Back to the Home Page


People of Roman Britain

by Guy de la Bédoyère



This page is taken from my Companion to Roman Britain (Tempus 1999), and contains figure references to illustrations in that book.

The criteria for inclusion in this chapter include evidence for an official role of significance in Britain (for example, command of a legion), a social, commercial, political or religious role of importance, or archaeological significance. Individuals only known from brief epigraphic references to have held a military tribunate in Britain, or the command of an auxiliary unit are, for example, generally omitted. Their names will be found under the names of the military units they commanded, or the religious dedications they made.

Names are usually listed by nomina but where this would divert from more familiar forms the latter have been preferred. Thus Gnaeus Julius Agricola is listed under A. Similarly, where an individual is known only by part of his name then that is what he or she is listed under. Characters referred to in bold type have their own entries.


A B Ca Ci Co D E F G H J L M N O P R S U V

Agricola Boudica Claudius Cogidubnus or Togidubnus Carausius

For references to inscriptions (RIB, JRS and Britannia) see Inscriptions . For others, eg ILS, CIL and so on, youíre on your own, but V.A.Maxfield and B. Dobsonís Inscriptions of Roman Britain (London Association of Classical Teachers, no. 4, 1995) includes most of the texts of those relevant here. PNRB is A. Rivet and C. Smith, The Place-Names of Roman Britain, Batsford 1979

Back to the Home Page



Bishop of colonia Londiniensium (the surviving versions of the text provide several variants) in attendance at the Council of Arles in 314. The name of his city has long since been recognized to be corrupt (a bishop of London is also listed at Arles, see Restitutus), and was most probably Lindensium (Lincoln).

Source: PNRB 49ff



A son of Cunobelinus, exiled to the Continent, who presented himself and a small group of supporters to Caligula around the year 39. Adminius tried to persuade Caligula to attempt an invasion of Britain. Caligula initially presented this to the Roman people as evidence of Britain's spontaneous submission but it nevertheless led to his abortive plans for a British campaign in 40.

No reason is supplied for the exile of Adminius. Perhaps he had either challenged or compromised the territorial ambitions of his father. He is never heard of again. Two other brothers, Caratacus and Togodumnus, actively opposed the Roman invasion as their father's heirs.

Source: Suetonius (Caligula) xliv.2


Aelius Brocchus

Known only from the correspondence of his wife Claudia Severa and Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Flavius Cerialis. Brocchus was prefect of an unknown auxiliary unit at a place called Briga (also unknown, but probably on the northern frontier) between about 92 and 103. Amongst the little known about him is a request to him from Cerealis for a loan of hunting-nets. He went on to command the ala contariorum in Pannonia.

Source: Tab. Vindol. II.233, 248, 291, 292 (most easily found in Bowman 1994, nos. 16, 18, 21-22, and Bowman and Thomas 1994); see also Bowman 1994 in general for this man, especially p. 55; CIL iii.4360


M. Aemilius Papus

Legate of an unnamed legion in Britain under Hadrian but perhaps more remarkable for his full name, Marcus Cutius Marcus Priscus Messius Rusticus Aemilius Papus Arrius Proculus Julius Celsus.

Sources: CIL ii.1283, 1371 (and Birley, A., 1979, 170)



Gnaeus Julius Agricola first served in Britain under Suetonius Paullinus where, as a tribune, he was appointed to the governor's staff. Subsequently he became quaestor in Asia and tribune of the plebs in Rome.

The turmoil of the Year of Four Emperors (68-9) found him initially associated with Galba but Vespasian's appearance in the conflict led Agricola to side with him. This may have had something to do with Vespasian's time in Britain and Agricola's early career. It was a sensible decision as it turned out, and in 69 Agricola was granted command of XX Valeria Victrix with which he will have been familiar during the Boudican campaign. XX had been reluctant to swear allegiance to Vespasian, largely because their legate in 68 (Roscius Coelius) had allied himself with Vitellius.

The appointment was obviously a move by Vespasian to provide XX with a commander whom they would have difficulty rejecting. In this capacity Agricola served under Vettius Bolanus and Petillius Cerialis. The governorship of Aquitania and a consulship interceded before he became governor of Britain in 77 or 78, a term which lasted until 83 or 84.


Year 1 (78)

Agricola succeeded S. Julius Frontinus and seems to have been immediately confronted by a rising in Wales of the Ordovices who had seized the opportunity of the interregnum to destroy an auxiliary regiment. Destruction of the tribe was followed by an impulsive campaign into Anglesey and its surrender. The appearance of lead pipes bearing his name and imperial titles for 79 suggest that the new fortress at Chester was begun, or at any rate continued at this time, to create a permanent base to control north Wales.

The military campaign was followed by a policy of preventing future war. This was done by ceasing to delegate to freedmen or slaves and instead taking personal control of provincial administration. Various practices had been devised to allow those who collected tribute to rake-off huge profits. These were, in theory, compulsorily ceased.


Year 2 (79)

The military campaign of the second season was personally supervised throughout by Agricola but Tacitus omits to say where it took place. The description of exploring river estuaries and forests is too vague for certain attribution.

In the winter the policy of romanization was advanced by educating the Britons into Latin language and culture as well as Roman social practices of dress and recreation. This may be the year in which the Verulamium forum was dedicated but it has often been pointed out that it must surely have been begun long before Agricola arrived and that therefore both the inscription and Tacitus are being disingenuous.

Dio states that events in Britain led to the award of the title Imperator for the fifteenth time to Titus. This occurred in the year 79 but he appears to be describing events more applicable to 81 or 82.


Year 3 (80)

The campaign in this year advanced as far as the Tay (Taum). No battles were fought, the enemy (or perhaps more likely, the Romans) being discouraged by appalling weather, but forts were established along the way.


Year 4 (81)

This is the year of Tacitus' cryptic remark that the perfect frontier between the Clyde and Forth (Clota et Bodotria) was reached and would have been consolidated if only the irrepressible spirit of the army and Rome's glory had permitted the Empire to accept an end to her dominions. The line and the land to the south was garrisoned and secured.


Year 5 (82)

Agricola made a crossing by ship prior to a series of battles against unknown tribes. Where he crossed is not stated but as he is also said to have lined the coast which faces Ireland (Galloway) with troops this suggests the crossing was over the Solway. The crossing of the Forth did not come until Year 6.


Year 6 (83)

The advance over the Forth stimulated the Caledonian tribes into action. Agricola divided his army into three and continued. The tribes attacked IX Hispana, said by then to be the weakest of the legions involved. No others are named at any point in the campaign by Tacitus, but it is generally assumed from his earlier career that XX was the principal legion in the Caledonian campaign. The weakness may have been that a number of legionaries had been detached to build and garrison forts further south. IX was rescued by cavalry and infantry but the tribes proceeded to regroup and organize themselves for more war.


Year 7 (84)

Agricola now marched to Mons Graupius, location unknown, to force the Caledonian tribes into a set-piece battle. The campaign was opened with the fleet sent ahead to foment fear by raiding along the coast. The battle was a Roman victory, fought by the auxiliaries against superior numbers. In the aftermath the remains of the tribes spirited themselves away into the highlands and Agricola withdrew to the land of the 'Boresti' and ordered the fleet to circumnavigate Britain. Dio confirms the latter and states that Agricola learned that Britain was an island; however, this was already well-known to the ancients as Caesar's description makes clear.


The eventual outcome of Agricola's career is not relevant here apart from the fact that he was withdrawn from Britain after his exceptionally long tenure and never returned. Dio says that he had achieved more than was appropriate to his station, the implication being that he was perceived as a possible threat by the paranoid Domitian who eventually had him murdered.

Only archaeology has been the source of evidence that Agricola's conquests north of Tyne-Solway area were very largely given up in the next few years. The most eloquent evidence is the systematic dismantling of the fortress at Inchtuthil. It is unavoidably the case that, though a broad picture of Agricola's activities can be compiled from archaeological excavation and aerial photography, Tacitus does not provide enough factual or topographical detail for the exact procession of events to be reconstructed.

One recent piece of evidence is the writing tablet from Carlisle, recording a singularis detached from ala Sebosiana on Agricola's staff.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) passim; Dio Cassius lxvi.20.1-3; JRS xlvi (1956), 146-7 (Verulamium forum); RIB 2434.1-2 (Chester lead pipes bearing imperial titles for 79 and Agricola's name as governor); wooden writing tablet from Carlisle from a singularis of ala Sebosiana detached to Agricola. Brit. xxix (1998), 74, no. 44



The Christian martyr Albanus was executed outside the eastern walls of Verulamium. He had replaced another Christian who was being pursued by the authorities. The post-Roman drift of settlement to the east of the Roman city and the site of modern St Albans may be attributed to a martyrium which presumably lies beneath the medieval abbey church. The date of the event has been linked to the time of Septimius Severus' campaigns in Britain around the year 209. Gildas' account describes a Britain ruled by a Caesar who, after the execution, ordered a cessation of the persecution without recourse to the 'emperors'. During the campaign Severus ruled jointly with his eldest son Caracalla and both were in the north fighting. Britain was left in the control of his younger son Geta who only held the rank of Caesar until 209 when he too was elevated to the position of Augustus. Nevertheless it is quite possible that Gildas had conflated or confused a variety of accounts of different martyrdoms. Albanus may have been killed much later.

Sources: Gildas x-xi; Bede (Hist. Eccl.) I.7



Albinus, see Clodius Albinus


L. Alfenus Senecio

Governor between c. 205-8 and named on a large number of inscriptions which testify to extensive building activity in the north and on the northern frontier during his tenure. At least some of this may be attributed to preparation for the impending campaign by Septimius Severus.

Sources: RIB 722, 723 (Bainbridge), 740 (Bowes), 746 (Greta Bridge), 1151(?) (Corbridge), 1234 (Risingham), 1337 (Benwell), 1462 (Chesters), 1909 (Birdoswald); JRS lvii (1967), 205, no. 17 (Housesteads) in a highly-optimistic restoration



Emperor in Britain from 293-6, known almost entirely from his coinage. Aurelius Victor is said to have described him as having been in charge of Carausius' financial department (summa res). The Latin can mean any official matters of the highest importance so is not as precise as presented by some historians in translation. The interpretation of the Carausian coin exergue-mark RSR as Rationalis Summae Rei was based on this text but this and another Carausian exergue mark (INPCDA) have now been shown to represent Virgilian texts (Eclogues iv.6-7).

Whatever Allectus' true position, in 293 he participated in a plot to kill the British usurper Carausius and reigned in his place until 296. In that year a campaign led by Constantius Chlorus led to his defeat at the hands of Asclepiodotus somewhere in southern Britain.

Allectus is untestified on any inscription. The association of a monumental quayside structure in London with his reign is entirely based on the premise that timbers used were felled between 293-6. This of course only tells us the building was erected after this date and may be discarded as evidence for his 'headquarters'.

Allectan coinage lacked the imaginative zeal of the types issued by Carausius although in general the coins were better manufactured and of more regular shape and size. However, he appears to have introduced a small bronze coin, quinarius, the reverse of which invariably depicts a galley. It was not maintained after his defeat.

Sources: Aurelius Victor (De Caesaribus xxxix.41; Eutropius ix.22.2. See also Casey (1996)



In 363 Alypius, who came from Antioch, was placed in charge of rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem. Before this date he had been pro praefectis of Britain, succeeding Martinus.

Source: Ammianus xxiii.1.2-3


Q. Antistius Adventus (also known as Postumius Aquilinus)

That this man was governor of Britain is stated on an undated dedication from Lanchester. Earlier in his career he had participated in the Parthian expedition of Marcus Aurelius which finished in 166. After this he governed Arabia and Germania Inferior, recorded on an inscription which takes us no further. However, this allows for a governorship of Britain to start about 175 or later. The Lanchester dedication mentions only a single emperor who is un-named, but which must be Marcus Aurelius. Until 169 Aurelius ruled jointly with Lucius Verus, and again with Commodus from 177. A diploma of 23 March 178 states the governor to be Ulpius Marcellus. Therefore, the governorship of Antistius Adventus must fall between 169-77, with 174-7 being the most likely block.

Sources: RIB 1083 (Lanchester); ILS 1091, 8977


M. Antius Crescens Calpurnius

Rose to become proconsul of Macedonia after his time in Britain as legatus iuridicus. Interestingly, the inscription from Italy which records his career adds that he simultaneously acted as vice-propraetorian legate; that is, he was also vice-governor of Britain. Fortunately for us the text includes the information that he was one of the overseeing priests at the Saecular Games apparently held in 204. This must place his time in Britain to late in Commodus' reign at the earliest. A logical time for him to have acted as vice-governor might have been during the war of 184 when the governor, Ulpius Marcellus, was obliged to fight a campaign.

Source: ILS 1151


M. Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus, afterwards Gordian I

Possibly governor of Britannia Inferior in c. 216. He was well-known for his intellectual powers and his moral judgement. These attributes led him to the proconsulship of Africa where he was persuaded to declare himself emperor in 238 in response to the brutality meted out by the emperor Maximinus on possible rivals. However, Gordian's son, Gordian II, we was defeated and killed in Africa by supporters of Maximinus. Gordian I committed suicide. In 238 Gordian's grandson by his daughter Maecia Faustina became emperor as Gordian III. This followed the murders of Balbinus and Pupienus who had reigned themselves for only 98 days after the death of Maximinus.

Gordian III's murder in 244 was probably followed by the systematic erasure of his grandfather's names from inscriptions. In Britain at least three are thought to have borne Gordian I's name as governor but only one (RIB 1049) is partly legible, supplying [...]diani. This stone carries the name of the consuls for 216, giving us a date for his governorship which goes unmentioned in the imperial biographies (SHA).

Sources: RIB 590 (? erased; Ribchester), 1049 (Chester-le-Street), 1279 (? erased; High Rochester)


Q. Antonius Isauricus

Legate of (probably) VI Victrix, known only from an altar found in York and by the goddess Fortuna by his wife Sosia Juncina. The stone cannot be accurately dated because his title is stated merely as leg(atus) Aug(usti). It could conceivably belong to any point in the second century, including IX Hispana's tenure though the style of the stone makes this unlikely. Isauricus would probably have been more explicitly described as governor if the stone had post-dated the division of Britain. His post must then date to somewhere between 122-215.

