THE BURNING OF THE VILLA.
"COUNT OF THE SAXON SHORE" was a title bestowed by
Maximian (collegue of Diocletian in the Empire from 286
to 305 A.D.) on the officer whose task it was to
protect the coasts of Britain and Gaul from the attacks
of the Saxon pirates. It appears to have existed down
to the abandonment of Britain by the Romans.
So little is known from history about the last years of
the Roman occupation that the writer of fiction has
almost a free hand. In this story a novel, but, it is
hoped, not an improbable, view is taken in an important
event—the withdrawl of the legions. This is commonly
assigned to the year 410, when the Emperor Honorius
formally withdrew the Imperial protection from Britain.
But the usurper Constantine had actually removed the
British army two years before; and, as he was busied
with the conquest of Gaul and Spain for a considerable
time after, it is not likely that they were ever sent