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The End of the Roman Empire

The final days

The year was 410 AD. and Britain was now free of occupying forces and would remain so for over 650 years. There still remains one major question. Why was Britain not invaded from outside again?

By 411 Honorius had made significant advances into territories taken from the Romans by the barbarian attacks prior to 410. Yet he made no attempt to bring Britain back under Roman rule. This had been a time of unrest, with rebellions and executions, until Honorius brought the situation under control and had restored some form of order to the remains of the empire.

By 413 the fighting had receded and Honorius had retaken parts of Gaul and Spain. Britain was in a time of peace compared to the unrest on the continent. From their point of view, It is likely that the British leaders knew that if Britain came under Roman rule again, they would become figureheads, rubber stamping decisions made in another land.

From Honorius' angle, he had one major problem that involved him not only as Emperor, but also on a personal basis. To launch another invasion on Britain, he would need to take control of Gaul completely. Gaul could not be fully occupied as Honorius' half sister, Galla Placidia had been captured by Alaric He used her as a lever to try to make a deal with Rome. Honorius could not completely retake Gaul until he had managed to get her back. Without a complete recapture of Gaul, he could not come across the channel to Britain.

Then a change of approach occurred. Athaulf married Placidia and actually became Honorius' son in law. This could be seen as an attempt to unite the Goths and the Romans under one roof and share power instead of the two sides being in a perpetual state of conflict.

The uniting of the two nations never took place and it was not until the death of Athaulf that Pladicia was returned to Honorius. When this happened the Spanish made a pact with the Romans to help them drive the barbarians out in return for military support.

Despite these victories, the Roman Empire was decaying badly. It was in a fight for survival now. There were more pressing matters that needed greater attention than the recapture of Britain. This situation continued until it finally came to an end in 454 when the last emperor, Julius Nepos was murdered.

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