Sources: RIB 644 (York) (71)


Q. Aradius Rufinus

Either Aulus Triarius Rufinus (consul 210), Quintus Aradius Rufinus, or another, is named on the headquarters inscription from Reculver as being incumbent at the time the new shrine was erected. Quintus Aradius Rufinus is normally assumed to be the correct man but this does not provide a precise date. An inscription from Bullia Regia in North Africa, possibly naming the same man, makes the reign of Severus Alexander a possibility (222-35).

Source: JRS li (1961), 191, no. 1, and JRS lv (1965), 220, no. 1


L. Artorius Justus

Prefect and thus an equestrian, of VI Victrix in Britain, stated on his tombstone found in Dalmatia. The post would normally have been held by a legatus, of senatorial rank. The only ready explanation for this apparent anomaly is the statement in the fourth-century life of Commodus (180-92) that during the war in Britain he had sacked 'certain' senators and installed equestrians in command of the troops in their place. If this is correct then Artorius Justus' command of VI Victrix would belong to the years c. 182-8. He went on to lead a force of British legions 'against the Armoricans' but this statement is unverifiable from any other source. Another praefectus legionis is apparently testified at Chester though in his case the post appears to have occurred before 170.

Sources: ILS 2770 (Dalmatia); SHA (Commodus) vi.2; JRS lv (1965), 221, no. 5 (Chester)


J. Asclepiodotus

Praetorian prefect in north-west Gaul in 296. He led one of the two waves against Allectus in Britain that year. The other was led by Constantius Chlorus. The principal account of the campaign, a panegyric on Constantius, omits any named mention of Asclepiodotus and allocates all the glory to Constantius. What actually seems to have happened is that Asclepiodotus lead the first wave which landed near the Solent. He marched inland to confront and defeat Allectus. Eutropius is unequivocal in attributing the victory to Asclepiodotus. Constantius merely arrived in London to reap the harvest.

Source: Aurelius Victor xxxix.39; Eutropius ix.14 (both are most readily located in Casey, 1996, 197)


M. Atilius Metilius Bradua

Known to have been governor of Britain from a single Greek inscription. This names him as governor under Hadrian of Germanias kai Bretannias. His term is normally attributed to around 115-19; however, there is no mention of Trajan on the inscription. But as Q. Pompeius Falco is known to have been completing his term in 122 and all other Hadrianic governors are attested it must have been the case that Metilius Bradua was finishing his tenure around 118-9, thus beginning in 114-15. There us a possibility he was related to P. Metilius/Maecilius Nepos, governor in 98.

Sources: ILS 8824a


L. Aufidius Panthera

Lucius Aufidius Pant[h]era's remote family origins can be traced to an ancestor called Aufidius who had introduced panthers to the circus. In Britain he is known from a dedication to Neptune found at Lympne. This altar provides no information about his date but a diploma names him as praefectus of an ala milliaria in Upper Pannonia on 2 July 133. This post is likely to have preceded his fleet command, so it may be assumed that he was promoted during the last few years of Hadrian's reign or the first few years of the reign of Antoninus Pius.

Sources: RIB 66 (see Chapter 2; Lympne) (72); CIL xvi.76


Aurelius Arpagius

Governor (pr(aeses)), probably of Britannia Inferior, between 297-305. He is known only from a slab found at Birdoswald recording extensive rebuilding work under the Tetrarchy.

Source: RIB 1912 (Birdoswald)


M. Aurelius Lunaris

His name indicates that citizenship was probably acquired by his father or grandfather during the reign of Aurelius (161-80). In 237 Lunaris was a sevir Augustalis at the colonies of York and Lincoln, and was involved in trading goods in and out of Bordeaux. There he set up an altar, thanking the goddess 'Boudig' for her protection. It also records that York and Lincoln were in Britannia Inferior. Interestingly the stone itself was from Yorkshire showing that it had been shipped from Britain, either for the symbolic importance of its origin or as ballast.

Source: JRS xi (1921), 102 (Bordeaux) (29)


Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus

Legate of II Augusta under Commodus, recorded on an inscription from Mainz which also describes him as legate of XX Primigenia. Otherwise difficult to explain, the occasion may have been celebration of a new legionary command for him in Britain, necessitated by a mutiny. Infuriated by the power-crazy commander of the Praetorian Guard, Perennis, the troops in Britain had appointed one of their legates, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus rejected his unsolicited elevation but a number of soldiers went to Rome to see Commodus. Commodus allowed the Praetorian Guard to kill Perennis but sent Pertinax to restore discipline in Britain in about 185.

Sources: AE 1965.240 (Mainz); Birley (1971), 338; Dio lxxii.9


M. Aurelius Quirinus

Prefect of cohors I Lingonum at Lanchester under Gordian III (238-44). He is one of the few auxiliary commanding officers to leave us with evidence of his leisure activities. He left an altar by a stream at Eastgate (also Durham) dedicated to Silvanus. It probably followed a hunting expedition in the woods.

The stylistic similarity of three stones from Lanchester, two of which name Quirinus, suggest he patronized a talented mason amongst his garrison. The two building stones are the only building-specific stones of the reign from Britain and help illustrate the randomness of the epigraphic record.

Source: RIB 1042 (Eastgate, 70), 1074, 1091, 1092 (Lanchester, 6, 37, 62)


Aurelius Ursicinus

Recorded as the principal owner of material included in the Hoxne (Suffolk) treasure discovered in 1992. His name appears ten times on silver spoons in the form Aur(elii) Ursicini, '[the spoon] of Aurelius Ursicinus'. The treasure included around 15,000 coins, the latest of which are dated to 408. Ursicinus clearly lived at the time of the hoard or earlier, but we have no way of assessing if he was the hoarder, the hoarder's ancestor, the victim of a thief, or an earlier owner entirely unknown to the hoarder.

Although the name Ursicinus is known from literary sources it is not possible to say whether this man was the same as any of them, or if he was related (see, for example, Ammianus Marcellinus on the vice-prefect Ursicinus in Rome in 368). Other names recorded in the treasure include Faustinus, Juliana, Peregrinus, and Silvicola. These individuals may have been members of the same family but it is also possible that the treasure was made up of official requisitions from several families and buried by a third party.

Sources: Bland and Johns (1993); Ammianus Marcellinus xxviii.1.44-5


T. Avidius Quietus

Known only as governor of Britain on an incomplete diploma of 98 from Flémalle. This places him at the beginning of Trajan's reign and he was, perhaps, a new appointment. He was well known to and admired by Pliny the Younger.

Sources: CIL xvi.43; Pliny vi.29.1


Q. Baienus Blassianus

Known from a career inscription, recording his command of the classis Britannica. He was eventually elevated to the prefecture of Egypt, a post of immense prestige for an equestrian. Only the prefecture of the Praetorian Guard was superior. However, the only 'tag' by which his career can be dated is an Egyptian papyrus which refers to his presence in Egypt in the year 168. His command of the British fleet may have occurred at any point in the preceding 25 years.

Sources: AE 1974.123



Widow of Prasutagus, King of the Iceni. Prasutagus, who died in about 59 or 60, made his daughters joint heirs with Nero. The idea was that this would lead to a peaceable transfer of power. It did not. Boudica was flogged and her daughers raped. Their relatives were enslaved while other Iceni estates were seized.

Their humiliation became a focus for the mounting resentment felt by East Anglian tribes at Roman high-handedness, oppression, and brutality. The progress of the ensuing Revolt is well-known: with Boudica at their head the rebels burst out of East Anglia, sacking Colchester, London, and Verulamium as well as, presumably, other Roman settlements in the vicinity, before being defeated by Suetonius Paullinus.

The chaos of tribal rebellion was unlikely to have proved attractive to some of the British population who may have already begun to accept Roman rule as a more stable and predictable way of life. This may explain why the defeat and suppression of the Revolt was followed by almost permanent peace in the south and east.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xvi, (Annals) xiv.31ff


Caesius Nasica

Legate of a legion (unnamed) in Britain during the governorship of Didius Gallus. Tacitus describes him in the context of supporting Cartimandua but he is rather cryptic about the legion's precise involvement. Roman military force seems to have intervened with a worrying start but successful outcome. Tacitus' main agenda is, however, to criticise Didius Gallus.

It has been suggested (Birley 1973, 181), that this man and the governor Q. Petillius Cerealis Caesius Rufus were brothers.

Source: Tacitus (Annals) xii.40


S. Calpurnius Agricola

Recorded in the life of Marcus Aurelius as the governor leading a war against the Britons in about the year 163. This supplies a context for an undated stone from Carvoran by Hadrian's Wall, recording a dedication to the Dea Suria by cohors I Hamiorum sagittaria during Calpurnius Agricola's tenure. The stone is interpreted as evidence for reoccupation at Carvoran following withdrawal from the Antonine Wall. A further undated stone names him at Corbridge. Unfortunately, a more explicit slab also naming him has required significant restoration to produce a date of 163. In fact, the extant portions of the stone lack most of the year-specific dating information and in reality it can only be attributed to the reign of Marcus Aurelius during the lifetime of his intended heir, Lucius Verus, between 161-7. Prior to his appointment to Britain he was governor of Germania Superior, testified in the year 158.

Sources: SHA (Marcus Aurelius) viii.7-8; RIB 1792 (Carvoran); 1137, 1149 (Corbridge); AE 1986.523


Calvisius Rusonus (or Rufus)

Governor of Britannia Inferior at some time during the reign of Severus Alexander (222-35). As the governors of 220-5 are testified he must belong to 225-35. He is recorded on a dedication for cohors II Gallorum Severiana Alexandriana at Old Penrith. The visible latter part of his name is more compatible with Rus(onus) rather than Ruf(us) so the former is to be preferred.

Sources: 225-35. RIB 929 (see RIB I (1995), 776, and RIB 2491.83)


Caracalla (73)

Caracalla, or correctly, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (and before that Bassianus), was the eldest son of Septimius Severus and brother of Geta. He was born in 188 and in 198 was created joint Augustus with his father. In 208 he accompanied Severus, who was anxious to distract him from the fleshpots of Rome, and Geta to Britain for the Caledonian campaign. In 211 Severus died at York, possibly hurried along by his ambitious eldest son. Caracalla succeeded with Geta who had been promoted to Augustus as well. Caracalla made peace in Britain, terminated the campaign and withdrew. Thereafter he conducted a reign of terror in Rome.

In 212 Caracalla murdered Geta. In 213 inscriptions swearing allegiance to Caracalla were erected in Britain apparently at the behest of the governor G. Julius Marcus. These, however, were subsequently defaced both because Marcus had probably earned Caracalla's opprobrium and because of the damnatio memoriae which was enforced after Caracalla's murder in 217. Restoration and interpretation of inscriptions of this reign are sometimes complicated by Caracalla's official name, also used by Elagabalus (218-22).

Sources: Herodian iii.14.1, 3-10; Dio lxxvi.15.1-3, lxxvii.1.1; SHA (Caracalla) passim



When the Roman invading force landed in 43, Cunobelinus of the Catuvellauni was already dead. Before 41 one of his sons, Adminius had been exiled, probably for pro-Roman tendencies. His other sons, Caratacus and Togodumnus, led the post-invasion resistance despite suffering initial defeats. Togodumnus was killed but Caratacus fled west and took over the leadership of the Silures in south Wales and moved north into the territory of the Ordovices gathering support for a battle. Despite selecting a position which provided his local forces with advantages he was defeated by Ostorius Scapula. Nevertheless he escaped to seek sanctuary with Cartimandua of the Brigantes. In the year 51 he was handed over to the Roman command and transported to Rome. His dignity in defeat won him his freedom and that of his family.

Sources: Dio lx.20; Tacitus (Annals) xii.33-8


C. Caristanius Fronto

Legate of IX Hispana in Britain. His career inscription from Antioch in Pisidia states that this occurred during the reign of Vespasian (69-79). Subsequently, during the reigns of Titus and Domitian, he went on to become governor of Pamphylia. He evidently died during the reign of Domitian. Caristanius Fronto is unrecorded in Britain.

Sources: ILS 9485 (Antioch)


Carausius (86)

Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius, as he styled himself, was appointed by Maximian to lead a fleet against pirates in the English Channel. He had been born in Menapia (Belgium) in the middle years of the third century, spending much of his formative life under the Gallic Empire. He trained as a sailor but later joined the army. Carausius came to fame in 284 when he fought in a war against vagrant rebels in Gaul called the Bagaudae.

Mausaeus is an unusual name but it also appears on an altar from Carrawburgh dedicated to Coventina (RIB 1523) by an optio of cohors I Frisiavonum. The only source of Carausius' full name is a milestone from near Carlisle.

Carausius' success led to his fleet appointment but his activities aroused imperial suspicions. Stories circulated that he waited for pirates to raid towns and villas and then ambushed them on their way home, making off with the loot himself. It is no less likely that Maximian promoted the stories, having been disturbed by Carausius' popularity.

In or around 286 Carausius rebelled and established an imperial enclave in Britain and northern Gaul. His regime was presented as a kind of rumbustious restoration of Roman imperial values, buoyed up with the soundest coinage for decades and Virgilian slogans. This propaganda campaign has left a legacy in the abundant coinage which he issued from London and another mint, perhaps at Colchester or Cirencester.

Early attempts to topple Carausius foundered on the beaches of Gaul as the imperial fleet was destroyed by storms. Carausius maintained power until 293, altering his stance to one of unsolicited membership of an imperial college of emperors with Diocletian and Maximian. In 293 Carausius was murdered by his associate, an official called Allectus who ruled the rebel empire until 296.

Sources: RIB 2291. Latin sources may be found in Mynors (1964) but summaries of coins, sources and other data are Casey (1994) and de la Bédoyère (1998).



