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Roman Britain and Early England: 55 B.C.-A.D. 871

(The Norton Library History of England)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  11 reviews
By the time of Caesar's first expedition to Britain in 55 B.C., migratory movements had established close ties of kinship and common interest between the peoples who lived in Gaul and some of the inhabitants of Britain. Because the source material is so meager for much of early British history, Mr. Blair is careful to explain just how scholars have arrived at an accurate ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published 1966 by W.W. Norton & Company (first published 1963)
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Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
As a serious introduction to a hazy time period, I can not imagine how this could have been much better. As most know, the written sources are scarce and archaeological sites have yet to provide many conclusive offerings to our understanding of Roman Britain and Early England.

Although I had read that Peter Hunter-Blair expounded a more traditional view of hoards of Saxons completely overwhelming Britain, I did not find that to be the case. He speaks of the “slow, continuing process of migration
Lauren Albert
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult period to cover since there aren't that many surviving sources. I was surprised to find myself interested in the first chapter in which Blair reviews what is available to a historian trying to piece the history of early Britain together. He doesn't speculate too much which is a frequent flaw in histories similarly lacking material but he does make suggestions as to possible interpretations of facts. The complexity of things is evident from the varied groups of invaders and ...more
Karen Floyd
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I did not look at the publication date when I bought this, and when I realized that it was written in the early '60's, I found it completely ironic that the author cautions the reader that in the last 30 years so much has been discovered that it may render old opinions and theories obsolete. That said, I did enjoy this book very much and found his ideas, based on archeological and documentary evidence, to make sense. No tortured and convoluted "reasoning" to promote a certain theory or ...more
George Foord
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has some really interesting facts that I have never heard before although writing is rather boring thorought.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting overview to this difficult period due to the paucity of sources, even during the Pax Romana.

Uses a combination of archaeological and written sources (where available).
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arthuriana
Classed with Arthuriana because of period covered -- not directly relevant to the later tradition
Jul 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Rather dry exposition of the facts regarding the historical period. But that is what I was looking for after reading so much historical fiction about the times. Gave me the perspective I was looking for. No Arthur material here (again, its the facts). A bit dated, so I wonder what has been discovered since.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Very good history of England under Roman rule. Book becomes a little less easily to read in describing life in post-Roman rule, though much of that is due to gaps in the historical record and the fragmentation of kingdoms that rise and fall through 871.
Brandon Bowling
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A little dry, but very informative.
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Roman Britain & Early England by Peter Hunter Blair (1963)
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The Norton Library History of England (7 books)
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  • The Eighteenth Century, 1714-1815
  • From Castlereagh to Gladstone, 1815-1885
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