Amberley Publishing, £14.99
Review Edward Biddulph
On this whistle-stop tour of Roman York, Adam Parker gives us a tale of two cities. One is the military fortress, which was established in AD 70 or 71 and would shape the growth of the city long after the Romans left. Then there was the colonia, the civilian settlement that developed on the other side of the river. Over time, it acquired all the necessities of a grand city: public baths, townhouses decorated with mosaics, temples, monumental tombs that lined the roads into the city, and, possibly, an amphitheatre.
Today, there is little to see on the ground, but the Yorkshire Museum houses a superb collection of pottery vessels, stone carvings, and objects associated with everyday life and religion, many of which are shown in the book.
While the scope of the book does not allow for a full discussion of the facts and figures (was London, like York, a colonia as stated? The jury is still out on that one), the book does an excellent job at whetting the appetite for a visit to the city.