Cartimandua was queen of the Brigantes. She consolidated her position as a Roman client monarch in 51 when she handed over Caratacus to Rome. The tribal territory approximated to what is now known as northern England. As a result she ruled a client kingdom in the north thereafter which brought her wealth and over-confidence. In around the years 68-9 her husband Venutius was supplanted from her side by her lover, and his aide, Vellocatus. She made Vellocatus her consort in an act of folly which alienated her entire tribe.

Venutius was initially loyal to the Romans, and he was admired for his skill in warfare. What began as a private falling-out with his wife and a divorce, was eventually translated into wholesale opposition to Rome. Venutius moved swiftly, gathering support from within and without the tribe, forcing Cartimandua to flee with limited Roman assistance, probably during the governorship of Vettius Bolanus.

Petillius Cerealis was responsible between 71-4 for the ending of Brigantian ambitions though Tacitus' brief description of this episode in the Agricola makes no mention of Cartimandua or Venutius. Considering how much he made of Venutius in the Annals and the Histories this is interesting. Talk of the 'last stand' of Venutius at the hillfort of Stanwick is thus an archaeological inference based on approximately contemporary finds and its exceptional size for the region.

Sources: Tacitus (Histories) iii.45, (Annals) xii.36, 40, (Agricola) xvii



Vicar of Britain in the very late fourth century. He went on to become bishop in Constantinople.

Sources: Socrates (Hist. Eccl.) vii.12 and 17 (cited by Frere, 1987, 350, n. 31)



Sent to Britain about the year 367 to govern Britain as deputy prefect at the request of Theodosius. Ammianus calls him pro praefectis, a title which seems to be interpreted as a synonym for vicarius though various books dealing with the period in Roman Britain make no comment on the different name. Civilis said to have a considerable temper but was respected for his sense of justice and incorruptibility.

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.8.10



Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus succeeded Decianus Catus as procurator provinciae Britanniae in 61. He was a high-born Gaul whose family had benefited from selective awards of Roman citizenship in earlier times. He was critical of Roman imperial policy and as a result of his recommendations the governor Suetonius Paullinus was recalled, though the dispute may be a literary fabrication by Tacitus. His father-in-law, Julius Indus, had earlier opposed a revolt in Gaul led by Julius Florus of the Treveri in 21, during the reign of Tiberius. Classicianus' tombstone erected by his wife Julia Pacata, daughter of Indus, found in London, is now in the British Museum.

His status did not prevent the destruction of his tomb and its integration into fourth-century defences. It was found in two major fragments, in 1852 and 1935. Not until 1935 was it confirmed that this was the man mentioned by Tacitus (see Chapter 1).

Classicianus presumably died in office, probably in the mid- to late 60s.

Sources: Tacitus (Annals) iii.42 (for Indus), xiv.38 (for Classicianus); RIB 12 (London)


Claudia Severa

Wife of Aelius Brocchus, commander of an auxiliary unit around 92-103. Her handwriting on a tablet found at Vindolanda is the earliest instance of female Latin handwriting known. She lived with her husband and son at the unknown fort of Briga and corresponded with her friend Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Flavius Cerealis, prefect of cohors IX Batavorum at Vindolanda.

Sources: Tab. Vindol. II.291-2 (see Bowman 1994, nos. 21, 22)


Claudius, emperor 41-54

Claudius succeeded in 43, following the murder (in which he was not implicated) of Caligula. His principal need was to consolidate power. The arrival of Verica around now, seeking help to return him to power in Britain provided a pretext. Caligula's plans for an invasion supplied the means.

Claudius did not participate in the invasion. Anxious that the troops were unwilling to embark across the sea he sent his freedman Narcissus to encourage them. Narcissus was mocked but the soldiers set sail.

Claudius waited for news from Aulus Plautius that headway had been made but that opposition was too strong to continue. This was presumably a device to allow Claudius the chance to win his glory. He duly arrived, met the army at the Thames, and led the march to seize Colchester. Claudius received the surrender of the Britons, including eleven kings. These and other details were recorded on two triumphal arches in Rome. Part of the inscription of one survives and coins also record their existence.

On his return Claudius was awarded a triumph. He celebrated the success by naming his son Britannicus and awarded an ovation to Aulus Plautius, a means of rewarding a general without upstaging the emperor.

Altogether Claudius had spent sixteen days in Britain. He was later honoured in a temple of classical form at Colchester which may or may not have been complete by the time of its destruction in 60. It was afterwards rebuilt. There is a single life-sized bronze statue bust of Claudius which is extant. Found in a Suffolk river and evidently hacked from a full-sized figure, possibly mounted, it may have once been displayed in Colchester. The theory that it was mutilated and disposed of by Boudican rebels will remain unproven but the context and its find-spot make this a serious possibility.

Sources: Dio lx.19-23; Suetonius (Claudius) xvii, xxiv; ILS 216 (arch of Claudius), 2648 and 2701 (M. Vettius Valens and G. Gavius Silvanus, praetorians decorated in the invasion), 2696 (P. Anicius Maximus, praefectus castrorum of II Augusta decorated in the invasion).


Claudius Apellinus

Named as leg(atus) Aug(ustorum) of (presumably) Britannia Inferior on a slab from High Rochester by cohors I Vard(ullorum). The emperor's name has been erased, and is normally restored as Severus Alexander but this cannot be absolutely certain. If correct, Apellinus' governorship may be attributed probably to somewhere between 225-35.

Source: RIB 1281 (High Rochester)


T. Claudius Augustanus

Tiberius Claudius Augustanus was procurator of Britain, recorded in an inscription from Verona. His son is said to be known as a senator from Pliny the Younger's letters which must mean that the father's procuratorship in Britain had occurred before c. 85 but after the testified Neronian procuratorship of Classicianus between c. 61-5.

Sources: CIL v.3337; Birley (1979, 49)


A. Claudius Charax

Legate of II Augusta c. 143, and later a well-known historian. This may mean he was closely involved with the legion's building work on the Antonine Wall.

Source: AE 1961.320


T. Claudius Cogidubnus

See Togidubnus


Claudius Hieronymianus

Claudius Hieronymianus, legate of VI Victrix at York, built a temple to Serapis. The style of the dedication stone and the nature of the god are considered to suggest a date during the reign of Septimius Severus. As with Q. Antonius Isauricus it must pre-date the division of the province into Superior and Inferior; otherwise Hieronymianus would be named as governor of Inferior. He is usually identified with a man of the same name referred to as governor in Cappadocia between c. 180-220 in an obscure work by the Christian apologist Tertullian (see RIB for this and another reference by Ulpian).

Source: RIB 658 (York) (74)


Ti. Claudius Paulinus

Tiberius Claudius Paulinus was governor of Britannia Inferior in 220, recorded on an inscription from High Rochester and approximately fixed by the supposed dates of his predecessor Modius Julius and successor Marius Valerianus, governor in 221. He had formerly commanded II Augusta at Caerleon, recorded on a statue base from Caerleon, a post which he must have held not long before 220. The text of a letter to his friend Titus Sennius Sollemnis, and written during his time as governor in Britain, has survived, preserved on a monument to Sollemnis in Vieux. It accompanied gifts which seem to have been offered in return for assistance in avoiding prosecution in Rome, recorded on another part of the same monument.

Sources: RIB 311 (Caerwent) (75), 1280 (High Rochester); CIL xiii.3162 (letter, Vieux; partly translated by Birley, 1979, 43, and another section in L & R, source 120, p. 445)


Claudius Xenophon/Xenephon

Governor of Britannia Inferior under Severus Alexander (222-35). Two milestones from the Hadrian's Wall area show his governorship included the year December 222 to December 223.

Sources: RIB 1706 (Vindolanda), 2299 (Stanegate near Vindolanda), 2306 (Hadrian's Wall near mc 42)


D. Clodius Albinus

D. Clodius Septimius Albinus was governor in Britain in 192 when Commodus was murdered. Pertinax succeeded Commodus. Within three months Pertinax too was murdered. The brief reign of Didius Julianus which followed led to a new civil war.

Septimius Severus realized he could not defeat both his rivals, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger, simultaneously. One report is that he sent a man called Heraclitus to secure Britain. Evidently this failed. Therefore Severus offered Albinus the post of Caesar (which the SHA claim had already been offered by Commodus) before setting out to defeat Niger. Albinus fell into the trap and Severus proceeded to defeat and kill Niger in 194.

Severus' plans to dispose of Albinus were thwarted when Albinus realized he was being duped. He moved his army into Gaul, even collecting reinforcements from governors of other provinces. Severus obtained from the Senate a declaration that Albinus and his supporters were public enemies.

When the final battle came, at Lyons in 197, Albinus had reputedly amassed up to 150,000 troops. Far more than the British garrison could have provided, it still suggests Albinus had seriously denuded Britain of troops. The campaign had not gone all Severus' way, and nor did the battle which came close to a catastrophe for him when his soldiers fell into hidden trenches. The timely arrival of Severan cavalry proved decisive. Albinus realized the game was lost and committed suicide.

The outcome seems to have been the division of Britain in order to prevent a repeat. But Herodian's statement does not date the event closely and contradicts later descriptions by him of the nature of government in Britain. It is possible that it was not implemented until later in the reign or until Caracalla's reign.

Sources: Dio lxxiii.14.3, 15.1; lxxv.4.1; Herodian ii.15, iii.6; SHA (Severus) vi.9-10; x.1ff; SHA (Clodius Albinus) passim


M. Cocceius Nigranus?

Marcus Cocceius Nigrinus was [pr]oc(urator) Aug(usti) during the reign of Caracalla. He is known only from a manuscript record of a lost dedication made between 212 and 217 to Caracalla and Victoria Brigantia.

Source: RIB 2066 (uncertain provenance, possibly Castlesteads)


Cogidubnus, see Togidubnus



Constans was one of the sons and heirs of Constantine I. By the terms of his father's will he inherited control of the Balkans, Italy, and Africa in 337. However, in 340 he fought with his elder brother Constantine II who had inherited control of Gaul, Spain, and Britain. Constantine II was killed and Constans took control of Britain.

In the winter of 342-3 Constans sailed to Britain. The plan, a risky one, seems to have been to establish his power before a revolt broke out. He was apparently successful, despite reputedly only bringing a hundred men with him. A lead seal from London, bearing Constans' head, is the only rather tenuous archaeological evidence for the occasion.

Sources: Julius Firmicus Maternus (De Errore Profanum Religionum) xxviii.6; Libanius (Oration) lix.139, 141; RIB 2411.23 (London lead seal)


Constantine I, the Great (76)

Constantine was the only son of the first marriage of his father, Constantius Chlorus. When the time came for Constantius and Galerius to appoint their junior emperors and heirs (see Constantius Chlorus below), Galerius decided to promote his own family and had already appointed both the new Caesars, one of whom was his nephew. Constantine felt his birthright was being stolen and set out to Britain to meet Constantius, being detained on the way by Galerius. However, he escaped to Britain arriving in time to witness his father's death from sickness. Constantine I was declared emperor at York in the summer of 306. By 324 he had defeated his rivals and colleagues to rule alone.

A series of coins of the London mint, which operated until about 325, bears the reverse Adventus Aug(usti), thought to indicate visits by him to the province in 307, 312, and 314, to secure troops for these wars. Zosimus certainly says that he levied troops in Britain. Eusebius states that he came to subjugate Britain but adds no details of what was going on or why.

Milestones survive in Britain in greater numbers from the first few years of Constantine's reign than any other (46). This may be because the practice of renewing stones later died out and these were not replaced. Alternatively he may have instigated road repairs as an effective way of consolidating his regime and also maximizing government control of remote regions.

Sources: Aurelius Victor (Liber de Caesaribus) xl.2-4; Eutropius x.1-3, 2.2; Zosimus ii.8.2, 9.1, 15.1; Eusebius (de Vita Constantini) I.8, 25; milestones (see Chapter 6)


Constantine III (77)

A series of usurpers were installed in Britain in the early fifth century beginning with Marcus, who was declared emperor by the British garrison. He was quickly replaced by a man called Gratian. He too was rapidly ousted and a soldier called Constantine was chosen, helped by the symbolism of his name. Constantine III, as he is known, crossed to Gaul immediately taking with him his sons Constans and Julian and his British general Gerontius. His coinage was all struck on the continent and some carry the reverse Victoria Augggg to denote his unsolicited membership of the legitimate college of emperors.

Constantine attempted to take advantage of the chaos in Gaul, and the ineffectual imperial government holed up in Ravenna, to establish a new Gallic empire of Britain, Gaul, and Spain. However, Constantine's troops sacked the provinces they passed through and barbarians exploited the disorder to launch new raids. By 410 Constantine's regime was falling apart. Gerontius had revolted in Spain when Constantine III expanded his ambitions to attempt the conquest of Italy; meanwhile, the Britons had thrown out any imperial officials they could find and sorted out their own defences, which suggests that Constantine III had never enjoyed wide popular support in Britain. Many years later in Gaul Ecdicius, a member of the imperial house and friend of Sidonius, used his own means and those of other 'great men' to raise a 'public army' which confronted Goths much more successfully than the official forces. This may have been what happened in Britain. Honorius seized the advantage and ordered his army to engage Constantine III, then besieged at Arles. Constantine was defeated, and executed. His short reign marks the end of Roman Britain.

Sources: Orosius (Adversum Paganos) vii.40.4, 42.1-4; Zosimus vi.1-5


Constantius I (Constantius Chlorus)

Diocletian became emperor in 284. In 286 he divided the Empire between himself in the East and Maximian in the West. In 293, to ease further the responsibilities, two junior partners were appointed, Galerius for the East and Constantius Chlorus in the West. The idea was that Diocletian and Maximian would abdicate, the latter two would succeed and appoint their own junior partners and heirs.

Constantius was immediately charged with suppressing the revolt in Britain. First he seized Boulogne and then, following the murder of Carausius and the accession of Allectus, he began the construction of a fleet which was used in 296. One wing was led by Asclepiodotus while Constantius brought up the rear. Asclepiodotus defeated Allectus and Constantius made the triumphal entry into London, emulating Claudius' own triumphal entry into Colchester 253 years before.

