Roman conquest of Britain

The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Roman Britain (Latin: Britannia). After capturing the south of the island, the Romans turned their attention to what is now Wales. The Silures, Ordovices and Deceangli remained implacably opposed to the invaders and for the first few decades were the focus of Roman military attention, despite occasional minor revolts among Roman allies like the Brigantes and the Iceni. The Silures were led by Caratacus, and he carried out an effective guerrilla attack campaign against Governor Publius Ostorius Scapula. Finally, in 51, Ostorius lured Caratacus into a set-piece battle and defeated him. The British leader sought refuge among the Brigantes, but their queen, Cartimandua, proved her loyalty by surrendering him to the Romans. He was brought as a captive to Rome, where a dignified speech he made during Claudius's triumph persuaded the emperor to spare his life. The Silures were still not pacified, and Cartimandua's ex-husband Venutius replaced Caratacus as the most prominent leader of British resistance.[4]

In 60–61, while Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning in Wales, the southeast of Britain rose in revolt under Boudica, widow of the recently-deceased king of the Iceni, Prasutagus, provoked by the seizure of the tribe's lands and the brutal treatment of the queen and her daughters. Prasutagus had left a will leaving half his kingdom to Nero in the hope that the rest would be left untouched. He was wrong. The Iceni, joined by the Trinovantes, destroyed the Roman colony at Camulodunum and routed the part of the IX legion that was sent to relieve it. Suetonius Paulinus rode to Londinium, the rebels' next target, but concluded it could not be defended. Abandoned, it was destroyed, as was Verulamium. Between 70,000 and 80,000 people are said to have been killed in the three cities. But Suetonius regrouped with two of the three legions still available to him, chose a battlefield, and, despite being outnumbered by more than 20 to 1, defeated the rebels in the Battle of Watling Street. Boudica, like Cleopatra before her, committed suicide to avoid the disgrace of being paraded in triumph in Rome.[1] In the following years, the Romans conquered more of the island, increasing the size of Roman Britain. Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola conquered the Ordovices in 78. With XX Valeria Victrix, Agricola defeated the Caledonians in 84 at the Battle of Mons Graupius, in what is today northern Scotland. This marked the high point of Roman territory in Britain.

Significant Germanic migration to Britain seems to have taken place only after the coming of the Romans. The Germanic speakers came originally as auxiliary troops to support the Romans in their conquest of the Celts. As Britain entered the Anglo-Saxon phase of its history, links with the South of Europe were less important and for several centuries it fell within the Scandinavian zone of influence, which had never known Roman rule. However, following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, it became once more despite its off-shore location part and parcel of the European space.

Roman conquest of Britain

Roman conquest of Britain, showing the dominant local tribes/kingdoms conquered in each area.
Date43–84 AD
Result Roman victory
Roman Empire Celtic Britons
Commanders and leaders
Aulus Plautius
Casualties and losses
Iceni Revolt
70,000–80,000 Romans and Roman sympathisers killed
Iceni Revolt
80,000 killed[1]
43–84 AD
100,000–250,000 killed[2][3]


Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since Julius Caesar's expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, and Roman economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south.

Between 55 BC and the 40s AD, the status quo of tribute, hostages, and client states without direct military occupation, begun by Caesar's invasions of Britain, largely remained intact. Augustus prepared invasions in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms.[5] According to Augustus's Res Gestae, two British kings, Dubnovellaunus and Tincomarus, fled to Rome as supplicants during his reign,[6] and Strabo's Geography, written during this period, says Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered.[7]

By the 40s AD, the political situation within Britain was apparently in ferment. The Catuvellauni had displaced the Trinovantes as the most powerful kingdom in south-eastern Britain, taking over the former Trinovantian capital of Camulodunum (Colchester), and were pressing their neighbours the Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Julius Caesar's former ally Commius.[8]

Caligula may have planned a campaign against the Britons in 40, but its execution was unclear: according to Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, he drew up his troops in battle formation facing the English Channel and, once his forces had become quite confused, ordered them to gather seashells, referring to them as "plunder from the ocean due to the Capitol and the Palace".[9] Alternatively, he may have actually told them to gather "huts", since the word musculi was also soldier's slang for engineer's huts and Caligula himself was very familiar with the Empire's soldiers.[10] In any case this readied the troops and facilities that would make Claudius' invasion possible three years later. For example, Caligula built a lighthouse at Bononia (modern Boulogne-sur-Mer), the Tour D'Ordre, that provided a model for the one built soon after at Dubris (Dover).

