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But no attempts to become emperor were launched from the province. The Brigantes tribe of in northern England was a Roman ally ruled by Cartimandua and her consort, Venutius. Cartimandua had been responsible for handing over resistance leader Caratacus to the Romans in 51 AD. Shortly afterwards, she divorced Venutius who revolted but was driven off by Roman arms. But in 69 AD, with the Romans in the midst of civil war, Venutius staged a second revolt and successfully overthrew Cartimandua, who fled to the Romans.
After ten years of comparative peace, Vespasian, first emperor of the new Flavian dynasty, ordered further conquests in Britain. The new governor, Quintus Petilius Cerialis, campaigned against Venutius, rebel leader of the Brigantes tribe, and defeated him. By the end of Cerialis' governorship in 74 AD, he had reached Carlisle where he built the last in a series of garrison forts. After three years' campaigning - first against the Silures in south east Wales and then against the Ordovices in north Wales - he had all but completed the conquest and occupation of western Britain.
The territory was pacified by placing auxiliary forts on the hills linked by roads. Two legions, one at Caerleon in the south east and the other at Chester in the north east, could respond quickly to any uprising. Taking advantage of a change in governor, the recently-conquered Ordovices tribe in north Wales revolted. The new governor, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, immediately led an army into their territory and crushed them. He then invaded the island of Mona Anglesey , effectively destroying the last major druidic centre. The druids left no written texts, but it is known that they were probably animists who practised human sacrifice and may have acknowledged well in excess of gods.
Marking the emergence of a fully-fledged, self-governing municipality, the opening of the Verulamium St Albans civic centre was an event of pomp and ceremony attended by the provincial governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola.
The new complex comprised a square forum with colonnaded shops, an assembly room with adjoining council offices basilica and official cult temples. It became one of the biggest and richest towns in Roman Britain. In a bid to do away with the Britons' warlike ways, Roman governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola undertook a campaign to encourage native aristocrats to learn Latin, wear the toga and invest in budding municipalities by donating statues and buildings.
Archaeological evidence suggests Romanisation was swift. By the late first century AD, south east Britain had filled with Roman-style towns and villas. Having subdued what is now south west Scotland, Roman governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola considered an invasion of Ireland. Agricola reputedly believed a single legion plus auxiliaries about 10, men would suffice and may even have given refuge to an exiled Irish prince as a pretext for the attempt.
The invasion never happened, but regular trading contacts began to develop between Ireland and Roman Britain.
More than three years after extending Roman rule into what is now Scotland, governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola finally succeeded in bringing the Caledonian tribes to a pitched battle at an unidentified place called Mons Graupius, probably somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. Agricola inflicted a heavy defeat, then withdrew south. He also sent ships around the coast of Scotland to establish that Britain truly was an island. Pressure elsewhere on the borders of the Roman empire - possibly in Dacia modern day Moldova - compelled the Romans to withdraw troops from the far north of Britain in the late 80s AD.
Inconclusive archaeological evidence suggests that the huge legionary fortress at Inchtuthill in Tayside, Scotland was systematically dismantled and abandoned in 87 AD, less than four years after it was built. The new emperor, Trajan, required stable borders and more troops for a punitive campaign against Dacia now Moldova. He ordered a complete withdrawal of Roman forces from what is now Scotland. A new frontier, comprising road, forts and signal-stations, was established on an east-west line through modern Northumberland between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Carlisle on the Solway. Vindolanda was one of the forts on this so-called 'Stanegate Line'.
Hadrian was a gifted administrator who set in place a policy of creating natural or man-made barriers at the empire's outer limits. Inside he envisaged a commonwealth of peoples set apart from the 'barbarians'. A mile-long stone wall was built by Roman soldiers, stretching from modern Newcastle to Carlisle.
It marked the northernmost boundary of the empire, serving as a 'porous' border control for the movement of people and goods, or as a strong defensive fortification in times of strife. Shortly after the completion of Hadrian's Wall, the new emperor, Antoninus Pius, commanded his governor in Britain, Quintus Lollius Urbicus, to advance to a much shorter northern border, from the Firth to the Clyde.
A mile-long wall of earth and timber was built. It was intended to help subdue the tribes in what are now northern England and southern Scotland. Though one of the biggest and richest towns in 2nd century Roman Britain, Verulamium St Albans was still largely composed of small timber houses and shops. What probably started as a domestic fire quickly took hold, sweeping across the central part of the town, perhaps fanned by strong winds.
Such was the damage, some sites were not redeveloped for over a century. After just two decades, Roman policy on the northern frontier of Britain changed again. The greatest conquest of the emperor Antoninus Pius - the southern uplands of Scotland - had been given up almost as soon as he was dead. The army abandoned the Antonine Wall and withdrew south to Hadrian's Wall. The tribes of what are now southern Scotland and northern England had never been fully pacified, and outbreaks of violence were relatively frequent.
In , a war of raids and skirmishes broke out along the line of Hadrian's Wall.
Despite repeated attempts by Roman troops to suppress these revolts, fighting continued for years. Around this time, many towns much further south sought security by constructing circuits of earth-and-timber defences. Following the assassinations of the last Antonine emperor, Commodus, in December AD and his successor Pertinax in March AD, three rivals for the throne emerged in different parts of the empire: Severus had defeated and killed his eastern rival, Pescennius Niger, in It seems likely that Clodius Albinus chose to move pre-emptively against Severus by invading Gaul and having himself declared emperor, probably in the autumn of AD.
Their massed armies met at the Battle of Lugdunum Lyons in a lengthy and bloody clash. Clodius Albinus was killed, leaving Severus as the sole claimant to the imperial throne. Following the defeat and death of the Britain-based usurper Decimus Clodius Albinus, the undisputed emperor Septimius Severus sent agents and troops to Britain to purge the administration of rival supporters and rebuild the northern defences.
Evidence suggests that revolts among local tribes led to the destruction of part of Hadrian's Wall at around this time. A generation of frontier conflict prompted Septimius Severus to lead his army in a renewed attempt to subdue the Caledonian tribes in the far north of Britain. But the Caledonians avoided pitched battle and waged guerrilla war, leaving the Romans bogged down in a protracted and inconclusive struggle.
Peace treaties were signed, but no sooner had Severus withdrawn south than the Maeatae tribe revolted. In an effort to finally subdue Britain and improve its administration, a plan was conceived by emperor Septimius Severus, probably in AD, to split the province in two.