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The Roman Government of Britain$
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Anthony R. Birley

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252374

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252374.001.0001

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Carausius and Allectus, 286–296

Carausius and Allectus, 286–296

(p.369) III Carausius and Allectus, 286–296
The Roman Government of Britain

Anthony R. Birley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter assembles evidence for the ‘British empire’ created by the usurpation of Carausius, which lasted from AD 286 to 293; his overthrow by his lieutenant Allectus; and the latter’s rule from 293 to 296. For both men, the questions of their origin and previous career are analysed. In the case of Allectus, it is argued that he was not rationalis summae rei (finance minister) of Carausius, but probably prefect of the guard. This is followed by an account of the recovery of Britain by the Caesar Constantius I. The literary sources and the single inscription of Carausius are cited in full, with translations and particular attention paid to the coinage of the two usurpers. On Carausius’ coins, several references to Virgil can now be identified.

Keywords:   British empire AD 286-296, recovery of Britain, Virgilian allusions, coins

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