Sacred BritanniaI did some archaeology when I was younger and always enjoyed working on the everyday rather than the fancy. I’ve maintained an interest in Roman history and archaeology but have lost touch with new discoveries and theories, so it was especially good to read in this book of finds made up to the mid-2010s as well as the more familiar objects and sites – it added to the fascination of this book I read in June, just now featured on Shiny New Books.

What the book basically does is take the gods and religious practices of the Romans and the gods and practices of the Britons and looks at their interaction in the context of the Roman occupation of Britain, starting from Caesar’s expeditions to the country in 55/54 BC and finishing at what is traditionally seen as the end of Roman Britain in the early 5th century AD. The chapters are themed, looking first at the role of the Druids in the whole thing, then the role of the Roman Army, which was the most definitive example of the spreading of Romans through Britain but also probably the most diverse group of “Romans” hailing from all parts of the empire, in both spreading news of their gods and taking up use of the Britons’. Related to this, there’s a whole chapter on Eastern cults which got absorbed into Roman culture then imported into Britain: the cult of Mithras and others. There’s a fascinating chapter on ancient British symbols such as horns and triple figures being absorbed into Roman iconography, and the use and re-use of different symbols and indeed individual statues and images is continued in the chapter on Christianity … [read the rest at Shiny New Books]

Thank you to Thames & Hudson for providing a book in return for an honest review on Shiny New Books.