Marcus Trebellius Maximus

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Governor of Britannia from 63 to 69AD


"... Trebellius was less energetic, had no military experience, and kept the province in hand by a mild-mannered administration. Even the barbarians now learned to indulge pleasant vices, and the interruption of civil war afforded a sound excuse for his inaction; but there was mutiny and trouble when the army, accustomed to the field, became riotous and idle. Trebellius, after eluding the violence of the soldiery by escaping to a hiding-place, was then allowed, at the cost of shame and humiliation, to govern on sufferance. They arranged between them, so to speak, that the army should enjoy itself, but should spare its general's life; so the mutiny came to an end without bloodshed."
Tacitus Agricola 16.3-4

Trebellius continued Petronius' example of minimal martial activity and consolidated the south-west so effectively that future generals never had to deal with such an activity threatening their rear. He brought the Britons 'the pleasures of peace and civilization'. Following Nero's suicide and the subsequent civil war in Italy, the mood in Britannia province remained calm. Military sympathy was with Vitellius in his clash with Otho. Roscius Coelius, commander of Legio XX forced Trebellius to flee to Vitellius.

"While Nero was still in Greece [summer 68AD] ... the inhabitants of Britain and of Gaul, oppressed by the taxes, were becoming more vexed and inflamed than ever."
Cassius Dio History of Rome LXIII.xxii.1a - Epitome of Zonaras 11.13
"The governor of Britain was Trebellius Maximus, whose greed and meanness made him despised and hated by his soldiers. Their hostility towards him was increased by Roscius Coelius, the commander of the Twentieth Legion, who had long been at odd with him ; but now, on the occasion of civil war, the hostility between the two broke out with great violence. Trebellius charged Coelius with stirring up mutiny and destroying discipline ; Coelius reproached Trebellius with robbing the legions and leaving them poor, while meantime the discipline of the army was broken down by this shameful quarrel between the commanders ; and the trouble reached such a point that Trebellius was openly insulted by the auxiliary soldiers as well as by the legions, and when when deserted by the auxiliary foot and horse who joined Coelius, fled to Vitellius. The province remained quiet, although the consular governor had been removed : control was in the hands of the commanders of the legions, who were equal in authority ; but Coelius actually had the greater power because of his audacity."
Cornelius Tacitus The Histories I.lx - translated by C.H. Moore (1925)

Click here for a breakdown of the military campaigns of Marcus Trebellius Maximus