New Royal Mail stamps celebrate Roman legacy in Britain
By Laura Parnaby
Royal Mail has launched a collection of new picture stamps to celebrate the legacy of the Romans in Britain.
Eight stamp designs showing Roman artefacts and architecture across the country will be available on general sale from next Thursday.
The stamps show Dover Lighthouse, Bignor mosaic, Caerleon Amphitheatre, Ribchester helmet, Bridgeness distance slab, a Warrior god in Cambridgeshire, Gorgon’s head in Bath, and Hadrian’s Wall.
Royal Mail worked with the British Museum to design the stamps, and the full set of eight can be purchased for £10.35.
For almost 400 years, from 43 to 410 AD, much of mainland Britain was a province of the Roman empire.
This period helped mould British laws, language, art, architecture, culture and beliefs, and the Roman army established early road networks which facilitated the first public post system.
Royal Mail spokesperson Philip Parker said: “What did the Romans do for us?
“They gave us important new towns, a network of roads to link them, vast building works in stone, a new language and our calendar – they even named the country, ‘Britain’.
“These new stamps feature some of the most complete and striking Roman sites and objects which show their character and sophistication.”
The Weston Curator of Roman Britain and the British Museum Richard Hobbs said he hopes the eight sites and objects will “give a taste of life in Roman Britain” and encourage people to explore the period.
Mr Hobbs said: “The Ribchester helmet is not only one of the British Museum’s iconic items, but also one of our earliest acquisitions – it’s been in the national collection since 1796, when a hoard of Roman military equipment was discovered in Ribchester, Lancashire.
“The helmet, decorated with a scene of a battle between infantry and cavalry, was the most spectacular piece.”
For more than 50 years, Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated anniversaries and celebrated events relevant to UK heritage and life.
Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK and millions worldwide.