(pl. coloniae) [MC]
The Latin name for the highest rank of a Roman chartered town. A colonia's inhabitants were Roman citizens who governed themselves according to a constitution modelled on that of Rome itself. In provinces such as Britain, coloniae were founded by granting land to legionary veterans. In the later Roman period, the title might be awarded as an honour to some particularly important settlement. York, for example, was made a colonia, probably in the early 3rd century ad in recognition of its pre‐eminent position in the north of England.