The Romans in Britain

David Mattingly revisits an article by Graham Webster, first published in History Today in 1980, offering a surprisingly sympathetic account of Roman imperialism.

It is a truism of history that each generation refashions the past in line with the preoccupations of the present. Graham Webster’s article on the British under Roman rule is of interest largely because it deals with the first stirrings of post-colonial consciousness in Romano-British studies, even though the conceptual framework employed by Webster prevented him from taking his insights to their logical conclusion. Today the inadequacies of Webster’s attempt to produce a ‘study in colonialism’ are apparent, but more recent revision has built on these first faltering steps.

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