Around the year 305 Constantius returned to Britain for a campaign into Scotland. The events are little more than alluded to in the sources and the absence of contemporary inscriptions in the north makes it impossible to verify them. He seems to have been seriously ill and died at York in 306. He had already been joined by his son Constantine who had great misgivings about the management of Diocletian's imperial collegiate system which was about to oust him permanently.

Sources: Panegric for Constantius Caesar vi.1-2 (Boulogne), xiii-xx (the campaign); Panegyric on Constantine v.3, vii.1-2


Constantine II

See under Constans above


V. Crescens Fulvianus

Valerius Crescens Fulvianus was governor of Britannia Inferior probably between 225-35, if the restoration of the name of Severus Alexander to the single stone bearing his name is correct. The stone, from Ribchester records the restoration of a temple.

Sources: RIB 587 (Ribchester)



Cunobelinus was king of the Catuvellauni, a tribe which occupied territory north of the Thames centred on an area very approximately equivalent to Middlesex and Hertfordshire. He was dead by 43 but his territorial aggrandizement created tensions in Britain which provided Claudius with a pretext for invasion. His power was such that Suetonius describes him as rex Britannorum ('King of the Britons').

The Catuvellaunian tribal centre originally seems to have been Verulamium, marked VER on a variety of coins of his father Tasciovanus (c.20BC-AD10). However, it is evident from the coins of Cunobelinus not only that he was the successor of Tasciovanus but also that his principal centre was now Camulodunum (Colchester), marked CAMU on his coins. Dio even says that this was the capital of Cunobelinus.

Plainly the Catuvellauni had expanded at the expense of the Trinovantes to the east while the evidence concerning Verica suggests they had also expanded westwards. Dio, in his account of the invasion, states that the 'Bodunni' (recte, Dobunni) were subject to the Catuvellauni. As the Dobunnian tribal zone was centred on the area around where Cirencester is now it is clear that Cunobelinus had been highly successful

Sources: Suetonius (Caligula) xliv.2; Dio lx.20, 21, 33


Decianus Catus

Imperial procurator of Britain in 60-1. His base, perhaps already in London, is not specified by Tacitus but it was not at Colchester, where he sent only about 200 ill-equipped men to help resist Boudica. No doubt this inadequate performance was responsible for his replacement by G. Julius Alpinus Classicianus in the aftermath of the Revolt.

Sources: Tacitus (Annals) xiv.32, 38; Dio lxii.2


Desticius Juba

Governor (leg(atus) Aug(ustorum)) of (presumably) Britannia Superior in c. 255-60, as recorded on a building inscription from Caerleon in the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus.

Source: RIB 334 (Caerleon)


A. Didius Gallus

Aulus Didius Gallus was governor between 52-7, appointed on the death in office of Ostorius Scapula. Didius Gallus was an experienced senior soldier who had participated in the invasion of Britain. His instructions seem to have been to hold, control, and consolidate the Welsh frontier and to avoid campaigning deep within Wales. For this important but unspectacular work he received Tacitus' opprobrium, even though his long tenure in the post suggests he was competent and successful. Didius Gallus was also confronted with a split between the pro-Roman Brigantian queen Cartimandua and her anti-Roman husband Venutius.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xiv, (Annals) xii.40, xiv.29



Dulcitius, with the rank of dux, was sent to Britain in about 367 to assist Civilis in governing Britain on the request of Theodosius. He was famous for his knowledge of warfare.

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.8.10



Bishop of York, in attendance at the Council of Arles in 314.

Source: PNRB 49ff


Egnatius Lucilianus

Egnatius Lucilianus is named as leg(atus) Aug(usti) on a slab from Lanchester recording building work by coh(ors) I L(ingonum) Gor(dianae), thus attributable to the reign of Gordian III (238-44). Lucilianus can be assumed to have governed Britannia Inferior. See also Nonius Philippus, testified as governor in 242, and Maecilius Fuscus, on a similar stone from Lanchester for this reign.

Sources: RIB 1091 (Lanchester) (6), 1262 (High Rochester)


M. Favonius Facilis

The well-known tombstone of Marcus Favonius Facilis, centurion with XX, was found to the west of Colchester and is normally taken as evidence that XX was the legion stationed at Colchester between approximately 43 and 49. The date of the stone is assumed from the lack of the title Valeria Victrix, won in 60 during the Boudican Revolt, and the knowledge that a legion was moved west in about 49 (but see XX in Chapter 2 for several examples of post-60 inscriptions lacking these titles).

Facilis was a member of the Pollian voting tribe and the stone was erected by his freedmen Verecundus and Novicius. Exceptionally the tombstone was found in close association with cremated remains and pottery which can be associated with the period prior to the Boudican Revolt.

Sources: RIB 200 (Colchester); Tacitus (Annals) xii.32


Flavius Cerialis

Prefect of cohors IX Batavorum at Vindolanda about 92-103, and known from numerous letters found at Vindolanda. See also L. Neratius Marcellus and Aelius Brocchus.

Source: Tab. Vindol., for example, II.225, 233, 234, 248, 255 (also Bowman 1994, nos. 15-20, and passim for this man) (78)


Flavius Martinus

Centurion in charge of works carried out by an unnamed cohort at Birdoswald c. 297-305, during the governorship of Aurelius Arpagius. He is one of the last named and dated ordinary soldiers of the Roman army in Britain.

Source: RIB 1912 (Birdoswald)


T. Flavius Postumius Varus

Titus Flavius Postumius Varus names himself as v(ir) c(larissimus) (senator) and legate, presumably of II Augusta, on stone dedication from Caerleon recording the restoration of a temple of Diana. Although undated the man is thought to be identifiable with a Postumius Varus who was praefectus urbi ('city prefect') of Rome in 271. His time at Caerleon will have preceded this post and probably dates to the 250s.

Sources: RIB 316 (Caerleon); ILS 2940 (Rome)


S. Flavius Quietus

Sextus Flavius Quietus died probably in Rome where his tombstone records his military career. Elevated to the post of primus pilus with XX in Britain, probably having worked his way up from being an ordinary legionary, he was eventually appointed praefectus of the classis Britannica. His career cannot be dated and he is not otherwise testified in Britain. The mid-second century has been suggested.

Sources: AE 1960.28


Flavius Sanctus

Described as praeses (governor) of Rutupinus ager in a short poem by Ausonius. The 'Rutupinian land' is presumably Britain, based on the name of the port of Richborough, Rutupiae. The work is attributed to the period 379-82 and records the death of Sanctus at the age of eighty. It may therefore be assumed that he was governor of one of the British provinces some time around the middle years of the fourth century.

Source: Ausonius (Parentalia) xviii.8



Fullofaudes was dux in Britain in the year 367. He was ambushed and imprisoned by members of the notorious barbarica conspiratione ('barbarian conspiracy'). His fate is unknown.

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.8.1


C. Gavius Silvanus

Besides recording that he was decorated for his part in the British war by Claudius, this man's career stone adds that he was at the time tribune of cohors XII Praetorianorum. This provides useful information for the participation of the Praetorians in the invasion of Britain.

Source: ILS 2701 (Turin)



A general (comes) of British birth who served under Constantine III during his rebellion between 407-11. He turned against Constantine III and killed his son Constans. Despite elevating his own nominee, Maximus, as emperor Gerontius was killed in the traditional fashion by his own troops.

Sources: Zosimus vi.2.2ff, Orosius vii.42.4ff



Born in 189, Publius Septimius Geta was younger son of Septimius Severus and brother of Caracalla. In 198 he was elevated to the status of Caesar. In 208 he arrived with his father and brother in Britain in order to participate in the Caledonian campaign. Geta was left in charge of governing Britain and to mete out justice. In 209 he was created Augustus as well and in 210 coins in his name bearing the legend Victoriae Brittanicae were also issued.

In 211 Severus died and the Empire passed to the joint rule of Caracalla and Geta. In 212 Geta was murdered by Caracalla who had no wish to share his power. His time in charge of the civil administration of Britain is thought to have been by some when the martyr Alban was executed.

Sources: Herodian iii.14.3-10, 15.6-7; SHA (Geta) passim


Gordian I, see M. Antonius Gordianus



Gratian the Elder, also known as Funarius on account of his strength (from funarius, meaning of, or belonging to a rope, i.e. a rope could not be ripped from his hands), was father of Valentinian I. He was born in Pannonia about the year 321. He reached the position of comes in charge of the army in Africa where he was accused of theft; he left and was appointed comes of the army in Britain at some unspecified point between about 330-50. After retirement to Pannonia his property was confiscated by Constantius II for allegedly having supported the usurper Magnentius (350-3).

Sources: Ammianus xxx.7.2-3


Hadrian (79)

Publius Aelius Hadrianus (117-38) made his celebrated visit to Britain in or about the year 119. The occasion was part of his empire-wide tour and he arrived from Germany where sloppy practices amongst the troops, particularly the officers, shocked him. Hadrian immediately instituted reforms and a return to discipline.

In Britain similar decadence may have led to the building of the Wall, but there is some historical and epigraphic evidence for war on the northern frontier. The Wall itself was begun by the early 120s and is credited to the governorship of Hadrian's friend, Aulus Platorius Nepos, known from diplomas to have been in office in 122 and 124.

Sources: SHA (Hadrian), v.2, xi.2, and xii.6; CIL xvi.69-70 (diplomas); RIB (examples) 1340 (Benwell) (21), 1427 (Haltonchesters), 1638 (mc 38) (12)



Possibly [...]isus Claudius [Aem]ilius Quintus Julius Haterianus, and recorded as legatus Augusti of Cilicia on a single inscription (now lost) from Caerleon. It has been inferred that the text may be explained that he was celebrating his appointment to the governorship as a promotion from his present post as legate of II Augusta, though the latter post is entirely speculative. He may have been a visiting dignitary. The style suggests the second century.

Sources: RIB 335 (Caerleon)


T. Haterius Nepos

This man rose to be prefect of Egypt. He is tentatively identified as the man who served as censitor Brittonum Anavion[en(sium)], according to a tombstone found at Foligno in Italy. The basis for this inference is other inscriptions naming the family at Foligno, and because he is named as prefect of Egypt on another. As this censitor's next post after Britain was as procurator in Armenia, annexed by Trajan in 114 but given up by Hadrian, he must have served under Trajan.

The regional name has survived in the name of the River Annan in south-west Scotland, and indicates that this was where he worked. As his tombstone seems to indicate a career during the reign of Trajan this is interesting evidence for Roman administrative influence beyond the line along which Hadrian's Wall would subsequently be built.

Source: ILS 1338 (Foligno), 9060; Birley (1979), 52


P. Helvius Pertinax, see Pertinax


L. Javolenus Priscus

G. Octavius Tidius Tossianus Lucius Javolenus Priscus, legatus iuridicus of Britain and successor to G. Salvius Liberalis, had a distinguished career with two legionary commands before his British appointment in the late first century, and afterwards several provincial governorships (by 91 for instance he was governor of Germania Superior).

One of the cases over which he presided was enshrined in the Digest of Roman law. The estate of a helmsman (gubernator) of the British fleet was in dispute because his son had predeceased him.

G. Jav[olenus Sa]tur[nal]is, imaginifer of II Augusta, recorded on an altar at Bath has been suggested as someone who may have gained his citizenship from Javolenus Priscus. The name is sufficiently rare to make such a suggestion more plausible than normal.

Sources: ILS 1015 (Dalmatia; translation in Ireland, p. 84); Digest xxxvi.1.48 (see E. Birley 1953, 51); RIB 147 (Bath); ILS 1998 (diploma, listing his governorship in 91)



See Severus.


Julia Domna

Wife and Empress of Septimius Severus. She accompanied him to Britain during his campaigns of 208-11 and was the subject of several dedications in Britain made under Caracalla.

Sources: SHA (Septimius Severus) passim; RIB 590 (Ribchester), 976 (Netherby), 1235 (Risingham), 1791 (Carvoran); Brit. xi (1980), 405, no. 6 (Newcastle)


Gn. Julius Agricola, see Agricola


G. Julius Alpinus Classicianus, see Classicianus


S. Julius Frontinus

Sextus Julius Frontinus succeeded Petillius Cerealis as governor in about 73 or 74. His activities in Britain are only known from the Agricola by Tacitus. Frontinus is said to have subdued the Silures in Wales in a highly effective campaign in which he mastered the difficult terrain. The end of his term of office, depending on Tacitus' precise meaning, took place in 73 or 74. He was succeeded by Agricola.

Source: Tacitus (Agricola) xvii.2


L. Julius Julianus

Lucius Julius Julianus was legate of II Augusta. A lost altar from near Hexham only names him and gives no information about his post, recorded on a career inscription from Interamna in Italy. He is considered probably to have held his post in the Severan period, but apparently prior to the division of Britain.

Sources: CIL xi.4182; RIB 1138 (Hexham)


G. Julius Marcus

Gaius Julius Marcus was governor of Britain in 213. An unusually large number of military inscriptions from this year in Britain are known, each of which declares unswerving loyalty to Caracalla. Given the latter's murderous paranoia this was perhaps a judicious act but in Julius Marcus' case it did not save him. His name has only come down to us in a record of a milestone, now lost but found close to milecastle 17 on Hadrian's Wall. In most other cases his name was erased but the precise dating information allows them to be attributed to his governorship.

It can only be concluded that Julius Marcus was arrested on Caracalla's orders and convicted on some charge of treason. In 213 Caracalla is reputed to have murdered the proconsular governor of Gallia Narbonensis and proceeded to enact 'many measures directed against persons and in violation of the rights of communities'. One might even speculate that the inscriptions of 213 were ordered by Julius Marcus when news reached him of events in Narbonensis. We will never know and nothing else is known about him.

