Happy 1600th AnniversaryJanuary 2, 2010
Here at Downie Towers the first morning of the New Year was heralded by a long-overdue and strangely satisfying sort-out of the airing cupboard.
Fortunately, greater things beckon. AD410* was the year in which the Emperor Honorius allegedly told the Britons they would have to organise their own defences against invasion, because Rome had no troops to spare. I say ‘allegedly’ because there’s a suggestion that Honorius wasn’t writing to us but to somebody else. I don’t know how credible this is, so let’s not go there. For the purposes of this blog, Roman Britain came to an end 1600 years ago. Except…
It seems that very little in the ‘end of Roman Britain’ debate can be asserted without someone else arguing that you’ve misinterpreted the evidence. So there should be plenty of lively debate when the commemorations get going later this year. Here’s a link to the 410 website to find out about digs, events, exhibitions and opportunities for the rest of us to watch the experts disagreeing with each other.
One thing’s definite about Roman Britain, though. End it certainly did, inspiring an unknown Anglo-Saxon to write a wondrously glum poem now called ‘The Ruin’. I mean no disrespect to the Anglo-Saxons, who wrote some fabulous poetry, but it’s reassuring to know that even in the eighth century, things just weren’t what they used to be.
*readers who dislike ‘AD’ may substitute whatever term they wish