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25Sep 2015
The Roman Legacy in London

roman legacy London


The Roman Empire has left much behind when they left Britain. Their technology, government, town planning and architecture had great influence in the past. They left the land some 1500 years ago, but what remained after them was a changed country. It had roads, towns, new plants and animals. Christianity is also one thing left behind by Romans. Church design, the Roman Basilica in particular, is still used till this day. Here are few of the more notable roman heritage landmarks in London:


- London Wall - this important fortification was built by the Romans around the city of Londinium. There is proof that the wall is centuries old, built between the 190 and 225. Because of the strategic importance of the city, the wall was further developed till the end of the 4th century. It was used for more than 1000 years after that. Later on, in the 18th and 19th century, substantial demolitions took place. Today, after cleaning and redesign, most of the wall is gone, with only few fragments remaining.


London Wall


- London Wall Gates - the wall built by the Romans had a number of gates. The purpose of these was to better control traffic to different Roman roads of big importance. The number of gates was initially seven, but that increased quickly due to the constant growth of the city. With most of the gates now gone, a visitor can see the remains of one such below the underpass of the road from Tower Hill Station to Tower of London. The ruins are of a postern gate, which was used to control pedestrian access to the city. This, however, was probably added around the 12th century.


London Wall Gates


- Amphitheatre - the Roman Amphitheatre was built around AD70. The original design featured wood, but later renovations that took place around early 2nd century changed the interior to rag-stone walls and included tiled entrances. This was the first amphitheatre built in the country. It was used for public events, among which gladiator fights, religious activities, entertaining fights with animals and execution of criminals. The building remained derelict after the Romans left the lands in the 4th century. Today the Guildhall Art Gallery complex is built on the site of the amphitheatre, with parts of it displayed in the gallery basement.


Living in London


- Roman house at Billingsgate - the ruins of this ancient house were discovered in 1848, during the construction of the Coal Exchange. The remains of a bath with hypocausts are the most preserved part of the house and can be seen in the cellar. There is evidence that suggests the house was built around the 2nd century, with bath complex built later on in the 3rd century. The baths featured cold, warm and hot rooms that remained in use till the 5th century. The site also revealed coins of that time and Anglo-Saxon items.


London Sights


- Temple of Mithras - the ancient Roman mithraeum was discovered during construction work that took place in 1954 in Walbrook. The temple is among the most important Roman discoveries in London. Built around mid-3rd century, the building was dedicated to Mithras and perhaps several other deities. White-marble likenesses of Mercury, Minerva, Mithras and Serapis were found in the temple. It is possible that it was rededicated to Bacchus. Because the site was uprooted after its discovery in 1954, there is now an ongoing project for its relocation back to the original place.


Roman House in London


It is such Roman remains that are considered truly significant in terms of historical importance. There is much that can be learned about the ancient empire and why it left the country.



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