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Roman Britain's Pirate King (Hardback)

Carausius, Constantius Chlorus and the Fourth Roman Invasion of Britain

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military P&S History > British History

By Simon Elliott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 20 colour
ISBN: 9781399094368
Published: 28th 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.

This is a very interesting read and I am always interested in ancient Roman history. Many forget pirates did exist in the ancient world. This book shows how they were both enemies and heroes during a turbulent era!

NetGalley, kayla thomas

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An interesting book that has you hooked up to the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes ancient history.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

In short an informative and knowledgeable book about a little known period of Roman Empire and British History. It has its limitations but is still worth a read and the author's knowledge and passion do come through.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

At a time when amazing Roman artefacts are being pulled from the seabed having been unearthed by wind farm machinery, it is fascinating to read about someone who was there at the time and how he and his sailors controlled the seas around Britain.

Books Monthly

With the publication of "Roman Britain's Pirate King: Carausius, Constantius Chlorus and the Fourth Roman Invasion of Britain", historian Simon Elliot draws out of obscurity one of the truly colorful characters in Roman dominated British history. In addition to an informative Introduction and Conclusion, "Roman Britain's Pirate King" is informatively enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a five page listing of References & Bibilography, as well as a three page Index. A truly seminal and extraordinary contribution to Roman & British history, "Roman Britain's Pirate King" is an inherently fascinating and engaging study.

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Midwest Book Review

Book review:

Imperium Romanum

Author interview on HistoryNet



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Alalhambra Book Reviews

In all, this is a thoroughly readable look at the Roman Empire's turbulent years, climaxing with the decade of the double usurpation of Carausius and Allectus, and its resounding impact on the future of the empire.

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Crowvus Book Blog

This book was a fantastic read, I breezed through it and have come away from it feeling more knowledgeable about the Roman Empire and Roman Britain.

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History with Jackson

“Roman Britain’s Pirate King” is a concise, absorbing and thoroughly researched triumph that shines a light on a little-known period of history and the people who created it.

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Kid Ferrous Reviews

If you love Roman History and really want to learn about it in depth with brilliant photographic evidence including Gold coins, weapons, Busts and ruins then this is absolutely the book for you.


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The Two Fingered Gardener

This is an must read for all those interested in the history of the Roman Empire and those who want to learn about Roman Britain's pirate king.

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Looking Back at History

If you're a fan of Roman Britain I'd urge you to have a read. The author's knowledge and passion for the subject really shines through and you're pulled along with it as you go, igniting your own curiosity.

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Love British History

As featured in

Available at: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/the-forgotten-man-who-shaped-british-history-270480/

Kent Online

I found out a lot of information about the last century of Roman Britain that I didn’t not know.

NetGalley, Juliane Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been a student of Roman History for a long time. This well written and extremely interesting story of the Northern reaches of Rome and its intrigues is new reading for me. The amount of history known about the people who lead the empire in the late 200s onward is very surprising to me. The thousands of lives involved in this story and the battles and unheard of struggles discussed make this book important reading because of the fact its not well known and its real history that can be corroborated with many remaining records and histories that have survived, Roman Britain is a fascinating subject and this book adds a new level to those who learn from the past.

NetGalley, Patrick Carmen

About Simon Elliott

Dr Simon Elliott is an award winning and best selling archaeologist, historian and broadcaster with a PhD in Classics and Archaeology from the University of Kent where he is now an Honorary Research Fellow. He has an MA in Archaeology from UCL and an MA in War Studies from KCL. Simon is widely published with numerous works in print on various themes relating to the ancient world, with a particular focus on the Roman military, and he makes frequent appearances on TV as a Roman expert. Simon lectures widely to universities, local history societies and archaeological groups, is co-Director of a Roman villa excavation, a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology and an Ambassador for Museum of London Archaeology. He is also a Guide Lecturer for Andante Travels and President of the Society of Ancients.

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