The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

a letter to him, entreating, that by his command he might be made a Christian. He soon obtained the object of his pious request, and the Britons preserved the faith, which they had received, uncorrupted and entire in peace and tranquillity until the time of the Emperor Dioclesian.


CHAPTER V.
HOW THE EMPEROR SEVERUS DIVIDED THAT PART OF BRITAIN
WHICH HE SUBDUED, FROM THE REST BY A RAMPART.

In the year of our Lord 189, Severus, an African, born at Leptis, in the province of Tripolis, received the imperial purple. He was the seventeenth from Augustus, and reigned seventeen years. Being naturally stern, and engaged in many wars, he governed the state vigorously, but with much trouble. Having been victorious in all the grievous civil wars which happened in his time, he was drawn into Britain by the revolt of almost all the confederate tribes; and, after many great and dangerous battles, he thought fit to divide that part of the island, which he had recovered from the other unconquered nations, not with a wall, as some imagine, but with a rampart. For a wall is made of stones, but a rampart, with which camps are fortified to repel the power of enemies, is made of sods, cut out of the earth, and raised above the ground like a wall, having in front of it the ditch whence the sods were taken, and strong stakes of wood fixed upon its top. Thus Severus drew a great ditch and strong rampart, fortified with several towers, from sea to sea; and was afterwards taken sick and died at York, leaving two sons, Bassianus and Geta; of whom Geta died, adjudged a public enemy; but Bassianus, having taken the surname of Antoninus, obtained the empire.

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