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Aulus Didius Gallus

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Governor of Britannia from AD52 to 57


"Next Didius Gallus maintained the ground gained by his predecessors, and pushed forward a few forts into remoter districts in order to gain credit for enlarging his province."
Tacitus Agricola 14.2

The province had suffered since the unexpected death of the previous governor Ostorius Scapula, and a legion, perhaps the Twentieth, had suffered a defeat in battle against the Silures in south Wales. Gallus possibly established the large legionary base at Wroxeter in the Central Welsh Marches to stabilise the Welsh frontier. In the latter part of his governorship Gallus was called upon to settle a violent internal dispute among the Brigantes tribe in northern England, when the prince consort Venutius turned against his spouse Cartimandua, and several auxiliary cohorts had to be sent to the client-queen's rescue. Talk in Rome at this time was of a complete withdrawal from Britain, and the emperor's tutor and adviser Seneca began to call in the loans he had made to many British chiefs, fuelling anti-Roman feelings in the south-eastern part of the province while Gallus was busy campaigning against the Welsh tribes.

A short chapter outlining Gallus' actions during his governorship of Britain can be found in the Annals of Tacitus (book 12, chapter 40), which implies that he was already an old man when he took the helm of the British province.

"... Didius, burdened with years and covered with honours, was content with acting through his officers and merely holding back the enemy. ..."
Tacitus Annals XII.xl

Click here for a breakdown of the military campaigns of Aulus Didius Gallus

Didius Gallus - Inscriptions from the Continent

Involved in the Maintenance of the Aqueducts of Rome

HAC RIVI AQVAR TRIVM EVNT CIPPI POSITI IVSSV A DIDI GALLI T RVBRI NEPOTIS M CORNELI FIRMI CVRATORVM AQVAR
"by this way/on this side the channels of the aqueduct boundary stones placed [here] by decree of Aulus Didius Gallus, Titus Rubrius Nepos [and] Marcus Cornelius Firmus, curators of the Aqueducts."

Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae - Titvli opervm locorvmqve pvblicorvm; Aqvaedvctvs
ILS 5745, CIL VI 31559c, 1248ab; Roma

Awarded Triumphal Ornaments as Legate of Claudius Caesar

A DIDIVS GALLVS LEGATVS TI CLAVDI CAESARIS AVG GERMANICI TRIVMPHALIBVS ORNAMENTIS XVVIR S F PROCOS ET SICILIAE SIAE PRAEFECTVS EQVITAT IMPERATORIS IVSSV
"Aulus Didius Gallus, legate of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, [holder] of triumphal ornaments, member of the 'Board of Fifteen' for the making of sacred places, Proconsul of Sicily, Prefect of Cavalry, by order of the Emperor."

Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae - Titvli virorvm et mvliervm ordinis senatorii
ILS 970, CIL V 7247; Olympia

Dedicator of an Altar to Nemetona at Mainz in Germany

A DIDIVS GALLVS FABRICIVS VEIENTO COS III XVVIR SACRIS FACIEND SODALIS AVGVSTAL SOD FLAVIAL SOD TITIALIS ET ATTICA EIVS NEMETON V S L M
"Aulus Didius Gallus Fabricius Veiento, consul three times, member of the 'Board of Fifteen' for the making of sacred places, Priest of the Imperial cult, Priest of the Flavian Emperors, Priest of the Titiales,¹ and of Attica,² to (the goddess) Nemetona,³ willingly and deservedly fulfilling his vow."

Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae - Titvli virorvm et mvliervm ordinis senatorii
ILS 1010, CIL XIII 7253, McCrum.155; Mogontiacum (Mainz)
  1. Sodalis Titialis - a priest of the temple of Apollo in Rome, who drew omens from the flight of doves released during certain ceremonies; also known as the Titii (see Varro De L. L. 4, also Lucan 1.v.602).
  2. Sodalis Atticae - a priest of the goddess Attica (Greek: Αττικη). This goddess was worshipped as the personification of the land and nation of the Greeks in much the same way as Britannia was once worshipped here.
  3. Nemetona was the Celtic 'Goddess of the Sacred Grove'. For further information see Nemeton.

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