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Questions on Constantius, Constantine and the Northern British Tribes
#16
Thankyou. My reference to Constantius was that it indicates a change in the dynamic of the relationship of Constantius to those in his court/church (for example to rulers of a more autocratic disposition.) This of course does come from Eusebius ie; 'so he would say that' . Nevertheless it stands in stark contrast to that of Constantine (who sees his father in his last few days). Eutropius describes Constantines ruthlessness in making the defeated Franish leaders who fought against him fight in armed spectator games and then setting wild beasts on them. This means that (whatever his sympathies) Constantine, at that time, was not a Christian.



You have said it was the army that retained the power. True - but if Constantine had to have an army for his battles in the Rhine then this must have been raised from sources stationed in Britain and perhaps those supporters on the continent - but the main contingent in Britain.

What would these forces have numbered?
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#17
(05-03-2016, 04:06 PM)Gwawrddur Wrote: This means that (whatever his sympathies) Constantine, at that time, was not a Christian.

Constantine's Christianity was also something of a spectrum, I think, and never very 'orthodox'! He doesn't seem to have embraced it as his sole faith until after the defeat of Licinius in 324 (based on his coinage), but he was certainly very sympathetic to it, at least, before that. His killing of the Frankish chiefs in c307-8 in the arena at Trier (and the similar slaying of a large number of Frankish prisoners at or around the same time) might seem unChristian, but the later Roman state continued to use savage executions even after the ban on gladiatorial combat (which probably dates to c.325).

You might find this thread, on the Christianisation of Constantine and his successors, interesting:

Christianity and the Late Roman Empire


(05-03-2016, 04:06 PM)Gwawrddur Wrote: What would these forces have numbered?

There's a paper by Simon James ('Britain and the Late Roman Army', in Military and Civilian in Roman Britain, BAR) that discusses army numbers in Britain in the 4th century. Calculating the numbers of units listed in the Notitia Dignitatum, Jones arrives at a figure of 33,500. However, he says, the long period of peace in 3rd century Britain saw the province used as a source of manpower (the Aurelius Cervianus phalera appears to show a joint detachment of II Aug and XX VV operating on the continent), and successive drafts of men for the continental armies were probably never replaced, leaving most units severely depleted.

The 'real collapse in numbers', James says, was in the late 3rd century; he estimates that the garrison army of Britain could have been as low as 12000 men after that. He cites the smaller sizes of forts and barracks as evidence. It's perhaps significant that in 367 Theodosius the Elder commenced the pacification of Britain (following the 'barbarian conspiracy') with only four units of palatine auxilia, something like 2000-4000 men.

I suspect James's figure is probably overly low, but we'd have to wonder about the nature of the threat they faced. Nick Aitcheson (The Picts and the Scots at War) estimates the total population of 'Pictland' as 40-100,000, based on settlement and agricultural patterns, giving a potential military strength of only 7-10,000 warriors. Even so (and this number, again, could be too low), a general muster of such a force could pose a severe problem to a much-depleted British garrison.

The presence of Constantius himself in northern Britain in 305-6 indicates an imperial expedition, which would have included both the troops of the comitatus and almost certainly detachments of the Rhine legions as well. A note in Aurelius Victor perhaps suggests that Germanic irregular troops, under thier own king(s), may have accompanied the expedition. A task force of this nature (10,000 men might be a reasonable estimate), added to the garrison troops already in the province, would have been sufficient to counter any large-scale raiding by the Picts, and launch a powerful punitive campagn in reprisal if required.

As for the total army size in the western empire at that time, it's a bit of a guessing game. One clue might be the descriptions of Constantine's army in the invasion of Italy in 312: a panegyricist in 313 claims he had 'fewer than 40,000 men', and this was a quarter of the men he had available in the west. If we assume the number might have been 30-35,000, than Constantine's total force in Gaul, Spain, Britain and on the Rhine may have been 120-140,000 men in total. But, again, all these numbers may or may not have been highly inflated!
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#18
(04-28-2016, 01:48 PM)Gwawrddur Wrote: What is 'Romano British'?
How many British read and spoke latin?
How many British are recorded as holding high rank in the military or Roman institutions?
What evidence is there that a British populace became educated in Roman schools? This would imply that Britons were able to rise within the Roman administration. Evidence?
sources please
Had the populace been 'Romanised' we would expect to see a population, for example, of Roman names - especially continuing post Roman departure . We do not. Gildas is quite clear when he refers to Ambrosius as the almost alone among his kind. Gildas refers to him as a "Roman".

