Britannia

History

Britannia was the term used by the Romans to refer to the Roman province covering much of the island of Great Britain. The area beyond the Antonine Wall belonging to the Picts in the north was known as Caledonia. The name itself derives from Pretannia,[1] Diodorus's rendering of the indigenous name for the Pretani people whom the Greeks believed to inhabit the British Isles.[2][3][4] Britannia was personified as a goddess by the Romans, and in more recent times has become a figure of national personification of the United Kingdom.

The Romans originally described the group of islands off north-west Europe as the Insulae Britannicae, in the plural, consisting of Albion (Great Britain), Hibernia (Ireland), Thule (possibly Iceland) and many smaller islands. Over time, Albion came to be known as Britannia, and the name for the group was subsequently dropped. That island was first invaded by Julius Caesar in 55 BC. At the height of Roman Britain, the Empire included most of the island of Great Britain. The Romans built Hadrian's Wall close to today's border between England and Scotland. The province was named Britannia, and the unincorporated area of northern Britain was called Caledonia. A southern part of what is now known as Scotland was occupied by the Romans for about 20 years in the mid-second century AD, keeping in place the Picts to the north of the Antonine Wall. The Romans never completely occupied the island of Great Britain and the Celtic tribes even prevented full consolidation of the southwest. People living in the Roman province of Britannia were called Britanni. Ireland, inhabited by the Scoti, was never invaded and was called Hibernia. Thule, an island "six days' sail north of Britain, and […] near the frozen sea", possibly Iceland, was also never invaded by the Romans.

A Celtic goddess called Brigid is one of the many sources of the personification of Britain. The Emperor Claudius paid a visit while Britain was being conquered and was honoured with the agnomen Britannicus as if he were the conqueror, but Britannia remained a place, not a female personification of the land, until she appeared on coins issued under Hadrian, which introduced a female figure labelled BRITANNIA.
Britannia was soon personified as a goddess. Early portraits of the goddess depict Britannia as a beautiful young woman, wearing the helmet of a centurion, and wrapped in a white garment with her right breast exposed. She is usually shown seated on a rock, holding a spear, and with a spiked shield propped beside her. Sometimes she holds a standard and leans on the shield. On another range of coinage, she is seated on a globe above waves: Britain at the edge of the (known) world. Similar coin types were also issued under Antoninus Pius.

Current Events

Marcus Brutus fled to this outpost after failing to slay Gaius Julius Ceaser. Little is known about his activities. It is said that he has been uniting the Celts, the Picts, and others under a new local leader named Artorius Castus

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