Experience, Practice, and Identity in Roman Britain: Interpretations of Roman-ness at Bath and Hadrian’s Wall, 55 BC - 410 AD Open Access

White, William (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/mp48sd972?locale=en


This thesis traces the development of certain hybrid cultures and identities in Roman Britain from 55 BC through 410 AD. Moreover, this work is primarily concerned with sources from the Hadrian’s Wall region, as well as sources from Bath. Most of the sources come from the first through the third centuries AD.

For the purposes of this study, Roman identity is understood in terms of a multiplicity of discourses. I suggest that the Roman imperial influence in Britain was largely decentralized, dynamic, and ideological in nature, which facilitated the formation of diverse hybridized cultures based on local interpretations of Roman-ness. Furthermore, I argue that the characteristics of the hybridized cultures and identities that developed generally reflected the sociopolitical circumstances in which they were formed. The case studies at Bath and Hadrian’s Wall show that even in the same province, and sometimes even in the same community, the form and function of emergent hybrid cultures could differ depending on specific context. 

Table of Contents

Introduction / 1

Historiography & Methodology / 10

I. Life at Hadrian’s Wall / 22

II. Imperial Appetites / 30

III. Wine, Beer, & Batavians / 43

IV. More than an Army / 51

V. Life at Bath / 56

VI. Power and Purpose at Bath / 64

Conclusions / 67

Bibliography / 69

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