Sources: SHA (Caracalla) v.1-3; RIB 905 (Old Carlisle), 976, 977 (Netherby), 1202 (erased) (Whitley Castle), 1235 (erased) (Risingham), 1265, 1278 (both erased) (High Rochester), 1551 (uncertain; Carrawburgh), 2298 (milestone near mc 17 Hadrian's Wall); Brit. xi (1980), 405, no. 6 (erased) (Newcastle); Brit. xvi (1985), 325-6, no. 11 (erased) (South Shields)


S. Julius Severus

Sextus Julius Severus was governor of Britain around the years 130-3/4. The stone from Carrawburgh, purported to record building at the fort during his governorship, is so fragmentary as to be effectively useless and it should be discounted as reliable evidence. A stone from Bowes, now lost, provides more convincing traces of his name and Hadrian's titles for the period 128-38. Fortunately, his career stone lists his achievements during the reign of Hadrian, and states that he was propraetorian legate of Britain. Before Britain he had governed Moesia Inferior and went on to govern Judaea. The transfer to Judaea is stated by Dio to have taken place under Hadrian following the Jewish revolt of 132 and immediately followed his British governorship.

Sources: RIB 739 (Bowes), 1550(?) (Carrawburgh); ILS 1056; Dio lxix.13.2


L. Julius Vehilius

L. Julius Vehilius Gratus Julianus was an equestrian with a distinguished career. He rose to become prefect of the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Along the way he was appointed procurator Augusti in command of a vexillation tempore belli [Britannici], 'at the time of the British war', though the word Britannici has been restored. As he was decorated for valour in the Parthian war by Antoninus Pius and Lucius Verus, and also for the German and Sarmatian wars by Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, it may be assumed that the supposed war in Britain referred to is either that under Pius, c. 154, or under Marcus Aurelius, c. 163.

Sources: SHA (M. Aurelius) viii.7-8; ILS 1327 (CIL vi.31,856)


Gn. Julius Verus

Gnaeus Julius Verus was governor of Britain around 158, recorded on several inscriptions. The most intriguing is the slab from the Tyne at Newcastle which refers to reinforcements of II Augusta, VI Victrix and XX Valeria Victrix and the two German provinces. Whether the text is describing contributions from the legions being sent to Germany, or whether reinforcements were arriving from Germany, is unknown. Julius Verus had been governor of Germania Inferior so the reinforcements may have accompanied him.

If so, this has implications for interpreting events on the northern frontier. Julius Verus may have presided over the aftermath of a war implicit on Britannia coins of 154, perhaps leading to the abandonment of the Antonine Wall. Only the Birrens slab provides a point to fix Julius Verus' term. It carries details of Antoninus Pius' twenty-first tribunician power (December 157-December 158). Verus was certainly out of post by 161 (see M. Statius Priscus) and possibly as early as 159. This means his term began in c. 155-7.

Sources: RIB 283 (Brough-on-Noe), 1132 (Corbridge), 1322 (Newcastle), 2110 (Birrens); Brit. xxviii (1992), 463-4, no. 28 (diploma); ILS 1057 and 8974 (two parts of the same slab)


C. Junius Faustinus

Caius Junius Faustinus Placidus Postumianus is a possible early-third-century governor of Britain (Superior?) and a former comes of Septimius Severus. He is untestified in Britain itself.

Source: CIL viii.597 (see Birley 1979, p. 37)


D. Junius Juvenalis

This man, who may be the Roman poet Juvenal, spent part of his career as tribune of cohors I Delmatarum in Britain. The stone recording the man's name is from Aquinum, Juvenal's home town. His career ran from the end of the reign of Domitian right on into Hadrian's time. The unit is testified in Britain from 122 and by 138-61 was at Maryport. Juvenal himself makes a passing reference to Britain's short nights and the 'conquest' of the Orkneys. If the identification with the tribune of cohors I Delmatarum is correct this is one of the very few surviving personal comments on the experience of life in Britain.

Source: ILS 2926 (Aquinum); Juvenal (Satires) ii.161 (short British nights and Orkneys), iii.319 (Aquinum)


L. Junius Victorinus Flavius Caelianus

This man was legate of VI Victrix and recorded his exploits north of Hadrian's Wall on an altar found at Kirksteads, near Kirkandrews upon Eden. He can be inferred to have gone on to be legate of Germania Superior from a dedication at Stockstadt to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and his personal Genius by a member of the governor's staff, the beneficiarius consularis G. Secionius Senilis. Date is uncertain, but should precede the division of Britain, therefore c. 122-212.

Source: RIB 2034 (Kirksteads); RIB95, 794, note to 2034; CIL xiii.6638 (Stockstadt)



One of the very few named officials from later Roman Britain, Justinianus is named as p(rae)p(ositus) in charge of construction works at Ravenscar in an exceptional instance of late-Romano-British epigraphy. The date is uncertain but the archaeology of the site suggests fourth century.

Source: RIB 721 (Ravenscar)


Q. Lollius Urbicus

Quintus Lollius Urbicus was governor of Britain between about 138-42. The SHA states that Lollius Urbicus subdued and repelled the Britons, and built a turf wall. This is an exceptional instance of a man and events testified in literary and epigraphic sources. However, Urbicus is mentioned on few of the building stones from the Antonine Wall, most of which provide dates no more precise than 139-61 and give no details of the governor. It cannot therefore be automatically assumed that the construction of the new frontier was confined to his term.

Sources: SHA (Antoninus Pius) v.4; RIB 1147, 1148 (probably) (Corbridge), 1276 (High Rochester), 2191, 2192 (Balmuildy); CIL viii.7606



In 360 Lupicinus was magister armorum, or commander-in-chief, under Julian (360-3). He was sent to resolve a breakdown of the peace between the Romano-British and the Scots and Picts. He sailed from Boulogne to Richborough and then marched to London. Lupicinus was said to be arrogant and supercilious. The accounts add nothing about what he did. He was soon recalled and arrested to prevent him siding with Constantius II against Julian.

Sources: Ammianus xx.1.1-3, 4.3, 4.6, 4.9, 9.9


Q. Lusius Sabinianus

Quintus Lusius Sabinianus names himself as proc(urator) Aug(usti) on two dedications found at Inveresk, near Edinburgh. One, now lost, was to Apollo Grannus. The other confirms Sabinianus' title. The location suggests that his term must have been during the time the Antonine Wall was held, about 139-60.

Sources: RIB 2132; Brit. viii (1977), 433, no. 30 (Inveresk)


Maecilius Fuscus

Maecilius Fuscus is named as leg(atus) Aug(usti) on a slab from Lanchester recording building work by coh(ors) I L(ingonum) Gor(dianae), attributable to the reign of Gordian III (238-44). Fuscus presumably governed Britannia Inferior.

Source: RIB 1092 (Lanchester) (37)


M. Maenius Agrippa

Marcus Maenius Agrippa came from Camerinum in Italy. Most of his career was spent in Britain during the reign of Hadrian. He commanded the following units in Britain in this order, having been selected by Hadrian to participate in an expedition (of uncertain date) to Britain. He rose finally to be the province's procurator:

prefect of cohors II Flavia Brittonum equitata

tribune of cohors I Hispanorum (at Maryport, RIB 823)

prefect of ala Gallorum et Pannoniorun catafractata

prefect of classis Britannica

procurator of provinciae Britanniae

Sources: RIB 823 (Maryport); ILS 2735 (Camerinum; see also Jarrett 1976, 147-8)



Usurper in the West from 350-3 during the reign of Constantius II. In 350 Magnentius, an army commander under Constans and possibly of British descent, seized the West, exploiting Constans' decadence and contempt for his soldiers. Constans fled towards Spain but was murdered near the Pyrenees. In 351 Magnentius was defeated by Constantius II, leaving him only Gaul and Britain. In 353 he was defeated again and committed suicide. The revolt of Magnentius had repercussions for Britain. Constantius II sent Paulus to deal with supporters of Magnentius in the British garrison. The implication is that Magnentius' forces had been largely drawn from Britain and that he had enjoyed considerable support there.

Sources: Ammianus xiv.5.6-8


Magnus Maximus

Magnus Maximus, a Spaniard, was a military commander in Britain who had successfully campaigned against barbarians in the early 380s. His popularity led either to his troops proclaiming him emperor, or his own personal declaration of the fact (the sources vary), in 383. Maximus began a continental campaign, and was joined by more and more of Gratian's army. Gratian, the legitimate emperor, was killed by one of his own officers.

Much of Maximus' army was made up from the British garrison, and he may have returned briefly to engage the Picts and Scots in 384. In 388 Maximus was defeated and executed in Italy by Theodosius I who restored Valentinian II in the West.

Magnus Maximus makes an appearance in contemporary accounts because of his effect on mainstream events. Maximus used Britain as an exploitable resource, not as an ideological, or actual, base. Despite this, Maximus was remembered fondly as a popular hero. In Wales, historical lineages of Dark Age kingships were traced back to a Macsen Wledig who may or may not have been Maximus.

The sixth-century chronicler Gildas castigated Maximus for robbing Britain of her defences and exposing her to barbarian assaults from the Scots and Picts. He relates how the Britons appealed to Rome for assistance which came in the form of a 'legion'.

Sources (all most easily found in Ireland 1986): Orosius (Adversum Paganos), vii.34.9-10; Zosimus iv.35.2-6, 37.1-3, 37.10; Sozomenus (Eccl. Hist.) vii.13; Prosper Tiro (Chronicon) 1191; Gildas (De Excidio Britanniae) xiv-xv


G. Manlius Valens

According to Dio, G. Manlius Valens was aged 89 in the year 96. He can thus be identified as the Manlius Valens, said by Tacitus to have commanded a legion when A. Didius Gallus became governor in 52. The legion (presumably II Augusta) had been defeated by the Silures. By 69 he was still commanding a legion in Gaul.

Sources: Tacitus (Annals) xii.40.1, (Histories) i.64; Dio lxvii.14.5


Marius Valerianus

Governor of Britannia Inferior in 221 and 222, dates fixed by three dated inscriptions from Chesters (30 October 221), Netherby (222), and South Shields (222). All refer to the restoration of buildings or the provision of new facilities which suggests he may have presided over or instigated a phase of military renewal.

Sources: RIB 978 (Netherby), 1060 (South Shields), 1465 (Chesters)


M. Martian(n)ius Pulcher

This man names says he was of senatorial rank (v(ir) c(larissimus) - the reading here is uncertain), and leg(atus) Aug(ustorum) on an altar recording the rebuilding of a temple of Isis in London (65). His exact status is a matter for debate thanks to damage to the inscription which cannot be precisely dated, though is thought to be 3rd century. He was, presumably, governor of Britannia Superior.

Source: Brit. vii (1976), 378-9, no. 2



Vicarius of Britain in 353 under Constantius II. Following the defeat of Magnentius that year Paulus was sent to Britain to weed out supporters. Martinus led the backlash against Paulus' vindictive tactics and attempted to assassinate him. He failed and committed suicide. He was considered to have been a wise and effective governor.

Sources: Ammianus xiv.5.6-8



Melania the Younger, a Christian heiress, was born in the late fourth century. In 404 she decided to dispose of her estates in Italy, Sicily, North Africa, Spain and (probably) Britain. Christian women were especially susceptible to being persuaded to do this by influential male Christian leaders. The information comes from a later 'Life' of Melania which traced her path to sainthood. Such accounts cannot be trusted for detail, especially the lands in Britain, but this is useful evidence for some villa estates in Britain belonging to absentee continental landlords. One of Melania's Italian estates was said to contain 62 villages, each with 400 inhabitants. Under imperial law all these people were tied to the estate and their jobs.

Source: vita Melania x


Metilius Bradua, see Atilius


P. Maecilius (or Metilius) Nepos

Named as the previous governor of Britain in the year 98, by which time T. Avidius Quietus had taken over, on a diploma found in Belgium. The diploma is incomplete and supplies only '... Nepos'. He may be the P. Maecilius Nepos who appears in the letters of Pliny the Younger and is described as someone about to become governor 'of an important province' (maximae provinciae).

Source: CIL xvi.43 (diploma; see RIB II, fasc. I, table I); Pliny (Letters) iv.26.2


L. Minicius Natalis

Lucius Minicius Natalis Quadronius Verus was legate of VI Victrix under Hadrian and perhaps during the governorship of S. Julius Severus. His career stone is explicit in stating that he was legatus Augusti of VI Victrix in Britannia. He was wealthy, lived near Hadrian's estate at Tivoli and had enjoyed a triumphant athletic career as a charioteer.

Sources: ILS 1061


Modius Julius

Modius Julius was governor of (presumably) Britannia Inferior in the early 3rd century, and normally stated to be around the year 219. The interpretation of the butchered and adulterated inscription from Netherby as including this man's name, that of Elagabalus, and an unprecedented form of the second consulship of Elagabalus (in 219) is rather optimistic. However, the name of Modius Julius and Elagabalus (or Caracalla) on this stone are not implausible. Moreover, considering that many governors of Britannia Inferior and their dates are known, there are few other times at when he could have been governor. See T. Claudius Paulinus and Marius Valerianus for other governorships of the reign. Modius Julius is, however, unequivocally named as governor on an undated inscription of early-third-century style from Birdoswald.

Sources: RIB 980 (Netherby), 1914 (Birdoswald) (80)


P. Mummius Sisenna and P. Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus

Someone called [...] Sisenna, identifiable as the P. Mummius Sisenna who was consul in 133, is named as governor of Britain on a diploma found at Wroxeter and dated 14 April 135. He had succeeded S. Julius Severus, known to have been moved to Judaea about 133-4. A similar name, P. Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus, son of P(ublius), is recorded on a career inscription as having been legate of VI Victrix prior to his own consulship in 146. As the latter makes no mention of a British governorship for which, in any case, he would not have been qualified until after 146, it seems only reasonable to suggest that they were father and son.

This is now accepted to have been the case, though it is quite clear that it cannot be absolutely certain. The situation may have prevailed, therefore, where the father was governor and his son a legionary legate under him. However unusual, this would not have been unprecedented.

