Governors of the unified Province(s) of Britannia
Britain was an imperial province and the appointment of the governor was the choice of the Emperor and was a senator from the highest classes in Roman society. The formal title of the governor under the early empire was legatus Augusti pro praetore. – literally: “envoy of the emperor – acting for the praetor”.
As the unified province “Britannia”, Roman Britain was a consular province, meaning that its governors had to first serve as a consul in Rome before they could govern it. While this rank could be obtained either as a suffect or ordinarius, a number of governors were consules ordinarii, and also appear in the List of Early Imperial Roman Consuls.
Roman governors had full control of all the military forces stationed in the province and could take any military action without prior consent of the emperor or the senate. The governor was also the supreme judicial authority of the province and was the only person who could order the imposition of the death penalty. Financial duties included the audit of the financial records of the cities within the province, and to set taxation rates and appoint tax collectors.
To help the Governor in his duties he had a personal staff of about 30-40 individuals, including personal assistants, secretaries, police officers, couriers, accountants and clerks. Some of the staff would have been slaves or freedmen. There was also a legatus iuridicus, or law-officer, who could go around the province and deal with some of the legal matters to leave more of the Governor’s time free for campaigns and peace-keeping.
Governors of Britannia
The list of governors is complete from the Roman invasion until the recall of Julius Agricola, either in AD 83 or 84, and often with a margin of error of no more than a year. From from 83 AD to 409 AD, record-keeping became patchier, with frequent gaps in the records and elements of unreliability in all dating. The situation becomes worse following the division of Roman Britannia into two provinces, and records for the fourth century are almost nonexistent.
Around 197 AD, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces: Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. Roman tradition was to name divided provinces in line with their actual distance from Rome. The closest or upper (in rank) province was the superior and the further away, lower province was the inferior. The superior had a consular governor, while the inferior was ruled by someone of the praetorian rank.
Governors of Britannia Inferior
|1||Gaius Julius Marcus||c. 213 – 214 AD|
|2||Marcus Antonius Gordianus||214 – 216 AD|
|3||Modius Julianus||AD 219|
|4||Tiberius Claudius Paulinus||220 AD|
|5||Marius Valerianus||221 – 223 AD|
|6||Claudius Xenephon||223 AD|
|8||Valerius Crescens Fulvianus||225 – 235 AD|
|9||Calvisius Ruso||225 – 235 AD|
|12||Egnatius Lucilianus||238 – 244AD|
|13||Maecilius Fuscus||238 – 244 AD|
|14||Nonius Philippus||242 AD|
|15||Marcus Valerius Felix||244 AD|
|16||Octavius Sabinus||262 – 266 AD|
Governors of Britannia Superior
- Tiberius Julius Pollienus Auspex (sometime during c. 223 – 226)
- Gaius Junius Faustinus Postumianus (probably sometime during 222–235)
- Rufinus (probably early 3rd century)
- Marcus Martiannius Pulcher (3rd century)
- Titus Desticius Juba (253–255)