestinus Corvus, a decurion of Brocolitia along Hadrian's Wall, witnessed an example of such.

Britannia in Ruled Britannia[]

Incidents from the Roman conquest of Britannia were dramatised by William Shakespeare in Boudicca (1598), a play which encouraged the people of England to revolt against Spanish rule.


  1. "Unholy Trinity", generally.