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  1. Roman Britain In 1914
  2. Roman Britain - Wikipedia
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  4. Catalog Record: Roman Britain in 1914 | Hathi Trust Digital Library

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To download from the iTunes Store, get iTunes now. The first section gives a retrospect of the chief finds made in The second section is a more detailed and technical survey of the inscriptions found in Britain during that year. The third and longest section is a summary, with some attempt at estimate and criticism, of books and articles dealing with Roman Britain which appeared in You can download Apple Books from the App Store.

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Roman coins and pottery have been found circulating at native settlement sites in the Scottish Lowlands in the years before , indicating growing Romanisation. Some of the most important sources for this era are the writing tablets from the fort at Vindolanda in Northumberland , mostly dating to 90— These tablets provide vivid evidence for the operation of a Roman fort at the edge of the Roman Empire, where officers' wives maintained polite society while merchants, hauliers and military personnel kept the fort operational and supplied.

Around there appears to have been a serious setback at the hands of the tribes of the Picts of Alba: There is also circumstantial evidence that auxiliary reinforcements were sent from Germany, and an unnamed British war of the period is mentioned on the gravestone of a tribune of Cyrene. Trajan's Dacian Wars may have led to troop reductions in the area or even total withdrawal followed by slighting of the forts by the Picts rather than an unrecorded military defeat. The Romans were also in the habit of destroying their own forts during an orderly withdrawal, in order to deny resources to an enemy.

In either case, the frontier probably moved south to the line of the Stanegate at the Solway — Tyne isthmus around this time.

Roman Britain In 1914

A new crisis occurred at the beginning of Hadrian 's reign When Hadrian reached Britannia on his famous tour of the Roman provinces around , he directed an extensive defensive wall, known to posterity as Hadrian's Wall , to be built close to the line of the Stanegate frontier.

This replaced the famous Legio IX Hispana , whose disappearance has been much discussed. Archaeology indicates considerable political instability in Scotland during the first half of the 2nd century, and the shifting frontier at this time should be seen in this context.

In the reign of Antoninus Pius — the Hadrianic border was briefly extended north to the Forth—Clyde isthmus, where the Antonine Wall was built around following the military reoccupation of the Scottish lowlands by a new governor, Quintus Lollius Urbicus. The first Antonine occupation of Scotland ended as a result of a further crisis in —, when the Brigantes revolted.

With limited options to despatch reinforcements, the Romans moved their troops south, and this rising was suppressed by Governor Gnaeus Julius Verus. Within a year the Antonine Wall was recaptured, but by or it was abandoned. The second occupation was probably connected with Antoninus's undertakings to protect the Votadini or his pride in enlarging the empire, since the retreat to the Hadrianic frontier occurred not long after his death when a more objective strategic assessment of the benefits of the Antonine Wall could be made.

The Romans did not entirely withdraw from Scotland at this time: During the twenty-year period following the reversion of the frontier to Hadrian's Wall, Rome was concerned with continental issues, primarily problems in the Danubian provinces. Increasing numbers of hoards of buried coins in Britain at this time indicate that peace was not entirely achieved.

Roman Britain - Wikipedia

Sufficient Roman silver has been found in Scotland to suggest more than ordinary trade, and it is likely that the Romans were reinforcing treaty agreements by paying tribute to their implacable enemies, the Picts. In , a large force of Sarmatian cavalry, consisting of 5, men, arrived in Britannia, probably to reinforce troops fighting unrecorded uprisings. In , Hadrian's Wall was breached by the Picts and the commanding officer or governor was killed there in what Cassius Dio described as the most serious war of the reign of Commodus.

Ulpius Marcellus was sent as replacement governor and by he had won a new peace, only to be faced with a mutiny from his own troops. Unhappy with Marcellus's strictness, they tried to elect a legate named Priscus as usurper governor; he refused, but Marcellus was lucky to leave the province alive. The Roman army in Britannia continued its insubordination: Commodus met the party outside Rome and agreed to have Perennis killed, but this only made them feel more secure in their mutiny. The future emperor Pertinax was sent to Britannia to quell the mutiny and was initially successful in regaining control, but a riot broke out among the troops.

Pertinax was attacked and left for dead, and asked to be recalled to Rome, where he briefly succeeded Commodus as emperor in The death of Commodus put into motion a series of events which eventually led to civil war. Following the short reign of Pertinax, several rivals for the emperorship emerged, including Septimius Severus and Clodius Albinus. The latter was the new governor of Britannia, and had seemingly won the natives over after their earlier rebellions; he also controlled three legions, making him a potentially significant claimant.

