Claudius’ Conquest of Britain

Historical, cultural, political & military background to Roman Empire’s expansion into Britain.

The Roman conquest of Britain by Claudius’ legions in A.D. 43 illustrates several aspects of the process of expansion of the Roman empire. The Roman attitude toward the barbarian world, the ever-increasing political importance of expansion, the dependence of the emperors on the armies, and manner in which conquest was a self-generating process can all be seen in a brief examination of the circumstances surrounding the conquest of Britain.
The poets and historians of the Augustan age reinforced the growing belief that there was no part of the known world that Rome was not intended to rule. As the historian Livy noted, Jupiter himself had said, it is the gods’ will that my Rome shall be capital of the world [and] no human forces can resist Roman arms (quoted by Wells 76). Livy knew, of course, that Augustus’ adoptive father Julius Caesar had tried twice …