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Imperial behaviour, like the emperor’s name and image, was multifaceted, with different people expecting different things at different times. The variation was limited. A set of imperial roles – military, religious, and civil – was established rapidly and remained important throughout Roman history. There was variation of the balance between these different roles, but it was difficult for any emperor to wholly ignore any of them. Emperors could not present themselves as they saw fit. In that sense, Roman emperorship shows striking continuity. Still, the empire developed, and emperorship developed with it. Some of these shifts took place within traditional patterns. Christianity reformulated the emperor’s religious role, but did not redefine it. Child emperors were still expected to be military leaders. The move away from Rome as the emperors’ residence seems to have had a different kind of impact, diminishing the importance of some of the ‘Republican’ expectations with which Roman emperors had to cope. Yet for a Roman emperor to become exemplary, he had to satisfy different demands. Playing the right roles for relevant people was the best way to become the perfect emperor.
Northern Britain is one of a few areas in Western Europe over which the Roman Empire did not establish full control. In order to reassess the impact of Rome in this northernmost frontier, the new Leverhulme-funded project Beyond Walls is analysing the long-term transformation of settlement patterns in an area extending from south of Hadrian's Wall to north of the Antonine Wall. The results of a pilot study around Burnswark hillfort demonstrate the potential of such a landscape-based approach.
Mobility on the Tyne–Solway isthmus constitutes a gap in our understanding of the planning and functioning of the Roman frontier of northern Britain. Although the inflexible design of Hadrian's Wall appears insensitive to variations in local environment, identification of potential Roman-period fords suggests that securing river crossings was an important influence on military plans. The Roman army exploited established routeways to impose increasingly sophisticated systems to structure movement, initially via a system of forts, fortlets and towers—the Stanegate—and subsequently using a continuous barrier: Hadrian's Wall. As these measures evolved, so local communities experienced greater levels of military control and inequality.
Excavations at Barnwood, Gloucestershire, revealed several phases of activity dating to the a.d. 60s. This included gravel quarrying, with one quarry pit containing a significant assemblage of pottery, metalwork and glass with strong first-century military associations. A large roadside enclosure contained ditches and a post-hole alignment; these were replaced by a square burial plot containing a post-built structure and several pits, which yielded a lead ossuarium containing cremated human remains and a collection of burnt beans and hobnails. The location of the site raises questions regarding the organisation of the military landscape around Gloucester during the first century. The Supplementary Material available online (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068113X18000272) contains full specialist reports and catalogues for the excavated artefacts and biological remains.
Exceptional aspects of the design and location of a pair of first-century fortlets on the Exmoor coast are explicable as a product of local influence. Previous explanations for the remote setting of these small posts and the distinctive defences securing them have focused on a signalling role, with the fortlets serving as a means to transmit messages to naval vessels patrolling the Bristol Channel. Instead, both the landscape setting and articulation with local settlement patterns imply that these installations strengthened pre-existing measures to counter coastal raiding. Parallels between this variant fortlet design and settlement morphology in the South-West peninsula suggest that the army co-opted an indigenous architectural style. The two fortlets could act as components of what was effectively a composite coastal cordon, built on collaboration between the Roman military and the local population.
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