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Book Review: The Fall of Roman Britain and Why We Speak English by John Lambshead

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  AD - PR Product.  John Lamshead's new book, The Fall of Roman Britain and Why We Speak English, is an interesting analysis of the abrupt fall of Roman Britain. His particular focus is how and why Britain was so unlike former European provinces of the Western Empire, such as in terms of language and religion. The Fall of Roman Britain uses data from historians, archaeologists, climatologists and biologists to determine why Britannia was so different to the other former European provinces and had seemed to have few Roman cultural influences. Lambshead  I found it incredibly interesting that Lambshead analysed this question through a range of different perspectives, considering both historical and scientific reasoning.   As mentioned in my  previous book review , Roman history isn't something that I have studied in great detail. With this in mind, I found Lambshead's writing style is both accessible and informative and easy to follow for those with a limited background knowl

Book Review: Roman Britain's Pirate King: Carausius Constantitus Chlorus and the Fourth Roman Invasion of Britain by Dr Simon Elliott

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AD - PR Product.  Admittedly I don't know a great deal about Roman history. It's not something that was really studied in great detail throughout my education but definitely an area of history that I'm intrigued to discover more about which is why I was keen to read this book.  Simon Elliott's  Roman Britain's Pirate King: Carausius Constantitus Chlorus and the Fourth Roman Invasion tells the fascinating story of how Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius usurped the western augustus (senior emperor) Maximian in 286 AD. This allowed him to establish a North Sea Empire in Gaul and Britain which lasted a little over a decade until 296 AD. Elliott analyses key events and aspects of the chronology of the Roman Empire which are pivotal to the story of Carausius' seizure of power and rule including the role of Roman coinage, the disappearance of the  Classis Britannia and also considers the impact of his rule on the Roman Empire as a whole. Elliott does an excel

A Brief History of International Women's Day

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  March 8 marks International Women's Day-  a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. But how did it come about and when did we start to celebrate it?  The marking of International Women's Day dates back to the early 1900s, a time where radical ideas including women's rights grew in popularity. Around this time, strikes and marches for women's rights became an increasingly common occurrence particularly in Britain and America.   Clara Zetkin (left) & Rosa Luxemburg on their way  to the SPD Congress. Magdeburg, 1910 In 1909, the Socialist Party of America declared 28 February  National Women's Day and this was celebrated across the United States. This day was celebrated annually on the last Sunday of February until around 1913. A year later, Clara Zetkin, the leader of the Women's section of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutchschlands proposed the idea of an International Women's Day at the Conference o

Victorian Boot Scrapers

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A Victorian boot scraper in Exeter. Have you ever seen these around your town or city and wondered what they're for? You might have hypothesised of what they might be. Sometimes people think they're holes to put your milk bottles in whilst some parents tell their children they're doors to fairy or gnome homes. Whatever it is that you have theorised, did you ever actually find out what they're for? These contraptions can usually be found next to doorways in some towns and cities and are actually boot scrapers from the around Victorian era . Pre-Eighteenth Century, walking was largely considered something that only poor people did. Back in those days, roads and paths were not tarmacked or paved and instead were lined with mud and horse poop, among other debris, and therefore travelling by carriage was much more preferable. An example of a boot scraper found in Exeter. However around the mid-Nineteenth Century, popular attitudes towards walking began to change. The Romanti

The Sinking of the SS Athenia

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SS ATHENIA seen in Montreal Harbour - 1933 (National Archives of Canada Via Picryl ) Outbreak of War The SS Athenia was a transatlantic passenger liner built in 1923 in Scotland and often carried passengers, many of whom were emigrants, between the United Kingdom and the East coast of Canada. The ship weighed a heft 13,500 tons and was able to accommodate up to 1000 passengers. In 1939 many were in a particular hurry to get out of Europe in a hurry to escape the outbreak of war. On 1st September 1939, the same day that Germany declared war on Poland, the Athenia left Glasgow for Canada. It went on to pick up more passengers in Belfast and and Liverpool and proceeded into the Atlantic Ocean two days later. On the same day, Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Germany. The Attack on the Athenia Prior to the outbreak of war, approximately 18 U-boats, including the U-30 , had been ordered to take up position in British waters. They had been ordered to ensure interna

How Charles Dickens Shaped Christmas

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Charles Dickens by Ary Scheffer oil on canvas, 1855 NPG 315 © National Portrait Gallery, London Charles Dickens has always been associated with Christmas . In 1988, the Sunday Telegraph even went as far as to call Dickens, "the man who invented Christmas". Many of his most popular works have focussed on Christmas, from some of his first novels including  Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol to some of his short Christmas stories such as A Christmas Tree and  What Christmas is as we Grow Older.  Whilst we know that Dickens didn't  literally, invent Christmas, he did a great deal to popularise the holiday and its traditions in Britain. By the late 19th Century, the medieval Christmas traditions were not really celebrated. According to some scholars, the medieval Christmas, which combined the religious celebration of Christ, Pagan traditions and the German festival of Yule, had come under much scrutiny by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell which saw traditional practices de

Gifts to Buy for Your Favourite History Lover This Christmas

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 With less than a month until Christmas, we should probably start thinking about gifts if we haven't already. I like to try and shop from small, independent stores around this time of year rather than from big companies. Chances are you might have someone in your life that is a complete and utter history buff so why not get them a gift related to their favourite topic. Here are a few ideas of Gifts to Buy for Your Favourite History Buff This Christmas! My Life is in Ruins T-shirt from What is History £25.01   I think all history buffs love a good pun so why not treat them to a punderful t-shirt...see what I did there? Yaasss Queen Mug from Clavis & Claustra £11.00  A mug with all their favourite queens on - YAS PLEASE! Historical Fiction Bookbox from Bookbarn International £9.99  This one's for the book lovers! Inside each box is a preloved historical fiction book, a sachet of tea or coffee and some biscuits. Sounds like the recipe for a cosy night in reading! Celtic Sword