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Carausius and Allectus: The British Usurpers (Roman Imperial Biographies)
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The greatest part of the book is not a true narrative (which would take up only a few pages) but rather an analysis of raw data from speeches, chronicles, coins and excavations. The presentation is admirably lucid, but readers who are easily bored by tables of the distribution of mint marks may lose the thread.
Casey's efforts produce a convincing outline, tracing events from the rebellion of Carausius (a naval commander, assigned to chase pirates on the Gallic coast, who was accused of snatching their booty for his own purse) through his establishment of control over Britain, his loss and recapture of possessions on the continent, his overthrow by his treasurer Allectus and the latter's defeat by the Caesar Constantius (father of Constantine the Great) or, to be precise, by one of the latter's subordinates, who of course received no official credit. Unfortunately, the outline cannot be fleshed out with much detail. Even major incidents, such as the failure of the Roman authorities' first attempt at reconquest, are known only by inference.Read more ›
Instead we are treated to 190 pages of incredibly dry material, with detailed coin analysis, speculation about every thread of evidence, and a detailed review about the insignificant impact of Carausius in post Roman Britian. Other books I read on the Roman period typically have 1/3 to 1/4 of the book as appendix so I can 'refer' to details on the narrative without a large sidebar away from the main story. This book has almost no appendix because he needed it all to fill the book. There is no attempt to tell the story of these two men as you are weighed down in the details of numismatic and archeological speculation. This book will only be useful as a reference book for scholars doing their own thesis. Educated general readers like myself will not like this book.