His sometime rival Severus promised him the title of Caesar in return for Albinus's support against Pescennius Niger in the east. Albinus crossed to Gaul in , where the provinces were also sympathetic to him, and set up at Lugdunum. Severus arrived in February , and the ensuing battle was decisive. Albinus came close to victory, but Severus's reinforcements won the day, and the British governor committed suicide. Severus soon purged Albinus's sympathisers and perhaps confiscated large tracts of land in Britain as punishment.

Albinus had demonstrated the major problem posed by Roman Britain. In order to maintain security, the province required the presence of three legions; but command of these forces provided an ideal power base for ambitious rivals. Deploying those legions elsewhere would strip the island of its garrison, leaving the province defenceless against uprisings by the native Celtic tribes and against invasion by the Picts and Scots.

The traditional view is that northern Britain descended into anarchy during Albinus's absence. Cassius Dio records that the new Governor, Virius Lupus , was obliged to buy peace from a fractious northern tribe known as the Maeatae. The succession of militarily distinguished governors who were subsequently appointed suggests that enemies of Rome were posing a difficult challenge, and Lucius Alfenus Senecio 's report to Rome in describes barbarians "rebelling, over-running the land, taking loot and creating destruction".

Senecio requested either reinforcements or an Imperial expedition, and Severus chose the latter, despite being 62 years old. Archaeological evidence shows that Senecio had been rebuilding the defences of Hadrian's Wall and the forts beyond it, and Severus's arrival in Britain prompted the enemy tribes to sue for peace immediately.

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The emperor had not come all that way to leave without a victory, and it is likely that he wished to provide his teenage sons Caracalla and Geta with first-hand experience of controlling a hostile barbarian land. An invasion of Caledonia led by Severus and probably numbering around 20, troops moved north in or , crossing the Wall and passing through eastern Scotland on a route similar to that used by Agricola.

Harried by punishing guerrilla raids by the northern tribes and slowed by an unforgiving terrain, Severus was unable to meet the Caledonians on a battlefield. The emperor's forces pushed north as far as the River Tay , but little appears to have been achieved by the invasion, as peace treaties were signed with the Caledonians. By Severus had returned to York, and the frontier had once again become Hadrian's Wall.

The British Empire vs The Roman Empire - Historical Comparison

He assumed the title Britannicus but the title meant little with regard to the unconquered north, which clearly remained outside the authority of the Empire. Almost immediately, another northern tribe, the Maeatae , again went to war. Caracalla left with a punitive expedition , but by the following year his ailing father had died and he and his brother left the province to press their claim to the throne.

Catalog Record: Roman Britain in 1914 | Hathi Trust Digital Library

As one of his last acts, Severus tried to solve the problem of powerful and rebellious governors in Britain by dividing the province into Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. This kept the potential for rebellion in check for almost a century. Historical sources provide little information on the following decades, a period known as the Long Peace.

Even so, the number of buried hoards found from this period rises, suggesting continuing unrest. A string of forts were built along the coast of southern Britain to control piracy; and over the following hundred years they increased in number, becoming the Saxon Shore Forts. During the middle of the 3rd century, the Roman Empire was convulsed by barbarian invasions, rebellions and new imperial pretenders. Britannia apparently avoided these troubles, but increasing inflation had its economic effect.

In a so-called Gallic Empire was established when Postumus rebelled against Gallienus. Britannia was part of this until when Aurelian reunited the empire. Around the year , a half- British officer named Bonosus was in command of the Roman's Rhenish fleet when the Germans managed to burn it at anchor. To avoid punishment, he proclaimed himself emperor at Colonia Agrippina Cologne but was crushed by Marcus Aurelius Probus. Soon afterwards, an unnamed governor of one of the British provinces also attempted an uprising.

Probus put it down by sending irregular troops of Vandals and Burgundians across the Channel. The Carausian Revolt led to a short-lived Britannic Empire from to Carausius was a Menapian naval commander of the Britannic fleet ; he revolted upon learning of a death sentence ordered by the emperor Maximian on charges of having abetted Frankish and Saxon pirates and having embezzled recovered treasure.

He consolidated control over all the provinces of Britain and some of northern Gaul while Maximian dealt with other uprisings. An invasion in failed to unseat him and an uneasy peace ensued, with Carausius issuing coins and inviting official recognition. In , the junior emperor Constantius Chlorus launched a second offensive, besieging the rebel port of Gesoriacum Boulogne-sur-Mer by land and sea. After it fell, Constantius attacked Carausius's other Gallic holdings and Frankish allies and Carausius was usurped by his treasurer, Allectus.

