The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning


ADMINISTRATOR person who plans and manages the affairs of an organisation
ALDERSGATE One of the Roman gates of London – the name is medieval
ALDGATE One of the Roman gates of London – the name is medieval
AMPHITHEATRE A large oval place of public entertainment (amphitheatrum) designed to give everyone a good view
AMPHORA A large heavy clay container that held such liquids as fish sauce (garum and liquamen), wine (vinum) or olive oil (oleum). They were strong enough to travel long distances by cart and by boat
The hours before midday (am)
APODYTERIUM The hallway or cloakroom of a bath-house
APSE A semi-circular end to a building
ARCHAEOLOGIST A person who digs in the ground to find out about the past. The name means 'someone who studies ancient things'
ARCHER An auxiliary soldier, skilled at firing arrows from a bow
ARENA The oval area of an amphitheatre where the entertainment took place. The Latin word arena means 'sand' and layers of sand were laid over the surface
ARMOUR Protective clothing worn by soldiers in battle
ARMY COMMANDER The army commander (legatus) was normally in charge of a legion of about 5500 men
AUXILIARY Soldiers, non-citizens, who provided such extra skills as archers, sling-throwers and horsemen


BALLISTA Heavy catapult machine that could fire iron-tipped bolts long distances
BARREL Large wooden containers that contained wine from Germany
BESTIARIUS A gladiator who fought wild animals
BISHOPSGATE One of the Roman gates of London – its name is medieval
BISHOPSGATE One of the Roman gates of London – its name is medieval
BISHOPSGATE One of the Roman gates of London – its name is medieval
BOADICEA The old name for Boudica which happened due to spelling mistakes over many hundreds of years
BOUDICA Queen of the Iceni, a British tribe based in Suffolk and Norfolk. The name is sometimes spelt as Boudicca but it is thought to have been a spelling mistake
BRACAE The Latin word for trousers


CALDARIUM The hot room of the bath-house
CALIGAE Latin word for military leather boots or sandals
CATAPULT MACHINE Heavy machine (ballista) that could fire iron-tipped bolts long distances
CAVALRY Soldiers, non citizens, who fought on horseback (equites)
CEMETERY The place where the dead are buried
CENTURY A legion was an army unit of 5500 men. It was divided into 10 units called cohorts which were divided into smaller units. Each century contained 80 soldiers
CHARON The ferryman who rowed the dead across the River Styx in order to reach the Underworld
CHRISTIANITY A religion that followed the sayings of Jesus Christ and believed he was the son of God. It competed with Mithraism to become the most popular religion
CINGULUM MILITARE The Latin word for the military leather belt
CIRCUS A place of public entertainment with long sides and curved ends to enable horses and chariots to race
CITIZEN Someone with 3 names which showed that they were allowed to vote in elections
COBBLER A craftsman who makes shoes
COFFIN A box in which a dead person is buried
COHORTS An army unit, legion, of 5500 men was divided into 10 units called cohorts which were divided into smaller units called centuries
CONSERVE Objects, once dug out of the ground, are cleaned and repaired by conservators to make them survive for a long time
CONTRACT A business agreement which is a legal document
CORROSION Metal objects, in particular, when buried in damp conditions can rust and fall apart. The rust and other types of damage is called corrosion and conservators have to carefully remove the corrosion to make the object safe
COUNTRY HOUSE In Britain in the 1800's, rich families built large houses in the countryside and farmed the land and the crops were grown for market
CRAFTSMAN Someone who is skilled in building or making particular objects that people want to buy
CREMATE The burning (cremation) of a dead body
CRIPPLEGATE One of the Roman gates of London – the name is medieval


DECEMBER The Latin word for what was originally the 10th month of the Roman Calendar but which became December
DEFIXIO A lead curse that named someone for the gods to harm. The Latin means 'fixed or nailed up' as some curses were nailed to posts at shrines
DEFRUTUM The Latin word for a wine syrup made by boiling up wine to thicken it
DIGITUS The Latin word for finger which was used as the fraction one-sixteenth of the Roman foot measure because of the width of the finger
DIMACHAERUS Lightly-armed type of gladiator
DIO CASSIUS An historian who wrote a history of Rome some 200 years after the events had taken place
DOUGH The mix of flour, yeast and water for making bread


EMPEROR Originally the leader of the Roman Empire was an army general (Imperator). That name came to be used as part of the formal titles of the emperor
ENAMEL A process that melts coloured glass powder to form a brightly-coloured hard layer used to decorate jewellery
EQUES Latin word for a cavalry soldier that was also used for a type of gladiator who rode on horseback
ESSEDARIUS A type of gladiator who fought from war chariots
EVACUATE When people have to leave a place in order to keep safe
EXCAVATION Ground where archaeologists dig to find out about the past


FASCIA Leg padding for a fighting gladiator
FEBRUARIUS The Latin word for February
FLAGON A container, usually made of clay, that was used for storing and serving liquids
FOCALE The Latin word for the military scarf
FORT A group of buildings, encircled by a wall, which housed units of the Roman army. The soldiers were based there to protect the area from attack
FORUM A large public building in the centre of a town, that held the main market and richer shops
FRIGIDARIUM The cold room of the bath-house


