Sunday, 5 June 2016


Eboracum (York) makes another brief appearance in an Anderson text. In Poul and Karen Anderson, The Dog And the Wolf, Chapter XXI, section 6, pp. 425-426, troops in Eboracum shout "'Hail, Caesar!'" as Flavius Claudius Constantinus - not the famous Constantine - announces that he is the strong man that Rome needs. His legion has proclaimed, then killed, two before him.

Do they not tire of cliches? Gratillonius is asked if he is about to reach for the purple but replies that he is not. He did what was necessary and will then return home. He tries to show the authorities what is needed but does not usurp their power. He would have opposed Gratianus, Constantinus' predecessor, if that would-be Emperor had crossed from Britannia.

Eboracum was where the first Constantine was proclaimed but times change. The Empire has become unsalvageable.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree! The worse thing either the ill named Gratianus or Constantine the Usurper could have done was transferring the legions in Britain to the mainland. They best thing they could have done for the Empire was not to rebel, not to aim for the purple, but to remain on guard in Britannia against barbarian raiders and invaders.

And the best thing local authorities could have done was to LISTEN to men like Gratillonius as they tried to advise them on what urgently needed to be done in both governing and defending the Empire.

Obstinately repeated folly and blundering was indeed, alas, making the Western Empire unsalvageable.

It's only fair to point out not all Roman leaders of that time period were blundering incompetents. My view is that Emperor Honorius was far more competent than historians have given him credit for being. And that he managed to pull the Empire back together during the last ten years of his life. True, this rally or recovery was shaky and short lived and did not outlive Honorius by many years.