Farewell Britannia is a vivid, gripping account of life in Roman Britain by 33-year-old Roman and Dark Age historian Simon Young. A work of ‘fictionalised history’ it offers a series of well-crafted and entertaining stories based on archaeological and historical proofs: all carefully sourced at the book’s end.
A family history, Farewell Britannia is written from the perspective of a fifth-century Romano-Briton, following on from the apocalyptic finale of Roman rule in the island. And, in the wrecked remains of his villa, this narrator recounts the experiences of 15 of his most interesting but not always his most respectable ancestors to give colour to the rapidly receding Roman past.
The well-known events of Roman Britain are all here, of course: scouting for Caesar's expedition in 55 BC; the Roman invasion in 43 AD; Boudicca's revolt and the massacre of 70,000 Romans; the Pictish attacks on Hadrian's Wall; the infamous Barbarian Conspiracy of 367; and the departure of the legions in 410.
But we also learn about some episodes not usually included by historians in their studies: druidic sacrifices in East Anglia; elephants in Essex; a desperate housewife cooking flamingo in Northumberland; headhunting in the Pennines; a bad poet in Londinium; suicide in Bath; infanticide in an English country garden at dusk; and martyrdom in an amphitheatre near Reading.
Simon Young graduated from Clare College with a starred first in 1995 winning the Chadwick Prize for Celtic Studies and the Green Prize ‘for learning’. Over the next seven years he worked and lived in several European countries including France, Ireland and Spain. Articles, book reviews and columns by him, for the most part dealing with the Dark Ages, have appeared in publications ranging from History Today to Fortean Times and from the Spectator to the Guardian; he has also had work included in several academic journals such as Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies and the Irish pe...
More about Simon Young