Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Subject Categories

Classical Archaeology and Art History

Keywords

Romanization, Mosaics, Britain, Roman, Fishbourne, Colchester

Abstract

Romanization has been discussed extensively by scholars as a way to describe the acculturation of providences under the Roman Empire. This thesis will look at mosaics from two early sites in southeast Britain and examine their connection to the Roman Empire. Fishbourne, Roman Palace presents us with a detailed view of a private villa from the first century. The city of Colchester provides a non-elite, urban perspective from the second century. Both sites contain surviving mosaics that provide a lasting imprint of the visual and material culture that was valued in Britain during its early years under Roman occupation.

In many ways, Romanization was not a result of influence from Rome alone. It was an amalgamation of cultures and influences from the other provinces within the Empire, not only Italy, but also in particular Gaul. Communication and trade with Gaul was already established at this time, so it is unsurprising that many first century mosaics found at Fishbourne have connections to this area of the continent. The mosaics at Colchester provide a smooth transition from the Fishbourne mosaics that rely heavily on imported artisans. The use of mosaics in the second century was more extensive in Britain and locally skilled mosaicists were used, as seen at Colchester.

Through the mosaics at these two sites, this thesis will look at the people who inhabited the villa and city, respectively, the iconography and design of the mosaics, and the connections they had to the continent, other cities in southwestern Britain, and each other. The fusion of ideas, workmanship, and themes within these Romano-British mosaics allow us to view the gradual Romanization taking place in southeastern Britain following Roman conquest.

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