Julius Asclepiodotus landed an invasion fleet near Southampton and defeated Allectus in a land battle. As part of Diocletian's reforms , the provinces of Roman Britain were organized as a diocese subordinate to a praetorian prefect resident with an emperor and from a prefect based at Augusta Treverorum Trier , Julius Bassus, prefect to Constantine's son Crispus. Prior to this appointment, two was the canonical number of prefects not counting those of usurpers. The territorial prefectures first appear circa Four are listed in It is certain that the diocesan vicar was based at Londinium as the principal city of the diocese, as it had been for years; [ citation needed ] that Londinium and Eboracum continued as provincial capitals; and that the territory was divided up into smaller provinces for administrative efficiency and presence as the governors, heretofore mainly judicial and administrative officials, assumed more financial duties as the procurators of the Treasury ministry were slowly phased out in the first three decades of the 4th century.

The governors were stripped of military command a process completed by , which was handed over to duces. The tasks of the vicar were to control and coordinate the activities of governors; monitor but not interfere with the daily functioning of the Treasury and Crown Estates, which had their own administrative infrastructure; and act as the regional quartermaster-general of the armed forces. In short, as the sole civilian official with superior authority, he had general oversight of the administration, as well as direct control, while not absolute, over governors who were part of the prefecture; the other two fiscal departments were not.

The early-4th-century Verona List , the late-4th-century work of Sextus Rufus , and the early-5th-century List of Offices and work of Polemius Silvius all list four provinces by some variation of the names Britannia I , Britannia II , Maxima Caesariensis , and Flavia Caesariensis ; all of these seem to have initially been directed by a governor praeses of equestrian rank.

The 5th-century sources list a fifth province named Valentia and give its governor and Maxima's a consular rank. Ammianus considered it a re-creation of a formerly lost province, [46] leading some to think there had been an earlier fifth province under another name, and leading others to place Valentia beyond Hadrian's Wall , in the territory abandoned south of the Antonine Wall.

Reconstructions of the provinces and provincial capitals during this period partially rely on ecclesiastical records. On the assumption that the early bishoprics mimicked the imperial hierarchy, scholars use the list of bishops for the Council of Arles. Unfortunately, the list is patently corrupt: Bishop Ussher proposed Colonia , [50] Selden Col. A common modern reconstruction places the consular province of Maxima at Londinium, on the basis of its status as the seat of the diocesan vicar; places Prima in the west according to Gerald's traditional account but moves its capital to Corinium of the Dobunni Cirencester on the basis of an artifact recovered there referring to Lucius Septimius, a provincial rector ; places Flavia north of Maxima, with its capital placed at Lindum Colonia Lincoln to match one emendation of the bishops list from Arles; [63] and places Secunda in the north with its capital at Eboracum York.

Constantius Chlorus returned in , despite his poor health, aiming to invade northern Britain, with the provincial defences having been rebuilt in the preceding years.

Little is known of his campaigns with scant archaeological evidence, but fragmentary historical sources suggest he reached the far north of Britain and won a major battle in early summer before returning south. He died in York in July with his son Constantine I at his side. Constantine then successfully used Britain as the starting point of his march to the imperial throne, unlike the earlier usurper, Albinus. In the middle of the century, for a few years the province was loyal to the usurper Magnentius , who succeeded Constans following the latter's death. The investigation deteriorated into a witch-hunt , which forced the vicarius Flavius Martinus to intervene.

When Paulus retaliated by accusing Martinus of treason, the vicarius attacked Paulus with a sword, with the aim of assassinating him, but in the end he committed suicide. As the 4th century progressed, there were increasing attacks from the Saxons in the east and the Scoti Irish in the west. A series of forts was already being built, starting around , to defend the coasts, but these preparations were not enough when a general assault of Saxons, Scoti and Attacotti , combined with apparent dissension in the garrison on Hadrian's Wall, left Roman Britain prostrate in This crisis, sometimes called the Barbarian Conspiracy or the Great Conspiracy , was settled by Count Theodosius with a string of military and civil reforms.

Another imperial usurper, Magnus Maximus , raised the standard of revolt at Segontium Caernarfon in north Wales in , and crossed the English Channel. Maximus held much of the western empire, and fought a successful campaign against the Picts and Scots around His continental exploits required troops from Britain, and it appears that forts at Chester and elsewhere were abandoned in this period, triggering raids and settlement in north Wales by the Irish. His rule was ended in , but not all the British troops may have returned: Around there were more barbarian incursions into Britain.

Stilicho led a punitive expedition. It seems peace was restored by , and it is likely that no further garrisoning was ordered; by more troops were withdrawn, to assist in the war against Alaric I. The traditional view of historians, informed by the work of Michael Rostovtzeff , was of a widespread economic decline at the beginning of the 5th century. Consistent archaeological evidence has told another story, and the accepted view is undergoing re-evaluation. Some features are agreed: Many buildings changed use but were not destroyed.

There were growing barbarian attacks, but these were focused on vulnerable rural settlements rather than towns. Some villas such as Great Casterton in Rutland and Hucclecote in Gloucestershire had new mosaic floors laid around this time, suggesting that economic problems may have been limited and patchy. Many suffered some decay before being abandoned in the 5th century; the story of Saint Patrick indicates that villas were still occupied until at least Exceptionally, new buildings were still going up in this period in Verulamium and Cirencester.

