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4. the Romans in Britain Detail

4. the Romans in Britain Detail

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Published by: Shi Nows Ki on Oct 27, 2011
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The Romans in Britain. 55 and 54BC: Rome’s first expeditions to Britain under Julius Caesar.

From this time Britain traded with Rome and also paid tribute. Prior to the conquest, Rome had already exerted a cultural and economic influence in the south of England. The conquest proper did not take place until 43AD as previously there had been no military occupation. Invasions had been planned previously by Augustus, but either troubles in other parts of the empire prevented this (34 and 25BC) or British kings agreed to pay customs and duties to Rome to keep the peace (27BC). Two British kings (Dumnovellaunus and Tincomarus) went to Rome to talk a settlement with Augustus. In Britain in the 40sAD there were many conflicts in Britain with different kingdoms warring against each other. Around this time the Trinovantes were superseded in power by the Catuvellauni from the south east. They ruled Camulodonum, the most important town in Britain at this time (present-day Colchester). The Atrebates, who had been allies of Caesar, were also under threat. 43AD: Aulus Plautius is given charge of the Emperor Claudius’s legions and they land somewhere in Kent. The Catuvellauni are led by the sons of King Cunobelinus, Togodumnus and Caratacus/Caractacus and try to resist the invasion. Their first resistance takes place at the River Medway, but they are driven back to the Thames. Following a battle there, Togodumnus dies. Around this time Plautius sends word to Rome for Claudius to come to Britain. Probably because of the number of soldiers and the use of elephants, several kings surrendered without need of further battles as Claudius proceeded to Camulodonum. The Romans established their capital there before carrying on the invasion. Four legions remained in Britain: VI, IX, XIV, and XX. Legions advance to the west and north and in under 4 years most of south-east England is occupied and under control. This area could be marked by a line drawn between the Severn and the Humber. The south east is the richest area in the country for minerals and crops. Aulus Plautius was the first governor of Roman Britain at this time. 47AD. Ostorius Scapula is made governor. The Roman army advances into Wales and is confronted by the Silures and Ordovices. Caratacus/Caractacus leads their army and is defeated at the battle of Caer Caradoc. Caratacus/Caractacus takes refuge with the Brigantes but Cartimandua, their Queen, who was at peace with the Romans, hands Caratacus over to them. He is taken to Rome to, presumably, be executed but following a moving speech the Emperor Claudius pardons him. Following the death of Scapula, the new governor is Aulus Gallus (52-57AD). After the earlier defeat of Caratacus, he is able to keep the peace in south-east England. There were no further advances as Claudius preferred to avoid long wars. Moreover, the north was not so attractive for the Romans. 54AD Nero becomes emperor. Quintus Veranius is named governor and continues the invasion across Wales. In 60AD Mona (Anglesey) is destroyed. Boudicca. Around this time (61AD) a rebellion led by Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) of the Iceni takes place (Boadicea’s husband, Prasutagus died in 60AD and perhaps was one of the British kings who surrendered before Claudius’s army).

