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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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The Last Century of Roman Rule

The Last Century of Roman Rule

(p.395) IV The Last Century of Roman Rule
The Roman Government of Britain

Anthony R. Birley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the late 3rd- or early 4th-century division of Britain into a diocese with four provinces, then the later creation of the fifth province, Valentia. The changed structure of the military command and civil administration in late Roman Britain is analysed. The main section contains biographies of all known high officials in Britain, both civil and military, from the tetrarchy to the early 5th century, as well as evidence for episodes such as Constantine’s proclamation, AD 306; Constans’ visit, AD 343; and the three usurpers proclaimed in Britain, AD 406-407, Marcus, Gratian, and Constantine (III). Finally, the date at which Roman rule ended is discussed: the ‘letter of Honorius’ of AD 410 was not sent to the ‘cities of Britain’ but to certain cities in Italy. Hence, the proper terminal date is AD 409, when the Britons declared themselves independent of Rome.

Keywords:   Roman provinces, changed command, civil administration, biographies, high officials, usurpations

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