70 CE to 78 CE.
This episode we'll be talking about how awful life under Roman Rule was in the first century, the year of the four emperors, and the events that lead up to Agricola.
(History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History)
We should probably talk a little bit about what a nightmare Roman occupation was, since that’s probably been lost in the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people listening thought the effect the Romans had upon the Britons was not too terrible. I can imagine a few of you are thinking … “They get togas, wine, heated floors, and whatnot. Sure, they have to pay taxes to the Romans and they have additional debts... but walk it off, Britons, you should see my credit card bill!”
But I think that would be a mistake. And before you start shouting “Nativist Bias!” at me (which is something I’m almost certainly guilty of, incidentally) let me first try to explain my reasoning for why I think that the Roman conquest and occupation would have been a nightmare for the early britons. To do this, lets talk about the conquest period, which stretches from Claudius’ first invasion to the mid 80’s AD. During that period, even if we are conservative, there were between 100k and 250k Britons killed by the Romans. And keep in mind that the population of the whole of Britannia at this time was probably less than 2 million. So it could be that more than 1 in 10 were killed. And that doesn’t even take into account the number of people injured, maimed, or enslaved.
And if you were lucky enough to avoid being killed or crippled during the conquest, and were a young male, there was a good chance the Romans would “recruit you” (and I use the term loosely) and put you a unit serving in the Danube or elsewhere. And the recruiting numbers in Britannia were actually higher than the average for the other Roman provinces. So not only had the population been decimated, and a large percentage of the surviving population had been crippled, but the remaining able bodied men were now serving in Roman battles far away.Click here to be able to read the full rough transcript.