During the period between the time of Hadrian and the withdrawal of the Roman legions, the old city by the river prospered and increased, and the later Emperors had ceased to look upon Britain as the Ultima Thule of their dominions. Eboracum, or York, slightly eclipsed London for a time, and it was at York that Constantius died.
St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, is supposed by some to have been a British princess. Some time before this period a mighty change was silently at work. Christianity had been brought here in very early days of the Roman supremacy, and by the time of Constantine had made such progress that it had its bishops; one of whom, Restitutus, Bishop of London, attended the council at Arles.
This early establishment of Christianity, although eclipsed for a time, until revived by St. Augustine's mission to the Saxons, made its mark on the old city on the Thames, and probably altered its appearance somewhat. The troubles nearer home which threatened Rome made it imperative that she should recall her scattered legions, and very soon the old bridge over the river echoed with the martial tread of the legions on their way to the south coast for embarkation.Next page: The rise of the Saxons