Marcus Vettius Bolanus (69 -71AD)

The tenure of Marcus Vettius Bolanus, Governor of Britain is documented by Cornelius Tacitus in The Agricola (chapter VIII, verse i and chapter XVI, verse v) and also in his The Histories (book II, chapter lxv and book II, chapter xcvii).

“Vettius Bolanus was then in charge of Britain: his rule was milder than a warlike province requires. Agricola accordingly restrained his own energy and applied a check to his enthusiasm, in order that it might not grow too strong; he was trained to habits of deference, and skilful in tempering duty with expediency.” (Tacitus Agricola VIII.i)

“Nor did Vettius Bolanus either, so long as the civil war continued, distress Britain with discipline; there was the same inaction in the field, the same rioting in camp, except that Bolanus, who was inoffensive and had done nothing to earn hatred, possessed the affection, if not the obedience, of his men.” (Tacitus Agricola XVI.v)

“… Cluvius was given a place at court, while still retaining Spain, of which he was absentee governor, following the precedent of Lucius Arruntius. In his case, however, Tiberius’ motive had been suspicion, whereas Vitellius detained Cluvius without any such qualms.[369] Trebellius Maximus[370] was not allowed the same privilege. He had fled from Britain to escape the fury of his troops. Vettius Bolanus, who was then about the court, was sent out to take his place.” (Tacitus Histories II.lxv)

“Vitellius, nevertheless, sent for reinforcements from Germany, Britain, and the Spanish provinces, though with a lack of urgency which was intended to conceal his straits. The provinces and their governors showed the same want of enthusiasm. Hordeonius Flaccus,[447] who had suspicions of the Batavi, was distracted with a war of his own,[448] while Vettius Bolanus[449] never had Britain under complete control: nor was the loyally of either beyond doubt. …” (Tacitus Histories II.xcvii)

Works Attributed to Marcus Vettius Bolanus in Britain

Lindum (Lincoln)SK9771legionary fortress Legio IX Hispana.

 References for Marcus Vettius Bolanus (AD69-71)

  • The Roman Invasion of Britain by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1980);
  • Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1981);
  • Britons and the Roman Army by Grace Simpson (Gregg, London, 1964);
  • Historical Map and Guide: Roman Britain by the OS (3rd Edition, 1956; 4th Ed., 1990; 5th Ed., 2001);