By Guy de la Bédoyère MA FSA FHA



Welcome to Roman Britain, a site with pages about the 367 years that Britain was Britannia, a province of the Roman Empire. But there are also pages about my other interests which include coinage, Egypt, aviation archaeology and the 17th century diarists Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn.

Owing to a change of my ISP this website will now cease to exist on 4 July 2016. In due course I hope to restore it somewhere else but that will not be in the immediate future.



NEW BOOK! My new book, The Real Lives of Roman Britain, is published in May 2015 by:

 Yale University Press - Real Lives

Amazon - Real Lives of Roman Britain


Roman Britain is revealed as a place in which the ambitious scrambled for power and prestige, the devout sought solace and security through religion, and men and women eke out existences in a provincial frontier land. You’ll meet Fortunata the slave girl, Emeritus the frustrated centurion, the grieving father Quintus Corellius Fortis and the brilliant metalworker Boduacus, amongst numerous others.

Many of the inscriptions used for this book can be found here:

Roman Inscriptions of Britain - a brilliant resource

You can listen to an illustrated lecture I gave on the talk in Australia on 11 April 2015 here:

Roman Archaeology Group Lecture, University of Western Australia at Perth  - Real Lives of Roman Britain


 for links

 to buy my books. amazon links will take you straight to discounted offers

  for other links on roman britain

 to contact me



If you wish to contact me you may do so with this email address (left – though I cannot guarantee a reply) or c/o:

Thames and Hudson, 181A High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QX Tel: +44 (0)20 7845 5000

Please note: I am often contacted by students or other people with queries or questions about archaeological or numismatic matters. In general, IF I have time (and I make no guarantee of this), I’m happy to field queries as a matter of goodwill but please keep them as brief as possible – I simply haven’t time to provide complex advice or detailed answers, especially for people who already have tutors, course notes and reading lists at their disposal. There are two reasons:

1. I won’t necessarily have the detailed information you want to hand, and

2. Being unfamiliar with a person’s course there’s always the possibility I’d unintentionally mislead that person, and as a matter of preference I would urge you to seek advice from your tutor(s) first.

I’m sorry to say that, regrettably, in a few instances one or two adult students have taken exception to the idea that I’m not available at their beck and call and subjected me to the most extraordinary tirades. One actually wrote to complain that this website did not have a page devoted to her specific essay title, though that was by no means the rudest!



If you wish to invite me to give a lecture or talk, by all means contact me on the email address illustrated above and I will let you know whether I am available and what the charge is. If you are contacting me from an archaeology group attached to a university I will do what I can to accept your invitation and look favourably on a modest or nil charge apart from expenses, but this depends very much on location and date. Please however note that I no longer work as a fulltime freelance historian, writer and broadcaster; I work as a fulltime History and Classical Civilization teacher.

But if you want to CONTACT me:

1. Because you’re working for a TV production company

2. Because you‘re a publisher or author who wants to use one of my pictures


3. Because you have a find you want me to identify

Then   and read that page first!


 To see sample pages from my new book Letters of Samuel Pepys





 ROMANIZATION: one of the more pointless debates these days is whether or not Romanization is an obsolete word or not. I think this is a) utter nonsense and b) misleading, and here I explain why.

  THE END OF ROMAN BRITAIN:  I am often asked why Roman Britain came to an end. The straight answer is that no-one really knows. This webpage discusses the evidence.





AUXILIARIES: the auxiliary forces of the Roman army in Britain     

  LEGIONS: the legions of the Roman army in Britain

 HADRIAN’S WALL: a brief tour of the Wall and its remarkable remains. N.B. this page does not work properly on the Mozilla Firefox browser. It works perfectly well on Internet Explorer. I’ve no doubt I could solve this problem if I spent ages working on it – but I think I’d rather spend my time doing other things!




CARAUSIUS: rebel emperor in Britain from 286-293

DATES AND HISTORY of Roman Britain

GODS AND GODDESSES OF ROMAN BRITAIN: a list of all the written evidence for gods and goddesses in Roman Britain

ROMAN VILLAS IN BRITAIN: a summary of what villas looked like and how they were built.

PEOPLE OF ROMAN BRITAIN  potted biographies of the main personalities in Roman Britain.

EVIDENCE FOR ROMAN TOWNS IN BRITAIN:  the historical and epigraphic background.

  THE END OF ROMAN BRITAIN:  a discussion of the evidence.

Roman Inscriptions of Britain - a brilliant resource



To buy my books click on the picture:


You’ll find a link by most of the books that will take you straight to discounted copies at Amazon!

Roman Inscriptions of Britain

 To see sample pages from my new book Letters of Samuel Pepys




ENGLISH MILLED COINAGE: the new coins issued from 1663 on

LOVE TOKENS: coins engraved with details of births or deaths. Some can be traced, some cannot. They’re all fascinating.


BRITANNIA: Britannia through the ages from the year 119 to 2005.



 for the Ramasseum (or Ramesseum), the mortuary temple of the pharaoh Ramesses II, is probably the finest of all the ruins in Western Thebes. It’s one of my favourite buildings. The page includes a unique image – I’ve joined two halves of a statue. The top half is in the British Museum and has been there since 1817. The bottom half is still in the temple.





Yes, even I can find Roman Britain a bit too much.  Here I am at a 2007 shoot for Time Team at Binchester Roman Fort after various scenes with the late Mick Aston (who sadly died in June 2013) and Tony Robinson where we talked about anything BUT Roman Britain between takes.




 AIRCRAFT   I do also have an interest in aircraft, especially of the Second World War, and have a pilot’s licence. Or, rather, I did – it costs too much so I’ve let it lapse.

I have written a number of genealogy articles for Your Family Tree magazine and Practical Family History – you can read the remarkable experience I had with tracing an eighteenth-century bible owner’s living descendants.  for details.

 for JOHN EVELYN (1620-1706) - savant, diarist, gardener, writer, friend of Samuel Pepys and co-founder of the Royal Society

 for John Evelyn’s texts

 QUESTIONS – I’m often asked about my name and other things. I’ve posted some of these here, with the answers.


OTHER LINKS ON ROMAN BRITAIN AND CLASSICAL SOURCES - a general site, as is: - a site about the Roman army - the British Museum’s collections

Classical Civilisation Resource Centre – with stacks of other links

Pyrrha’s Roman Pages

The Latin Library




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