They came, they saw, they changed Britain forever...

Rome's great British conquest was a gradual process that at times involved cooperative, diplomatic arrangements with native tribes who were happy to trade with the marauders but at other times had to be brutally enforced by the invaders whose levels of military organization were quite different to the savage approach our tribes took to defending themselves.

Perhaps most famous in her rebuttal of the Romans was Queen of the Iceni, the ferocious Boudicca and such was the aggression of Scottish Celts and Picts that the Romans never succeeded in settling north of the border, preferring to build another of our great national monuments, Hadrian's Wall,  instead to separate England from Scotland.

However, in the South, the locals were quick to realise that Roman life wasn't so bad at all and we soon adopted many of the sophisticated ideas that they brought across the channel with them. Much of the British culture that we have today we owe to the Romans for importing.

Hadrian's Wall, Cumbria

As you can tell from the size and sturdiness of Hadrian's Wall which is still very much intact today, the Romans were great builders. They constructed the very roads that they marched on, with great efficiency and precision. Many of these roads still exist today in the UK and can be recognised by their arrow-straightness. Some of the best examples are the Fosse Way, Watling Street and Dere Street.

Decorative mosaic flooring

The Romans not only built roads to where they were going, but when they arrived they built luxurious villas and re-arranged whole towns to fit the kind of lifestyle that they were used to. The best surviving examples of these kind of lodgings are Bignor Roman Villa in West Sussex  and Fishbourne Roman Palace near Chichester. These elaborate homes had such modern inventions as tiled floors, underfloor heating, baths and gardens!

It has to be said, the Romans knew how to live, and there is still one place in particular that many of us go to relax and unwind that we owe entirely to their influence.

The natural thermal springs at Aquae Sulis, now known as Bath Spa, were first exploited by the Romans who channeled the hot water through lead pipes and into dedicated bathing chambers.

Though the spa fell into disrepair and was all but lost after the eventual withdrawal of the Romans from Britain, it was rediscovered in 1878 by Major Charles Davis and restored to all it's former glory. Well worth a visit for a day of indulgent pampering with a touch of history!

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