Main Menu - Misc. - Clothing/Textiles - Medieval Wales - Names - Other Medieval - Publications - Harpy Publications
This is a collection of resources and questions on Roman-era Wales (and Britain in general), and the couple of centuries after the end of Roman rule, for which extrapolation forward from Roman-era data is probably more reliable than extrapolating backward form later medieval information. Expect a lot of variations on the theme of "you've picked a very hard period to research -- expect to do a lot of extrapolation".
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Question: I have been looking in earnest for some information on 4th Century Wales and have come up with little or nothing out of it. Is there anyone that knows of a good reliable source I could get my hands on or look up on the web? Anything would be of help.
Answer: For that early a period, you're going to have to accept that there may simply not be much direct information available for your desired focus, and that you may have to do a fair amount of extrapolation in order to fill out the concrete details of a persona or kit.
For the 4th century, you're more likely to find useful information by looking for the heading "Roman Britain" rather than looking specifically for Welsh material. While there is a certain amount of information available on culture and artifacts in the region that became Wales in this period, the relative unity of culture throughout most of Britain at that time means that you can do a great deal of extrapolation from better-documented sites and material in other areas of Britain. Even in sources focussing specifically on Wales (as a geographic region) you may find that the terms "Wales" and "Welsh" aren't applied this early -- the linguistic and cultural distinctions between that region and the rest of Britain hadn't developed enough yet at that period to make such a distinction useful.
See the bibliography below for general resources.
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Question: My persona is one from the 5th Century, which is proving to be a dificult task to take on as far as info on garb and etc goes. Help!
Answer: Depending on what you want to do with your persona, the 5th century can be a very difficult era to research. What you'll find is that most of your information on material culture (clothing, food, etc.) is going to involve a fair amount of extrapolation and guesswork from other cultures and other eras. It's a great opportunity to immerse yourself in detailed archaeological reports on late Roman and post-Roman sites, but the picture of life you'll get will be very fragmentary.
For general historical background, you'll want to focus on works specifically on post-Roman and early medieval Wales, because works generally on the British Isles tend to assume that Wales disappears off the face of the earth as soon as the Anglo-Saxons show up. Some relevant books may include Wendy Davies's Wales in the Early Middle Ages, Christopher Snyder's Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons AD 400-600, as well as general histories of Wales.
There are some older books that focus on Roman-era Wales (e.g., R.E.M. Wheeler's Prehistoric & Roman Wales published 1925) that might be useful from the early end, but they're also likely to be badly outdated in scholarship. There are also a good number of special-topic publications on sub-Roman Britain (although not necessarily Wales specifically), such as -- just for example -- External Contacts and the Economy of Late Roman and Post-Roman Britain (ed. by K.R. Dark, Boydell Press, 1996).
There has been a fair amount of archaeological work done on Roman-era Wales, some of which also covers the post-Roman era -- looking through journals like Archaeologia Cambrensis, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, etc. can turn up useful stuff.
If you're interested in 5th century naming practices, my article "The First Thousand Years of British Names", available at Arval's Medieval Names Archive, should have some very useful material. (5th century Welsh names are very different in "look-and-feel" from medieval-era Welsh names, and even more so from modern Welsh names.)
Not a lot of extremely practical information, I'm afraid, but anyone doing a "dark ages" Welsh persona is going to have to digest the snippets and synthesize his own extrapolation, since it's impossible to provide definitive answers. (Or rather, there are a lot of clearly-identifiable wrong answers, but not a lot of certainty on the "right" answers.)
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Question: If anyone can recommend a good source for information on early-period (6th century) Welsh culture, I would be extremely grateful. I've been unable to find many sources for garb research for that culture & time period, and have found none with illustrations of garb specific to that region.
Answer: Sixth century Wales is an extremely hard time and place to research for an SCA persona -- the historians have a hard enough time scraping together enough information to determine which of the later-recorded kings of that period were real people and which ones were entirely fictitious. A good, single-source introduction to the general history and culture of 5-11th c. Wales is Wales in the Early Middle Ages by Wendy Davies (Leicester University Press).
There is no direct evidence on Welsh clothing of this period -- no archaeological finds, no pictorial evidence, not even any solidly contemporary descriptions. The best that can be managed is to take the clothing of Roman Britain as a starting point, the very little evidence on Welsh clothing from the early end of the high medieval period, the developments of sub-Roman styles in France and similar places as a possible parallel, and the clothing of Anglo Saxon English as a probable influence ... and then give it your best reasonable guess. But it isn't a process that's going to work well if you're looking for a single source to tell you "this is the Truth, this is exactly how to do it".
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Here is, as Nennius said, "a heap of all I found" -- that is, a fairly raw dump of my own bibliography on Roman Britain and particularly Roman Wales. I've sorted things out by general topic and type of book, but haven't really commented on them. Some of these may be easy to find, others may be fairly difficult, and there may be excellent books that I haven't included here. This is simply a listing of what I, personally, own (or in the case of journal articles, have photocopies of). I put this list together about three years ago, so it doesn't necessarily reflect my current information.