No inscriptions or events can be attributed to the governorship though Sisenna may have presided some of the warfare which Lollius Urbicus was sent to suppress in or about 138.

Sources: RIB 2401.8 (CIL xvi.82; diploma); and Birley 1979, 37 and 173; ILS 1101 (legate of VI Victrix)


Q. Natalius Natalinus et Bodeni

This name appears on a fourth-century mosaic at Thruxton. In this respect he appears to be the only Romano-British villa owner or tenant who names himself for us. His citizen's name has been created from the root Natalis but included the phrase et Bodeni, which seems to indicate that he was also known as Bodenus, a name of Celtic origin. However, this word is in the genitive, 'of Bodenus' which presents a problem; perhaps it indicates his father's name, i.e. '(son) of Bodenus'.

Either way it seems likely that his family origins had been British but that he or his ancestors had adopted a Roman name as part of their integration into a romanized way of life.

The mosaic is displayed at the British Museum in London.

Source: RIB 2448.9



Nectaridus is named by Ammianus as comes maritimi tractus ('count of the maritime area') in Britain in the year 367. He was killed. Name and title are otherwise untestified and it may be an alternative for comes litoris Saxonici ('count of the Saxon shore').

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.8.1


L. Neratius Marcellus

Governor of Britain between roughly 102-6 under Trajan. He is named as such on a diploma of 19 January 103. An inscription from his home town, Saepinum, mentions a governor of Britain, but the name is lost. He also appears in the letters of Pliny the Younger as the source of a post as military tribune, presumably in Britain. The diploma helps date the Vindolanda tablets because Marcellus appears to be mentioned on one of them, described as Marcellum clarissimum consularem meum, 'my governor [...] Marcellus, that distinguished man'. Like the record in Pliny, Marcellus is here also seen as a potential source of favourable positions. The writer, Flavius Cerialis is seeking help from the addressee, Crispinus, to intercede with the governor.

Sources: RIB 2401.1 (diploma, CIL xvi.98; the same text also appears at ILS 2001, CIL vii.1193); Pliny, Letters, iii.8.1; ILS 1032 (Saepinum); Tab. Vindol. II.225 (see Bowman 1994, 121, no. 15) (78)


Nonius Philippus

Nonius Philippus is named as leg(atus) Aug(usti) on a dedication to Jupiter Optimus Maximus by ala Augusta at Old Carlisle. Conveniently, the stone carries the consuls for the year, making it datable to 242 under Gordian III. Nonius Philippus must have been governor of Britannia Inferior. Egnatius Lucilianus and Maecilius Fuscus are both also testified as governors in this reign on the less specific evidence of the unit title at Lanchester.

Sources: RIB 897 (Old Carlisle)


M. Oclatinius Adventus

Proc(urator) Aug(ustorum) under Alfenus Senecio, governor during the reign of Septimius Severus between c. 205-8. Dio describes Oclatinius Adventus as a man who had risen from the soldiery, despite being illiterate. As such, his elevated status was a presage for the future.

Sources: RIB 1234 (Risingham), RIB 1462 (Chesters); Dio lxxviii.14.1; see also Rankov 1987


Octavius Sabinus

Named as praeses (governor) and v(ir) c(larissimus) (of senatorial rank) on a slab from Lancaster recording building work by ala Sebussiana (ala Gallorum Sebosiana). The text mentions two Gallic Empire consuls, Censor and Lepidus, attributed to the period 262-6. This allows his governorship, presumably of Britannia Inferior, to be fixed in that period and the restoration of the titles of Postumus (259-68) to the rest of the inscription including the unit's name.

Source: RIB 605 (Lancaster)


P. Ostorius Scapula

Publius Ostorius Scapula was governor in Britain between 47-52. On arrival he was immediately faced with a revolt by the (then) client tribe of the Iceni. With this problem suppressed he moved north-west to split British resistance in the west and north, relying on support from Cartimandua and her kingdom of the Brigantes in the north. His principal campaign was in Wales against Caratacus. Caratacus was defeated but escaped and fled to Cartimandua who handed him over to the Romans. Despite this the Welsh tribes, mainly the Silures, maintained their opposition and in 52 Ostorius died, it was said, of exhaustion.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xiv; (Annals) xii.31-39


Gn. Papirius Aelianus

Governor of Britain at some point in the mid-140s, named on a diploma from Chesters dated between 10 December 145 and 9 December 146. Unlike his predecessor Lollius Urbicus he is untestified on any inscriptions and nothing of note is known about him.

Sources: RIB 2401.10 (CIL xvi.93)


L. Papius Pacatianus

Vicar of Britain on 20 November 319 under Constantine I.

Source: Cod. Theod. xi.7.2



Notarius (imperial secretary) to Constantius II. In 353, following the defeat of Magnentius, Paulus was sent to Britain to flush out supporters of Magnentius. Paulus initiated a vicious pogrom by producing trumped-up charges. Martinus, the governor, was powerless to stop him and even tried to assassinate him. Paulus' activities may have ruined many landowners though it is not possible to state in any one instance that a villa was abandoned for this reason.

Source: Ammianus xiv.5.6-8



Leader of a Christian heresy which took root in the late fourth century and occasioned a crisis which lasted into the fifth. Bede describes it beginning in the year 394, and Pelagius himself arrived in Rome between 399-401. Pelagius believed that human beings were responsible for their own morality, and that human perfection was an attainable and unavoidable goal for Christians. Pelagius was, by all accounts, from Britain (or Ireland) even though much of his teaching and activity was carried out on the continent. Major church leaders like Augustine and Jerome attacked Pelagius with their pens adding the customary personal abuse to theological objections.

Sources: Augustine (Letters) 50.3-5 (Loeb edition); Bede (Hist. Eccl.) i.10, 17, 21



Publius Helvius Pertinax was sent to Britain in c. 185 to resolve problems of discipline (see Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus). He dealt ruthlessly with mutinies, but his strict disciplinarian approach earned him hostility from the British legions. He asked to be returned to Rome where the same habit cost him his life in 193 when he was made Emperor following the murder of Commodus. He had reigned just 86 days.

Sources: SHA (Pertinax) iii.5-10


Q. Petillius Cerialis

Quintus Petillius Cerialis Caesius Rufus, governor in Britain between 71-4, was earlier legate of IX Hispana during the Revolt of Boudica in 60-1. Leading his cavalry from the legionary base or bases in the East Midlands to confront the menace he hopelessly underestimated the scale of the rebellion and was routed. Tacitus said he was better at hating his enemies than defending himself against them.

Subsequently he found fame in the campaign against the revolt of Civilis in 70 prior to his appointment as governor of Britain apparently in 71 to succeed the Vitellian supporter Vettius Bolanus. His dates as governor are provided by the sequence listed by Tacitus and the consulships he held in 70 and 74; the governorship must lie between them. Petillius Cerialis may or may not have brought the newly-raised II Adiutrix with him. Inferences drawn from tombstones at Lincoln stating service life of legionaries and its known date of activation in about 69, suggest it was there by 76 at least.

Petillius Cerialis, Tacitus said, proceeded to act where Vettius Bolanus had failed. He marched into Brigantian territory, presumably against Venutius (see Cartimandua), and succeeded in annexing much of the region.

Due to his earlier career with IX Hispana it has been assumed that the legion formed the backbone of Petillius Cerialis' campaign. This is not testified and is merely a reasonable inference. The foundation of York as a fortress for IX Hispana is attributed to this governorship but there is no epigraphic or literary confirmation of this.

Birley (1973, 181) has suggested that this man and the legate Caesius Nasica were brothers.

Sources: Tacitus (Annals) xiv.32 (Boudica), (Histories) iv.68, 71, v.16 (against Civilis, Cerialis' character, and II Adiutrix), (Agricola) xvii (against Brigantes); see II Adiutrix in Chapter 2; CIL xvi.20 for his full name; Birley (1973), provides a detailed analysis of his career and family


P. Petronius Turpilianus

Publius Petronius Turpilianus was governor of Britain between 61 and 63. He succeeded Suetonius Paullinus, removed on the pretext that he had lost a few ships, and thus was charged with reconstructing Britain after the Boudican Revolt. Tacitus states that his term began shortly after serving his consulship, attested in the first half of 61. Tacitus derided him for indulging in laziness and passing this off as peace though in reality a policy of aggressive suppression would have been suicidal for the Roman authorities. He will have worked closely with Classicianus, the new procurator.

There is a problem in interpreting Tacitus with respect to dates. At Annals xiv.29 he states that the Boudican Revolt broke out in the year of Turpilianus' consulship, which was 61. At xiv.39 he describes Turpilianus' becoming governor of Britain, having just finished as consul. This seems not enough time to allow for all the events of the Boudican Revolt and its aftermath. It is now assumed that Tacitus was in error and that the Revolt started in 60 (see Frere 1987, 79, n. 37).

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xvi, (Annals) xiv.29, 39



Polyclitus, an imperial freedman, was sent to Britain in the aftermath of the Boudican Revolt to settle the differences between the governor, Suetonius Paullinus and the new procurator, Classicianus, and also to reduce any further temptations to rebellion. The Britons were fascinated that an ex-slave exercise such power over a governor and his army.

Source: Tacitus (Annals) xiv.39


A. Platorius Nepos

Aulus Platorius Nepos was legat(us) Aug(usti) pro praet(ore) provinc(iae) Britannia stated on his career inscription from Aquilea. His term in Britain was between approximately 122 and 126. A number of inscriptions from Hadrian's Wall name him as governor in the reign of Hadrian. He was clearly charged with operating the primary construction of Hadrian's Wall. Nepos was a personal friend of Hadrian and had served as joint consul with him in 119. Later they fell out. Although mentioned in SHA (Hadrian) no connection with Britain is included, a good example of the inadequacy of some literary sources.

Precise dates are provided by two diplomas which name him as governor of Britain on 17 July 122 and 15(?) September 124.

Sources: ILS 1052 (Aquilea); CIL xvi.69 (RIB II, fasc. I, Table I, diploma of 122); RIB 2401.6 (CIL xvi.70, diploma of 124); RIB 1051 (Jarrow), 1340 (Benwell) (21), 1427 (Haltonchesters), 1634 (Hadrian's Wall, mc 37), 1637, 1638 (Hadrian's Wall, near mc 38) (12), 1666 (Hadrian's Wall, mc 42), 1935 (Hadrian's Wall, near TW mc 50); SHA (Hadrian) iv.2, xv.2, xxiii.4; that RIB 995 from Bewcastle also names him is argued convincingly by Tomlin in Brit. xxix (1999), 443, (a), and note 73


A. Plautius

Aulus Plautius is known only from several literary sources as the commander of the Claudian invasion force in 43 and remained as governor until 47. He thus presided over the movement of forces across southern Britain to take Camulodunum, fighting a major river battle along the way, the arrival of Claudius, and the subsequent fanning out of legions across Britain.

Sources: Dio lx.19-22; Suetonius (Claudius) xxiv, (Vespasian) iv.1; Tacitus (Agricola) xiv.1


Poenius Postumius

Praefectus castrorum of II Augusta, probably then based at Exeter or dispersed amongst vexillation fortesses in the area, in 60-61. He refused to respond to Suetonius Paullinus' orders to confront the Boudican Revolt. This deprived the legion of the chance to earn battle honours and was followed by his suicide. His dithering may have been due to the legion being away or otherwise indisposed (hence no reference to a legate), and that he was so intimidated by the prospects of engaging the revolt that he was prepared to disobey orders.

Sources: Tacitus (Annals) xiv.37


Q. Pompeius Falco

Quintus Pompeius Falco was governor of Britain around 118-22. He must have succeeded M. Atilius Metilius Bradua and is named as predecessor to A. Platorius Nepos on a diploma of 17 July 122 and confirmed as governor of Britain under Hadrian in a career inscription from Tarracina which carries his remarkable full name of Quintus Roscius Sex(ti) F(ilius) Quir[..] Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullius Pius Julius Eurycles Herculanus Pompeius Falco.

As Falco is never named on any surviving inscription in Britain it may be assumed that he therefore played no significant part in the inception and construction of Hadrian's Wall.

Sources: CIL xvi.69 (see RIB II, fasc. I, Table I, diploma of 122); ILS 1035 (Tarracina)


Cn. Pompeius Homullus

Cnaeus Pompeius Homullus Aelius Gracilis Cassianus Longinus rose to be proc(urator) Aug(usti) provinciae Brittaniae during a long career which began in the army. He served as primus pilus in both II Augusta and X Fretensis, the former presumably after it arrived in Britain. Prior to his procuratorship he served in the Rome garrison as a tribune and was decorated in an unspecified war. After Britain he went on to be procurator in the twin provinces of Lugdunum and Aquitania. Unfortunately there is no means of accurately dating his time in Britain. Birley (1979, 50), suggests the war he was decorated in was under Domitian and thus attributes his period as procurator to the late 80s or 90s; however, it could equally well have been significantly later.

Sources: ILS 1385


T. Pomponius Mamilianus

Titus Pomponius Mamilianus Rufus Antistianus Funisulanus Vettonianus was a legionary legate, presumably of XX(?). His position is recorded on an undated altar at Chester, dedicated to Fortuna Redux, Aesculapius, and Salus by his freedmen and slaves. An approximate date comes from Pliny the Younger who had a friend called Mamilianus turba castrensium negotiorum, 'beset with military affairs', in the year 100 and employs a metaphor based on Mamilianus' legionary standards, aquilas. However, another man with a similar name (only differing in the lack of Mamilianus) was consul in 120.

Sources: RIB 445 (see RIB 1879 (Birdoswald) for a possible descendant); Pliny (Letters) ix.25


M. Pontius Laelianus

Marcus Pontius Laelianus Larcius was military tribune with VI Victrix when it was transferred from Germany to Britain, stated on the stone recording his career. This is thought normally to have occurred in the early part of Hadrian's reign when VI Victrix turns up building Hadrian's Wall. The legion probably accompanied the new governor, A. Platorius Nepos, compatible with Pontius Laelianus' consulship in 144.

