Saturday, 26 April 2014

V is for Viroconium Cornoviorum

V is for Viroconium Cornoviorum

That’s quite a mouthful and in the third book of my Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures - After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks - I’ve taken the liberty (a minor detour into 21st century-isms which I couldn’t resist) of having my character, Ineda, refer to it as Viro Corno.

Viroconium Cornoviorum is the Roman name for the city which was later named Wroxeter. Claimed to be the fourth largest Roman city in Britannia, it started as a Roman Garrison fortress which in turn grew to become a thriving civilian town the central operations area and tribal capital of the Cornovii. For centuries, it grew and prospered. Remains of a forum and bath house complex can be visited, the site having been identified as Roman during Victorian times and the site donated to public use by the generous Victorian landowner.

The earliest occupation of the area, sited where the River Severn emerges from the Welsh foothills, was probably around the late AD 50s, by the Legio XIV who remained until AD 69 when the Legio XX took up occupation. The fortress site was mainly concerned with maintaining the territories gained from the Celtic tribes in Wales who continued to be resistant to Roman domination during that time. Viroconium Cornoviorum was also strategically placed to send out troops to control any unrest which arose in Brigante lands to the north of Cornovii territory.

It was the monitoring role of the Legio XX which sparked my imagination and gave me the impetus to have my Roman tribune, Gaius Livanus Valerius, be stationed there for a while after he captures Ineda of Marske. It is at Viroconium Cornoviorum that he forces Ineda to become his personal slave. 

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Ineda learns what it is like to live behind the fortress walls – she has no option about that since she cannot escape from the five thousand plus Roman legionary soldiers (like those reenactment ones above) and possibly half as many support staff who ran the garrison fortress. Though in AD 73, when Ineda is captured, the fortress was a wooden construction, the earliest stonework fortress not created till the 2nd century.  

For more information about Viroconium Cornoviorum these sites have useful information, though it's worth noting that they have some conflicting dates. 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is available from:


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