Claudian preparations

In 43, possibly by re-collecting Caligula's troops from 40, Claudius mounted an invasion force to re-instate Verica, an exiled king of the Atrebates.[11] Aulus Plautius, a distinguished senator, was given overall charge of four legions, totalling about 20,000 men, plus about the same number of auxiliaries. The legions were:

The II Augusta is known to have been commanded by the future emperor Vespasian. Three other men of appropriate rank to command legions are known from the sources to have been involved in the invasion. Cassius Dio mentions Gnaeus Hosidius Geta, who probably led the IX Hispana, and Vespasian's brother Titus Flavius Sabinus the Younger. He wrote that Sabinus was Vespasian's lieutenant, but as Sabinus was the older brother and preceded Vespasian into public life, he could hardly have been a military tribune. Eutropius mentions Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus, although as a former consul he may have been too senior, and perhaps accompanied Claudius later.[12]

Crossing and landing

The main invasion force under Aulus Plautius crossed in three divisions. The port of departure is usually taken to have been Boulogne (Latin: Bononia), and the main landing at Rutupiae (Richborough, on the east coast of Kent). Neither of these locations is certain. Dio does not mention the port of departure, and although Suetonius says that the secondary force under Claudius sailed from Boulogne,[13] it does not necessarily follow that the entire invasion force did. Richborough has a large natural harbour which would have been suitable, and archaeology shows Roman military occupation at about the right time. However, Dio says the Romans sailed east to west, and a journey from Boulogne to Richborough is south to north. Some historians[14] suggest a sailing from Boulogne to the Solent, landing in the vicinity of Noviomagus (Chichester) or Southampton, in territory formerly ruled by Verica. An alternative explanation might be a sailing from the mouth of the Rhine to Richborough, which would be east to west.[15]

River battles

British resistance was led by Togodumnus and Caratacus, sons of the late king of the Catuvellauni, Cunobeline. A substantial British force met the Romans at a river crossing thought to be near Rochester on the River Medway. The battle raged for two days. Gnaeus Hosidius Geta was almost captured, but recovered and turned the battle so decisively that he was awarded the "Roman triumph".

The British were pushed back to the Thames. They were pursued by the Romans across the river causing some Roman losses in the marshes of Essex. Whether the Romans made use of an existing bridge for this purpose or built a temporary one is uncertain. At least one division of auxiliary Batavian troops swam across the river as a separate force.

Togodumnus died shortly after the battle on the Thames. Plautius halted and sent word for Claudius to join him for the final push. Cassius Dio presents this as Plautius needing the emperor's assistance to defeat the resurgent British, who were determined to avenge Togodumnus. However, Claudius was no military man. Claudius's arch says he received the surrender of eleven kings without any loss,[16] and Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars says that Claudius received the surrender of the Britons without battle or bloodshed.[17] It is likely that the Catuvellauni were already as good as beaten, allowing the emperor to appear as conqueror on the final march on Camulodunum. Cassius Dio relates that he brought war elephants and heavy armaments which would have overawed any remaining native resistance. Eleven tribes of South East Britain surrendered to Claudius and the Romans prepared to move further west and north. The Romans established their new capital at Camulodunum and Claudius returned to Rome to celebrate his victory. Caratacus escaped and would continue the resistance further west.

AD 44–60
Roman campaigns from AD 43 to 60.
Campaigns under Aulus Plautius, focused on the commercially valuable southeast of Britain.
Roman Empire in 54 AD
The Roman Empire in AD 54.

Vespasian took a force westwards subduing tribes and capturing oppida as he went, going at least as far as Exeter, which would appear to have become an early base for Leg. II Augusta. [18] Legio IX Hispana was sent north towards Lincoln (Latin: Lindum Colonia) and within four years of the invasion it is likely that an area south of a line from the Humber to the Severn Estuary was under Roman control. That this line is followed by the Roman road of the Fosse Way has led many historians to debate the route's role as a convenient frontier during the early occupation. It is more likely that the border between Roman and Iron Age Britain was less direct and more mutable during this period.

