Roman Conquest Case Study

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What was the impact of the Roman conquest on the religious practices of Britain? Answer by using concrete examples and case studies.

Seán Hickson 16408322

4. What was the impact of the Roman conquest on the religious practices of Britain? Answer by using concrete examples and case studies.

The Roman conquest had many significant, long term impacts on Britain. These impacts are exemplified by the changes to religious practices. Despite a lack of evidence for life pre-Roman Britain, there is increasing evidence of the implications of the conquest, which helps to pinpoint the details of these changes. It is evident from the readings that the Romans were more accommodating to certain practices in Britain than others, but
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At the beginning of the Roman Britain era the burial practices remained basically the same. The act of cremation had been a focal point of pre-roman life in Britain. It took precedence over inhumation even during the roman conquest, however the idea of preserving a body for burial who come to prominence as Christianity grew following the legalisation of the religion by Emperor Constantine . The Celts and Romans had a similar belief in the afterlife so both cultures embraced burying goods with the dead. When inhumation became more popular in the 2nd century, the people of Roman Britain still buried their dead with grave goods, as evident by the excavation of the inhumation cemetery in Dunstable, Britain, which had many coffins and grave goods. However as they were under Roman policy, people could not be buried within a settlement. Apart from infants, everyone else was buried outside of the city walls, and there is evidence that even infants were buried in the cemeteries in the later years of Roman Britain. There was stark contrast in the attitudes towards the dead. It was clear that the Romans had a negative outlook on death from the writings of Roman historians, and the burial rituals that they introduced to Britain during the conquest shows how they believed in taking all steps that were necessary to ensure that the dead did not return to haunt the living. …show more content…
Rome was not Christian when the conquest began, but as the religion grew in Rome, it was assimilated in Britain. At the beginning of the Roman Britain era Roman Gods like Jupiter were worshipped in Britain. This showed loyalty to the empire but Celtic Gods were still worshipped in private. Although Christianity was granted tolerance by Emperor Constantine in the edict of Milan in 313, there are earlier signs that Christianity was present in Britain in the 2nd century. St. Alban is said to have preached Christianity before being executed during the reign of Diocletian. It has been difficult for historians and archaeologists alike to pinpoint a time when Christianity definitely arrived, but the Synod of Arles in 314 is a definitive time for a strong establishment of Christianity. A priest, a deacon and three British Bishops attended the council in Arles. Along with the council of Arminium in 360 AD, it proved that a church hierarchy was present in Britain at the stage.* It was only after this legalisation of Christianity that the wealthy people of the Roman British society openly embraced it. Despite this, Pagan rituals were still carried out. Evidence of this is the Lullingstone Roman Villa in Kent. Following the decoration of the villa with Christian items and wall paintings, it has been analysed and shown that pagan rituals were still carried out in the villa.

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