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When The Romans Came To Wales
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Aims | Outline | Curriculum Relevance | Activities | Links | Image and Link to Print Version

When the Romans Came to Wales
Programme 2: Celtic and Roman Conflict
Military Life Around AD 75


Each programme is divided into four sections:

  • Past and present
    The presenter, David Petersen, is seen on location finding historical clues.
  • What's the story?
    A story related to one of the characters in the series is told through re-enactments.
  • How do we know?
    Viewers are shown how historical evidence is used to create interpretations of the past.
  • Find out more
    Suggestions are given for children's enquiries in their own localities.

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Series Outline

When the Romans came to Wales focuses on aspects of life in Iron Age and Roman Wales from the mid-first to the mid-second centuries AD. The programmes follow the change from native 'Celtic' society, the conflict with the invading Roman forces and the eventual creation of a Romano-British society.

The story is told through the lives of four generations of a typical family of the time. Tadia and Tadius are historical figures. The characters of Bran, Tadius' grandfather, and Buddug, his grandmother, have been invented in order to create a Celtic lineage for Tadia and Tadius.

Programme 2: Outline

At Llyn Cerrig Bach on the island of Anglesey, David wonders why this lake was so important to the Celts.

Going back to AD 75 on Llanmelin Hill, Buddug's son Bran witnesses a tribal gathering following a skirmish with the Romans. The differences in military tactics between Celts and Romans are discussed. The Druids then make a symbolic offering to the gods, ending with a sword being thrown into a lake.

Back in the present, some of the artefacts discovered at Llyn Cerrig Bach are shown. A Silurian warrior and a Roman legionary, members of modern-day re-enactment societies, talk about their weapons and armour. Finally, viewers are asked to investigate the evidence that could lead to different interpretations of the warriors.

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Curriculum Relevance

The programmes have been primarily designed to meet the needs of the Key Stage 2 Programme of Study for the National Curriculum in Wales, 'Life in Early Wales or Britain'. Although Welsh characters and locations are featured, the programmes support a more general study of Iron Age and Roman life and viewers in other parts of the UK will also find it relevant to their curricula.

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Before viewing

  • Draw a timeline of the first and second century AD. Place a picture of a Celtic girl, on the timeline at AD 50. Place a picture of a Celtic boy at AD 65, to represent Buddug's son Bran.
  • The children should have some prior knowledge of where the Romans came from and that they had a powerful army, which by that time had conquered many parts of Europe.

After viewing

  • Ask the children to think about why the Silures lost the battle with the Romans. Make a list of key points about Roman and Celtic warfare. For example: Roman soldiers always obeyed orders; the Silures did not wear armour.
  • Discuss with the children the possible use of the gang chain found at Llyn Cerrig Bach. Make a paper gang chain and ask the children to demonstrate how many slaves could be manacled.

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This web page contains links to other websites that are neither controlled nor maintained by Channel 4 Television. Channel 4 Television is not responsible for the content of these sites and does not necessarily endorse the material on them.
When the Romans came to Wales is supported by a website, available in both English and Welsh, containing stories, activities and information about the Celts and Romans in Wales.

'Tadia's Family in Roman Isca' published by Dref Wen in English and Welsh, tells the story of Tadia and her family. Available from Dref Wen, 28 Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF12 2EA. Price £3.00 + £1.00 postage (cheques made payable to 'Dref Wen').

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