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Dobunni. A British tribe and civitas. The Dobunni were centred on Gloucestershire, with their pre-Roman capital probably in the fortified settlement at Bagendon. Either by conquest or by the unification and incorporation of smaller tribal groupings, they established by ad 43 a kingdom which seems to have included all of Gloucestershire, most of Somerset, and parts of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire. Their inscribed coinage, however, suggests that their territory was divided, peacefully or otherwise, into two kingdoms each with its own ruler. Trade relations were established with the kingdom of the Catuvellauni to the east but Cunobelinus' ambitious plans for expansion may have resulted in some encroachment on Dobunnic territory around ad 40. In any event, according to the Greek historian Dio Cassius, early in the Claudian invasion in ad 43, a part of the Dobunni deserted the British cause and came to terms with the Roman invaders. Subsequently, around ad 70, the tribe were granted civitas status and the developing town of Cirencester (Corinium) became their capital. It grew to be one of the largest towns in Roman Britain, and when Britannia was divided into four provinces early in the 4th cent., Cirencester was chosen as the capital of Britannia Prima.

Keith Branigan

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