GALEA The Latin word for s soldier's helmet
GALERUS The metal shoulder guard worn by a type of gladiator
GALLUS Heavily-armed gladiator
GATEWAY Entrances and exits to major public buildings. Solid doors shut the gateways when the building was closed
GLADIATOR An armed fighter trained to fight, sometimes to the death, in the amphitheatre
GLADIATRIX A female gladiator
GLADIUS The Latin word for the legionary sword
GOVERNOR The commander of a Roman province, in charge of both the army and the civilian administration
GRANARY Every fort had a big food store where grain (for flour) and other foods were kept. It was built with a raised floor to prevent rats and mice from eating the food
GREATER LONDON An administrative area around London today made up of 33 boroughs


HADRIAN Leader (Emperor) of the Roman Empire from AD 117-138. He ordered the building of Hadrian's Wall in about AD123
HADRIAN'S WALL The Romans built a long wall that stretched for 80 Roman miles (73 miles or 117km) from Bowness in the west to Wallsend and South Shields in the east. It was built to protect northern Britain from attack by the tribes living in Scotland
HASTA The Latin word for the legionary spear, an iron-tipped throwing weapon
HEARTH A place for a fire in a house that was used for both heating and cooking. It could be set in a hollow in the floor or be a clay-built structure so that food could be cooked on it like a barbeque
HOBNAIL Small iron nail with a domed head, made especially for fixing soles to the bottom of leather shoes
HOPLOMACHUS Heavily-armed type of gladiator
HYPOCAUST The underfloor heating system for bigger houses that allowed hot air to flow underneath the floors and up inside hollow boxes inside the walls


IANUARIUS The Latin name for January. It came from the two-headed god Janus who looked back to the old year and forward to the oncoming year
ICENI A British tribe based in Suffolk and Norfolk whose king was Prasutagus when the Romans conquered Britain
IMBREX A curved clay roof tile that fitted over where the sides of two flat roof tiles (tegula) touched together. This kept the rainwater out
IMPORT Something from abroad brought into the country to be sold in markets
INFANTRY Soldiers who fought on foot with hand-held weapons
INSCRIPTION Something that is written onto an object – it could be formal wording on a building or information written on a coin or writing tablet
ISOTOPES A scientific method that can measure oxygen, lead and nitrogen levels in a person's bones and teeth which is affected by what one eats and drinks
IUNIUS The Latin word for June


KILN A clay-built structure built to make (fire) pots. A fire heats the kiln up to reach a high temperature. The heat bakes the clay pots hard
KINGDOM The area or country ruled by a king


LACONICUM A room with dry heat, like a sauna, in the bath-house
LANISTA The trainer of a team of gladiators
LAQUERARIUS A type of gladiator who used a lasso like the Retiarius who used a net to capture his opponent
LEGATUS The legatus was the army commander. He was normally in charge of a legion of about 5500 men.
LEGION An army unit of 5500 men divided into 10 units called cohorts which were divided into smaller units called centuries
LEGIONARY An infantry soldier (legionarius), a citizen of Rome, who fought on foot with a sword as his main weapon
LOOTING After soldiers and fighters won in battle, they often celebrated by destroying buildings and stealing other people's possessions
LORICA Latin word for a Roman soldier's chest armour. There were different types of lorica – segmentata (metal strips), squamata (scale) and hamata (chain mail)
LUDGATE One of the Roman gates of London – the name is medieval
LYRE A stringed musical instrument


MAIUS The Latin word for May
MANICA A padded protection for the fighting arm of a gladiator
MANICURE The care off the hands and finger nails using a set of small tools
MARTIUS The Latin word for March
MEDITERRANEAN SEA The sea surrounded by Europe and Africa. The Latin name means 'in the middle of land
MEDUSA A mythological creature with snakes for hair (Gorgon) who could turn a person to stone
MERCHANT A person who bought and sold goods, often involving trading with other countries
MESSENGER A soldier on horseback who travelled between the forts to deliver messages. Each legion had 120 scouts and messengers
MILITARY SCOUTS Soldiers on horseback who checked that the countryside was safe before the army marched. Each legion had 120 scouts and messengers
MITHRAS An eastern god who was favoured by Roman soldiers, administrators and merchants because he stood for courage and goodness. The worshippers were called Mithraists and the religion Mithraism
MOCCASIN A one-piece shoe of soft leather
MORTAR A mix of sand and lime mixed to a paste with water that was used in building
MORTARIUM A clay or stone vessel used in the kitchen to grind herbs, spices and for making sauces
MOSAIC A floor made of small coloured stone or clay cubes (tesserae). The best mosaics were made with patterns on them
MURMILLO Heavily-armed type of gladiator


NAVE The central area of a religious building
NOVEMBER The Latin word for what was originally the 9th month of the Roman Calendar but which became November


OCREA A leg guard or greave for a fighting gladiator
OCTOBER The Latin word for what was originally the 8th month of the Roman Calendar but which became October
OVERTUNIC A tunic that was worn on top of and over another tunic in order to keep warm
OXEN Oxen (singular ox)) were large slow-moving cattle used to pull ploughs and wagons


