The Romans and Silurians
The local tribe in south east Wales were the Silure – a powerful and warlike tribe. Their hostility towards the Romans was increased when the British leader Caratacus sought refuge with them – this marked the start of a 30 year campaign even after Caratacus was captured.
It wasn’t until the Second Augustan Legion moved to their new fortress in Caerleon in A.D. 74/75 that the Silures were subdued. For the majority of the Roman period the Silure territory was a civilian zone – where they were treated as surrendered people with no rights. However, the Roman administration often took a moderate approach and tried to mollify and encourage the local population to adopt Roman ways.
Nowadays we often think of the Roman ways were the best – however, this was not always the case:
- Women had very view rights – whereas the Silure woman was powerful.
- The Silure operated a tribal confederation where as the Romans controlled everything from Rome.
- We tend to think that the Romans built all the roads – however, the Silure had carts with wheels, and built roads before the Romans arrived.
There are lots more facts about the Silure in “Searching for the Silures: The Iron Age in South-East Wales” by Ray Howell