Verulamium


Verulamium

Verulamium was the third-largest city in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon (see below).

Before the Romans, it was known as Verlamion, (meaning 'settlement above the marsh') the capital of the Catuvellauni tribe. The settlement was established by their leader Tasciovanus. In this pre-Roman form, it was among the first places in Britain recorded by name. It was built beside the River Ver.

The Roman settlement was granted the rank of "municipium" in c. AD 50, meaning its citizens had all the rights of a citizen of Rome. It grew to a significant town, and as such received the attentions of Boudica of the Iceni in AD 61, when Verulamium was sacked and burnt: the black ash layer has been recorded by archaeologists, thus confirming the Roman written record. It grew steadily —by the early 200s it covered an area of about 125 acres (0.5 km²), behind a deep ditch and wall.

Verulamium had a forum, basilica and a theatre, much of which were damaged during two fires, one in AD 155 and the other around AD 250. One of the few extant Roman inscriptions in Britain is found on the remnants of the forum; see Verulamium Forum inscription. The town was rebuilt in stone rather than timber at least twice over the next 150 years. Occupation by the Romans ended between 400 and 450.

There are a few remains of the Roman city visible, such as parts of the city walls, a hypocaust still in situ under a mosaic floor and a theatre, which is on land belonging to the Earl of Gorehambury - as well as items in the Museum (below). More remains under the agricultural land nearby which had never been excavated were for a while seriously threatened by deep ploughing.

The city was quarried for building material when medieval St Albans was founded; indeed, much of Norman abbey was constructed from the remains of the Roman city, with Roman brick and stone visible. The modern city takes its name from Alban, a citizen of Verulamium, or Roman soldier, who was condemned to death in the 3rd century for sheltering a Christian. Alban was converted by him to Christianity, and by his death became the first British Christian martyr.

There is a museum in Verulamium Park (adjacent to St Michael's Church) which contains much information about the town, both as a Roman and Iron Age settlement, plus Roman history in general. The museum was established following the excavations carried out by Mortimer Wheeler and his wife Tess Wheeler. It is noted for the large and colourful mosaics, and many other artefacts such as pottery, jewellery, tools and coins from the Roman period. Many were found in formal excavations but some, particularly a coffin still containing a male skeleton, were unearthed nearby during building work. It is considered one of the best museums of Roman history in the country and has won an architectural award for its striking domed entrance.

Since much of the modern city and its environs is built over Roman remains, it is still not uncommon to unearth Roman artefacts several miles away. A complete tile kiln was found in Park Street some six miles from Verulamium in the 1970s, and there is a Roman mausoleum in Rothamstead Park five miles away.

Within the walls of Verulam, which he took for the name of his Barony, Sir Francis Bacon, the essayist and statesman, built a refined small house that was thoroughly described by the 17th century diarist John Aubrey; no trace of it is left, but Aubrey noted "At Verulam is to be seen, in some few places, some remains of the wall of this Citie" (see the illustration).

Trivia

*The asteroid 4206 Verulamium was named in honour of the ancient city.


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  • Verulamium — fue la tercera ciudad en importancia durante el periodo de ocupación romana de Inglaterra. Sus restos se encuentran junto a la actual ciudad de St Albans en el condado de Hertfordshire, en un terreno agrícola. Restos de la muralla de la ciudad de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Verulamium — Verulamium, so v. w. Verolamium …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Verulamĭum — Verulamĭum, s. Saint Albans 1) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Verulamium — fue la tercera ciudad en importancia durante el periodo de ocupación romana de Inglaterra. Sus restos se encuentran junto a la actual ciudad de Saint Albans en el condado de Hertfordshire, en un terreno agrícola. Antes de los romanos, la ciudad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • VERULAMIUM — vulgo Werlan, locus in Anglia olim celebris, ubi postmodum monasterium S. Albani conditum. Hîc Synodus, A. C. 446. contra Pelagianos, et ab Offa Merciorum Rege A. C. 793. et 794. concilia celebrata sunt …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Verulamium — Reste der Stadtmauern Detail einer Wandmalerei aus einer der Wo …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Verulamium — 51° 45′ 00″ N 0° 21′ 14″ W / 51.75, 0.353889 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Verulamium — /ver yoo lay mee euhm/, n. ancient name of St. Albans. * * * ▪ ancient city, England, United Kingdom also called (Celtic)  Verlamio  or  Verlamion        pre Roman and Romano British town in the territory of the Catuvellauni, across the River Ver …   Universalium

  • Verulamium — /vɛrəˈleɪmiəm/ (say veruh laymeeuhm) noun ancient name of St Albans …   Australian English dictionary

  • Verulamium — /ver yoo lay mee euhm/, n. ancient name of St. Albans …   Useful english dictionary


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