Sources: ILS 1094, with a fuller version on ILS 1100 (the name is lost on the latter but enough detail survives to show that it must be the same man)


T. Pontius Sabinus

Primus pilus of III Augusta, sent to Britain in command of vexillations of VII Gemina, VIII Augusta, and XXII Primigenia at some unspecified date apparently in Hadrian's reign. See also M. Maenius Agrippa.

Sources: ILS 2726B



King of the Iceni, and husband of Boudica, during the early part of the Roman conquest. He made Nero the joint beneficiary of his will with his daughters in the hope that this would guarantee the security of the Iceni. The outcome following his death in c. 59-60 was quite the opposite. See Boudica above for references.



Only known from Dio to have been a legionary legate in Britain in about 182-5. See Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus.



Named as ex civitate Londiniensium episcopus, 'bishop from the civitas of Londinium' at the Council of Arles in 314 and listed in the Acta.

Source: PNRB 49-50


M. Roscius Coelius

Legate of XX in 69. Tacitus describes the intense personal animosity between him and the governor Trebellius Maximus, and how the circumstances of civil war allowed this explosive relationship to break free. Only the description in the Histories names him. Roscius was relieved of his command for having been slow to show allegiance to Vespasian and was succeeded by Agricola.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xvi.3-4, (Histories) i.60


C. Sabucius Major Caecilianus

Leg(atus) iurid(icus) prov(inciae) Britanniae, proclaimed on his career inscription. His tenure in the post is said to have occurred during the 170s, an inference the basis of which is not immediately evident from the text of his inscription (see Birley 1979, 48).

Source: ILS 1123 (and also 1123a, which may provide a basis for the late-second-century date)


P. Sallienius Thalamus

Praef(ectus) of II Augusta at Caerleon at some point during the reign of Septimius Severus between 198-209, which presumably means he was praefectus castrorum, then serving in command of the legionary base in the absence of the legate. The second of two stones from Caerleon which name him carries the titles of Septimius Severus and Caracalla as Augusti and Geta as Caesar, thus fixing the period.

Sources: RIB 324, 326 (Caerleon)


Sallustius Lucullus

Britanniae legatum ('governor of Britain') under Domitian and executed by the paranoid emperor for being stupid enough to design a new spear which he named the Lucullean after himself. It can only assumed that he was governor at some point between roughly 84 and 94. An inscription naming him, purportedly found in Chichester in the mid-seventeenth century and now lost, is believed to have been a fake (RIB 2334). However, Chichester is one of the few sources of high-quality first-century inscriptions in Britain and the text is convincing enough; unfortunately, no illustration has survived. Even so, it provides no assistance with dating.

Sources: Suetonius (Domitian) x.3


C. Salvius Liberalis

Caius Salvius Liberalis Nonius Bassus was legatus iuridicus of Britain. He may have been appointed around the beginning of the reign of Titus. His career inscription records that he served in his posts under both the deified Vespasian and Titus (69-81).

Sources: ILS 1011


P. (or L.) Septimius Geta (ii)

See Geta.


Septimius Severus (81)

Lucius Septimius Severus was born in 146 at Leptis Magna in north Africa. His military career was highly successful and by 192 he was governor of Upper Pannonia. After the murder of Commodus, Severus sided with Pertinax but the latter's assassination precipitated a civil war. Severus was a willing participant in the race for the purple. By 197 he had defeated his last rival, Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain. The civil war had provided opportunities for barbarian attacks on the northern frontier in Britain, problems which were passed to Virius Lupus and L. Alfenus Senecio to sort out. Lupus was obliged to bribe barbarians for peace due to Severus being engaged in warfare in the east.

Herodian states that having settled affairs in Britain Severus divided Britain into two separate commands, later known as Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. It is not clear when this came into force but the purpose was evidently to prevent a repeat performance of Clodius Albinus' bid for power. The first specific reference to one of the new names is on a slab from Vindolanda of 222-3. It is normally assumed that the new arrangements were activated by 216 at the latest.

Rome provided opportunities for Severus' sons Caracalla and Geta to indulge in wasteful and decadent pastimes. Severus brought them to Britain to harden them up in a frontier war. The campaign began in 208 and lasted until 211-12.

The extensive rebuilding of Hadrian's Wall has forever complicated the archaeology of the structure and even led to the belief in antiquity that he had been responsible for its original erection. A vast series of coins of all denominations commemorated the campaign with the legend Victoriae Brittanicae, struck in the names of Severus and his sons.

However, the campaign shattered the emperor. He died in York in 211. Caracalla abandoned the campaign shortly afterwards, giving up forts and territory, and returned to Rome where he murdered his brother and ruled alone.

Sources: Dio lxxiii.14.3, 15.1-2, lxxv.4.1, 6-7 (the civil war), lxxv.5.4 (Lupus buys peace), lxxvi.11.1, 13, 15.1-2 (the British campaign; Herodian ii.15.1-5, iii.5.2-8 (the civil war), iii.8.2 (the division of Britain), iii.14.1-10, 15.1-3 (the British campaign); SHA (Severus) x.1-2; Eutropius viii.19.1 (Severus and the Wall); RIB 1706 (Vindolanda)


L. Septimius [...]

Pr(aeses) (governor) of Britannia Prima after the reorganization of Britain into four provinces in or around 296. He dedicated a column to Jupiter in Cirencester. He was therefore a pagan or felt it was expedient to appeal to a pagan enclave in the town. Although this might make the dedication likely to belong to the period 296-313 or 360-3 (during the reign of Julian the Apostate), it is also true that Cirencester is the most significant city of Roman Britain for which there is no documentary or archaeological evidence of a church of Roman date. In the fourth century it was not unusual for some cities to maintain a completely pagan character. Given this, the inscription cannot be tightly dated at all and could belong to any time in the fourth century.

Source: RIB 103 (Cirencester)



In 367, during the barbarian conspiracy, Severus was comes domesticorum ('count of the household troops'). Severus was despatched to Britain by Valentinian I when news of the disaster reached him. However, he was soon recalled and replaced by one Jovinus who in 366 was comes equitum ('count of the cavalry). Jovinus established that a bigger army was needed and command passed to Theodosius.

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.2.1, 8.2


P. Sextianus [....]

Prefect of ala Augusta at Carlisle where he commemorated the unit's success over a band of barbarians which involved slaughtering the latter. The stone, a decorative window or niche, seems to date to about 180-92, in which case the event recorded might have occurred during the war which ended in 184.

Source: RIB 946 (Carlisle)


M. Statius Crispus

Governor of Britain around 161. He is only known from an inscription which helpfully states that his career began under Hadrian when he took part in the campaign to suppress a Jewish rebellion. After holding a consulship in 159 he rose to the governorship of Britain and then Cappadocia during a joint emperorship. This first occurred between 161-9 when Marcus Aurelius ruled with Lucius Verus. S. Calpurnius Agricola is also known to have governed Britain in this period, but there are difficulties with his precise dates. Statius Crispus was probably in Britain around 160/1-3. His series of prestige military appointments show that he must have been sent to Britain because circumstances there merited his skills. But nothing more detailed is known about his time in Britain.

Source: ILS 1092 (Rome)



In 395 Theodosius I died. The Empire was divided between his sons Arcadius, who took the East, and Honorius, then only twelve years old, in the West. Real power lay with a Vandal general called Flavius Stilicho, magister militum ('master of soldiers'). Stilicho's contribution to Britain is only described in a panegyric by Claudian of the year 400 which refers to his efforts to protect her from Scots, Picts, and Saxons. A possible link is the invasion described by Gildas which followed the return home of the 'legion' sent after the fall of Maximus in 388. But Gildas is unreliable and Claudian's poem may be no more than a routine trotting out of standard achievements, so there is little point in trying to fabricate a detailed narrative. Claudian also makes a more general comment about the perception of 'wild Britain' as the home of fierce and terrible people.

Stilicho wanted to increase the territories controlled by the Western Empire but was unwilling to deal decisively with the Visigoths. This gave the Visigoths the idea that they might succeed in their territorial ambitions in 401, leading to yet further withdrawals of the British garrison to prop up Stilicho's army in 402. According to Claudian this involved 'the legion that had been left to guard Britain', perhaps the one described by Gildas. Not surprisingly, this sustained reduction of the British garrison led to further attempts at usurpation (see Constantine III).

Sources: Claudian (in Eutropium) i.391-3, (de consulatu Stilichonis) ii.247-55; Gildas (de Excidio Britanniae) xvi-xvii


G. Suetonius Paullinus

In office between c. 58-61, Gaius Suetonius Paullinus is the most notorious governor of Roman Britain. Despatched to pick up the pieces after Quintus Veranius' premature death in office, he embarked on a campaign against the Silures, followed by an advance on the Druid stronghold and psychological powerbase in Anglesey in 60. In the middle of this successful holocaust he learned that Boudica had risen in East Anglia and begun a violently destructive march against the principal towns of the south-east. She had been provoked by her treatment following the death of her husband, Prasutagus and found support amongst the Iceni and Trinovantes who profoundly resented the oppressive and exploitative Roman regime, including the calling in of loans, for example by the procurator Decianus Catus. IX Hispana was also decimated and nearly cost the life of the legate Petillius Cerialis.

Although Suetonius raced back he lacked manpower and was forced to leave Colchester, London, and Verulamium to their fates. Suetonius fell back and waited for the infantry to catch up. In the ensuing battle the Boudican Revolt was comprehensively quashed.

The garrison of Britain was reinforced and forts built across East Anglia to clamp the eastern tribes with an iron hand. Suetonius Paullinus quarrelled with the more conciliatory new procurator, Classicianus. An imperial freedman, Polyclitus, was sent to Britain to sort out the argument. Eventually Paullinus was returned to Rome on the pretext of having lost a few ships and was replaced by Petronius Turpilianus.

Sources: Dio lxii.7-8; Tacitus (Agricola) v, xiv-xv, (Annals) xiv.29-39



Flavius Theodosius, comes, was chosen to lead the force to Britain in 367 sent to defeat the 'barbarian conspiracy'. Enjoying a substantial military reputation he sailed to Richborough and waited for his main forces of Batavians, Herulians, Jovians and Victores to catch up. Then he marched to London where he dispersed his troops who, being fresh and presumably largely mounted, apprehended bands of barbarians slowed down by booty. Ammianus does not refer to any other parts of Britain, or cities by name, which suggests that Theodosius was mainly concerned with the south-east (corresponding the province of Maxima Caesariensis).

Loot was returned to its owners, and prisoners were released. Theodosius withdrew to London, received the usual ovation, and then set about repairing the province. Using intelligence gathering he realized the barbarians were too coordinated to be defeated by a single battle; also, provincial disruption was evident from the large numbers of army deserters. Theodosius recalled them by issuing pardons. He then asked that Civilis, an irritable, but just, man, be installed as Vicar of the Britons, assisted by Dulcitius as Duke.

Theodosius also 'restored' (restituit) towns and forts though no archaeology of the period has been tied to this event. Some late-Roman defensive features at towns, such as London's bastions, may be his work. But there is no perceptible 'destruction' level which can be associated with 367.

'Restoration' may have just meant restoring systems and government (see Valentia in Chapter 3). Theodosius was also faced by treacherous frontier scouts called the Areani (or Arcani). Established under Constans to patrol border country and spy on barbarians they had, allegedly, been bribed to tell the barbarians about Roman troop movements. Theodosius ejected them from their bases.

Theodosius was described by Ammianus as the returning hero when he was recalled in 369. Yet Ammianus also describes other events in Britain which show that his popularity was far from universal. A Pannonian called Valentinus, exiled to Britain because of some unmentioned crime, started to foment opposition to Theodosius. He made overtures to the army and to other exiles. Theodosius used an effective intelligence operation to apprehend Valentinus.

Following his British posting Theodosius was promoted to commander of the imperial cavalry. By 378 his son was emperor as Theodosius I.

Sources: Ammianus xxvii.8, xxviii.3



Son of Vespasian and emperor 79-81. Titus served as tribunus laticlavius in Britain and Germany. This post was normally held just before the age of 25 and as he was born in 41 this must have occurred towards the latter part of Nero's reign just prior to his service in the Jewish War of 67 with his father.

It is not known which legion Titus served with, though given his father's career II Augusta is possible. What is particularly interesting is that Suetonius states his personal popularity was such that a large number of statues and busts of him were erected in Britain and Germany. The archaeological record has produced none of these at all, the closest being one of the possible readings of the Verulamium forum inscription. He presided over part of Agricola's campaigns.

Source: Suetonius (Titus) iv.1



Tacitus says that quaedam civitates, 'certain cantonal areas', were given to a king called Cogidubnus or Cogidumnus. The name is now thought to be a mistranscription of a Celtic form which should start with T. Togidubnus, or Togidumnus, evidently a quisling by any other name, 'has remained faithful continuously to our time' (ad nostram usque memoriam fidissimus mansit), a cryptic statement which could mean the time Tacitus was writing or a time he could recall.

Either way Togidubnus was alive in the late first century. This is difficult to reconcile with the context in Tacitus where it seems to be clear that the granting of lands had taken place in or around the year 50. However, if he was a young, impressionable, and easily-bought twenty-year-old in the year 50 (and Tacitus says he was exploited as one of the kings used as instrumenta servitutis, ('tools of enslavement') then it is quite possible Togidubnus was still alive fifty years later.

Happily, Togidubnus makes an appearance on an inscription from Chichester. He acquired some of Claudius' names and is said to have called himself Tiberius Claudius Togidubnus. Strictly speaking the stone is incomplete: TI for Tiberius is missing and only GIDUBNI survives of his main name.

The same problem afflicts his title. Long ago the inscription was read and restored to create the title r(egis) le[gat(us) Au]g(usti) in Brit(annia) ('King, and imperial legate in Britain'). It has since been suggested that a correct reading is re[g(is) ma]gn(i), or 'Great King'. The latter fits better and accords with Tacitus, though as ever there cannot be certainty.

