A story of the coming of Roman rule to Wales.
Roman Wales - The Roman Invasion
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
The powerful Catevellauni tribe controlled a large swath of territory from Surrey to Essex. The Catevellauni had strong links with the Belgae of France, and their highly developed society produced its own coins, and engaged in a lively trade with the continent. There is even some suggestion that the Catevellauni had evolved an early form of written language. But as with many powerful kingdoms, the Catevellauni had powerful enemies, and equally powerful internal struggles.
The king of the Catevellauni in the fourth decade of the modern era was Cunobelinus, who has been identified as the Old King Cole of nursery rhyme fame. This Cunobelinus - the name is that given him by later Roman commentators - had three sons, Caratacus, Togodumnus, and Amminius.
Amminius was exiled by his father for unnamed offences. When Cunobelinus died in about 40AD, Caratacus and Togodumnus took control of the kingdom.
Amminius was not one to give in easily. He appealed to Rome for aid in establishing his claim to the kingdom of the Catevellauni. It was, in retrospect, a rather foolish move, for he provided the perfect excuse for the Romans to invade Britain.
In 43AD 40,000 Roman troops under Aulus Plautius landed in the south-east of England. They dealt speedily with the Catevellauni, and established a strong military presence in the south. The preliminary frontier of the new Roman territory was the Fosse Way, a road running from Exeter to Lincoln.
But the Romans did not have it all their own way in Britain. The Silures defeated the forces sent against them in 52AD, and the grip of the Romans on their new British territory remained a troubled one. Fresh campaigns in 57 and 60AD struck deep into Welsh territory.
See our map of the major Roman forts and roads in Wales here
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