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Book Review – The Coming of Rome – John Wacher

Coming of Rome

This was a relatively short volumn, less than 200 pages but jammed full of details related to the state of England before the invasion by the Romans (first by Julius Caesar) and then the impacts of that invasion before the Romans finally evacuated the island 300+ years later.

I had a bit of difficulty following some of the narrative as I am not all that familiar with the geography of England and this was a disadvantage of sorts. It would have been a real help if the book had included a detailed map of the locations mentioned. Otherwise, one probably needs to be English to take full advantage of the contents.

In spite of that issue, it was an interesting read and filled in a number of gaps in what sparse knowledge I had of that time period. It sure made it clear that the Romans changed the place for the better in quick order and this had a lasting impact. The level of detail associated with the placement of artifacts was impressive and I liked the detail associated with the writing that was left behind especially. Also of note were the wide variety of places (i.e. dredged from the Thames) where interesting things were found.

Interesting that before the Romans the English did not mark their graves with stones and this was a practice introduced by the Romans.

One other item that the author mentions is that sea level was much lower at that time (100 BC or thereabouts) that at present and that this was a relevant factor in the history of the region. I find this particularly evocative given all the chatter/noise/misinformation thrown around related to “global warming”. People forget that it was not that long ago that there was a mile of ice (yes – a sheet of ice at least 1 mile thick) sitting on top of what is now Pennsylvania and that the runoff  from that ice is what has given us Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.

All that ice had several impacts:

  1. It sucked a lot of water out of the oceans, dropping the sea level and increasing the salinity of the ocean
  2. The weight of the ice caused the land to slowly sink under the weight. Think of a cork floating in a bowl of water and what happens when you slowly press down on the cork,

Now…as the climate changes due to reasons we still very poorly understand, the ice gradually melts…the oceans gain a lot of water, the salinity decreases and the land very slowly rebounds. That rebound goes on today, raising the Atlantic coast line. Continents do not move quickly…witness the fact that it took millions of years, something like 100+ million years for the Atlantic Ocean to form from the rift zone in its middle and separate North America from Europe. If that leave you somewhat puzzled, check out the generic pages associated with “Plate Tectonics” for some background. This is not the place for that discussion…but, I’ve been a student of the topic since its inception back in the early 1970’s….That’s also when scientists were very sure that another ice age was on its way….I have the news clippings in my scrapbooks to prove that.


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