Ok, so I’m going to wrap up the discussion of the development of regional cultures with a talk on an omnipresent (yet often ignored) influence on all of human development. This subject is often ignored in most disciplines, and it is definitely undervalued (unfairly) in many treatises on history. I speak, of course, of Nature.
Sure, you can push back against the forests with the axe and the plough. You can create farmland and settlements. You can eliminate local vegetation and create grazing lands for your herds. But the environment is there… waiting… and will come racing right back to retake it the second that you let your guard down.
In the Roman period we saw some fair extensive economic exploitation of the environment, with roads, large industrialized farmlands, Roman style towns, quarries, mines, and all manner of necessities for Roman life. The land, which was already transformed into an agrarian landscape under the Celts and the prehistoric britons, had pushed even farther towards the human end of the spectrum.