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Roman Britain's Pirate King (Hardback)

Carausius, Constantius Chlorus and the Fourth Roman Invasion of Britain

British History Ancient History Rome Military

By Dr Simon Elliott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 20 colour
ISBN: 9781399094368
Published: 30th June 2022

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In the mid-3rd century AD Roman Britain’s regional fleet, the Classis Britannica, disappeared. It was never to return. Soon the North Sea and English Channel were over-run by Germanic pirates preying upon the east and south coast of Britain, and the continental coast up to the Rhine Delta. The western augustus (senior emperor) Maximian turned to a seasoned naval leader called Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius to restore order. He was so successful that Maximian accused him of pocketing the plunder he’d recaptured, ordering his execution. The canny Carausius moved first and in 286 usurped imperial authority, creating a North Sea empire in northern Gaul and Britain which lasted until 296. Dubbed the pirate king, he initially thrived, seeing off early attempts by Maximian to defeat him. However, in the early 290s Maximian appointed his new caesar (junior emperor), Constantius Chlorus (the father of Constantine the Great), to defeat Carausius. A seasoned commander, Constantius Chlorus soon brought northern Gaul back into the imperial fold, leaving Carausius controlling only Britain. Carausius was then assassinated and replaced by Allectus, his treasurer. Allectus was in turn defeated by Constantius Chlorus in AD 296 in the fourth Roman invasion of Britain, the caesar arriving just in time to prevent London being sacked by Allectus’ Frankish mercenaries. Once more Britain was part of the Roman Empire.

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About Dr Simon Elliott

Dr Simon Elliott is an award-winning and best-selling historian, archaeologist, author, broadcaster, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology, Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology, Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels and President of the Society of Ancients. He has written many award winning and best-selling books on Classical world themes and frequently appears across broadcast media as an expert on conflict in the ancient world.

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