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events of this imperial visit are of considerable emphasis and renown in the annals of Roman operations in Britain.
Severus deputed the government of South Britain to Geta, his youngest son; and proceeded against the allied northern nations, at the head of a formidable army. He passed the wall of Hadrian; and, notwithstanding the natural difficulties presented by the country, and the pernicious opposition of the enemy, who declined meeting him in the open field, but often decoyed his troops into destructive ambushes, he penetrated into the heart of Caledonia, and compelled the inhabitants to sue for peace; which was granted to them only on condition of their relinquishing a portion of territory, and delivering up their arms.
After concluding this peace, Severus marched his army into the northern parts of the Roman province; and it was now that he carried into execution a great and memorable work, some vestiges of which still remain to proclaim his activity, perseverance, and grandeur of views.-Convinced of the inefficiency of Hadrian's rampart of earth, he employed the soldiery in erecting a wall of solid stone, defended by numerous stations for the residence of garrisons; massy towers for the annoyance of assailants; and intervening watch turrets, in which sentinels maintained a regu. lar guard of observation. This wall ran nearly parallel with Hadrian's rampart, at a small distance towards the north; and was in height fifteen feet, and eight or nine feet in breadth. Its length was rather less than seventy four Roman miles; and the whole of this stupendous work, the greatest effort of Roman skill and industry in Britain, is believed to have been completed in two years.*
The exertions of the Emperor Severus are more forcibly entitled to admiration, from the oppressive character of the circum. stances, both mental and bodily, under which he laboured.
• For a statement of many opposite opinions, in regard to the history of the wall attributed to Severus, the reader is referred to the Beauties for Northumberland, p. 9-.
Tortored and enfeebled by the gout, he was unable to ride on horseback, and was carried in a litter throughout the arduous porthern marches of his troops; whilst even the waning remnant of his life was in continual danger from the machinations of his own son, Caracalla. He died at York, in the year 211, broken hearted, even in the midst of such glory as he most dearly prized, that of victory.
The empire was now divided between Caracalla and Geta. These youthful Emperors returned to Rome, shortly after the de. cease of Severus; and from the period of their departure, antil the year 284, very little is known concerning the political transactions in Britain. A happy paucity of information! since the writers on whose testimony these ages of history depend, believed their duty to consist only in chronicling scenes of turbulence and bloodshed.
This long season of tranquillity experienced an interruption soon after the accession of Dioclesian to the imperial throne, in the year last mentioned; and the circumstances connected with the war which then took place are highly worthy of notice. Dioclesian admitted, as his companion in the cares and honours of government, Maximianus Herculius. The empire, though divided, was judged to be still too extensive and unwieldy for the ruling power; and two assistants were adopted, under the title of Cæsars. The persons thus elevated were named Constantius (often termed Constantius Chlorus) and Galerius Maximianus.
The first efforts of these Emperors, in regard to the Britons, were directed against the piratical Franks and Saxonis, who not only captured numerous inerchant vessels, but often had the temerity to land on the coast, and plunder the inhabitants. For the protection of the seas against these marauders, the Roman government assembled a powerful fleet in the harbour of Boulogne, and beslowed the command on Carausius, an able naval officer, but a man of a faithless and ambitious disposition. When the misconduct of Carausius was ascertained, and it was dis.covered that he appropriated to his own use the spoil of which
he divested the pirates, orders were issued for him to be put to death. But he escaped from this danger; and, having an absolute sway over the fleet, sailed for Britain, where he boldly as. sumed the ensigns of government, and prevailed on the army to support him in his pretensions. The era was propitious, as the Emperors were then perplexed by various distant wars; and the possession of the fleet was a circumstance of preponderating influence in favour of the usurper. He was allowed the title of Emperor, and was permitted to retain uninterrupted dominion for several years.-- In this event we first meet with an endeavour to disjoin the province of Britannia Romana from the parent government; and we find that so daring a measure was adopted only by the man who discovered the true defensible strength of the country to consist in its maritime capacities. It is memorable, likewise, that Carausius, in this distracted state of affairs, formed an alliance with the Franks and Saxons; thus introducing the latter people to a close acquaintance with the island on which they afterwards performed a distinguished part.
