The legacy of Roman Britain is all around us.
But now its been enhanced by modern-day technology, thanks to an interactive map which shows how the country looked nearly 2,000 years ago.
Created by HeritageDaily, it reveals the ancient roads over today’s Google Street Maps, revealing how today’s towns and cities began.
The function allows people to view the street layouts of most major Roman settlements of the period, in addition to the main road networks that connected them.
Specifically, it focuses on London, Manchester, Chester and York, where most of the Romans settled after their invasion in 43AD.
Just like an ordinary Google Map, people select a location and zoom in using the control and scroll function.
Alternatively, they can use the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ buttons on the map itself.
Roman settlements are marked with red boxes, while walls are seen in black. Meanwhile, roads appear as white and connecting highways are shown in orange.
The map gives users a unique view into how their own cities and villages were during Roman rule.
‘The conquest of the island inhabitants (the Britons) led to a distinctive Romano-British culture emerging thanks to a a blend of existing pagan worship and Roman traditions,’ says Heritage Daily.
As it was: Many of Britain’s major towns and cities we know today such as London (Londinium – pictured), Manchester (Mamucium) and York (Eboracum), were founded by the Romans
Did you know? By the end of the fourth century, Roman Britain had an estimated population of 3.6 million people – of whom 125,000 consisted of the Roman army and their families
‘The Roman administration also introduced mass urban planning projects, industrial production for export and the construction of road networks across the island for military application, trade and settlement.’
‘By the end of the fourth century, Roman Britain had an estimated population of 3.6 million people, of whom 125,000 consisted of the Roman army and their families and dependents.’
Many of Britain’s major towns and cities we know today such as London (Londinium), Manchester (Mamucium) and York (Eboracum), were founded by the Romans.
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE IN EUROPE IN THE FIRST CENTURY AD?
The first century BC was a time of turmoil for the Iron Age settlements being forced to the edge of Europe by the advancing Roman armies.
As Julius Caesar’s troops thrust towards northern Gaul, the Coriosolitae – the Celtic tribe that buried the coin hoard in Jersey – were being forced out of their home territory.
Gaul – which covered modern day France and parts of surrounding countries – finally fell to the Romans in 51 BC.
Its northern section, known to the Romans as Armorica but covering present day Brittany and Normandy, had close links to southern Britain.
Julius Caesar observed that armies from Britannia were often to be fighting in alliance with tribes from Gaul against his men.
Home for the Celts was typically a roundhouse with thatched roofs of straw or heather and walls of wattle and daub when timber was plentiful.
Porridge, beer and bread made from rye and barley were commonly eaten and drunk from vessels made of horn.
The image of long-haired, moustachioed Celts depicted in the cartoon tales of Asterix and Obelix actually has a basis in historical records. Classical texts mention that both Celtic men and women had long hair, with the men sporting beards or moustaches.
One Roman, Diodorus Siculus, wrote: ‘When they are eating the moustache becomes entangled in the food, and when they are drinking the drink passes, as it were, through a sort of strainer’.
With Christianity not coming to northern Europe until the 6th century AD, the Celts worshipped a variety of pagan Gods and practised polygamy.
Important religious festivals included Beltane, May 1, the beginning of the warm season, and Lugnasad, August 1, celebrating the ripening of the crops.
Other feasts included Imbolc, February 1, when sheep begin to lactate, and Samhain, November 1, a festival when spirits could pass between the worlds, thought to have carried on in the tradition of Halloween.
As for leisure activities for both the young and old, glass gaming pieces have been found in later Iron Age burials, suggesting the Celts played board games.
Children may have occupied their free time by practising their skill at the slingshot – a common Iron Age weapon.