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Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain

Celtic People lived in Britain before Roman times; the Celts started coming to Britain from Europe around 700 BC.

In the year AD 43, the Romans invaded Britain.

The Romans mainly settled in the south of Britain. They called this land Britannia. They ruled over it for nearly 400 years.

Sea-raiders from Europe invaded and settled in Britain. Some of the invaders were Angles, some were Saxons, some were Jutes. We call them all Anglo-Saxons.

In AD 793, raiders attacked the monnastery at Lindisfarne, a small island off the north-east coast of England. They were Vikings from Scandinavia. Vikings terrorized parts of the world for about 300 years.

Boudicca Revolt

Boudicca was a Celtic Queen.  She  lived in the area that is now called East Anglia. In AD 60, Boudicca's husband died. Teh Roman raided his land and homes. This made Boudicca very angry and she decided to fight back. She led a hug revolt against the new Roman rulers. This made her one of the most famous women in British history.

Boudica and her army attacked the Roman towns of Colchester, London, and St Albans. Around 70,000 Romans and Romanized britons were killed. However, in the end the British rebels did lose. Tacitus was a roman historian who lived soon after Boudicca's time. He wrote that ' almost 80,000 Britons fell. Our own soldiers were 400 dead. Boudicca poinsoned herself.'

Dio Cassius was a Roman historian who wrote about Boudicca 100 years after she was alive, This is how he described her:

'She had great intelligence ... She was very tall and grim; her gaze was sharp and her voice was harsh; she grew her long auburn hair to the hips and wore a large golden torque and a big patterned cloak.'

Tacitus wrote about what she did before the battle: ' Boudicca drove round all the tribes in a chariot with her daughters in front of her. "I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth. I am fighting as an ordianry person for my lost freedom ... Consider how many of you are fighting - and why. Then you will win this battle, or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do!"

Hadrian's Wall

To guard against future Rebellion, the Roman army built more roads and larger fortresses. They also built Hadrian's Wall in northern England, to stop raiders attacking from Scotland.  This wall is 117 kilometers (72 miles) long. and stretches from one side of the country to the other. It was about 6.4 meters (20 feet) high. It was begun in AD 122 by order of the Emperor Hdrian. About 14,000 soldiers manned the wall. They lived in sixteen forts.

Socialize at public baths

Roman towns had streets in a grid pattern, and at the centre was the forum. This was a market place and meeting place. People also met to socialize at the public bath.

(Sutton Hoo)


Viking dragonship had at least 32 oarsmen and a large sail. There frightening figures carved on the prow. Viking dragonships could sail in bad storms and in shallow water, and were light enough to be lifted across land. 

In  865, a large Viking army conquered East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia. By 870, all the kingdoms in England except Wessex were controlled by the Vikings. The king of Wessex, Alfred the Great, stopped the Vikings taking his land. the Vikings settled in the kingdoms they had won. This area was called the Donelaw.


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