In swift campaigns Agricola carried these arts, and Roman rule, to the Clyde and the Forth, defeated an army of 30,000 Scots, and wished to go farther when Domitian recalled him. Hadrian built a wall (122-27) seventy miles across the island from Solway Firth to the mouth of the Tyne as a defense against not-unsuspecting Scots; and twenty years later Lollius raised farther north the thirty-three-mile Wall of Antoninus between the firths of Clyde and Forth. For over two centuries these fortifications kept Britain safe for Rome.
As Rome’s rule achieved stability it became more lenient. The cities were managed by native senates, assemblies, and magistrates, and the countryside was left, as in Gaul, to tribal chieftains amenable to Roman surveillance. It was not so urban a civilization as Italy’s, nor so rich as Gaul’s; but it was under Roman stimulus and protection that most British cities now took form. Four of them were Roman “colonies,” whose freemen enjoyed Roman citizenship: Camulodunum (Colchester), the first Roman capital of Britain, and the seat of the provincial council; Lindum, whose modern name Lincoln declares its ancient privilege; Eboracum (York), an important military post; and Glevum, whose name Gloucester merges Glevum with chester, the Anglo-Saxon word for town.
Chester, Winchester, Dorchester, Chichester, Leicester, Silchester, and Manchester appear to have had their beginnings in the first two centuries of Roman rule. These were small towns, each with some 6000 souls; but they had paved and drained streets, forums, basilicas, temples, and houses with stone foundations and tiled roofs. Viroconium (Wroxeter) had a basilica accommodating 6000 persons, and public baths where hundreds could bathe at once. The hot springs of Aquae Salis (“Salt Waters”), now Bath, made it a fashionable resort in ancient days, as its surviving thermae show. Londinium rose to economic and military importance because of its position on the Thames and its radiating roads. It grew to a population of 60,000 and soon replaced Camulodunum as Britain’s capital.
Most of the homes in Roman London were of brick and stucco, in smaller towns, of wood. Climate determined their architecture: a gable roof to shed rain and snow, and many windows to let in whatever sun might shine; for even “on clear days,” said Strabo, “the sun is to be seen only for three or four hours.” But interiors followed the Roman style- mosaic floors, large bathrooms, muraled walls, and (far more than in Italian homes) central heating by hot-air conduits in walls and floors.
Coal- mined from surface veins- was used not only for warming houses but for industrial processes like smelting lead. Apparently the mines of ancient Britain were owned by the state, but were leased to private entrepreneurs. There was a factory ( fabrica ) at Bath for the manufacture of iron weapons, and probably the making of pottery, bricks, and tiles had reached the factory stage; but most industries were carried on in homes, small shops, and villas. Five thousand miles of Roman roads, and innumerable waterways, were the arteries of a brisk internal trade. A modest foreign commerce, inverting the custom of Britain today, exported raw materials for manufactured goods.