Britannia Prima

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Britannia Prima was one of the provinces of Roman Britain in existence by c. 312 AD. It was probably created as part of the administrative reforms of the Roman Emperor Diocletian after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in 296 AD. In the 3rd century, the Romans created Britannia Superior to separate southern Britain from militarized northern Britain. A century later, this region was further divided into four distinct provinces, namely Britannia Prima (Wales and the West Country), Britannia Secunda, Flavia Caesariensis, and Maxima Caesariensis. Hence, Britannia Prima was part of the four regions which made up the Diocese of Britain.[1]

Roman Britain
43 – early 3rd c.
Capital Camulodunum
(43 – c. 65),
then Londinium
Britannia Inferior,
early 3rd c. – 293,
capital at Eboracum
Britannia Superior
early 3rd c. – 293,
capital at Londinium
Flavia Caesariensis,
capital Lindum
Britannia Secunda,
capital Eboracum
Maxima Caesariensis,
capital Londinium
Britannia Prima,
capital Corinium

Roman rule after the 3rd century[edit]

The Diocese of Britain was placed under the overall authority of the praetorian prefecture for the Gaullic region. Even though the late Roman civil administration of Britain is shadowy, it is only because of the survival of the Notitia Dignitatum that we can sketch the outline of Roman Britain.[2] This document is the primary source of the changes and alterations made to the province of Britannia by the Roman government. The primary objective for the creation of new provinces was to improve the link between Britain and the near continent, where the praetorian prefect had a main base at Trier. Britannia Prima had two legions, the Second Augusta at Caerleon (Isca Augusta) and the Twentieth at Chester (Deva Victrix). Of the four provinces in the Diocese of Britain, Britannia Prima was the largest, and it was generally focused on western England, with either Cirencester (Corinium) or Gloucester (Glevum) as the capital. The main reason to believe that Cirencester was the capital of Britannia Prima is an inscription from Cirensester itself, referring poetically to a rector or ruler of Britannia Prima by the name of L. Septimius. The governors of Britannia Prima were of equestrian rank, although few are known by name. The province is named in the Verona List and probably encompassed all of what is now south western England as well as Wales, stretching from Cornubia to North Wales and east to the Gloucester and Cirencester area.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frere, pp. 198-199.
  2. ^ Mattingly, pp. 227-228.
  3. ^ Creighton, Britannia: The Creation of a Roman Province.


  • Frere, Sheppard (1967). Britannia: a history of Roman Britain. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 
  • Mattingly, David (2006). An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Province. London: Penguin. 
  • Creighton, John (2006). Britannia: the Creation of a Roman Province. London and New York: Routledge. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Braund, David (1996). Ruling Roman Britain. London and New York: Routledge. 
  • Johnson, Stephen (1947). Later Roman Britain. London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul.