Release Date: 25/07/13
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
This is a book about the encounter with Roman Britain: about what the idea of 'Roman Britain' has meant to those who came after Britain's 400-year stint as province of Rome - from the medieval mythographer-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edward Elgar and W.H. Auden. What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins has traced these tales by setting out to discover the remains of Roman Britain for herself, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a splendid, though not particularly reliable, VW camper van. Via accounts of some of Britain's most intriguing, and often unjustly overlooked ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined, and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence.
Britain is what many would call a mongrel nation, we’ve been invaded and resettled many times and were a blood test to be run on every male (and this isn’t sexist but only because it’s the Y chromosome that can be tracked) you’d find within a street probably a whole range of traits from Scandinavian through to German and possibly even Mongolian to name but a few.
It’s a country that has benefited from the changes and perhaps the greatest mark on our history has been left by the Roman’s. But the question is how great an impact has this made on us? What this title by Charlotte Higgins’ presents is a factual book a view of the various Roman sites that brings it not only to life but allows you to see how its changed the way we perceive things. Its wonderfully written, it has humour, some wonderful anecdotes and all round made an entertaining read which made this a great way to bring history to life.