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Thread: Migration in Roman Britain

  1. #1
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    Migration in Roman Britain

    How free movement in the Roman Empire resulted in a multicultural Britain.
    Garry Shaw | Published 05 April 2016


    After Britain became part of the Roman Empire in AD 43, the island and its inhabitants were integrated into the wider Roman world. This drastically increased the possibilities for migration to and from the newly minted province. Yet for the majority of Britons, little changed. Most chose to spend their lives in their local communities, remaining close to their place of birth. Some, however, emigrated from their homeland and travelled great distances across the Mediterranean, often as members of the Roman army. At the same time, people migrated to Britain from across the Empire. Although this usually happened as a result of military service, many also arrived as traders and slaves.
    https://www.historytoday.com/migration-roman-britain
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 08-23-2020 at 12:28 AM.
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    Published: 19 January 2016
    Genomic signals of migration and continuity in Britain before the Anglo-Saxon

    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10326
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 08-23-2020 at 01:04 AM.
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    A quote on Hadrian’s Wall from this article

    http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat...ntry-6427.html

    As a testimony of how much the Scots were feared 13,000 soldiers and 5,500 horsemen were positioned along the wall. To put these numbers in perspective William the Conqueror captured England with a force of only 7,000 men.
    Thinking about the genetic impact of the Roman era (43-410 AD) vs the Norman Era (1066-1154), I’m inclined to think the Roman Era’s was far greater.
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 08-23-2020 at 03:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellSince1893 View Post
    How free movement in the Roman Empire resulted in a multicultural Britain.
    Garry Shaw | Published 05 April 2016

    https://www.historytoday.com/migration-roman-britain
    I think so, I elaborated it a bit:

    https://anthrogenica.com/showthread....th-West-Europe

    Historian David Mattingly assumes that the Roman garrison at Britannia had reached its peak with 55,000 men, and further argues that if a fifth of it had any relationship with a woman, it would be more than 10,000 women. This is indeed a peak moment. At the same time, this has continued for centuries. This has created considerable clusters of (ex) Roman soldiers who have settled in Northwest Europe and who have descendants.
    Moreover, Britannia is not isolated, it is a process within and along the entire Limes. so also for the Rhineland. In both Britannia and Germania, Roman soldiers have left a (considerable) genetic footprint with this. A (small) part of it was Egyptian.

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    This is from the Irish paper:
    The homogenisation of British population structure through admixture
    In contrast to the gentle gradient of ancient Irish variation, British and continental individuals show a
    more punctuated distribution along PC2 (Fig. 4.6B-C), forming two clear clusters at both ends of modern
    British variation. Anglo-Saxons fall with southeastern English variation in this and all other PCs
    considered, alongside a Nordic Iron Age sample, reflecting the large genetic contribution of Germanic
    migrations to this part of the island (Leslie et al. 2015; Schiffels et al. 2016). Iron Age Britons comprise
    another tight grouping at the opposite end of British variation, emphasising the admixed nature of the
    modern population (Leslie et al. 2015; Martiniano et al. 2016; Schiffels et al. 2016). Early snapshots of
    continental introgression events may be represented by two samples that fall midway between the two
    groups, one from an Anglo-Saxon context (O3), which was reported as admixed in the original study
    (Schiffels et al. 2016), and the second from a Roman British population (6DT23)
    , another member of
    which was demonstrated to be of likely Middle Eastern origin (Martiniano et al. 2016). Notably, no Irish
    Iron Age samples are seen to fall into this region of the PC space.
    6Drif23 may be the result of very early Roman-era (or maybe even earlier) Continental entry (and subsequent mixing) into Britain.
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    Ancestors: Francis Cooke (M223/I2a2a) b1583; Hester Mahieu (Cooke) (J1c2 mtDNA) b.1584; Richard Warren (E-M35) b1578; Elizabeth Walker (Warren) (H1j mtDNA) b1583;
    John Mead (I2a1/P37.2) b1634; Rev. Joseph Hull (I1, L1301+ L1302-) b1595; Benjamin Harrington (M223/I2a2a-Y5729) b1618; Joshua Griffith (L21>DF13) b1593;
    John Wing (U106) b1584; Thomas Gunn (DF19) b1605; Hermann Wilhelm (DF19) b1635

