Leicester, famous for Thomas Cook (the travel agent), underdog sporting success, Walkers Crisps, Richard III (the king under the car park), the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India, and Kasabian. Walking through Leicester today it is often difficult to appreciate that we are treading on 2,000 years of history, but beneath the city’s streets are the remains of Ratae Corieltavorum, the Civitas capital of the people known to the Romans as the Corieltavi. Now, a new book by the University of Leicester explore what life was like in the city over 1,600 years ago.
Through a combination of narrative and new archaeological research Life in the Roman World: Roman Leicester by Giacomo Savani, Sarah Scott and Mathew Morris explores the nature of everyday life under the Romans. Based on the world-class research of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History (SAAH), the excavations and publications of University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), and objects at the Jewry Wall Museum and the Harborough Museum, the book explores topics which still concern us today, such as conflict, social inequality, multiculturalism, migration, diet, disease and death. Inspired by recent archaeological discoveries in Leicester, the narrative imagines the experiences and responses of ordinary people living in the town through four centuries of Roman rule. Leicester is examined in detail because it is one of the most excavated urban centres in Britain, and the range of evidence shows us that it was a vibrant multicultural centre from its earliest phases.
Caroline Lawrence, author of the popular Roman Mysteries series of historical novels for children, has described the book as ‘truly inspirational’.
Copies can be purchased from shop@le for £8.95: https://shop.le.ac.uk/product-catalogue/books-and-gifts/leicester-leicestershire/roman-leicester
The book is also linked to a new resource for teachers entitled Life in the Roman World: Ratae Corieltavorum (Roman Leicester) which includes session plans, activities and worksheets exploring the culturally plural nature of the Roman world, as well as introducing Latin in the context of the archaeology of Roman Leicester. The resources are aimed at KS2-5 (11 to 18-year olds) and are available for free download from our website: https://le.ac.uk/archaeology/outreach/for-teachers/teaching-resources.
The School of Archaeology and Ancient History is working in partnership with Classics for All to promote the study of the classical world. Our students and staff are supporting the introduction of classical subjects in state schools where there is no current provision, as well as providing a wide range of enrichment opportunities based on our cutting-edge research in classical archaeology and ancient history. Currently, we are working with more than 20 schools in Leicester and beyond. With the support of Classics for All and University of Leicester Research Impact Funding, a free copy of the book will be distributed to schools in Leicester.