Britain 500 CE

The Roman province is no more, as is the Roman civilization which it nourished.

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What is happening in Britain in 500CE

By 500 CE the Roman empire had left Britain almost a century before, and Roman civilization was a thing of the past.

Britain had escaped the worst of the troubles of the third century, when much of the rest of the Roman empire had suffered at the hands of invaders and rebels. The first half of the fourth century was a period of peace and prosperity – some of the largest and most beautiful Romano-British villas date from this time.

In 367, invasions from both Scotland and Ireland overwhelmed the frontier defences, but seem not to have penetrated to the south. Prosperity continued until the Roman government withdrew its protection in 410. Soon after, a combination of renewed Pictish, Irish and now Anglo-Saxon invasions caused great destruction, from which Romano-British civilization, always confined to the towns and villas, never recovered.

From the mid-fifth century, Anglo-Saxon tribes began to migrate in large numbers into southern and eastern England. With trade severely disrupted, the old Roman administrative apparatus moribund, and the newcomers hostile to urban civilization, the hallmarks of Roman life – towns, villas, the Latin language, literacy, Christianity – fell into steep decline. These had all but vanished by 500.

Next map, Britain in 750


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