Channel 4 Learning

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 4: Trade and Communication
Travel in the Empire AD 145


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 4: Outline

From the village of Pumsaint, west Wales, David introduces the Dolaucothi mine. This is the only known location of a Roman gold mine in Britain.
The programme goes back to AD 145. The legionary Tadius, son of Tadia, prepares to escort the gold from Wales to Germany. He has drill practice before relaxing at his barracks, followed by a farewell meal with his sister Tadia.

Returning to the present, some of the clues that link the gold mines with the Romans are shown. In the museum at Caerleon, a gravestone tells the story of what eventually became of Tadius. A reprise of the four programmes summarises some of the changes over these 100 years of history, before viewers are invited to search in their local area for remains of the Roman road system.

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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

  • Introduce the character of Tadius. Place a picture of a Roman legionary on the timeline at AD 145.
  • Children should have been introduced to aspects of the Roman army, the composition of a legion and the different ranks of soldiers. A legion was made up of 5,240 soldiers; it was sub-divided into centuries of 80 men, organised into 10 cohorts. The first cohort was made up of five double centuries. In addition, there was a troop of 120 cavalry.

After viewing

  • Find out if there are any forts in the local area and how they are linked. Use a map of Roman Britain, such as the Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain, to plan journeys between the forts. Estimate how many days' march it would take, based on marching 40 kilometres per day.
  • As a result of Roman settlement, Britain became part of a European-wide trading area. Research what commodities came to Britain as a result of this. Then find out what commodities from Britain were traded with the rest of Europe.

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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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