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    In this post I had previously done some math on how many Tungri Roman soldiers stayed in Britain

    https://anthrogenica.com/showthread....l=1#post640633

    By the mid-2nd century, there were about 70 auxiliary regiments in Britain, for a total of over 40,000 men. These outnumbered the 16,500 legionaries in Britain (three Roman legions) by 2.5 to 1.[2] This was the greatest concentration of auxilia in any single province of the Roman Empire.
    Frere et al., have stated that “less than 20% of diploma [retirement papers] recipients moved out of the province in which they had served upon retirement.”
    It is evident from the wording of the Malpas diploma that many of the soldiers must have had wives and children, who stood to gain rights as citizens upon the soldiers’ retirement.
    Of course the number of Roman soldiers fluctuated over the period of 43-410 AD.

    The overall size of the Roman forces in Roman Britain grew from about 40,000 in the mid 1st century AD to a maximum of about 55,000 in the mid 2nd century AD.
    But for arguments sake, let’s be conservative and say there was an average of 20,000 Roman soldiers in Britain during this period. With 1 out of 25 solders retiring each year. That 800 retirements each year with 80% staying in Britain after retirement. That’s 640 men per year x 367 years for a total of ~235,000, and that’s probably on the conservative side. A more realistic number may be ~435,000.

    Plus all the fathering of children prior to retirement/early death. The genetic impact is on the scale of the Anglo Saxon arrivals. And that’s only the Roman soldiers. Many other Roman citizens also came to Britain during this period.

    I have a hard time accepting that the Roman Era has little genetic impact on Britain. It just doesn’t seem logical.

    It may be that the majority of Romans that came to Britain weren’t too genetically different from the locals (from Gaul, Belgica, and Germania Inferior) and therefore are missed in genetic studies.

    Of the auxilia units stationed in Britain, none was originally native British - it was the custom not to deploy units in their home country or region. However, the majority came from the geographically and culturally close areas of northern Gaul and lower Rhineland e.g. Batavi, Tungri.
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 08-24-2020 at 03:33 AM.
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    In the mid to late 300s AD, Roman forces in Britain were under 3 separate commanders.


    -Count of the Britains controlled the mobile main field army in Romano-Britain and had about 6000 troops.
    -Duke of the Britains had 7000-15000 troops with an average of 12,500 focused mainly along Hadrian's Wall
    -Count of the Saxon Shore: I couldn't find any figures for this group, but a typical Roman fort had about 600 soldiers and there were at least 9 Saxon Shore forts on British territory so ~6000 troops seems reasonable.

    That's roughly 25,000 troops in the late 4th Century time frame.

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    More figures from that period

    The bloodbath at Mons Graupius concluded the forty-year conquest of Britain, a period that saw between 100,000 and 250,000 Britons killed.[8] In the context of pre-industrial warfare and of a total population of Britain of c. 2 million, these are very high figures
    Roman Britain had an estimated population between 2.8 million and 3 million people at the end of the second century. At the end of the fourth century, it had an estimated population of 3.6 million people, of whom 125,000 consisted of the Roman army and their families and dependents.
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    From

    https://ancientworldsmanchester.word...my-in-britain/

    The number of soldiers fluctuated but much of the time there were three legions numbering in total 15,000-18,000 men in Britain and at least as many auxiliaries. The auxiliaries were recruited from peoples who had been incorporated in the empire or who supplied troops under a treaty obligation. After serving for 25 years the auxiliaries received Roman citizenship.
    Later as the sons of auxiliaries awarded Roman citizenship became eligible to serve in the legions a broader genetic catchment must have had an influence.
    for a time here in Manchester the garrison of the Roman fort consisted of men from Raetia and Noricum (Switzerland and the modern Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, and part of Austria and Bavaria in eastern central Europe).
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    All of this seems tangential when trying to answer the question of how much genetic influence the Roman period had on Britain, it really doesn't seem much, afterall Latin did not take hold over much of the region, urbanization was not particularly strong and later Irish and Germanic immigration diluted any influence that existed but it's not like Bretons have that much "exotic" ancestry.

    I certainly wouldn't call Roman Britain "multicultural" anyway.

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