What The Romans Did For London


Timber foundation beams from Roman building, Bloomberg Place, 2013 70212021

The so-called ‘Pompeii of the North’, a vast store of Roman artifacts associated with the Temple of Mithras, has been unveiled in the centre of London, in Queen Victoria Street, preserved thanks to the muddy banks of the underground river that once passed through it, the Walbrook.

The temple was first discovered in 1954, and was dug out and relocated. But over the years, the site became the subject of endless disputes; it was prime city property beside the Thames, and the race was on for archaeologists to uncover as much as they could before another glass box could be dumped on it.

Now, though, it seems the Bloomberg Group will restore the Mithraeum to its original location and open a museum in 2016. The Mithraic cult grew across the Roman Empire between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, and the temple, appropriately enough for the City of London, is dedicated to Bacchus. Over 10,000 Roman items have been recovered, including writing tablets that may give us a real taste of Roman conversation.

There are marble reliefs, amulets, statues of deities, and a beautiful tiny amber model of a gladiators helmet. In addition, whole wooden jointed houses are being dug out forty feet down. It’s the single most important Roman find ever made in London.

So that’s probably a cue to have a couple of jokes from ‘Plebs’.

6 comments on “What The Romans Did For London”

  1. Ken Murray says:

    We must be outside the empire as “video not available in your country”. So much for globalisation…

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    Us, too. But sounds like a fantastic dig.

  3. Jo W says:

    Hmn. Is Plebs a version of Men Behaving Badly,set in Ancient Rome?

  4. Ken Murray says:

    I have to say as someone who is constantly being accused of being a representative of the “colonial evil empire”, ( nothing could be further from the truth!) I love quoting the “what have the Romans ever done for us?” Sketch. Satire, embrace it people before it gets legislated against.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Hmm, I thought we were part of the Empire, us up here in the frozen north. Oh well.

  6. admin says:

    No, Jo – it’s ‘Up Pompeii’ but with three ugly men instead of one. Sorry, Canada – didn’t know you’d been kicked out of the Evil Empire!

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