Conference: Celts, Romans, Britons: Classical and Celtic Influence in Britain, 55 BC - 2016 AD.

Radcliffe Humanities Building, Oxford, 2nd July 2016.

This interdisciplinary conference will investigate the profound influence of Celtic and Classical heritage on the development of British historical identity. A series of chronologically arranged panels will attempt to trace the respective importance of Ancient Britons and Romans in British culture over the centuries, from the pre-Roman period to the present day. Speakers specialising in a wide range of different subjects, from ancient archaeology to 20th century literature, will discuss the ways in which these two cultures have been appropriated, rejected, combined, and contrasted by different generations of Britons. Were they seen as opposing poles of savagery and civilization, or did they embody competing ideals of Britishness? Did they at any time lose relevance, and what is their status in British culture today? Despite the obvious ways in which this subject would benefit from a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach, there has thus far been only limited dialogue between specialisms in this area. Our day-conference seeks to address this problem, hoping to foster a genuinely diverse and multi-faceted discussion of this aspect of British historical identity.


10:00 – Registration + Coffee.

10:30 – Introduction by the organisers.

Session 1: Chaired by Prof. Thomas Charles-Edwards (Oxford)

10.40 – Prof. Barry Cunliffe (Oxford).

Pre-Roman Britain: “Celtic from the West.”

11:10 – Dr. Alex Woolf (St. Andrews).

Early Medieval Period: “The Ethnogenesis of the Britons: a Late Antique story.”

11:40 – Prof. Helen Fulton (Bristol).

Late Medieval Period: “Origins and Introductions: Troy and Britain in Late-Medieval Writing.”

12:10 – Questions and Discussion

12:40 – Lunch

Session 2: Chaired by Rhys Kaminski-Jones (University of Wales)

13:40 – Prof. Ceri Davies (Swansea).

Sixteenth Century: “Meeting the classical challenge: Sir John Prise and defending the British History.”

14:10 – Prof. Philip Schwyzer (Exeter).

Seventeenth Century: “The Politics of British Antiquity in the Stuart Era.”

14:40 – Dr. Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales).

Eighteenth Century: “Celts and Romans on Tour: Visions of Early Britain in C18th travel literature.”

15:10 – Questions and Discussion

15:40 – Coffee

Session 3: Chaired by Dr. Nick Lowe (RHUL)

16:00 – Prof. Rosemary Sweet (Leicester).

Nineteenth Century: “Antiquaries and the Romanized Briton.”

16:30 – Dr. Philip Burton (Birmingham).

Twentieth Century: “Looking for Celts and Romans in Middle-earth.”

17:00 – Prof. Richard Hingley (Durham).

Twenty-first Century: “Hadrian’s Wall and the unity of the nation: putting monumentality to use in thoughts about Scottish and English identity.”

17:30 – Questions and Discussion

18:00 – Drinks Reception.


Registration: FREE for students/unwaged attendees, £15 waged (includes refreshments/lunch/wine reception).

Registration Required, Space Limited. To register, contact the organisers at [email protected]. Deadline for registration is June 1st 2016.

For more details, see the conference website:


Organised by Francesca & Rhys Kaminski-Jones, in association with The University of Wales Centre For Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and Oxford Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), Royal Holloway University of London, the Classical Association, the Institute of Classical Studies, and the Learned Society of Wales.


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