The stone records the dedication of a temple to Neptune and Minerva by a local guild of smiths but is undated. On the assumption that this is the man mentioned by Tacitus, and also the restored title which would not have endured after his lifetime, it can be assumed this belongs to the period c.50-100. It serves to show how parts of Britain were ruled as client states, a convenient form of subsidiary government which left conquered areas in a state of transition between independence and absorption into the Empire.

There is no demonstrable connection with the well-known late-first-century house at Fishbourne, near Chichester. That it was Togidubnus' residence and headquarters is a reasonable inference but it remains no more than that. It is equally possible, and perhaps more likely, that it was a home for the provincial governor. But this too is entirely unsubstantiated.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xiv; RIB 91 (Chichester); Bogaers 1979



Son of Cunobelinus. See Caratacus and Claudius above.


M. Trebellius Maximus

This governor is known only from Tacitus. He succeeded Petronius Turpilianus in about 63. Tacitus thought him ineffectual and handicapped by greed, meanness, and a lack of military experience. This is probably Tacitus seeking to elevate the achievements of Agricola, his father-in-law, though he repeated the allegations in the Histories. But there may be some truth because Tacitus adds that the army mutinied (led by Roscius Coelius, legate of XX) and forced Trebellius Maximus into hiding.

In the Histories Tacitus says Trebellius Maximus fled to join Vitellius in the civil war, leaving Britain without a governor. Eventually Vitellius despatched Vettius Bolanus to succeed him. In the Agricola Tacitus omits any mention of Trebellius Maximus fleeing and says he and the British garrison eventually negotiated an arrangement in which they let him live and they did as they pleased.

Trebellius Maximus had a relatively long period in the governorship between 63-9, which seems odd given his failings. But the background is the deterioration in imperial power during the last four years of Nero's rule and his descent into vice, followed by the civil wars of 68-9 which may have made his replacement impossible.


Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xvi.3-4, (Histories) i.60.2, ii.65.2


L. Trebius Germanus

[Lucius?] Trebius Germanus was governor of Britain on 20 August 127, named on a diploma owned by Itaxa, soldier in cohors II Lingonum, which surfaced in 1997. He is otherwise unknown in Britain but he probably succeeded Aulus Platorius Nepos in or around 124-6. A man called L. Trebius Germanus was consul with C. Calpurnius Flaccus, recorded on a tombstone from Rome. The latter may be the otherwise-unknown friend of Pliny the Younger's which would make this Trebius Germanus either the governor of Britain or his father. This pair of consuls is otherwise unknown but the association with Pliny the Younger is compatible with a Hadrianic date for Germanus' governorship.

Source: M. Roxan (pers. comm.); ILS 7912; Pliny (Letters) v.2


A. Triarius Rufinus

See Q. Aradius Rufinus above


M. Ulpius Januarius

Aedile of the vicus of Petuaria (Brough-on-Humber? - there is some doubt about the identification of the name with the find-spot) during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The inscription which records his name commemorates his gift of a new stage at his own expense. The damage to the stone means that it could at best date between 140 and 161, not 140-1 as claimed by RIB. The stone is exceptionally interesting because Ulpius Januarius was a minor official in a minor town and yet he is one of only a handful of private individuals to have recorded their civic munificence on an inscription in Britain. Either he was exceptional in providing such private funds, or he was exceptional in recording it, or his stone's survival is exceptional and misleading in this respect.

Sources: RIB 707 (40)


Ulpius Marcellus

Testified as governor on a diploma of 178, and leading the Roman army in a British war of about 184 under Commodus by Dio. He also appears on an inscription from Chesters recording aqua adducta, 'the bringing of water' by ala II Asturum during his governorship. He thus served under Marcus Aurelius (161-80), and Commodus (180-96), and during their period of joint rule (177-80) explaining an inscription from Benwell where he is named as serving under unspecified joint emperors.

Prior to the discovery of the diploma of 178 such a long tenure wad thought impossible. Therefore, it was suggested Dio's Marcellus and the Marcellus of the inscriptions were two different men. A second Marcellus was thus postulated, and assigned to 211-12 in the joint reign of Caracalla and Geta (governors of the joint rule of Severus and Caracalla being generally accounted for). The residence of the Asturians and the building of the aqueduct were thus also assigned to that period. The theory was widely accepted without question, but is now discounted.

Dio describes him as incorruptible and frugal but given to arrogance. He was, however, more interested in Marcellus' ability to do without sleep and his reliance on special bread.

Sources: Dio, lxxiii.8.1-2; diploma 23 March 178 (RMD 184, via M. Roxan); RIB 1329 (Benwell, and see RIB, 1995, p. 783 note for RIB 1329), 1463-4 (Chesters) (82); JRS xlvii (1957), 229, no. 14 (Chesters) (23); Birley 1981 (for Ulpius Marcellus i and ii); Frere 1987 (e.g. 152, n. 31)


C. Valerius Pansa

Procurator in Britain, believed to have held the post no earlier than the mid-second century. None of the authorities who cite this man supply a reason for this statement.

Source: CIL v.6513


G. Valerius Pudens

Gaius Valerius Pudens was governor of Britain in 205. He is named as amplissimi co(n)sularis ('of distinguished consular rank' - no term for governor is supplied, despite some translations) and presiding over building work on a complete inscription dated to 205 and recording the building of barracks. It was found in 1960 in the east gateway of Bainbridge fort.

Sources: JRS li (1961), p. 192, no. 4 (Bainbridge)


Sex. Varius Marcellus

Proc(urator) prov(inciae) Brit(anniae), recorded on an inscription erected by his wife. He can be approximately dated because his wife, Julia Soaemias Bassiana, was related to Julia Domna, empress of Septimius Severus. He must therefore have held the post some time at the very end of the second or early third century.

Sources: ILS 478 (Velitrae)



See Cartimandua


Q. Veranius

Governor of Britain in 57. As the first new governor of Britain under Nero he was, apparently, charged with a change in policy: the total conquest of Wales. However, he died within the year and what he had achieved, if anything, is unknown though he had bragged to Nero that two years would be enough to subdue all Britain; whether that meant the existing province or the whole island is unclear. Tacitus says that he indulged in a few raids against the Silures.

Veranius' tombstone survives, confirming that he died in office as governor of Britain. He is one of the very few historically-testified officials of the first century in Roman Britain whose career can be verified from a tombstone or other inscription. Unfortunately, the section which refers to Britain only states that he was governor and died in office.

Sources: Tacitus (Agricola) xiv.3, (Annals) xiv.29.1; AE 1953.251



According to Dio 'Berikos' was forced to leave Britain as a result of a rebellion and fled to Rome where he persuaded Claudius to mount an invasion of Britain. Berikos may be reasonably identified as the Verica of the Celtic coinage series, where he names himself for example as VERIC COM.F, or Verica, Commii filius, 'Verica, son of Commius'. Other coins in the series name Calleva (Silchester). Together with the distribution of the coins they mean he can be associated with the Atrebates in central southern Britain.

However, Commius 'the Atrebate' is known from Caesar and the historian Frontinus to have been a major player in Caesar's invasions of 55 and 54 BC as a pro-Roman. His son can hardly have been active more than 90 years later. The only conclusion can be that Verica was referring to his descent from Commius or that another, otherwise-unrecorded, Commius had lived in the meantime.

Verica's reign is normally attributed to c.10-40, based on the numbers of his coins and the Roman models which had been utilized for designs. Coins of Cunobelinus of the Catuvellauni and his brother Epaticcus, provide evidence of a sort for what happened. The Atrebates, like the Trinovantes to the east, apparently suffered steady encroachment on their territory. This it may be assumed was what led Verica to flee. He is never heard of again.

Sources: Dio lx.19.1; Caesar (De Bello Gallico) iv-viii, passim; Frontinus (Strategematica) ii.13.11



Titus Flavius Vespasianus was an Italian provincial whose senatorial career led to the command of II Augusta in the invasion of Britain in 43, a favour acquired for him by the imperial freedman Narcissus (see Claudius above).

The reference by Tacitus to this post is the only direct testimony for any specific legion's participation in the invasion. Suetonius adds the information that Vespasian's activities in the invasion led to the subjugation of two unnamed tribes, twenty 'towns' (oppida), and the Isle of Wight.

Vespasian was awarded triumphalia ornamentalia and in the year 51 he was consul. It seems likely then that he spent at least five to six years in Britain. Thereafter he lived in retirement until 63 when he was made proconsul of Africa and aftewards was sent to suppress the revolt in Judaea in 67. His success meant he was well-placed to compete in the civil war which followed Nero's death in 68. In the summer of 69 he was declared emperor and ruled until 79.

In archaeological terms Vespasian and his short-lived dynasty are associated with the most comprehensive phase of romanization in Britain, manifested in the early forum-basilica complexes of towns like London, Verulamium and Silchester and substantial quantities of imported goods. The campaigns of S. Julius Frontinus and the first part of Agricola's belong to the reign of Vespasian.

Sources: Suetonius (Vespasian), passim, but especially iv; Tacitus (Histories), passim, but especially iii.44


M. Vettius Bolanus

Appointed governor of Britain in about 69 by Vitellius who was killed by the late summer that year. Vespasian appointed Q. Petillius Cerealis in his place by about 71.

Tacitus considered Vettius Bolanus' style of government to be too placid for a violent frontier province like Britain, supposedly forcing Agricola, then legate of XX, to moderate his ambitions. In a further device to elevate the achievements of Agricola, Tacitus said that Vettius Bolanus never achieved peace, a harsh judgement on a man who was in post so briefly.

Around this time the Brigantes in northern Britain split between Cartimandua and Venutius. Vettius Bolanus provided Cartimandua with a military escort out, leaving the area to Venutius for the meantime. Vettius Bolanus was only able to use auxiliary cavalry and infantry units. This probably reflects the participation by vexillations of the legions in the civil war theatre and, perhaps, their suspect loyalties. But a poem by the poet Statius was dedicated to Vettius Bolanus' son and describes a British war in which forts were built and a breastplate won from a British king.

Sources: Tacitus (Histories) ii.65, ii.97, iii.44-45, (Agricola) viii.1; Statius (Silvae) v.2.149


M. Vettius Valens (i)

The career inscription of Marcus Vettius Valens from Rimini, with a consular date for 66, records that he served as beneficiarius with the praetorian guard, acting as the imperial bodyguard, during the British war when he was decorated. This must be the invasion of 43. His career included a term as military tribune with XIV Gemina Martia Victrix, which must have occurred after 60 (see Chapter 2), and is useful evidence for the legion's full titles.

Sources: ILS 2648 (Rimini)


M. Vettius Valens (ii)

Marcus Vettius Valens (ii) was legatus iuridicus of Britain sometime between roughly 130-50 (guesses vary). He bore the same name as a man decorated in the invasion of 43 (above) and was thus probably the latter's descendant. He went on to become patroni provinciae Britanniae, 'patron of the province of Britannia'.

Source: CIL xi.383


Victorinus (i)

Under Probus (276-82) Victorinus, of Moorish origin, advised the appointment of an unnamed governor of Britain, though whether this was Britannia Superior or Inferior is not specified. The governor led a rebellion and, as it was regarded his responsibility, Victorinus was sent to Britain. He ousted the rebel by means of a trick which is not described.

Source: Zosimus I.66.2


Victorinus (ii)

Vicar of Britain in the last few years of the fourth century.

Source: Rutilianus Namatianus (de reditu suo) 493-510


L. Viducius Placidus

This man came from near Rouen (Rotomagus) in Gaul. At the mouth of the Scheldt in Holland he left an altar dedicated to the goddess Nehalennia. He also dedicated an arch and gate at York in 221 to Genius loci and Numina Augustorum as well as, possibly, Neptune (or Jupiter Optimus Maximus). Placidus calls himself a trader ([n]egotiator) and was probably dealing in goods transported across the North Sea between Holland and eastern Britain.

The inscription from York is incomplete but, like that of M. Aurelius Lunaris, he may have added that he was a priest. If so, that would reflect the traditional association of wealth with civic and public religious responsibilities in the Roman world. Another altar, of similar date, from the mouth of the Scheldt, and also dedicated to Nehalennia, records the name of Marcus Secund(inius) Silvanus, a trader in pottery with Britain (negotiator cretarius Britannicianus).

Source: Brit. viii (1977), 430, no. 18 and Hassall 1978, 46; ILS 4751 (Domburg, Holland; M. Secundinius Silvanus)


Virius Lupus

Legatus Augusti of Britain between c. 197-202. His predecessor, Clodius Albinus, is thought to have removed much of the British garrison during the civil war, exposing the northern frontier to tribal raids. To Virius Lupus fell the task of restoring Britain's garrison. Dio says that Lupus had to buy peace from the Maeatae, a tribe in the southern uplands of Scotland then in league with the Caledonians further north.

Several inscriptions under Virius Lupus' governorship mention rebuilding in the north and this might suggest, but not confirm, that the Maeatae had exploited any troop removals by Clodius Albinus. The suggestion that very few units are testified in the same place before and after this period, demonstrating the reorganization of the garrison by Lupus is misleading because relatively few units are testified at any place in both periods (see Chapter 2).

The inscriptions from Ilkley (long lost and surviving only as a transcription) and Corbridge make no reference to damage by violence. The Bowes stone states that the bath-house was destroyed by fire but does not attribute the fire to any cause - in any case a bath-house was more likely to be destroyed by an accidental fire than anything else. An undated stone, probably from Brougham, seems to record a similar event.

Sources: Dio lxxv.5.4; RIB 637 (Ilkley), 730 (Bowes), 791 (Brougham?), 1163 (Corbridge)


Vitulasius Laetinianus

The last-known legionary legate in Britain, commanding II Augusta at Caerleon between 255-60 during the joint reigns of Valerian and Gallienus. This is recorded on an explicit and complete late inscription referring to the building of new barracks (centuriae).

Source: RIB 334 (Caerleon)

Back to the Index

A B Ca Ci Co D E F G H J L M N O P R S U V

Agricola Boudica Cogidubnus or Togidubnus Carausius

Back to the Top

Back to the Home Page