PAENULA The Latin word for a hooded cloak
PALAESTRA The exercise yard of a bath-house or gymnasium
PARMULA Small shield used by types of gladiators
PAULINUS The governor of Roman Britain during the Boudican revolt was called Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
PETITION A formal request for something, usually in written form
PIGMENT Colouring produced as a powder, usually from a plant or animal, which was used to colour substances
PILUM The Latin word for javelin, an iron-tipped throwing weapon
PORE A small opening in the skin that allows sweat and body oils to come out
The hours after midday (pm)
PRASUTAGUS The king of the Iceni tribe who had supported the Roman invasion in AD43. In AD59 he died leaving his kingdom to both the Emperor and his wife, Boudica
PROCURATOR The head of finance in a Roman province. He was in charge of collecting taxes and government brickyards which made tiles for public buildings
PROVINCE As the Romans conquered different countries they made them into provinces, the administrative areas in the Roman Empire
PROVOCATOR Heavily-armed type of gladiator
PTERUGES Leather skirt with metal scales – part of a fighting gladiator's clothing
PUGIO The Latin word for a dagger
PYRE A ceremonial bonfire created in order to burn (cremate) a dead body


QUINTILIS The Latin word for originally what was the 5th month of the Roman Calendar but which became July


RE-ENACTMENT GROUP People who dress up in costume to show people what life must have been like at a certain period in history
REMUS One of the twin baby boys, left to die, who were rescued and suckled by a she-wolf. They are said to have founded Rome
RETIARIUS Lightly-armed type of gladiator
RIVER STYX The river that had to be crossed by the dead in order to reach the Underworld
ROMULUS One of the twin baby boys, left to die, who were rescued and suckled by a she-wolf. They are said to have founded Rome


SACRIFICE The ritual killing of an animal or bird to please a particular god
SAGUM The Latin word for cloak
SAMIAN An expensive red glossy pottery that was made as tableware in France. It was either plain or had moulded decorations
SARCOPHAGUS A stone coffin used by rich families to bury a dead person
SCUTUM A large rectangular shield used by both legionary soldiers and some types of gladiators
SECURITY Methods of keeping things and people safe
SECUTOR Heavily-armed type of gladiator
SEPTEMBER The Latin word for what was originally the 7th month of the Roman Calendar but which became September
SEXTILIS The Latin word for what was originally the 6th month of the Roman Calendar but which then became August
SHRINE A small place of worship where trinkets and gifts were left to the gods
SHUTTERS Wooden covers to windows that did not have glass in them
SILK A fabric made from silk thread produced by silkworms. This thread came from China in the Roman period
SLAVE Someone who was not free. They were often taken prisoner as the Romans took over new provinces and then sold into slavery
SLINGER An auxiliary soldier, skilled at throwing stones during battle using a catapult made of cloth or leather
STATUS Level of importance for a person – whether they are citizens or not and whether they are rich or poor
STRIGIL A curved metal tool (strigilis) that allowed bathers to scrape their skin to remove sweat and old oils
SULIS MINERVA A Roman goddess whose name was a mix of the classical goddess Minerva and a local deity Sulis. She was worshipped at the springs at the baths in Bath


TACITUS The most famous Roman historian who wrote about what happened in the Roman Empire and especially about early Roman Britain in the 1st century (AD43-70)
TAVERN Somewhere to go to eat cooked food and drink
TEGULA A flat clay roof tile that had angled sides so that it would fit with the next tile
TEMPLE A place of worship, usually large stone buildings, where animal sacrifices were made
TEPIDARIUM The warm room of the bath-house
TESSERAE Small coloured cubes of stone or clay that were used to make up designs on mosaic floors
THRAEX Heavily-armed type of gladiator
TOGA A large semi-circular piece of cloth that a male Roman citizen wore draped around his body and shoulder. It showed his status as a citizen
TOMBSTONE A marker put up to show where someone was buried
TRIBE A group of people from the same families who lived in the same territory and had the same beliefs
TRINKET A small ornament or piece of jewellery of little value
TRINOVANTES A British tribe based in modern Essex. Colchester was their tribal centre
TUNICA The Latin word for a military tunic
TUTOR Someone who taught children not in school but at home


UDONES The Latin word for socks
UNCIA The Latin word for the fraction one-twelth. It was used as a measure of the Roman foot (the Imperial measure words ' inch' and 'ounce' came from this)
UNDERWORLD The Romans believed that the dead had to travel below the ground to reach the afterlife


VENATOR A type of gladiator who hunted wild animals
VESSEL A container, usually a bowl, dish or jar
VILLA A villa was a large farm owned by the government or a rich family but run by staff. The farm produced fresh food for nearby towns


WAREHOUSE A building built close to the port where goods were unloaded from boats and stored before being taken elsewhere
WATLING STREET One of the earliest roads built by the Roman army. It ran from the Kent coast and Canterbury through to St Albans
WATTLE & DAUB A method of building walls of poorer houses. It was made by using bendy wooden sticks woven together (wattle) with a layer of clay (daub) over
WEAPON Something used to fight the enemy in battle

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