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The Military Antiquities Of The Romans In Britain. By The Late William Roy, F.R.S. F.S.A. Major-General Of His Majesty's Forces, Deputy Quarter-Master General, And Colonel Of The Thirtieth Regiment Of Foot. Published By The Order, And At The Expence Of, The Society Of Antiquaries Of London.

William Roy

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed By W. Bulmer And Co. And Sold At The Apartments Of The Society, In Somerset-Place; And By Messrs. White, Robson, Nicol, Leigh And Sotheby, Brown, And Egerton., MDCCXCIII.

Physical Description

[10], xvi, 206, [6] p., 51 [i.e. 50] pl. (the leaf numbered as plate 43 is a letter-press table); 535 mm. (Folio.)

General Note

Plate XII is misnumbered as XL. Pl.ates 1-3, 12, 18, 40 are dble.; pl. 35 is dble. and folding.


[T.p., fly-title, note] - Contents - Prefatory Introduction - [Text, in 4 books with 4 divisional title pages] - Appendix [with its own divisional t.p.] - List Of Plates - [Plates] - A List Of The Society Of Antiquaries Of London. April 23, MDCCXCIII.

Responsibility Note

No plate is signed by a draughtsman, apart from pl. 37, which is signed as drawn by J. Farington RA. The caption of plate 1 describes it as drawn up by Gmo. Roy. All plates are signed as engraved by Basire, apart from pl.1, which is signed as engraved by J. Cheevers.

Each - apart from pl. 1 - carries the publishers' imprint of the Society of Antiquaries of London; and all carry the publication-date (April 23 1793).


ESTC, T105077
Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 5 (2003), no. 4098, p. 2780-1.
National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, 2 (1998), no. 71, p.259-60.
J. Evans, A History of the Society of Antiquaries (1956).
J.P. Anderson, The book of British topography (1881, repr. 1976), p.355.
Y. O'Donoghue, William Roy, 1726-1790 (1977).

Summary Note

Roy's book is primarily an account of Roman military earthworks. The text is in four books: 1. General View Of The Military Transactions Of The Romans In Britain; 2. The Original Institution Of The Roman Militia; And Their Ancient System Of Castrametation; 3. General Description Of North Britain, And Of The Temporary Roman Camps Existing There; Also A Commentary On The Campaigns Of Agricola; 4. The Ancient Geography Of North Britain Rectified. These are followed by an Appendix 'Containing Detached Pieces'.

The plates are almost all maps of northern Britain or plans of encampments; but a few show other subjects - 'Sacellum, vulgarly called Arthur's Oon' (pl. 36), 'View of Duntocher Bridge On Grime's Dyke' (37), Roman antiquities (38, 39), 'Plan and Section of a Roman Bath ... at Netherby' (46). Unfortunately Roy's careful work is vitiated by his reliance on an itinerary and map of 'Richard of Cirencester', a forgery made by Charles Bertram; but it remains a valuable record of several sites no longer visible.

Manuscripts relating to this work are held by the British Library and the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, 19th-century green cloth-covered boards; black morocco spine-label lettered 'Roy's Military Antiquities Of The Romans In Britain'.

Name as Subject


Antiquities, Roman - Military bases - Military buildings - Military camps - Military engineering - Military installations - Military roads - Military towns - Forts - Fortifications - Earthworks (engineering works) - Romans - Great Britain - Scotland - History - 1st century
Archaeology - Topographic surveys - Surveying - Great Britain - Scotland - 18th century
Military history - Military maps - Maps - Plans - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century