Some urban centres, for example Canterbury , Cirencester , Wroxeter , Winchester and Gloucester , remained active during the 5th and 6th centuries, surrounded by large farming estates. Urban life had generally grown less intense by the fourth quarter of the 4th century, and coins minted between and are very rare, indicating a likely combination of economic decline, diminishing numbers of troops, problems with the payment of soldiers and officials or with unstable conditions during the usurpation of Magnus Maximus — Coinage circulation increased during the s, but never attained the levels of earlier decades.

Copper coins are very rare after , though minted silver and gold coins from hoards indicate they were still present in the province even if they were not being spent. By there were no new Roman coins going into circulation, and by it is likely that coinage as a medium of exchange had been abandoned. Pottery mass production probably ended a decade or two previously; the rich continued to use metal and glass vessels, while the poor probably adopted leather or wooden ones. Towards the end of the 4th century Britain came under increasing pressure from barbarian attacks, and there were not enough troops to mount an effective defence.

After elevating two disappointing usurpers , the army chose a soldier, Constantine III , to become emperor in He crossed to Gaul but was defeated by Honorius ; it is unclear how many troops remained or ever returned, or whether a commander-in-chief in Britain was ever reappointed. A Saxon incursion in was apparently repelled by the Britons , and in Zosimus records that the natives expelled the Roman civilian administration. Zosimus may be referring to the Bacaudic rebellion of the Breton inhabitants of Armorica since he describes how, in the aftermath of the revolt, all of Armorica and the rest of Gaul followed the example of the Brettaniai.

A letter from Emperor Honorius in has traditionally been seen as rejecting a British appeal for help, but it may have been addressed to Bruttium or Bologna. Laycock has investigated this process and emphasised elements of continuity from the British tribes in the pre-Roman and Roman periods, through to the native post-Roman kingdoms. In British tradition, pagan Saxons were invited by Vortigern to assist in fighting the Picts and Irish.


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Germanic migration into Roman Britannia may have begun much earlier. There is recorded evidence, for example, of Germanic auxiliaries supporting the legions in Britain in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The new arrivals rebelled, plunging the country into a series of wars that eventually led to the Saxon occupation of Lowland Britain by Around this time, many Britons fled to Brittany hence its name , Galicia and probably Ireland. A significant date in sub-Roman Britain is the Groans of the Britons , an unanswered appeal to Aetius , leading general of the western Empire, for assistance against Saxon invasion in Another is the Battle of Deorham in , after which the significant cities of Bath , Cirencester and Gloucester fell and the Saxons reached the western sea.

Most scholars reject the historicity of the later legends of King Arthur , which seem to be set in this period, but some such as John Morris think there may be some truth to them. During the Roman period Britain's continental trade was principally directed across the Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel , focusing on the narrow Strait of Dover , with more limited links via the Atlantic seaways. Exports to Britain included: Other exports probably included agricultural products, oysters and salt, whilst large quantities of coin would have been re-exported back to the continent as well.

These products moved as a result of private trade and also through payments and contracts established by the Roman state to support its military forces and officials on the island, as well as through state taxation and extraction of resources. It has been argued that Roman Britain's continental trade peaked in the late 1st century AD and thereafter declined as a result of an increasing reliance on local products by the population of Britain, caused by economic development on the island and by the Roman state's desire to save money by shifting away from expensive long-distance imports.

From the mid-3rd century onwards, Britain no longer received such a wide range and extensive quantity of foreign imports as it did during the earlier part of the Roman period; vast quantities of coin from continental mints reached the island, whilst there is historical evidence for the export of large amounts of British grain to the continent during the mid-4th century.

Mineral extraction sites such as the Dolaucothi gold mine was probably first worked by the Roman army from c. The mine developed as a series of opencast workings, mainly by the use of hydraulic mining methods. They are described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History in great detail. Essentially, water supplied by aqueducts was used to prospect for ore veins by stripping away soil to reveal the bedrock. If veins were present, they were attacked using fire-setting and the ore removed for crushing and comminution.

The dust was washed in a small stream of water and the heavy gold dust and gold nuggets collected in riffles. The diagram at right shows how Dolaucothi developed from c. When opencast work was no longer feasible, tunnels were driven to follow the veins. The evidence from the site shows advanced technology probably under the control of army engineers. The Wealden ironworking zone, the lead and silver mines of the Mendip Hills and the tin mines of Cornwall seem to have been private enterprises leased from the government for a fee.

Mining had long been practised in Britain see Grimes Graves , but the Romans introduced new technical knowledge and large-scale industrial production to revolutionise the industry.