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Regni

Regni. A British civitas. The civitas of the Regni appears to be an artificial creation of the Roman government. It seems to have been based on a kingdom created by them in ad 43 for their client-king Cogidubnus from the southern part of the territory of the Atrebates. During the invasion period, Chichester harbour was used by the Roman general Vespasian as a safe base to supply his troops campaigning in south-west England. Cogidubnus subsequently built his palace over the Roman camp. The special status of Cogidubnus and his kingdom is perhaps reflected in the choice of the name Regni, or Regneses, which means simply ‘the people of the kingdom’. Only when Cogidubnus died, perhaps around ad 80, did the kingdom disappear and the civitas take its place. The boundaries of the civitas were marked by the river Meon in the west and the river Wey to the north, and probably ran just beyond Beachy Head to the east, thus encompassing much of the Sussex and Hampshire downland. The capital of the new canton, however, was located at its south-western corner, where the major Iron Age stronghold at Chichester was succeeded by the Roman town of Noviomagus.

Keith Branigan

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