City of SE England Durovernum

CANTERBURY. City of SE England Durovernum Cantiacorum, with good probability was one of the first emplacements aimed at by the Romans after their landing on the coast of Kent in AD 43. Three important arterial military roads, from Rutupiae Richborough, Dubris Dover and Lemanis Lympne, converged at Canterbury, from whence departed and ran in a straight line the main road to Londinium London: this convergence of communication routes sealed the site’s strategic importance, already recognized and valued by the autochthonous communities. After the Roman period, Canterbury had great importance at the time of Augustine’s mission of evangelization, initiated by Gregory I. In 597, monks from the Roman monastery of St. Andrew on the Caelian Mount, after landing on the beaches of Kent, found a genuine support in the powerful local king Ethelbert of Cantia, whose wife Bertha, daughter of the Merovingian king of Paris Charibert, was a Christian. The pope had wanted the metropolitan see for S England to be established at London but, after the king’s conversion, and considering the repeated and kind concessions he had bestowed on the missionaries, Augustine decided for Canterbury. Following this choice, as Bede recounts in detail, Augustine decided to restore an ancient church built in Canterbury in Roman times, dedicating it to the Savior Hist. eccl. gent. angl. I, 33; this valuable circumstance allows us to hypothesize contrary to the archaeological data and the silence of the literary sources the existence of a primitive Christian community at Durovernum Cantiacorum.

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