Late in 47 the new governor of Britain, Publius Ostorius Scapula, began a campaign against the tribes of modern-day Wales, and the Cheshire Gap. The Silures of southeast Wales caused considerable problems to Ostorius and fiercely defended the Welsh border country. Caratacus himself was defeated in the Battle of Caer Caradoc and fled to the Roman client tribe of the Brigantes who occupied the Pennines. Their queen, Cartimandua was unable or unwilling to protect him however given her own truce with the Romans and handed him over to the invaders. Ostorius died and was replaced by Aulus Didius Gallus who brought the Welsh borders under control but did not move further north or west, probably because Claudius was keen to avoid what he considered a difficult and drawn-out war for little material gain in the mountainous terrain of upland Britain. When Nero became emperor in 54, he seems to have decided to continue the invasion and appointed Quintus Veranius as governor, a man experienced in dealing with the troublesome hill tribes of Anatolia. Veranius and his successor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus mounted a successful campaign across Wales, famously destroying the druidical centre at Mona or Anglesey in 60 at what historians later called the Menai Massacre. Final occupation of Wales was postponed however when the rebellion of Boudica forced the Romans to return to the south east. The Silures were not finally conquered until circa 76 when Sextus Julius Frontinus' long campaign against them began to have success.

AD 60–78

Following the successful suppression of Boudica's uprising, a number of new Roman governors continued the conquest by edging north. Cartimandua was forced to ask for Roman aid following a rebellion by her husband Venutius. Quintus Petillius Cerialis took his legions from Lincoln as far as York and defeated Venutius near Stanwick around 70. This resulted in the already Romanised Brigantes and Parisii tribes being further assimilated into the empire proper. Frontinus was sent into Roman Britain in 74 to succeed Quintus Petillius Cerialis as governor of that island. He subdued the Silures and other hostile tribes of Wales, establishing a new base at Caerleon for Legio II Augusta (Isca Augusta) and a network of smaller forts fifteen to twenty kilometres apart for his auxiliary units. During his tenure, he probably established the fort at Pumsaint in west Wales, largely to exploit the gold deposits at Dolaucothi. He retired in 78, and later he was appointed water commissioner in Rome. The new governor was Gnaeus Julius Agricola, made famous through the highly laudatory biography of him written by his son-in-law, Tacitus.

Campaigns of Agricola (AD 78–84)

Agricola's campaigns.
Northern campaigns.
Roman military organization in the north.
Roman Empire in 96 AD
The Roman Empire in AD 96.

Arriving in mid-summer of 78, Agricola found several previously defeated peoples had re-established their independence. The first to be dealt with were the Ordovices of north Wales, who had destroyed a cavalry ala of Roman auxiliaries stationed in their territory. Knowing the terrain from his prior military service in Britain, he was able to move quickly to defeat and virtually exterminate them. He then invaded Anglesey, forcing the inhabitants to sue for peace.[19] The following year he moved against the Brigantes of northern England and the Selgovae along the southern coast of Scotland, using overwhelming military power to re-establish Roman control.[20]

Scotland before Agricola

Details of the early years of the Roman occupation in North Britain are unclear but began no earlier than 71, as Tacitus says that in that year Petillius Cerialis (governor 71–74) waged a successful war against the Brigantes,[21] whose territory straddled Britain along the Solway-Tyne line. Tacitus praises both Cerialis and his successor Julius Frontinus (governor 75–78), but provides no additional information on events prior to 79 regarding the lands or peoples living north of the Brigantes. The Romans certainly would have followed up their initial victory over the Brigantes in some manner. In particular, archaeology has shown the Romans campaigned and built military camps in the north along Gask Ridge, controlling the glens that provided access to and from the Scottish Highlands, and also throughout the Scottish Lowlands in northeastern Scotland. In describing Agricola's campaigns, Tacitus does not explicitly state that this is actually a return to lands previously occupied by Rome, where Roman occupation either had been thrown off by the Brittonic inhabitants, or had been abandoned by the Romans.