Fairly Dense Textbook-type Sources
Blair, Peter Hunter. "Roman Britain and Early England." New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. ISBN: 0-393-00361-2
Collingwood, R. G. & Myre. "Oxford Hist. Eng. 1: Roman Britain and the English Settlements." London: Oxford University Press, 1968. ISBN: 19 821703-X
Haverfield, F. "Romanization of Roman Britain." Westport: Greenwood Press, 1979. ISBN: 0-313-21148-5
Wacher, John. "Roman Britain." London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1980. ISBN: 0-460-02212-1
Wheeler, R.E.M. "Prehistoric & Roman Wales." Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925. ISBN:
Somewhat Less Dense "Popularized"-type Sources
Johnson, Stephen. "Britain Before the Conquest: Later Roman Britain." New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1990. ISBN: 0-684-16529-5
Priestley, H. E. "Britain Under the Romans." New York: Frederick Warne & Co. Inc, 1967. ISBN:
Wacher, John. "Britain Before the Conquest: The Coming of Rome." London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. ISBN: 0-7100-0312-9
"Coffee-table" Type Works
Clayton, Peter. "Companion to Roman Britain." Yugoslavia: Dorset Press, 1985. ISBN: 0-088029-051-X
Jones, Barri & Mattingly,. "Atlas of Roman Britain." Cambridge: Blackwell Reference, 1993. ISBN: 0-631-48786-3
Museum-Pamphlet Type Works
Hughes, Mike & Forrest, M. "Romans Discover Britain." Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988. ISBN: 0 521 2817 9
Potter, T.W. "Roman Britain." London: British Museum Publications, 1990. ISBN: 0-7141-2023-5
Tribes (the "Peoples of Roman Britain" series)
Branigan, Keith. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Catuvellauni." Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1985. ISBN: 0 86299 255 9
Cunliffe, Barry. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Regni." London: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd, 1973. ISBN: 0 7156 0669 7
Detsicas, Alec. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Cantiaci." Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1987. ISBN: 0 86299 177 X
Dunnett, Rosalind. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Trinovantes." London: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd, 1975. ISBN: 7156 0842 8
Higham, Nicholas & Jones,. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Carvetii." Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1985. ISBN: 0-86299-164-1
Ramm, Herman. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Parisi." London: Duckworth, 1978. ISBN: 0-7156-1167-4
Todd, Malcolm. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Coritani." London: Duckworth, 1973. ISBN: 0-7156-0698-0
Webster, Graham. "Peoples of Roman Britain: The Cornovii." London: Gerald Duckworth and Co., 1975. ISBN: 7156-0833-9
Wacher, John. "Towns of Roman Britain, The." London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1992. ISBN: 0-7134-2790-6
Rivet, A.L.F. "Town and Country in Roman Britain." London: Hutchinson Univ Library, 1966. ISBN:
Burnham, Barry C. & Wacher, John. "Small Towns of Roman Britain, The." Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990. ISBN: 0-520-07303-7
Rivet, A.L.F. "Roman Villa in Britain, The." London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969. ISBN: 7100-1657-3
Primary Sources (in translation)
Ireland, S. "Roman Britain: A Sourcebook." London: Croom Helm, 1986. ISBN: 0-7099-1315-X
Burn, A. R. "Romans in Britain, The - An Anthology of Inscriptions." Columbia SC: Univ. of S. Carolina Pres, 1969. ISBN: 87249-142-0
Bowman, Alan K. "Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier." New York: Routledge, 1994. ISBN: 0-415-92025-6
Children's "Everyday Life" Books (actually quite reasonable for our purposes)
Birley, Anthony. "Life in Roman Britain." New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1964. ISBN: none
Quennell, Marjorie & C.H. "Everyday Life in Roman and Anglo-Saxon Times." New York: Dorset Press, 1987. ISBN: 0-88029-125-7
Works Primarily on Artifacts
Hartley, Elizabeth. "Roman Life at the Yorkshire Museum." York: The Yorkshire Museum, 1985. ISBN: 0 905807 02 2
Johns, Catherine. "Jewellery of Roman Britain, The." Ann Arbor: Univ of Michigan Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-472-10766-6
British Museum. "Antiquities of Roman Britain." London: Trustees of the Brit. Mus, 1971. ISBN: 7141 1307 7
[see also several publications in the "Shire Archaeology" series, specifically "Pottery in Roman Britain", "Roman Crafts and Industries"]
Rivet, A.L.F. & Smith, Co. "Place-Names of Roman Britain, The." Princeton: Princeton Univ Press, 1979. ISBN: 0-691-03953-4
Simpson, Grace. "Britons and the Roman Army." London: Gregg Press, Ltd., 1964. ISBN:
Journal Articles (mostly archaeological excavation reports -- some of the citations are incomplete because I wasn't paying attention when I photocopied them)
Ling, Roger & Ling, Lesley A. "Excavations at Loughor, Glamorgan ... Roman Fort." 1973. Archaeologia Cambrensis 122:99-146
White, Richard B. "Excavations in Caernarfon 1976-77." 1985. Archaeologia Cambrensis 134:87-99
Branigan, K. & Dearne & Rutter. "Romano-British Occupation of Minchin Hole Cave, Go." 1994. Archaeologia Cambrensis 142:?-? (pg. no. cut-off on copy)
?author. "Circular habitations in Holyhead Island (excerpt)." 1868. Archaeologia Cambrensis 14:419-421
?author. "Uriconium (artifacts) ." 1860. Archaeologia Cambrensis 3/6:312 314
Breese, Charles E. "Roman Buildings at Glasfryn, Tremadoc, Carns." 1908. Archaeologia Cambrensis 8
Lethbridge, T.C. "Shell Mounds and Winkle Pins." 1928. Archaeologia Cambrensis 83:175-181
Breese, Charles E. & Anwyl, Ed. "Roman Building at Glasfryn, Tremadoc, Carns." 1909. Archaeologia Cambrensis 9
Nash-Williams, V.E. "Roman Villa at Llanfrynach, Brecknockshire." 1950. Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 13:105-108
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