Brrrrrr…How the Romans Coped with the British Weather with the Birrus Britannicus

To cope, they came up with a cape made of wool from a breed of sheep they had brought in for the purpose, the Cotswold Lion. This breed of sheep had long and curly-haired fleeces that produced a comfortable and warm wool. This was woven into a cape known as the Birrus Britannicus or cuculla.

Roman Solider in Birrus Britannicus

Wrap up warm in a Birrus Britannicus
© Photo courtesy of Paul Elliott

Chedworth in Gloucestershire has one of the finest Roman villas discovered in Britain and has a range of magnificent mosaics. The villa’s principal dining room (or triclinium) has a mosaic of the four seasons with the personification of Winter dressed in a Birrus Britannicus carrying a rabbit home for his dinner.

Chedworth Roman Villa — Triclinium mosaic — Winter
By Pasicles – Own work, CC0 1.0

Chedworth Roman Villa is located just 10 miles (16 km) north-east of Cirencester, Roman Britain’s second largest city of Corinium, capital of the Roman province of Britannia Prima. The Roman town was famous for the quality of its mosaics, many of which can be seen at the Corinium Museum, which is well worth a visit for its collection of Roman artefacts.

Roamn deities keeping off the cold.

Relief of the Genii Cucullati (hooded deities), early 3rd century AD,
Housesteads Roman Fort (Vercovicium), Hadrian’s Wall
Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0

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By  Owen Bowles MITG
Cotswold and Gloucestershire Blue Badge Tour Guide