7 – Battle of Silchester (296)
During the Crisis of the Third Century, Britain became part of the Gallic Empire with Gaul and Spain. It was a short lived exercise as the Romans recovered the territory in 274. However, trouble wasn’t far away, and another important piece of Roman British history began in 286. In that year, a Roman naval commander named Carausius declared himself Emperor of Britain and Northern Gaul. He had been accused of collaborating with pirates for personal gain and was sentenced to death by Maximian, the Roman Emperor in the West.
In 293, the Western ‘caesar’, Constantius Chlorus, regained the Gallic territory but was unable to retake Britain until he strengthened the navy. Meanwhile, Carausius was murdered by his subordinate Allectus who assumed control of Britain. In 296, Chlorus finally had a strong enough navy to attack Britain.
Chlorus sent two naval forces; he led the first while the second was under the command of Julius Asclepiodotus. The latter group reached the British mainland undetected due to fog and burned their ships once they reached the shore before heading to London. This action forced Allectus to engage the enemy. Chlorus arrived soon afterward.
Allectus met Asclepiodotus at Silchester, known as Calleva Atrebatum. In what was apparently a fairly short battle, the invading Romans defeated the rebels and Allectus was killed in action. The fleeing rebels went to London with the intent of looting it but ran into a contingent of Chlorus’ soldiers en-route and were massacred. With the death of Allectus, Britain was once again part of the Roman Empire, and Chlorus was hailed as a liberator by the natives. The Roman Empire was showing major cracks, and the rest of Rome’s occupation of Britain was beset by problems.