Although it was not constructed on such a massive scale and was neither so broad or so lofty, the Silchester basilica was longer than the Norman nave of Ely Cathedral. At either end in apsidal recesses were the raised platforms, tribunalia, upon which rested the seats of magistrates. Beyond the basilica was a further range of rooms with the curia, the meeting-place of the cantonal senate, centrally placed. The floors of the basilica were of red tesserae set in cement, its walls were frescoed, and its columns were made of Bath stone with Corinthian capitals. Part at least of the curia was lined with Italian marble and much Purbeck marble in other parts of the building. Among its statuary were a stone image, twice life-size, of the guardian deity or tutela of the Atrebates...I am halfway through the book and halfway through that 900 years and have learned almost nothing about the inhabitants of Britain, except where they lost battles. Nothing about their religion, their form of government, their foods, their customs, their clothing, nothing. I have learned a bit about the people who ruled them, who when they departed had left little mark on the genetics, language, or customs. They left roads, walls, some buildings, and a little technology.
That was what history used to be - who conquered, who ruled. I have grown so used to modern cultural histories that I had forgotten.