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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Few Great Men - Statues on the Terrace

Many visitors to the Baths believe the statues around the terrace to be Roman; they are, in fact, just over one hundred years old. Julius Caesar is even more modern - one morning in the 1980s, he was found languishing at the bottom of the Great Bath after being given a helping push by some drunken youths!

All of the statues are male except for the bust of Roma and many of these men are instantly recognizable from the annals of Roman history. The governors of Britain are less recognizable names and yet played a far more important role than any Emperor in conquering Britain.

Suetonius Paulinus
One governor who deserves better recognition is Suetonius Paulinus (governor: 58-61 AD), famous for his role in subduing the Boudiccan rebellion. Before he came to Britain, he had made his name leading an expedition across the Atlas Mountains, becoming one of the first Europeans to experience the harshness of the Sahara Desert. His undertakings are recorded by Pliny the Elder in Naturalis Historia.

Julius Agricola
Another great man, Julius Agricola (governor 77-87 AD), stands proudly on the terrace. He subdued a large part of Britain including Wales, northern England and even parts of Scotland. He helped establish control of the area that today is referred to as Roman Britain. His exploits are recorded by Tacitus in De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae.

Ostorius Scapula (governor 47-52 AD) had a huge impact on both the military and the economy of Britain, but Scapula is most famous for capturing Caratacus. Caratacus was the most powerful British warlord before the Roman invasion and he continued to be a thorn in Roman sides for a long time after, until he was captured and sent to Rome by Scapula.

Ostorius Scapula
The city of Bath (or Aquae Sulis as it was during the Roman period) is surrounded by the Mendip Hills. These hills are rich in lead and this was first exploited under Scapula’s leadership. Lead became one of Britain’s biggest exports - it even turns up in places like Pompeii!!

These men are great characters from history and have had a huge impact upon the British nation. Their role in history should not be forgotten or ignored merely because they never rose to the same dizzy heights as the Emperors.

Heath Meltdown

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