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Corinium Dobunnorum
Corinium Dobunnorum
was the Romano-British
Romano-British
settlement at Cirencester in the present-day English county of Gloucestershire. Its 2nd-century walls enclosed the second-largest area of a city in Roman Britain. It was the tribal capital of the Dobunni
Dobunni
and is usually thought to have been the capital of the Diocletian-era province of First Britain (Britannia I ).

Contents

1 Roman fort 2 Tribal capital 3 Provincial capital 4 Decline 5 Remains 6 In fiction 7 References 8 External links

Roman fort[edit] A Roman fort was established at Corinium in the territory of the friendly tribe of the Dobunni
Dobunni
about a year after the Roman conquest of Britain. The main settlement in the area at the time was the hillfort at Bagendon. Three main Roman roads met in Corinium: the Fosse Way, Akeman Street, and Ermin Street. Tribal capital[edit]

Plan of Corinium Dobunnorum

See also: Cirencester
Cirencester
Amphitheatre By the mid-70s CE, the military had abandoned the fort and the site became the tribal capital (civitas) of the Dobunni.[citation needed] Over the next twenty years, a street grid was laid out and the town was furnished with an array of large public stone buildings, two market places, and numerous shops and private houses. The forum and basilica were bigger than any other in Britain, apart from Londinium's. The basilica was decorated with beautifully carved Corinthian capitals, Italian marble wall veneers and Purbeck Marble mouldings. Unfortunately, it was built over the ditch of the old fort and the walls cracked and sank, forcing a major rebuilding project in the mid-2nd century. There appears to have been a cattle market adjoining the forum with a market hall and several butchers' shops. A system of wooden water pipes indicates there was also an aqueduct but no public baths have been identified. The amphitheatre stood to the south-east of the town in the area now called the Querns. It was built on the site of an old quarry aligned with the street grid, an unusual feature.

Three Goddesses or Matres. Roman high relief sculpture, Corinium Museum, Cirencester

As yet, no temples have been located, although numerous fine sculptures show much religious activity in the town. The missing Christian bishop represented by a deacon at the Council of Arles in 314 may come from Corinium. The town was fortified in the late 2nd century. There were five gates and polygonal towers were later added to the walls. About fifty years after their construction, there appears to have been a partial collapse and the complex was largely rebuilt to include small chambers around the circuit. These may have been animal pens, convict cells, or small shrines. Corinium seems to have been the home to a number of very early private stone houses of wealthy individuals. Some date from the 110s. Such buildings continued to be built and occupied throughout the life of the town, but were particularly luxurious during the 4th century, when mosaic floors and fine sculpture were much in evidence.[1] It has been suggested that the town was the centre of both a stone-carving industry, under a certain Sulinus son of Brucetus, and a mosaic industry with two schools of art, based on images of the saltire and Orpheus. There were also bakers, glass makers, blacksmiths and goldsmiths within the walls. Provincial capital[edit] Development continued until the 4th century. It remains unclear just where the Diocletian-era provinces of the Diocese of "the Britains" were located, but Corinium is now usually thought to have been the capital of Britannia Prima.[2] Decline[edit] Around the time of the Roman withdrawal from Britain
Roman withdrawal from Britain
in 410, the town walls were repaired and the forum continued to be regularly cleaned. It was finally abandoned around 430. The amphitheatre was the site of a large timber building associated with 5th and 6th-century pottery. It may have been the fortified retreat of King Cyndyddan who fought at the Battle of Dyrham in 577. Remains[edit]

The grass-covered bowl of the amphitheatre, also known as the "Bull Ring", is in the care of English Heritage. A small section of the old Roman wall can be seen in the Abbey Park. A large collection of artefacts from Corinium are on display in the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

The Roman amphitheatre at Corinium Dobunnorum

In fiction[edit] In Robert E. Howard's story "Men of the Shadows", taking place at the time of Roman rule in Britain, a rich merchant of Corinium offers a thousand pieces of gold to anyone who would deliver to him the beautiful sister of Bran Mak Morn, King of the Picts. However, five hundred Roman soldiers who set out across Hadrian's Wall, seeking to gain the reward, are ambushed by the Picts and killed. References[edit]

^ McWhirr: Cirencester
Cirencester
Excavations III, Houses in Roman Cirencester ^ Wacher, p. 87.

Wacher, John (1995). The Towns of Roman Britain. London: B T Batsford.  Alan McWhirr: Roman Gloucestershire, Gloucester
Gloucester
1981 ISBN 0-904387-63-1, 21-58 Alan McWhirr: Cirencester
Cirencester
Excavations III, Houses in Roman Cirencester, Cirencester
Cirencester
1986 ISBN 0950772224

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Corinium Dobunnorum.

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Major towns of Roman Britain

Placenames in brackets are either present-day names or counties where the towns formerly existed.

Capitals

Britannia Superior

Londinium
Londinium
(London)

Britannia Inferior

Eboracum
Eboracum
(York)

Camulodunum
Camulodunum
(Colchester)

Surviving

Caesaromagus (Chelmsford) Corinium Dobunnorum
Corinium Dobunnorum
(Cirencester) Deva Victrix
Deva Victrix
(Chester) Durnovaria
Durnovaria
(Dorchester) Durovernum Cantiacorum
Durovernum Cantiacorum
(Canterbury) Glevum
Glevum
(Gloucester) Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta
(Caerleon) Isca Dumnoniorum
Isca Dumnoniorum
(Exeter) Isurium Brigantum
Isurium Brigantum
(Aldborough) Lactodurum
Lactodurum
(Towcester) Lindum Colonia
Lindum Colonia
(Lincoln) Luguvalium
Luguvalium
(Carlisle) Moridunum (Carmarthen) Noviomagus Reginorum
Noviomagus Reginorum
(Chichester) Petuaria (Brough) Ratae Corieltauvorum
Ratae Corieltauvorum
(Leicester) Venta Belgarum
Venta Belgarum
(Winchester) Venta Silurum
Venta Silurum
(Caerwent) Verulamium
Verulamium
(St Albans) Viroconium Cornoviorum
Viroconium Cornoviorum
(Wroxeter)

Extinct

Alchester (Wendlebury) Bannaventa
Bannaventa
(Northamptonshire) Calleva Atrebatum
Calleva Atrebatum
(Hampshire) Cunetio
Cunetio
(Wiltshire) Venta Icenorum
Venta Icenorum
(Norfolk)

List of Roman place name

.