Consolidation and Pacification (61-78 AD)

Rebuilding after the Iceni Revolt (61-68AD)

Publius Petronius Turpilianus was appointed governor of Roman Britain in the latter half of AD 61, replacing Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (AD58 -61) who had been removed from office in the wake of the rebellion of Boudica. In contrast to Suetonius’s punitive measures, Petronius took a conciliatory approach, and conducted few military operations.

In AD 63, Marcus Trebellius Maximus was appointed governor of Britain. He continued the policy of consolidation followed by his immediate predecessor, and conquered no new territory.

The relative peace during this period meant Roman legions were being deployed to various parts of the empire, leaving Britain with weakened forces. Among the legions that departed, was the Legion XIV Gemina, which had played a pivotal role in defeating Boudica. Despite the diminished Roman presence, the British did not rise up in rebellion, indicating that the Romans had managed to pacify them to some extent.

The Roman Civil War (68AD)

The assassination of Nero triggered a power struggle in Rome, leading to a series of civil wars as different factions vied for control of the empire. This power vacuum destabilized the provinces, including Roman Britain, as local leaders and military commanders sought to assert their authority amidst the chaos.

The Brigantian Revolt (69AD)

Leading the Brigantes at that time was Queen Cartimandua, with her husband Venutius possibly playing a significant role in expanding Brigantian influence, particularly into regions like Cumbria. However, Cartimandua faced rebellion from Venutius in 69AD, prompting her to seek Roman assistance. The Romans intervened, ultimately withdrawing their support from Cartimandua and leaving Venutius in power.

Retaliation and Consolidation in the North

The next three governors of Britain consolidated power. Marcus Vettius Bolanus’ tenure as governor was still during a period of upheaval from the civil war. His period in office was marked by relative peace in Britain, but it was a time of consolidation rather than expansion. Bolanus is not noted for significant military campaigns or extensive administrative reforms. His primary achievement was maintaining stability in Britain during a period of widespread instability across the Roman Empire.

The next, Cerialis was a more dynamic and military-oriented governor. He is noted for his campaigns against the Brigantes, the largest tribe in Britain at the time. His tenure marked a return to aggressive military expansion in Britain. Cerialis pushed the boundaries of Roman control further north, establishing a stronger Roman presence in the region.

The third, Frontinus is renowned for his campaigns in Wales against the Silures and other tribes. His tenure was marked by effective military leadership and the establishment of Roman control in South Wales. Frontinus’ campaigns were characterized by the construction of forts and roads, facilitating the Romanization of the region and securing Roman supply lines.

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