Agricola in Caledonia

Tacitus says that after a combination of force and diplomacy quieted discontent among the Britons who had been conquered previously, Agricola built forts in their territories in 79. In 80 he marched to the Firth of Tay (some historians hold that he stopped along the Firth of Forth in that year), not returning south until 81, at which time he consolidated his gains in the new lands that he had conquered, and in the rebellious lands that he had re-conquered.[22] In 82 he sailed to either Kintyre or the shores of Argyll, or to both. In 83 and 84 he moved north along Scotland's eastern and northern coasts using both land and naval forces, campaigning successfully against the inhabitants, and winning a significant victory over the northern British peoples led by Calgacus at the Battle of Mons Graupius.[23]

Prior to his recall in 84, Agricola built a network of military roads and forts to secure the Roman occupation. Existing forts were strengthened and new ones planted in northeastern Scotland along the Highland Line, consolidating control of the glens that provided access to and from the Scottish Highlands. The line of military communication and supply along southeastern Scotland and northeastern England (i.e., Dere Street) was well-fortified. In southern-most Caledonia, the lands of the Selgovae (approximating to modern Dumfriesshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright) were heavily planted with forts, not only establishing effective control there, but also completing a military enclosure of south-central Scotland (most of the Southern Uplands, Teviotdale, and western Tweeddale).[24] In contrast to Roman actions against the Selgovae, the territories of the Novantae, Damnonii, and Votadini were not planted with forts, and there is nothing to indicate that the Romans were at war with them.

AD 84–96

Agricola was recalled to Rome by Domitian. His successors are not named in any surviving source, but it seems they were unable or unwilling to further subdue the far north. The fortress at Inchtuthil was dismantled before its completion and the other fortifications of the Gask Ridge in Perthshire, erected to consolidate the Roman presence in Scotland in the aftermath of Mons Graupius, were abandoned within the space of a few years. It is equally likely that the costs of a drawn-out war outweighed any economic or political benefit and it was more profitable to leave the Caledonians alone and only under de jure submission.

Failure to conquer Caledonia

Roman occupation was withdrawn to a line subsequently established as one of the limites (singular limes) of the empire (i.e., a defensible frontier) by the construction of Hadrian's Wall. An attempt was made to push this line north to the River Clyde-River Forth area in 142 when the Antonine Wall was constructed. This was once again abandoned after two decades and only subsequently re-occupied on an occasional basis.

The Romans retreated to the earlier and stronger Hadrian's Wall in the River Tyne-Solway Firth frontier area, this having been constructed around 122. Roman troops, however, penetrated far into the north of modern Scotland several more times. Indeed, there is a greater density of Roman marching camps in Scotland than anywhere else in Europe as a result of at least four major attempts to subdue the area.

The most notable was in 209 when the emperor Septimius Severus, claiming to be provoked by the belligerence of the Maeatae tribe, campaigned against the Caledonian Confederacy, a coalition of Brittonic Pictish[25] tribes of the north of Britain. He used the three legions of the British garrison (augmented by the recently formed 2nd Parthica legion), 9000 imperial guards with cavalry support, and numerous auxiliaries supplied from the sea by the British fleet, the Rhine fleet and two fleets transferred from the Danube for the purpose. According to Dio Cassius, he inflicted genocidal depredations on the natives and incurred the loss of 50,000 of his own men to the attrition of guerrilla tactics before having to withdraw to Hadrian's Wall. He repaired and reinforced the wall with a degree of thoroughness that led most subsequent Roman authors to attribute the construction of the wall to him. It was during the negotiations to purchase the truce necessary to secure the Roman retreat to the wall that the first recorded utterance, attributable with any reasonable degree of confidence, to a native of Scotland was made (as recorded by Dio Cassius). When Septimius Severus's wife, Julia Domna, criticised the sexual morals of the Caledonian women, the wife of a Caledonian chief, Argentocoxos, replied: "We consort openly with the best of men while you allow yourselves to be debauched in private by the worst".[26] The emperor Septimius Severus died at York while planning to renew hostilities, and these plans were abandoned by his son Caracalla.

Later excursions into Scotland by the Romans were generally limited to the scouting expeditions of exploratores in the buffer zone that developed between the walls, trading contacts, bribes to purchase truces from the natives, and eventually the spread of Christianity. The degree to which the Romans interacted with the Goidelic-speaking island of Hibernia (modern Ireland) is still unresolved amongst archaeologists in Ireland. The successes and failures of the Romans in subduing the peoples of Britain are still represented in the political geography of the British Isles today.

See also

Roman Conquest Monument, Walmer
A monument to the conquest, in Walmer, Kent.


