Sites & cities that bear the name of Eboracum


Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : 71 C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Recorded names : Eburākon, Colonia Eboracensium

Description : Eboracum (Latin /ebo'rakum/, English /iːˈbɒrəkəm/ or /ˌiːbɔːˈrɑːkəm/) was a fort and later a city in the Roman province of Britannia. In its prime it was the largest town in northern Britain and a provincial capital. The site remained occupied after the decline of the Western Roman Empire and ultimately evolved into the present-day city York, occupying the same site in North Yorkshire, England. Two Roman emperors died in Eboracum: Septimius Severus in 211 AD, and Constantius Chlorus in 306 AD. The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD, but advance beyond the Humber did not take place until the early 70s AD. This was because the people in the area, known as the Brigantes by the Romans, became a Roman client state. When Brigantian leadership changed, becoming more hostile to Rome, Roman General Quintus Petillius Cerialis led the Ninth Legion north from Lincoln across the Humber. Eboracum was founded in 71 AD when Cerialis and the Ninth Legion constructed a military fortress (castra) on flat ground above the River Ouse near its junction with the River Foss. In the same year, Cerialis was appointed Governor of Britain. A legion at full strength at that time numbered some 5,500 men, and provided new trading opportunities for enterprising local people, who doubtless flocked to Eboracum to take advantage of them. As a result, permanent civilian settlement grew up around the fortress especially on its south-east side. Civilians also settled on the opposite side of the Ouse, initially along the main road from Eboracum to the south-west. By the later 2nd century, growth was rapid; streets were laid out, public buildings were erected and private houses spread out over terraces on the steep slopes above the river. The decline of Roman Britain in early fifth century AD led to significant social and economic changes all over Britain. Whilst the latest datable inscription referencing Eboracum dates from 237 AD, the continuation of the settlement after this time is certain. Building work in the city continued in the fourth century under Constantine and later Count Theodosius. The locally produced Crambeck Ware pottery arrives in Eboracum in the fourth century—the most famous form being intricately decorated buff-yellow "parchment ware" painted with bright shades of red. The effect of Constantine's religious policy allowed the greater development of Christianity in Roman Britain—a bishop of York named "Eborius" is attested here and several artifacts decorated with chi-rho symbols are known. Additionally, a small bone plaque from an inhumation grave bore the phrase SOROR AVE VIVAS IN DEO ("Hail sister may you live in God"). Changes in the layout of both the fort and colonia occurred in the late fourth century AD, suggested as representing a social change in the domestic lives of the military garrison here whereby they might have lived in smaller family groups with wives, children or other civilians.

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