So much later we have:
' He was a man of unassuming character, who, alone of the Roman race chanced to survive in the shock of such a storm (as his parents, people undoubtedly clad in the purple, had been killed in it), whose offspring in our days have greatly degenerated from their ancestral nobleness. To these men, by the Lord's favour, there came victory.'
ie; the Romans are considered a seperate race.

Lots of questions & assumptions

Romano-British - this is how we today describe the population of the Britsih provinces during the Roman period.

How many British read and spoke latin? - you mean citizens of the British diocese? No figures available. I would imagine that many more spoke the language, becauase every dealing with the government would mean you had to be able to understand the language. Reading would have come second, but everyone who would come in contact with legal documents of any sort would have to be able to read it, or rely on a translator.

How many British are recorded as holding high rank in the military or Roman institutions?  - No figures available, because Roman rcords hardly ever show someone's background.

What evidence is there that a British populace became educated in Roman schools? - The whole populace? None, because the Romans did not have a school system where the whole population as educated. Education was mostly a private affair, if you wanted your children to be schooled you hired a tutor.

a population, for example, of Roman names - especially continuing post Roman departure . We do not. - Actually we do. By far the most monument that we see show a very Romanised population where names are concerned. If you had expected this to end when the Roman control of Britain ended, this is not the case. After a surge of Brythonic names we still see, even 200 years after the end of Roman rule, many many Roman names occurring on funeral monuments, even in regions where Romanisation had been thin during the Roman period.


Gildas: 'ie; the Romans are considered a seperate race. - Gildas was writing during the early 6th century, more than a century after the end of Roman rule. Even IF Ambrosius had been recognisable as 'a Roman', this would be similar to descriptions from other forman Roman provinces (such as Gaul, Germany and Noricum), where newcomers distinguished themselves from the Original population. This is by no means any proof for the sepration of Romans and Britons into seperate classes during the Roman period.
Even more so, there is no agreement for your opinion, that by Gildas' time there were 'Romans' in Britain who were some sort of seperate class. 'Roman' in the Gildensian meaning refers to political position, as in 'continental'.

(05-03-2016, 04:06 PM)Gwawrddur Wrote: You have said it was the army that retained the power. True - but if Constantine had to have an army for his battles in the Rhine then this must have been raised from sources stationed in Britain and perhaps those supporters on the continent - but the main contingent in Britain.

Constantine's army might have added some forces from Britain - some say he may have pulled the VI legion from York - but his army was the very same army that his father had on the continent. He did not need any troops from Britain.
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#19
(05-09-2016, 11:54 AM): Robert Vermaat Wrote: By far the most monument that we see show a very Romanised population where names are concerned.

Yes! There's the famous Drustagni hic iacet Cunomori filius from Cornwall, and others from Wales and elsewhere - apparently native British warlords were still producing inscriptions in Latin long after Roman rule had gone.

Some earlier inscriptions (including curse tablets) show an interesting mixture of 'Roman' and 'British' names, suggesting a shared culture: AE 1979, 00389 has a list of names including Matutinus, Cogitatus, Virilis, Iuventianus, Cunovendus and Catugnavus...


(05-09-2016, 11:54 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: He did not need any troops from Britain.

Although there's the note in Zosimus that I mentioned above: Constantine "...likewise [drew] a force out of Britain" for his invasion of Italy. I would think it quite likely that detachments from the troops in Britain were used for operations on the continent throughout this period. These detachments would presumably have been recruited largely from Roman citizens of the province of native British origin, as they had been for centuries before.

Whether any of these various detachments may eventually have contributed to the few late Roman field army units with 'British' names recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum is, of course, impossible to establish!
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