  1. ^ a b Making Europe: The Story of the West, Volume I to 1790. 2013. p. 162.
  2. ^ Gillespie, Caitlin C. (2018). Boudica: Warrior Woman of Roman Britain. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190875589.
  3. ^ Nicholas, Crane (2016). The Making Of The British Landscape: From the Ice Age to the Present. ISBN 9780297857358.
  4. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 12:31–38
  5. ^ Dio Cassius, Roman History 49.38, 53.22, 53.25
  6. ^ Augustus, Res Gestae Divi Augusti 32. The name of the second king is defaced, but Tincomarus is the most likely reconstruction.
  7. ^ Strabo, Geography 4.5
  8. ^ John Creighton (2000), Coins and power in Late Iron Age Britain, Cambridge University Press
  9. ^ Suetonius, Caligula 44–46; Dio Cassius, Roman History 59.25
  10. ^ Caligula: Mad, bad, and maybe a little misunderstood, Telegraph
  11. ^ Dio Cassius, Roman History 60.19–22
  12. ^ Eutropius, Abridgement of Roman History 7:13
  13. ^ Suetonius, Claudius 17
  14. ^ For example, John Manley, AD43: a Reassessment.
  15. ^ Strabo (Geography 4:5.2) names the Rhine as a commonly used point of departure for crossings to Britain in the 1st century AD.
  16. ^ Arch of Claudius
  17. ^ Suetonius, Claudius 17
  18. ^ Suetonius, Vespasian 4
  19. ^ Tacitus & 98:363–364, Life of Agricola, Ch. 18
  20. ^ Tacitus & 98:365–366, Life of Agricola, Ch. 20–21
  21. ^ Tacitus & 98:362, Life of Agricola, Ch. 17
  22. ^ Tacitus & 98:364–368, Life of Agricola, Ch. 19–23.
  23. ^ Tacitus & 98:368–380, Life of Agricola, Ch. 24–38.
  24. ^ Frere 1987:88–89, Britannia
  25. ^ ^ Encyclopaedia Romana. University of Chicago. accessed March 1, 2007
  26. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 77.16


Further reading

  • The Great Invasion, Leonard Cottrell, Coward–McCann, New York, 1962, hardback. Was published in the UK in 1958.
  • Tacitus, Histories, Annals and De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae
  • A.D. 43, John Manley, Tempus, 2002.
  • Roman Britain, Peter Salway, Oxford, 1986
  • Miles Russel – Ruling Britannia – History Today 8/2005 pp 5–6
  • Francis Pryor. 2004. Britain BC. New York: HarperPerennial.
  • Francis Pryor. 2004. Britain AD. New York: HarperCollins.
  • George Shipway – Imperial Governor. 2002. London: Cassell Military Paperbacks.
1st century in Roman Britain

Events from the 1st century in Roman Britain.

Ala Gallorum Indiana

The Ala Gallorum Indiana ("Indus's Wing of Gauls") was a Gaulish auxiliary cavalry unit in the Roman army, named after its first commander, Julius Indus, a nobleman of the Treveri who helped put down a Gaulish rebellion in 21.

The Ala Indiana is thought to have participated in the Roman conquest of Britain, and by the mid-to-late 1st century was posted at Corinum (Cirencester). In 98 it is recorded in Germania Inferior, and in 134 in Germania Superior. The only mention of this ala in Britain is the tombstone of an eques from Cirencester with a style dating around 70.

Aulus Plautius

Aulus Plautius was a Roman politician and general of the mid-1st century. He began the Roman conquest of Britain in 43, and became the first governor of the new province, serving from 43 to 46.


Cartimandua or Cartismandua (reigned c. AD 43 – c. 69) was a 1st-century queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people living in what is now northern England. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome. Our only knowledge of her is through the Roman historian Tacitus, though she appears to have been widely influential in early Roman Britain.

Her name may be a compound of the Common Celtic roots *carti- "chase, expel, send" and *mandu- "pony".


Cartivellaunos was a local ruler or king based in the English East Midlands, around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain. He is traditionally thought to have been a ruler of the Corieltavi, who inhabited this region in the Roman period and perhaps before.

He is known only through inscriptions on coins. His name appears on coins minted c. AD 30-60, paired with the name Volisios, who is thought to have been an ally or co-rulers.

Conquest (military)

Conquest is the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of arms.

