Carausius and Allectus: The British Usurpers (Roman Imperial by P J Casey

By P J Casey

Below Carausius and his successor Allectus, Britain for a decade (AD 286-96) accomplished an independence which threatened the steadiness of the Roman Empire. With coastal components of Gaul additionally forming a part of the separatist dominion, the concern ended in the construction of a moment tier of imperial rulers. Constantius Chlorus was once promoted to suppress the insurrection and his good fortune prepared the ground for his son Constantine - who used to be to take advantage of the province recovered through his father because the base for his personal bid for imperial acceptance. His good fortune - and his adoption of Christianity because the kingdom faith - used to be to form the realm within which we nonetheless stay. This little recognized yet amazing episode within the heritage of Roman Britain has been brilliantly pieced jointly through John Casey, via a painstaking - and from time to time detective-like - sifting of the literary, archaeological and numismatic proof. The latter is as wealthy because it is advanced and is gifted with an impossible to resist mix of enthusiasm and readability. What emerges is that the independence of england used to be dependent upon navel energy. those rulers managed the ocean lanes of the English Channel and North Sea in a fashion that no naval strength had performed because the time of Augustus. within the aftermath of defeat, the abolition of a unified naval command diminished the Roman reaction to seaborne raiders to a reactive stategy, instead of an aggressively campaigning one. within the long-term this dramatic episode was once to play an important, if fluctuating, half in well known political mythology. within the centuries whilst insular debate used to be paramount, the rebellion held its position in literary and old dialogue, with mythical accretions freely grafted on; curiosity waned in the course of the eighteenth century - purely to be rekindled within the current century, while a revival of Carausian experiences coincided with a go back to insularity and a redefinition of political horizons.

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Significantly the Panegyric of 297 describes Casausius as stealing ‘the fleet that used to protect Gaul’. The promotion seems to have been granted because Carausius came to the notice of Maximian; this appears to dispel any notion that a cause of the revolt was resentment of his commander’s elevation to imperial rank. Maximian’s campaign in Gaul is dated in the Panegyric of 297 as taking place after his elevation to co-emperor with Diocletian, after 1 April 286. Maximian held the lower rank of Caesar between the summer of 285 and the date of his promotion to Augustus.

5). 44 THE LITERARY NARRATIVE The Panegyric of 310 adds nothing to this account except to claim, in contrast to the earlier account, that the expedition was blessed with absolutely calm seas (Pan. Lat. vi(viii). 5). The later historians unite in undermining this account by ascribing the victory in Britain not to Constantius but to his subordinate. ‘He [Allectus] was crushed by the agency of Asclepiodotus, the praetorian prefect’, says Eutropius (Eutr. ix. 14). e. 39). This, then, is the outline of events as recorded in the literary sources.

The grandees of the late Republic used control of the magistracies attached to the production of the coinage to select types which enhanced their political status through references to the achievements of ancestors. Later, changes in the state religion are reflected. In the first and second centuries the dominant types referred to the Roman gods and victories over foreign enemies. In the fourth century such victories were rare to the point of vanishing, but the adoption of Christianity as the state religion opened the prospect of spiritual success, an eternal metaphysical victory over material enemies.

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