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Official Roman action in the aftermath of the Boudican revolt is shown in this article to reveal a strong, persistent intention to allay local anger. Under consideration are such aspects as the Roman policy of official appointments in the region, the deployment of military forces, and the commemoration of the victory over the rebel forces. The conclusion reached takes issue with the widely prevailing view that Roman governance based itself mostly on oppressive measures.
A fragmentary tablet from Vindolanda (Tab. Vindol. II, 213) contains an occurrence of the verb interpretari (‘interpret’, ‘explain’, ‘mediate’) in an apparently commercial context, relating to the grain supply for the Roman fort. This usage is paralleled in a text on a wooden stilus tablet from Frisia in the Netherlands. ‘Interpreters’ and their activities make rather infrequent appearances in the Latin epigraphic and documentary records. In the Danubian provinces, interpreters (interpretes) are attested as army officers and officials in the office of the provincial governor. ‘Interpreters’, in both Latin and Greek inscriptions and papyri, often, however, play more ambiguous roles, not always connected with language-mediation, but also, or instead, with mediation in commercial transactions.
Geophysical survey at Llanfor, near Bala, revealed two temporary camps and a large wooden fort in exceptional detail. The camps are assumed to be evidence of an early Flavian invasion force. The fort, which contained a garrison that probably comprised a complete ala of auxiliary cavalry and a cohort of legionaries, is interpreted as a short-lived campaign base that existed during the transition between invasion and consolidated occupation. Parallels are drawn between Llanfor and similar forts in Britain and Germany.
Occupation at Bainbridge began in the governorship of Agricola. Little is known of the first fort; the visible remains represent a successor fort, established in c.a.d. 85 at the earliest, abandoned under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, and reoccupied in c. a.d. 160. In the early Severan period, the size of the unit at the fort seems to have been greatly reduced in numbers, and a suite of rooms for an officer was inserted in the principia. Extensive work by cohors VI Nerviorum which took place in c. a.d. 205–7 included the building of new principia, the relocation of the east gate, and probably the addition of an annexe, its wall described in an inscription from the site as a bracchium. The fort was held until the end of the Roman period, by which time the principia had been partly demolished to provide space for a timber building probably accommodating the commanding officer. The aedes and part of the rear range seem to have stood until the ninth or tenth century, when the former was possibly converted into a church. Knowledge of this sequence of occupation depends largely on the results of Brian Hartley's excavations which are published here. The main focus of the report is on the remarkable series of principia, but a review of what is known of the overall archaeology of the fort is also included in the main text. The Supplementary Material (http://journals.cambridge.org/bri) contains a more detailed analysis of some of the other excavations together with various specialist reports.
Two stone sculptures from Caerwent — a disembodied human head and a seated female figure — are the focus of this article. Using icon-theory, it is proposed that the Caerwent sculptures (albeit recovered from different chronological horizons) were perhaps produced at the same time, maybe even by a single stonemason. Issues of materiality, including choice of stone and style, are seen as key to their understanding, in terms of Silurian identity and religion. Moreover, the emphasis on mouths and ears invites interpretation of these images as those of speaking and listening Oracles, conduits between earthly and spiritual worlds.
Despite being an intriguing, if obscure, series of artefacts there has been a hesitancy in academic discussion to address fully the myriad of questions raised by the design and archaeological find-spots of lead tanks from Roman Britain. This, and an uncritical acceptance that they were used by early Christians as baptismal fonts, has led to a lack of appreciation of their contribution to our knowledge of late Romano-British religion. This paper seeks to redress this via two channels. The first is a detailed and contextualised examination of the design, iconography and manufacture of these tanks. The second is an investigation into how the manner of their deposition can inform their function. It is concluded that the evidence used to associate the tanks with baptism is flawed and greater attention must be given to other facets of their design in order to gain an appreciation of their proper place in the culture and religion of Roman Britain.
Documenting a phenomenon that has previously been overlooked, this article examines the later stages of object biography in relation to Romano-British bracelets, namely, their modification and subsequent re-use as smaller rings. Re-use is shown to occur widely and is particularly associated with the late fourth to early fifth centuries a.d., with cut-down bracelets also found in early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. The making of smaller rings from late Roman bracelets is demonstrated to be part of a wider phenomenon of re-use, repair and recycling at the end of the Roman period in Britain, with attendant implications of cultural and economic change. It is proposed that the transformation of these artefacts was accompanied by changes in meaning which undermine the apparent continuity that is seen in the extended lifespan of the original object. This in turn illuminates the way that wider cultural norms were gradually eroded in the fifth century. Through the study of these artefacts a new perspective is provided on the transition to post-Roman Britain and the relationship between this and the early Anglo-Saxon period.
The paper discusses a hitherto neglected group of five uniface gold medallions in the names of Constantine I and II, issued between c.a.d. 318 and 337, found in Britain and Ireland. These have been found either beyond the frontier (three examples are from Ireland and one from Scotland) or close to it (one example is from Cumbria). It is suggested that they may have been produced as diplomatic gifts for peoples beyond the frontier or as payment for laeti.
A survey of the written evidence for attacks by Scotti on fourth-century Roman Britain provides a historical context for the introduction of two hitherto overlooked references to Scotti in the works of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis on Cyprus (c.a.d. 315–403). Examination of Epiphanius' Ancoratus and Panarion confirms that he inserted the ethnonym Σκόττοι into patristic source-material in the early 370s. These passages claim attention as unique testimony to the Scotti in Greek literature and the second earliest witness to this term in Roman sources. Their date prompts the conjecture that the barbarica conspiratio that beset Britain in a.d. 367–68/9 was a widely reported event even before its significance was magnified by Theodosian dynastic propaganda.
The publication of these two volumes completes Neal and Cosh's corpus of all the decorated mosaics known from Roman Britain, the first complete catalogue of mosaics from any of the Roman provinces. It is a tremendous achievement, the culmination of almost ninety years' combined work on the part of the authors, going back to 1959 when David Neal painted his first mosaic at Verulamium. The statistics are mind-boggling: the four volumes of the corpus list nearly 2,000 mosaics (double the number known before the project started), from about 500 sites, with nearly 3,000 illustrations. Just to compile this much material would be a heroic task; the fact that the authors have also painted hundreds of the mosaics tessera by tessera is little short of astonishing.
Over recent years the question of ancient hoards, in particular of precious metal, coins, plate or jewellery, has been the subject of numerous considerations (notably S. Gelichi and C. La Rocca (eds), Tesori. Forme di accumulazione della richezza nell'alto medioevo (secoli V–XI) (Rome, 2004)) in order to try to grasp the characteristics of a complex phenomenon that relates to multiple aspects of society in whatever period is under consideration: the economy, social organisation, the possible role of the images … The difficulties encountered by researchers when addressing these problems are illustrated by the ambivalence, indeed the ambiguity in many languages of the term ‘trésor/hoard’. Richard Hobbs has thus chosen, very judiciously, to take as his subject here ‘deposits of precious metal’, which defines the topic perfectly. On the other hand, one could question the descriptor ‘late Roman’ when applied to the period covered here, five centuries, from a.d. 200 to 700. There could be discussion over whether the third century should be included in Late Antiquity; others will challenge whether the sixth century still belongs to that same world. But from the first page H. effectively corrects his title by stating that it also covers the early Byzantine period, something I would feel is a better definition. It may certainly be felt that these are just questions of nomenclature, but they do have their importance for the topic of this study. All the same, the important thing is that H. wanted to study an extended period, as stated by the book's sub-title. One cannot but approve of his choice.