Published: 06:00, 09 June 2020
| Updated: 08:47, 09 June 2020
The longest surviving lighthouse from the Roman era, in Dover, is among eight new stamps that explore the sophistication, technical brilliance and artistry of Roman Britain.
Royal Mail worked with the British Museum in the development of the stamp issue which can be previewed from today.
A picture of Dover Lighthouse, aka the Dover Pharos, is included in the collection which comes in a presentation pack, available for £10.35 from Thursday, June 18.
Other landmarks that feature include Bignor mosaic in West Sussex; the Caerleon Amphitheatre in Wales; the Ribchester Helmet, which was found in Lancashire; the Bridgeness distance slab, found in Scotland; Warrior god, Cambridgeshire; the Gorgon’s head, Bath; and Hadrian’s Wall.
Philip Parker, Royal Mail spokesperson, said: “What did the Romans do for us?
"They gave us important new towns, a network of roads to link them, vast building works in stone, a new language and our calendar – they even named the country, Britain.
"These new stamps feature some of the most complete and striking Roman sites and objects which show their character and sophistication.”
The Dover lighthouse is the only Kent landmark to be included.
Located at Dover Castle, adjoined to the St Mary in Castro church, it looks over the English Channel from the vantage point at the top of the white cliffs.
For almost 400 years - from 43AD to 410 AD - much of mainland Britain was a province of the Roman empire.
This period has had a profound effect on British society, laws, language, art, architecture, culture and beliefs.
Rome’s lasting legacy is visible in standing remains such as forts and villas and archaeological finds displayed in museums across the UK.
A large occupying army, estimated at around 55,000 men in the 2nd century, established a road network across much of lowland Britain, also facilitating the first public post system, the "cursus publicus".
Ermine Street, for example, linked London with Lincoln and York, three important towns.
Indeed, although most Britons lived and worked in the countryside, continuing a way of life established for centuries, some settled in towns and participated in Roman social and cultural customs, such as public bathing or visiting the amphitheatre to be entertained.
Wealthy landowners built villas – country residences on the Roman model, often floored with mosaics.
The economy was vibrant, with artisans producing everything from pottery beakers to iron tools, leather shoes and beer. Britain exported grain and metals, and slaves too, and imported goods from around the Mediterranean and beyond.
Tombstones and other inscriptions provide evidence of incomers from Italy and Rome’s European and eastern-Mediterranean provinces, and over time a distinctive Romano-British culture developed, as seen in objects such as brooches unique to Britain. Roman gods were worshipped alongside local deities, and Eastern mystery cults, and Christianity, were also popular.
Richard Hobbs, the Weston Curator of Roman Britain at the British Museum, said: "It was a great honour to work with Royal Mail on this project.
"The eight sites and objects chosen give a taste of life in Roman Britain, which I hope will encourage people to explore this fascinating period in Britain's history further."
Roman links to Kent are plentiful and there are a wealth of remains in the county.
Julius Caesar was said to have landed in Deal and there is a monument commemorating this at Walmer Beach.
In recent years new evidence has revealed a new theory that the emperor and his army landed at Pegwell Bay, not far from an area they built on to form Richborough Roman Fort at Sandwich.
Dover's relics include a villa known as the Roman Painted House.
More by this authorBeth Robson
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