British History,Monarchs of Great Britain,King Arthur

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Interesting Events in Early British History



The Honorian Rescript - AD 410

Occupied with the constant barbarian threat and the continental escapades of the usurper, Constantine III, the legitimate emperor, Honorius, "sent letters to the communities of Britain, bidding them defend themselves."

This event is usually, erroneously referred to as "The Roman Departure from Britain" or something akin to that. The fact is that the bulk of the Romans had already departed the island long before, and Honorius' message was probably an official acknowledgement of that reality.

It is not entirely clear whether Honorius' intentions were for a final severing of relations, at this time. He could have simply meant that the Britons were on their own for the present, while Roman soldiers were otherwise engaged. In any case, for some years there may have been a lingering residue of nostalgia for their lives as Roman subjects, but, after this crucial point, Rome was unable to exert any further control over the citizens of its former province. The rule of Britannia then fell to a series of Romano-British "tyrants" (Jerome, "Epistola," 133.9, 14) and, subsequently, to the Saxons.

In this significant year, also, the Goths, under Alaric, sacked Rome.


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