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The ‘Genounian’ Part of Britain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2011

J. G. F. Hind
School of History, University of Leeds


Antoninus ‘deprived the Brigantes in Britain of most of their territory, because they too (besides the Moors in North Africa) had entered on a war of aggression by invading the Genourian part, (which is inhabited by) subjects of the Romans’.

Britannia , Volume 8 , November 1977 , pp. 229 - 234
Copyright © J. G. F. Hind 1977. Exclusive Licence to Publish: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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* My thanks are due to my colleague, Professor Harold Mattingly, and to Dr J. P. Wild of the Department of Archaeology, University of Manchester, for reading the MS and for making several constructive suggestions for improvement of the text, and also to Professor S. S. Frere and the readers of Britannia for encouragement and advice on the presentation. Any errors that remain are my sole responsibility.

1 Pausanias, , Desc, Graeciae viii, 43Google Scholar. See also S.H.A. Antoninus 5.4. R. G. Collingwood and J. M. Myres, Roman Britain and the English Settlements (1937), 146–9; S. S. Frere, Britannia(1967), 149–50. Scholars differ in dating this reference to A.D. 140–1 (the advance of the frontier to the Forth-Clyde line by Lollius Urbicus) or to A.D. 154–5, when Antoninus celebrated a victory with coin issues and his governor, Julius Verus, had to rebuild a number of forts in the north of England. On the whole the earlier date seems best to suit the description in Pausanias, see Birley, E., Roman Britain and the Roman Army (Kendal, 1953), 31–2Google Scholar.

2 Juvenal, , Satires xiv, 196Google Scholar (dirue Maurorum attegias, castella Brigantum); cf. Sat. xv, 124 (nee terribiles Cimbri nee Brittones umquam).

3 Mommsen, Römische Geschichte v. 172 n.1; Frazer, J. G., Pausanias' Description of Greece iv, 410Google Scholar; Haverfield, F., PSAS xxxviii (1903/1904), 457Google Scholar.

4 Ptol. Georgr. ii, 3.16 (Ομιμμοονιομ); It. Ant. 465.1; Anon. Rav., Archaeologia xciii, 49Google Scholar; RIB i, 1036.

5 G. Home, Roman York (1924), 54. Although the Celtic root-word ‘pen’ does seem to mean ‘height’, ‘hill’, the modern name is more likely to be a straight borrowing from the classical Apenninae: Johnston, The Place-Names of England and Wales (1915). sv. penn.

6 Anon. Ravennas. 182; Richmond, I. A. and Crawford, O. G. S., ‘The Ravenna Cosmography’, Archaeologia xciii (1949), 4850Google Scholar; Stevens, C. E., ‘Hadrian and Hadrian's Wall’, Latomus xiv (1955), 392Google Scholar and n. 3.

7 Anon. Ravennas 191. An inscription at Carriden ploughed up by chance, JRS xlvii (1957), 230Google Scholar. For toponyms in N. Britain, I. A. Richmond, Roman and Native in N. Britain (1958), ch. 5, 131–55.

8 S. N. Miller, The Roman Occupation of South-Western Scotland (1952), 222–4.

9 E. Birley, op. cit. (note 1), 42–3. D. Divine, The North-West Frontier of Rome, 177–9. Macdonald followed Haverfield's earlier views, and was critical of certain aspects of Birley's theory (first published in 1930) that Genounia lay to the north of Brigantia and Hadrian's Wall; Macdonald, G., Arch. Ael.4 viii (1931), 611Google Scholar.

10 For suggestions that the Votadini were allies of Rome, Birley op. cit. (note 1), 41, 43; Roman and Native, 56.

11 Hartley, B., Northern History i (1966), 1617Google Scholar. Cf. Stanier, J., Phoenix xix (1965), 305–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Birley, A. R., Britannia iv (1973), 188Google Scholar, n. 48. Cf. Stevens, C. E., Latomus xiv (1955), 392Google Scholar.

13 For the Carvetii, RIB 933 (Old Penrith); JRS lv (1965), 224Google Scholar (Broughom). Both are sites in the Eden area. Carlisle — Car(vetiorum) Lug(uvallium) was perhaps their capital.

14 Strabo iv, 206 (βριγαμτιοι); Pliny, NH ix, 63 (lacus Raetiae Brigantinus).

15 Strabo iv, 206 (Γεμανμωμ) Pliny NH iii, 137 (Genaunes). The Genauni are also mentioned by Ptolemy as Cenni and by Fionas as Benlauni, R.E. ix AI (1961), col. 8 (Heuberger)Google Scholar.

