Romans

January 29th, 2016

Life in Roman Britain.

When the Romans came to Britain they brought their way of life with them. Over time, the people of Britain and the Romans mixed. The Britons began to live the Roman lifestyle and the Romans took on local customs.

The Romans built new towns. These were often protected by walls and there was everything a citizen of Roman Britain would need inside – houses, shops, meeting spaces, workshops, temples and bathhouses.

They also built grand country houses called ‘villas’. These had many rooms, some with beautifully painted walls, mosaic floors and even central heating.

What were houses like?

Most of Roman Britain was a wild place, with forests and mountains where few people lived.

People mainly lived in small villages of wooden houses with thatched roofs, much as they had before the Romans arrived.

However, some wealthy Romans lived in villas and palaces. Villas were large farms with a big house for the owners. They had lots of servants and farm workers to help run the villa.

Most of the Roman villas found by archaeologists are in the south of England. The governor of Britain had a palace in London. Another palace was beside the sea, at Fishbourne (near Chichester in West Sussex). The ruins of a Roman underfloor heating system.

Dining room

When wealthy families wanted to show off, they would throw an extravagant dinner party in the banqueting room (triclinium).

Their friends would turn up in their most fashionable robes and the party would go on for hours.

During dinner, everyone would lie across large couches, while slaves brought them food and wine. People ate with their hands, so guests cleaned themselves with perfumed water between courses.

There was also entertainment, with music, dancing and poetry readings.

Kitchen

Rich Romans would have a kitchen (culina) in their home, but they’d never dream of doing the cooking themselves. They had slaves who prepared all their meals for them.

Wealthy people would have ingredients imported from all over the Roman empire. They would have jugs of wine, olive oil and garum (a kind of fish sauce), as well as spices like pepper, ginger and cinnamon.

Cooks would use these to prepare lavish meals and some unusual delicacies, like dormice and sea urchins.

Shrine

Most homes had their own shrine to the gods called a lararium. This was a sacred place where the family made offerings.

Every day, they prayed to their gods as well as to household guardian-spirits called lares. They believed these would protect their home and keep them safe.

The family could choose any god to worship, although two favourites were Vesta, the goddess of the home and Janus, the god of doors.

Office

The tablinum was a type of office in a Roman house.

The family’s finances were stored here and it was where any business was done.

To impress visitors, the walls were brightly painted and there were stylish mosaics on the floor too.

It was usually just off the atrium and overlooked the courtyard.

Courtyard

A Roman villa didn’t have a garden. Instead, it had a courtyard inside the house called a peristylium.

This was a peaceful place where the family could relax amongst plants, sculptures and fountains.

Around the outside of the courtyard was a shaded walkway. This was sometimes decorated with beautiful wall paintings and mosaics.

 Bedrooms

Bedrooms, or cubicula, were usually small and simple.

Normally, they didn’t have much furniture. There was just a bed for sleeping on.

Romans often slept in other rooms around the house too. Sometimes they might have a nap on the couches in the living room.

Atrium

The front door of the house usually opened into the atrium.

This was a big, airy hall, often with a high ceiling. There was sometimes an opening in the roof and below this was a small pool which collected rainwater.

The atrium was one of the grandest rooms in the house. It was where guests were greeted, so it had to make a good impression.

Roman dance

January 6th, 2016

In P.E we are doing dance. We will be studying the Romans in history and English and we made up dances to show the battle between Roman gladiators. At first we enter the colosseum showing our strengths, then we battle and finally we celebrate our victory riding around in our chariots.