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Britain in the Roman Empire Source Evaluations:
In order of Use:

Roman views of preconquest Britain: Caesars' invasions, Celtic
societies and links up with Rome up to AD 43:

Julius Caesars' The Conquest of Gaul:
· An account from his perspective detailing his campaigns in Gaul, Germany and the

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Caesar's account of the second invasion similarly contains some ethnographic study on
the British natives Caesar erroneously notes that the "tribes of the interior do not grow
corn" [5.14] and eat only milk and meat showing his unreliability or use of
uncorroborated rumour.

Ciceros' Letters to Atticus:
· Letters from…

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Cassius Dio's Roman History:
· Greek born Roman senator living in the second and third centuries AD, long after
Hadrian's reign.

On Augustus:
We learn from Dio that Augustus wanted to undertake a British expedition in emulation of
his (adoptive) father. He made it as far as Gall, but the…

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Roman bias surrounding socalled barbarian from the celts, they are again erroneously
depicted as having very little agricultural knowledge.

'Horace Odes' and Tibullus' poem:
· Horace, a court poet during Augustus' rule was almost certainly reflecting official
policy in his poetry

Horace presents Augustus' wouldbe invasion of Britain as inevitable,…

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Cassius Dio on Claudius:
According to Dio's account the Claudian invasion was primarily motivated by the request of
Verica, the deposed British king, in returning his kingdom. This would provide Claudius
with a clear motive to come to Britain to 'restore order.'

We know from Dio that Aulus Plautius faced…

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emperor. He wanted a real triumph and set his sights on Britain as "no one had attempted
an invasion since the time of Caesar"capitalising on his divine ancestors' glory.

Seutonius seems quite critical of Claudius in his writingpossibly dismissing his invasion as
a blatant play for prestige, indicating potential bias…

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News of the rebellion reached Paulinus whilst he was still on Anglesey, the Iceni king,
Prasutagas, had died and in his will "he made the Emperor [Nero] his coheir together with
his two daughters, thinking that by such submission his kingdom and family would be kept
from any harm."

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Suetonius: Nero:
Nero is shown to be uninterested in expanding the empire and "he even contemplated
withdrawing the army from Britain, and only desisted from his purpose because he did not
wish to appear to belittle the glory of his father" showing once again the importance of
public image to…

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The SHA also refers to the construction of Hadrian's Wall following his reforming of the
army and arrival in Britain. The wall, eighty miles long, is described by the author as being
"to separate the barbarians and the Romans," though this outlook of a linear barrier to

keep the barbarians…


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