Burke, John. Roman England.

London: Artus Books, 1983.

There are two kinds of pictorial, coffee-table-type history books: Those for which the pictures are the main reason for picking up the book at all, and those for which the illustrations are, um, only illustrative.

This is generally one of the former, and as such it’s not bad. The author produced a number of popular histories of Britain (and a couple of novels) as opposed to being an academic, which means the narrative of the Roman conquest, occupation, and eventual abandonment of Britain tends to be superficial at best and rather cutesy and flip at worst. But you can skim over the text and concentrate on the many images, which are very informative and well-reproduced, including aerial shots of Roman cities and forts and villas now buried under fields (and visible only by crop-marks), archaeological sites, surviving walls and other structures like Richborough and Portchester Castle and York’s sewers and (of course) Hadrian’s Wall, excavated mosaics and grave goods, and even occasional soldiers’ possessions.

Published in: on 21 March 2014 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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