Archive for the ‘Roman History’ Category

Views of York (2)

Posted: September 7, 2018 in History, Roman History, UK, York
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Column from Roman headquarters building (4th century AD)

Column from Roman headquarters building (4th century AD)




The birthplace of Guy Fawkes

The birthplace of Guy Fawkes

York Minster

York Minster

York Minster close

York Minster close

York Minster

The first recorded church on the site was in 627 in a record of the baptism of a King of Northumbria. This church was rebuilt and extended over the years but was finally destroyed by Danish raid in 1075. it was rebuilt in 1080 in the Norman style. The current Gothic cathedral was begun in 1220. Building continued over the next 250 years and it was eventually completed and consecrated in 1472.





Statue of Roman Emperor Constantine, who was proclaimed Emperor by the Army at York whilst he was commanding them in 306. The statue stands outside the Minster as a reminder that Constantine, as well as being proclaimed in York, was the Emperor who made Christianity an official religion in the Roman Empire.


As well as their excellent collection of tombstones and sarcophagi, the GNM has more everyday artefacts found in the local area.



Head of Constantius Chlorus – found in York

Born in 250AD in the Balkans, he first comes to notice during campaigns against Palmyra and subsequently was made governor of  Dalmatia. In 288 he was made Pretorian Prefect to the co-emperor Maximian and campaigned along the Rhine border. In 293 he was appointed Caesar (second in command / vice-Emporeror) of the Western Territories taking command of Hispania (Spain), Gaul (France) and Britannia. This was rather a poisoned chalice since Northern Gaul and Brittainia had been in revolt since 286 and was claimed by the rebel leader Carausius. Constantius defeated both Carausius and Allectus, who had assumed command of the rebels on the former’s death. He set about replacing the rebel administration and introduced the administrative reforms of Diocletian. He continued to divide his time between Britain and the Rhine frontier.

In May 305 he took over from Maximian as Augustus of the West and was joined in Gaul by his son Constantine, who many had expected to be named Cesaer in his father place, but this instead had been given to Severus, a nominee of Galerius, the Augustus of the East. Father and Son crossed over to Britain and campaigned against the Picts north of Hadrians Wall. They retired to York for the winter, but Constantius was taken ill and died. The army, rejecting the Western Cesaer, Severus, acclaimed Constantine as Emporer. In a shrewd political move, Constantine quickly accepted the role of Cesaer to Severus, thus avoiding war and giving him time to prepare for a campaign that would eventually see him control the whole empire.

The Great Northern Museum in Newcastle has a very good collection of Roman tombs and tombstones. Many of these have come from the area of Hadrians Wall and give us an insight into the variety of people serving there and where they originated in the empire.

Some of these give us textual descriptions of the people they commemorate, whilst other also include pictorial representations of the person and their trade.

There also some fine examples of stone sarcophagi.

What a wonderful experience. Visited Vindolanda a couple of years ago – a great site

Stephen Liddell

I’ve been so busy with my tours that I haven’t had a day off since April 16th and so my blog posts are currently a bit shorter than usual.  Even last week when I would be walking for up to 11 hours a day, I still had to start and finish my day with what I call Admin Work.

One of the places I most enjoyed visiting last week was the old Roman site of Vindolanda.Vindolanda is one of Europe’s most important Roman archeological sites and every summer archeologists and volunteers from around the world descend on the place.

IMG_9628One photo can’t capture just how big a site Vindolanda is

The site itself comprises at least 8 successive forts of which several were occupied before Hadrian’s Wall was built.  Regiments from across the Empire were garrisoned here. The visible stone fort dates to the early third century and the impressive…

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originally posted in July 2013

I think one of the most amazing things is the way that things have survived the eruption and which give us a great insight to the lives of everyday Romans








originally posted in July 2013



It was amazing to walk down the streets just as those Romans did in AD 70 and look into the shops and houses and try to experience how it would have been just before the eruption





Originally posted in July 2013

Went to see the British Museum Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition over the weekend. It was very good but we both agreed that it lacked a little something for us. This is most likely because we visited both sites a few years ago and saw the artifacts in situ which really adds to the sense of just how caught out the people were by the eruption – literally life stopped in an instant.

So I thought I would post some of my pictures from the two sites.

The villain of the piece - Mount Vesuvius from Herculaneum

The villain of the piece – Mount Vesuvius from Herculaneum

These shots of Herculaneum really give you an idea of how much higher the modern town level is compared to the Roman town and hence how much deposit rained down on the town in the hours following the eruption.




Romulus and Remus with the wolf (Sienna, Italy). Photo by Eric Parker (

21st April is celebrated in Rome as the city’s founding day. According to legend, this was the day in 753BCE when the abandoned twins, Romulus and Remus, who had been brought up by a wolf, returned to the banks of the Tiber to found a city. Romulus chose what would become known as the Palatine Hill and dug a ditch around it as the foundations for his wall. Remus, mocking his brother, jumped over the ditch. We can imagine that he said something along the lines ‘ so much for your wall!’ Romulus was so angered that he struck his brother down with the reply ‘ So perish anyone who leaps over my walls!’. He went on to build his city and become its first King.