Howard Brenton, The Romans in Britain

Steve Barfield (University of Human Development, Suleymanyia, Iraqi Kurdistan); Julie Waddington
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The Romans in Britain

(National Theatre, 1980) was Howard Brenton's most ambitious attempt at epic theatre (a cast of thirty perform sixty parts) and by far his most controversial play. Its theme is an exploration of parallels and contrasts between key moments of imperialism: Julius Caesar's Roman invasion of Celtic Britain; the Saxon invasion of Romano-Celtic Britain; and Britain's actions during “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. In the 19th century, Britain often used the term “Pax Britannica” (the Peace of Britain) when referring to its colonial activities, thus drawing on the cultural authority of the Roman imperial example of “Pax Romana”. For this reason, a debunking of the myth of the Roman Empire as a civilising force becomes a way of unsettling the British Empire's…

1538 words

Citation: Barfield, Steve, Julie Waddington. "The Romans in Britain". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 January 2005 [, accessed 15 June 2024.]

13574 The Romans in Britain 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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