Early Britain—Roman Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about Early Britain—Roman Britain.
for Britain, where the former shortly died, like Severus, at York.  With their arrival the persecution promptly ceased;[332] for Helena, at least, was an ardent Christian, and her husband well-affected to the Faith.  Yet, on his death, he was, like his predecessors, proclaimed Divus; the last formal bestowal of that title being thus, like the first,[333] specially connected with Britain.  Constantius was buried, according to Nennius,[334] at Segontium, wherever that may have been; and Constantine, though not yet even a Caesar, was at once proclaimed by the soldiers (at his native York) Augustus in his father’s room.

A. 14.—­This was the signal for a whole outburst of similar proclamations all over the Roman world, Licinius, Constantine’s brother-in-law, declared himself Emperor at Carnutum, Maxentius, son of Maximian and son-in-law of Galerius, in Rome, Severus in the Illyrian provinces, and Maximin (who had been a Caesar) in Syria.  Galerius still reigned, and even Maximian revoked his resignation and appeared once more as Augustus.  But one by one this medley of Pretenders swept each other away, and the survival of the fittest was exemplified by the final victory of Constantine over them all.  For a few years he bided his time, and then, at the head of the British army, marched on Rome.  Clear-sighted enough to perceive that events were irresistibly tending to the triumph of Christianity, he declared himself the champion of the Faith; and it was not under the Roman Eagle, but the Banner of Christ,[335] that his soldiers fought and won.  Coins of his found in Britain, bearing the Sacred Monogram which led his men to the crowning victory of 312 at the Milvian Bridge (the intertwined letters [Greek:  Chi] and [Greek:  Rho] between [Greek:  Alpha] and [Greek:  Omega], the whole forming the word [Greek:  ARChO], “I reign"), with the motto Hoc Signo Victor Eris, testify to the special part taken by our country in the establishment of our Faith as the officially recognized religion of Rome,—­that is to say, of the whole civilized world.  And henceforward, as long as Britain remained Roman at all, it was a monarch of British connection who occupied the Imperial throne.  The dynasties of Constantius, Valentinian, and Theodosius, who between them (with the brief interlude of the reign of Julian) fill the next 150 years (300-450), were all markedly associated with our island.  So, indeed, was Julian also.


Spread of Gospel—­Arianism—­Britain orthodox—­Last Imperial visit—­Heathen temples stripped—­British Emperors—­Magnentius—­Gratian—­Julian—­British corn-trade—­First inroad of Picts and Scots—­Valentinian—­Saxon raids—­Campaign of Theodosius—­Re-conquest of Valentia.

B. 1.—­For a whole generation after the triumph of Constantine tranquillity reigned in Britain.  The ruined Christian churches were everywhere restored, and new ones built; and in Britain, as elsewhere, the Gospel spread rapidly and widely—­the more so that the Church here was but little troubled[336] by the desperate struggle with Arianism which was convulsing the East.  Britain, as Athanasius tells us, gave an assenting vote to the decisions of Nicaea [[Greek:  sumpsephos etunchane]], and British Bishops actually sat in the Councils of Arles (314) and of Ariminum (360).

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Early Britain—Roman Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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