The Norman conquest of England provides an example: it led to the subjugation of the Kingdom of England to Norman control and brought William the Conqueror to the English throne in 1066. Military history provides many other examples of conquest: the Roman conquest of Britain, the Mauryan conquest of Afghanistan and vast areas of the Indian subcontinent, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and various Muslim conquests, to mention just a few.


Dumnocoveros was a local ruler or king based in the English East Midlands, around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain. He is traditionally thought to have been a ruler of the Corieltavi, who inhabited this region in the Roman period and perhaps before.

He is only known from coin inscriptions, which suggest that he was a co-ruler or subordinate of Volisios.

Fishbourne Roman Palace

Fishbourne Roman Palace is in the village of Fishbourne, Chichester in West Sussex. The palace is the largest residential Roman building discovered in Britain and has an unusually early date of 75 AD, around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain. Its many superb mosaic floors dating from this period make it even more exceptional.

Much of the palace has been excavated and is preserved, along with an on-site museum. The rectangular palace surrounded formal gardens, the northern parts of which have been reconstructed.

Extensive alterations were made in the 2nd and 3rd centuries when many of the original black and white mosaics were overlaid with more sophisticated coloured work, including the perfectly preserved dolphin mosaic in the north wing. More alterations were in progress when the palace burnt down in around 270, after which it was abandoned.

Gnaeus Hosidius Geta

Gaius or Gnaeus Hosidius Geta (; c. 20 – after 95) was a Roman Senator and general who lived in the 1st century. Geta was a praetor some time before 42. In 42, commanding a legion, probably the Legio IX Hispana in the Africa Province, he was a part of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus' campaigns into Mauretania.

Geta defeated Sabalus, a chief of the Mauri, twice, and after gathering as much water as could be carried, pursued him into the desert. Sabalus' forces were more used to the conditions and the legion's water began to run out. A native friendly to the Romans persuaded Geta to perform a rain ritual used by his people and rain began to fall. The Romans' thirst was relieved and the Mauri, seeing the heavens come to their enemies' aid, surrendered.

Geta and his legion were part of the Roman conquest of Britain, led by Aulus Plautius, the following year. Geta was almost captured in the Battle of the Medway in the early part of the campaign, but recovered and turned the battle so decisively that he received the ornamenta triumphalia, which was unusual as he had not yet been a Consul. He was a Legatus in Britannia circa 45. An inscription found in Rome reveals that he became Suffect Consul in 49.

Geta married, but the name of his wife is unknown. He had a daughter called Hosidia, born ca 65. Hosidia married Marcus Vitorius Marcellus, a man of consular rank and a friend of the poet Statius. Hosidia and Marcellus had a son called Gaius Vitorius Hosidius Geta.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (; 13 June 40 – 23 August 93) was a Gallo-Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. Written by his son-in-law Tacitus, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae is the primary source for most of what is known about him, along with detailed archaeological evidence from northern Britain.Agricola began his military career in Britain, serving under governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. His subsequent career saw him serve in a variety of positions; he was appointed quaestor in Asia province in 64, then Plebeian Tribune in 66, and praetor in 68. He supported Vespasian during the Year of the Four Emperors (69), and was given a military command in Britain when the latter became emperor. When his command ended in 73, he was made patrician in Rome and appointed governor of Gallia Aquitania. He was made consul and governor of Britannia in 77. While there, he completed the conquest of what is now Wales and northern England, and led his army to the far north of Scotland, establishing forts across much of the Lowlands. He was recalled from Britain in 85 after an unusually lengthy service, and thereafter retired from military and public life.

Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus

Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus was the name of two Roman senators, father and son.

The elder Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus was one of three sons of Gaius Sentius Saturninus, who was imperial legate to Syria in 9-6 BC. He was suffect consul the same year his older brother, Gaius Sentius Saturninus, was consul ordinarius in 4 AD. In 19 AD he replaced Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso as governor of Syria whom he compelled to return to Rome to stand trial for the murder of Germanicus Caesar.

The younger Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus was consul in 41 AD alongside the emperor Caligula. When Caligula was murdered that same year he made a speech in the Senate welcoming the return of liberty and urging his fellow senators to preserve it. His ring, which bore Caligula's image, was removed and broken by a fellow senator, Trebellius Maximus. Claudius had already been named as the new emperor, but Sentius and another senator, Pomponius Secundus, were prepared to oppose him, by force if necessary, to restore senatorial rule. The army, for their part, supported Claudius and were prepared to use force against the Senate, but Claudius met the rebellious senators and won them over. Eutropius named Sentius as one of the commanders involved in the Roman conquest of Britain two years later.

