For nearly four centuries, from AD 43 to 410, Britain was a small province on the north western edge of the vast Roman Empire. Patricia Southern’s masterly new history tells the story from first contact, through invasion and conquest, coexistence to eventual decline incorporating the political, social and cultural history of ‘Britannia’. For the first time the wealth of ‘voices’ from the varied population of Roman Britain are placed centre stage in the narrative. Indirectly via the works of ancient historians, annalists and biographers, and directly from building inscriptions, religious dedications, gravestones, graffiti, leaden curse tablets, artefacts and coins. Writers such as Gaius Julius Caesar, the geographer Strabo, the historian Tacitus, and the annalist Cassius Dio, describe Britain and the main historical events, but perhaps the most vivid source is the corpus of letters from the fort at Vindolanda in Northumberland, where named individuals talk about birthday parties and complain about the terrible state of the roads.