Julius Caesar visted
Britain about 55 BC. The Roman conquest of England began about AD 45 and of Wales about
AD 50. By AD 100 most of the "strategic" lands, namely coastal stretches and lowlands, were under
Roman rule, a situation which lasted till
about AD 400 in spite of continual skirmishes with feisty Celtic tribesmen. There are many places in Wales where one can see remains of the Roman
occupation. In November 2002, my friend John and I visited
in Fforest Fawr to see a Roman road. It was a very wet, misty, rainy day (not unusual in Wales), an atmosphere
which added to the experience.
To quote Brian Griffiths:
"On this highway, the past oppresses the present in a disconcerting
muddle of images, bringing you to the reality of the events and motives
of the people who constructed it. This is no vague history lesson. To
stand on this road is to feel the motion of those who passed by. Take
the time to pause awhile, and you might sense the ghosts of the people
who made the journey along this mountain, their voices ringing out a
strange foreign language; a people who brought this land into a new
phase of history...
difficult to quell the unease these surroundings invoke as you struggle
to make some sense of the scene. Ever fearful of an attack by the
fearsome tribes whose reputation for ferocity was legend, you hurry your
steps, desperate to reach the safety of the small intermediate fort
which has recently been constructed near the crest. Despite the long
campaigns that quelled most of the uprisings in this area, there are
always bands of opportunists who lie in wait for a lone traveller!
"...These mountains and valleys, like
the rock on which they are founded, are of old stock and even though
there may be little record to tell of the ancient people who passed this
way, the very landscape shouts it out."
(The Secret and Sacred
Beacons by Brian S. Griffiths, published in 2001 by Gwasg Carreg
Gwalch, Llanrwst, Denbighshire; ISBN 0-86381-761-0, pp 108 - 109.)