Maiden Castle, Cheshire

Maiden Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, one of many fortified hill-top settlements constructed across Britain during the Iron Age, but one of only seven in the county of Cheshire in northern England. The hill fort was probably occupied from its construction in 600 BC until the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century AD. At this time the Cornovii tribe are recorded to have occupied parts of the surrounding area but, because they left no distinctive pottery or metalworking, their occupation has not been verified. Since then it has been quarried and used for military exercises. It is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is owned by the National Trust. The hill fort is open to visitors, but unrestricted access to the site has resulted in it being classified as "at high risk" from erosion.

Mining in Roman Britain

Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was probably one of the reasons for the Roman conquest of Britain. They were able to use advanced technology to find, develop and extract valuable minerals on a scale unequaled until the Middle ages.

Pomponia Graecina

Pomponia Graecina (d. 83 AD) was a noble Roman woman of the 1st century who was related to the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was the wife of Aulus Plautius, the general who led the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD, and was renowned as one of the few people who dared to publicly mourn the death of a kinswoman killed by the Imperial family. It has been speculated that she was an early Christian. She is identified by some as Lucina or Lucy, a saint honoured by the Roman Catholic Church.


Tasciovanus was a historical king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain.

Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus

Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus (or Togidubnus, Togidumnus or similar) was a 1st-century king of the Regnenses or Regni tribe in early Roman Britain. The currently accepted preferred name is Togidubnus.Chichester and the nearby Roman villa at Fishbourne, believed by some to have been Togidubnus' palace, were probably part of the territory of the Atrebates tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43. Togidubnus may therefore have been an heir of Verica, the Atrebatic king whose overthrow prompted the emperor Claudius to invade. After the conquest the area formed part of the civitas of the Regnenses / Regni, possibly Togidubnus' kingdom before being incorporated into the Roman province. The public baths, amphitheatre and forum in Silchester were probably built in Togidubnus' time.


Volisios was a local ruler or king based in the English East Midlands, around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain. He is traditionally thought to have been a ruler of the Corieltavi, who inhabited this region in the Roman period and perhaps before.

He is known only through inscriptions on coins. His name appears on three series of coins, minted c. AD 30-60, paired with three other names, which are thought to be allies or subordinate rulers, Dumnovellaunus, Dumnocoveros and Cartivellaunos. A large number of his coins were found in two hoards found at Lightcliffe and Honley in Yorkshire.

War Memorials Register

The War Memorials Register (WMR), formerly the UK National Inventory of War Memorials, was founded in 1989 to build a comprehensive record of every war memorial in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Based at the Imperial War Museums (IWM) in London, the database has so far recorded over 68,000 war memorials. These records are available in an online database available on the IWM website. It is a volunteer-led project, with a group of volunteers based at the IWM and fieldworkers from around the country working to record and update war memorial information.

The key information recorded includes: location, description, category, inscription, names recorded and photographs.

War memorials are defined as any tangible object which has been erected or dedicated to commemorate war, conflict, victory or peace; or casualties who served in, were affected by or killed as a result of war, conflict or peacekeeping; or those who died as a result of accident or disease whilst engaged in military service. This includes memorials to civilian casualties and animals. While most memorials commemorate the First and Second World Wars, all conflicts are covered, from the Roman conquest of Britain to current-day actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The WMR is working to compile a comprehensive online record of all war memorials in the UK, together with the names of the individuals whom they commemorate.

Winchester Hoard

The Winchester Hoard is a hoard of Iron Age gold found in a field in the Winchester area of Hampshire, England, in 2000, by a retired florist and amateur metal detectorist, Kevan Halls. It was declared treasure and valued at £350,000—the highest reward granted under the Treasure Act 1996 up to the time.

The hoard consists of two sets of jewellery of a very high purity of gold dating from 75–25 BCE. Although, the items pre-date the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 CE, the manufacturing technology was Roman rather than Celtic. The total weight of the items is nearly 1,160 g (41 oz).

The find was described as "the most important discovery of Iron Age gold objects" for fifty years; and the items were probably an "expensive", "diplomatic gift". The brooches alone were "the third discovery of its kind from Britain".

The Winchester Hoard is now housed at the British Museum in London.

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