Roads and forts were built to make the country secure for the Romans. Damnonii). Albans) are sacked by her armies. After the rebellion of Boudicca was put down. The site of the battle is debatable: some place it near Perth. Forts were built throughout the country. Votadini. they take no prisoners). A new Roman headquarters is established at Caerleon. The rest of the Caledonians disappeared into the woods but according to Tacitus all the tribes of Britain had been conquered after this battle. the Romans returned to the area between the Forth and the Tweed. Saetonius Paullinus who had been on an expedition to Mona returns and avenges the killing of Roman soldiers. Agricola’s army had attacked the grain stores of the Caledonians. Around 70-71AD there was a rebellion among the Brigantes: Cartumandua’s husband (Ventius) began a revolt. His army is opposed by Calgacus/Galgacus. Some tribes did not attempt to confront the Romans (Novantae.000 Romans. Camulodonum (Colchester) London and Verulamium (St. The lands of the Selgovae were occupied and central and southern Scotland was under control. She asked the Romans for help and the Roman legions led by Quintus Petillius Cerialis (the new governor 71AD) defeated him in the north. throwing missiles but were eventually pushed back by the Roman forces. He was able to maintain peace in these conquered areas during his time as governor and could turn his attention to Scotland. After this the Brigantes became a more Romanised tribe. It is sometimes thought that Tacitus exaggerated Agricola’s great victory for political or personal reasons (he was Agricola’s son-in-law). Before moving into Scotland. even after this victory. also known as Galgagh leader of the Caledonians. In 82AD his army sails west to an area that might have been Kintyre or Argyll (or both). 74AD Sextus Julius Frontinus becomes the new Governor and leads a campaign against the Silures in Wales. It is said his legions were kept in reserve and it was the Batavians who fought for Agricola. Boudicca commits suicide by poison. Agricola wins a definitive victory at the Battle of Mons Graupius.Her (Boudicca/Boudica/Boadicea) armies give no quarter to the Romans (that is. Even women and children were prepared to face the Romans. Agricola 78AD: Gnaeus Julius Agricola becomes governor. 80AD Agricola marches as far as the Firth of Forth and then beyond to the Firth of Tay. Agricola had forts built in the conquered territories to ensure peace. 30. However. 80. In 84AD.000 Caledonii faced 20.000 British men and women are killed to only 400 Roman deaths. In 83-84 His army moves north by land and sea along the north-east coast of Scotland. successive Roman governors continued expansion north. others in the north east. There was a line of forts between the Clyde and the Forth. His army stays there till 81AD and on returning south makes the conquered Scottish lands secure. . The use of soldiers on horseback made a great difference and the Caledonians were pursued and many were killed: 10. The Caledonians confronted the Romans. He defeated several tribes that had regained their independence after conquest including the Ordovices (Wales) and the Brigantes in the North of England and the Selgovae in South East Scotland. Agricola had served in Britain before and knew the country well. Some Roman camps had been established in Scotland before Agricola began his campaign there.000 losses to only 360 Romans.

also. This was to become the frontier line marked by Hadrian’s Wall (122-127AD) built because of the threat from the warlike tribes. This included 19 forts built along a wall of turf and earth from near Grangemouth (Firth of Forth) in the east and Kilpatrick on the Clyde in the west. There were many Roman camps throughout Scotland and they did try to invade on other occasions.000 natives. had no thoughts of invasion. From this time on.After 84AD Agricola’s successors did not take advantage of his gains. Their children would become the Romanized Celts who fled the Anglo-Saxon invasions which virtually wiped out all Roman influence. in 209. were often helped by another Celtic tribe. Some also went into that area to preach Christianity. In 142AD the frontier was established further north when the Antonine Wall was built. For example. his son. there would be explorers. the imperial guard and several fleets killed 50. This was so because of rebellions by the Brigantes from the rear. the Emperor Septimus Severus began an invasion of the lands of the Caledonians because of trouble with the Maeatae tribe. the Caledonians. This new frontier did not last long and the Roman forces retreated to Hadrian’s Wall once more around 197AD. who had moved to Scotland from Ireland. The Brigantes and the Selgovae were particularly hostile and were not interested in Roman ways. also called Picts. some trade and occasional truces in the lands between the walls. . There was virtually an attempted genocide as 3 legions. the Scotti. The Romans retreated once again to Hadrian’s Wall where Severus planned another invasion but he died at York. The Caledonians were not attacked further to avoid ongoing conflict. In the end it was only the south east where Roman influence was greatest and to the west and north Celtic tribalism survived. Tacitus tells how the Romans civilized the Celts by offering their chieftains inducements to take up Roman customs and use Roman dress. The occupied territories were eventually limited to the lands between the Solway in the West and the Tyne in the east. The Northern tribes in fact recovered and became hostile again. Caracalla.

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