On the Edge of Empire: Being Roman in Britain

What does it mean to be Roman on the edge of the Roman Empire? How can we write the history of people who have left very little written trace of themselves? This module explores these questions through an in-depth look at the history from the 1st century BCE to the 5th century CE of a single Roman province: Britain. You will have the opportunity to learn to use a wide range of evidence, including not only Roman historians like Tacitus, but also archaeological evidence, stone inscriptions, and wooden documents like the Vindolanda Tablets, to reconstruct the nature of Romano-British society. How can we use pottery evidence to reconstruct Britain’s economic connections to the continent? How can Iron Age coins give us insight into the political machinations that led to Britain’s 1st century CE conquest by the Romans? Broader topics may include the effects of Roman imperialism on conquered peoples, the place of migration and ethnic diversity in Roman Britain, and the role historical trends such as post-colonialism and globalization have played in our understanding of life in the Roman provinces.