Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Visiting Roman Britain - What to take

Visiting Roman Britain - What to Bring
Britannia is a part of the Roman Empire and as such has a great selection of traders and stores able to sell you most of your comforts from home, and more importantly many of the comforts you have never even heard of before.
There are limits. During the early period of occupation, the Roman authorities took a harsh view of the druids, considering them (rightly) from their experiences in conquering Gaul as closely associated with the national identity of their new subject peoples. The extent to which the old-time druids practised human sacrifice remains contentious. There are suggestions that Roman historians such as Julius Caesar egged up reports to make their enemies look bad, just as their ancestors made great play of claims that the Carthaginians spent every other weekend immolating babies to their gods. So while reports have been made of giant wicker figures, packed to the brim with sundry sacrificial livestock and even humans, there is a flip side. Nothing has been reported to us of conversations Cicero and his friends also had with a rather civilised druid who popped up in the city of Rome by the name of Diviacus. The long and the short of it all is that the druids were quickly cooped up in an island called Mona, which after a vicious battle involving all manner of supernatural weirdness the legions then stormed.
In turn, this means the traditional apothecaries of society were hacked to bits. Even in Gaul, where their suppression has been less forceful, they are a thing of the past since Augustus banned Roman citizens from attending their ceremonies, and Claudius outlawed them completely.
So you might therefore want to consult your own priests before coming, and bring your own stock of traditional herbal remedies. Graeco-Roman medicine is very good, but its greatest physicians weren’t looking for special roots amongst the weeds in these climes and would have no idea what mistletoe is for.


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