Pete’s time-travelling underpants – the history: Rule Britannia


I hope you're enjoying my first adventure! Here's the words in bold explained in proper English. Thanks to Barford for helping me with some of the harder ones!



  • Brittunculus - This is really rude. It’s what the Romans in Britain called the local people. It basically means ‘little British person’ and Barford tells me that they’ve found this word used in letters written by Roman soldiers.
    Camulodunum - Barford says it’s pronounced ‘cah-mul-oh-doo-num’ (I’m still sure it’s really ‘camel-will-do-one’) and is actually a real place in England now called Colchester in Essex. It was an important town in Roman times. 
  • Tacitus - This guy was a Roman historian (you know, like you see on TV nowadays drowning on about Henry VIII or the Battle of Hastings or whatever). He lived in the olden days (I mean the really olden days - almost two thousand years ago) and wrote all about the Romans fighting in Britain. 
  • Prefect - We have these guys at my school and they’re really snooty, just like Noxius Maximus. Barford tells me a Roman Prefect wasn’t quite the same, though. He was in charge of a city or an area in the Roman Empire,  kind of like a mayor now, I guess, except no one voted for these guys, they just got picked by other important people.
  • Sedan chair - These things sound really cool. I wish I could get taken around on one. If you were really important in Roman times (and in other olden times as well, Barford says) you would be carried around by slaves or servants on a chair. They call these sedan chairs.
  • Sesterces - Yeah, I know - weird word, right? Apparently it’s Roman money. A ‘sestertius’ was a brass coin, which actually didn’t look that different to the copper pennies that Granny gives me when I go to stay (she seems to think I can actually buy something with them).
    Dormouse dipped in honey - Sounds gross, right? Wrong. These are awesome. Caradocus told me that they were really popular in Roman times. Most other Roman food is as gross as it sounds, but dormice are almost as good as a Gino’s Meat Feast Pizza.
  • Boudicca - Auntie Boudicca to Julius. I asked Barford about her and he said she caused massive problems for the Romans. Her husband Prasutagus (try saying that with a mouth full of honey-coated dormice) was king of the area around Camulodunum (not much to be king of, hey?), but when he died the Romans nicked the land off Boudicca. She then launched a rebellion that was so bad for the Romans that the Emperor Nero thought about pulling out of Britain. She was beaten in the end, though, and Boudicca sadly died (but we don’t know how).
  • Latrine - Basically a toilet, but not like the ones you know. It was basically a piece of wood with a hole in it with a pit underneath. You could have eight or more of these in one building - there were four in Probus’s latrines. Here’s a picture a guy did of what it might have looked like (it did look quite like this).
  • Glirarium - You might think this is mean (I do, but it does mean I can have yummy honey-dipped dormice). The Romans would keep live dormice in a big jar with ‘dormice runs’ inside (a bit like Jim’s hamster’s cage but made of pottery) while they fattened them up to eat!
  • Salutatio - This sounds awesome. I wish someone would give me money for coming and saying ‘Hello’ to them. Apparently, wealthy and important Roman men (it was always men in Roman times Auntie Cheryl told me) who were called ‘patrons’ would give money and other support to less wealthy and important people called ‘clients’. The clients would come and pay their respects to the patron and he would give them money (just like Probus and Superbus). Unfortunately, the clients did have to do favours for the patron in return (like act as a fan club if the patron tried to get elected to government). 
  • Garum - This one is gross. It was a kind of fish stew made from really smelly bits like the fish’s head. That’s bad enough, but the Romans put it in everything (Caradocus claimed it made things taste better. I think he might just be insane). I even had to have a pear tart with it in - imagine that!
  • Samian ware - This is like the Roman version of the plates and teacups Granny keeps in a glass cabinet in the corner of her living room and won’t let me go near. It was bright orange and was covered in pictures. It was often made in Gaul (the place that awful Snottius came from - Barford says it’s sort of where France, Belgium and some bits of western Germany are now) and was really expensive.