16 RE. Zweite Reihe Halbband I (1914)Google Scholar, Raetia, 52–53 (Haug).

17 Milite nam tuo

Drusus Genaunos implacidum genus

Breunosque veloces et arces

Alphibus impositas tremendis deiecit acer plus vice simplici: Horace, , Odes iv, 14Google Scholar, 10–11.

18 Only rarely does Pausanias concern himself with events contemporary or nearly so with his own day. The exceptions are Hadrian's buildings in various parts of Greece, included because they are monuments worth seeing, e.g. Desc. Graec. i, 18.6; 18.9. Of historical events in the second century A.D. he mentions at iv, 35.3 the freedom bestowed by Trajan upon Mothone; at viii, 8.12 it is related how Mantinea regained its ancient name under Hadrian, and at x, 34.5 how a band of brigand Costoboci invaded Elatea in Pausanias's own time (c. 166–180). All these references are to places on Pausanias's route in Greece. The passage at present under discussion forms a part of a unique digression by Pausanias (viii, 43, 1–6) concerning the achievements of Antoninus Pius and M. Aurelius. The tribal names and the scenes of these victories are presented vaguely. The Moors are given an antique Greek geographical name ‘autonomous Libyans’. The victories of M. Aurelius are said to be over Germans generally, not the specific Marcomanni and Quadi, and the outdated early Greek name Sauromatae is used for those Sarmatians defeated by him. The whole passage is too vague to inspire much confidence in the circumstantial detail of Brigantes - Genounia.

19 Some mistakes made by Pausanias can be listed. They occur at i. 2.2 (Long Walls of Athens); iv, 23.6 (date of Anaxilas); vi, 9.4 (date of Gelo's seizure of Syracuse); vi, 12.4 (Hiero wrongly said to have been assassinated); vi, 19.6 (confusion of two Miltiades); vii, 16.10 (wrong date for the sack of Corinth); ix, 33.3 (sack of Haliartus, a misunderstanding by P.). See Frazer, J. G., Pausanias' Description of Greece I, lxxviiGoogle Scholar. Kelly, T. has recently argued that Pausanias's testimony concerning an early battle between Sparta and Argos is fiction based on local guides and misinterpretation of burial mounds, Historia xvi (1967), 422–31Google Scholar; Am. Journal of Philology xci (1970), 3842Google Scholar. It is ironic, if my reconstruction of the source of the misunderstanding concerning the Brigantii and Genauni is accepted, that Pausanias earlier in book viii devotes a passage to misleading identical names, as mis-used by those who consulted oracles. Needless to say these are all examples from earlier Greek history with no hint of Brigantes/Brigantii or Genauni and the probably non-existent Genounia: Descr. Gr. viii, 11.6.

20 Ptol. ii, 3.19; Anon. Ravennas, , Archaeologia xciii (1949), 46–7Google Scholar (Utriconion Cornoninnorum). A. L. F. Rivet, Town and Country in Roman Britain (1958), 150. This tribe provided a regiment serving in Britain, N., Notitia Dignitatum xl. 34Google Scholar (ed. Seeck). They are often said to have been compliant with Roman rule. The forum and baths site at Wroxeter, their capital, was destroyed in the second century, but somewhat later, in the time of M. Aurelius, c. 160–70. Perhaps the Brigantes were again raiding south? RIB i 288 (Hadrianic forum); G. Webster, The Baths at Wroxeter Roman City (1965), 18 (destruction c. 160–70). Hartley, B., Britannia iii (1972), 27, 36Google Scholar (destruction c. 165–75). The original excavator, Atkinson, puts the destruction a little earlier, 155–65, Atkinson, D., Excavations at Wroxeter 1923–7 (Oxford 1942), 105, 175–6;Google Scholar I. A. Richmond, ‘The Cornovii’ in I. LI. Foster and L. Alcock (eds.), Culture and Environment (1963), 251–62.

21 Ptol., ibid.; Anon. Rav., Archaeologia xciii, 44. For the civilian character of the civitas capital of the Coritani see E. Blank, Ratae Coritanorum (1971), esp. 12–22. Although some civic buildings, e.g. the Baths (Blank p. 14) do not seem to have been completed before c. 160 (i.e. the end of the Brigantian troubles), the latest excavators note no destruction in the second century within the forum and basilica areas, and the first public buildings are dated to c. 125, Hebditch, M. and Mellor, Jean, Britannia iv (1973), 40 fGoogle Scholar.

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