Crazy Catapults inspired by the Romans in Yorkshire

Romans in Yorkshire

The Romans first came to Britain, lead by Julius Caesar in 55 BC. The main invasion however, took place in 43 AD lead by the Emperor Claudius. He landed his troops at Richborough in Kent in the south of England. By 47 AD the Romans had defeated most of the tribes of British people south of the Humber and had built a fortress at Lincoln. North of this area Britain was occupied by two tribes, the Parisi in East Yorkshire and the Brigantes in the rest of Yorkshire and northern England.
In 71 AD the Romans sent the 9th Legion to build a fortress in York. Forts were also built at Brough on Humber and Malton. In 78-9 AD Agricola, the Roman General pushed the Roman Frontier further north taking in the rest of Yorkshire, and the Romans reached the Scottish Lowlands in 84 AD. In 122 AD Hadrian’s Wall was built. The Romans made Yorkshire their home.

The military presence of the Romans was secured by building substantial forts, These were quickly accompanied by towns, often forming outside the forts, which were linked by a network of roads. In the countryside there were villas. The remains of many of these can be found in Yorkshire’s museums.  During the end of the 4th Century Roman Britain was under threat from Saxons invading the east and north shores. To defend Britain, the Romans built a series of small forts along the coast now known as Saxon Shore Forts. The forts in Yorkshire are signal stations. It is thought that a small number of troops would be based in them and if they saw the invading Saxons they would send a message to more major forts such as Malton and York to send troops. The Romans finally left Britain in 410.

Roman Celebrities come to York

York was one of the most important towns of Roman Britain and in 209 AD the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus came to York with his family for two years. He made York the capital of 'Upper Britain' and used it as a base for wars with the tribes in Scotland. Sadly his visit was cut short by his death. His body was cremated and taken back to Rome.

Severus was not the only Emperor to visit York. In 306 the Emperor Constantius died of an illness whilst staying in York. His son Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in York, at the age of 21. Constantine went on to become one of the most famous Roman Emperors. He was a great military leader and is known as the first Christian Emperor, having introduced Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. The City of Constantinople (now Istanbul) was named after him.

Roman Mystery

Much of the expansion of Roman Britain was carried out by the 9th Legion. The 9th Legion was last recorded in York in 107/8 AD. Once northern England had been conquered the legion was sent further north to fight the Caledonians. The legion sustained heavy losses during battle and then the legion simply disappeared. Some historians think the legion was wiped out in this battle whilst others that they were then sent to fight in other parts of the Roman Empire where it disappeared. Was it wiped out in battle or were the soldiers sent to other legions? No one knows and the disappearance of the 9th Legion remains one of the Romans greatest mysteries.

Author Rosemary Sutcliffe was inspired by this story and wrote the children’s book 'The Eagle of the Ninth'.

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