On a partition of the Roman empire, or rather of the duties of administration, which took place, in the year 292, between the four princes who were united in the government, all the provinces to the west of the Alps were allotted to Constantius, wlio shortly directed bis attention towards the recovery of Britain. But this was a task of considerable difficulty, as the usurper had strengthened his fleet to an unprecedented degree, during bis quiet sway over the resources of the island; and was, likewise, possessed of several important places in contiguous parts · of the Continent. Constantius succeeded in wresting froin bim Boulogne, so formidable on account of its harbonr; and commenced, with great activity, the building of ships in different ports of Gaul. While these preparations were in progress, affairs took a new aspect, in consequence of the assassination of Carausius; which act was perpetrated at York, in the year 293, by Allectus, a confidential officer of the rebel chief. The murderer immediately assumed the purple of Empire and the governinent
of Britain ; of which he remained possessed, without disturbance, for nearly three years.
The series of operations which led to the discomfiture of Allectus, and the restoration of Britain to the pale of the Empire, is developed with soine difficulty, as it chiefly rests for elucidation on the pages of the panegyrist, Eumenius. The followiug brief statement appears to comprise the more important of the incidents there narrated.--Unwilling to stake the hazard of the war on a battle at sea, Constantius divided his armament into two squadrons, one of which was commanded by himself, and the other by Asclepiodotus, the captain of his guards. Although Constantius first put to sea, the squadron commanded by his captain effected the earliest landing. This division passed unnoticed, in a thick fog, the feet of Allectus, which lay off the Isle of Wight; and its leader debarked his troops on the neighbouring coast of Britain. He then burned his ships, that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy.
Allectus, aware that the only chance of success depended on proinptitude of action, hastened to the attack of the Roman army. But his troops consisted chiefly of auxiliaries, and he is said to have evinced little judgment in the mode of leading them to battle. He was defeated and slain. Constantius, in the meantime, Janded his force without opposition, and was marching to the siiccour of Asclepiodotus, when he received the welcome intelligence of that officer's success, and the death of Allectus. This one battle terminated the war, except that a body of Franks and Saxons, principally composed of those who had escaped from the field of action, entered London, for the purpose of plundering that city before they quitted the island. But some ships of Constantius, which appear to have missed a direct passage, in consequence of storms or foys, proceeded up the Thames at this critical juncture; and the troops, disembarking, slaughtered great numbers of thie plunderers, and preserved the city from tlireatened devastation. The usurpation of Carausius commenced in the year 287; and
he was assassinated in 293. Allectus, his successor, maintained the title of Emperor, and exercised government in Britain, for about three years. It is asserted by Eumenius that the Britons were decidedly averse to the sway of these usurpers, and that they viewed the restoration of the legitimate Roman government with correspondent sentiments of pleasure. This statement will be considered as quite probable, when we reflect on the intermixture of interests, and even of social ties, which must have taken place during the numerous years of peace that the province happily experienced previous to the accession of Dioclesian. The Roman military in Britain appear to have snatched, with illusive ardour, at the new hope of independence of the empire, when it was presented by Carausius; but they evidently found, by the experience of nearly ten years, that such a state of separation was far from desirable.-Allectus could not depend on the swords of the Legions, and was supported by Mercenaries, (by Franks and Saxons chiefly) in the single battle which terininated this bold rebellion. It would, indeed, appear, from succeeding events, that the Roman army in Britain was, in these ages, sò nearly in a state of colonization, as to look with distaste on turbulence and ambitious enterprise; whilst the Britons, to the south of the wall of Severus, attached to the conquerors by a love of their arts, and by a growing affinity of manners, viewed the great city of the empire as a golden spot of promise and delight.
Dioclesian and Maximian resigned the imperial dignity about the year 304; and were succeeded by their Cæsars, Constantius and Galerius. On the division of government which followed this occurrence, Britain was allotted to Constantius, who resided in this island, and died at York in the year 306.
Constantine the Great, the son and successor of Constantius Chlorus, * was in the city of York at the time of his father's
• Constantine was the son of Constantius, by Helena, the first wife of that Emperor. Many writers assert that llelena was a native of Britain;