From: "Rob" <[log in to unmask]>
> We must remember at this time the area around the
> >> Sussex coast and the solent to some extent was in friendly hands.
> > I don't think that could be the case. The invasion happened because
> > Verica,
> > who was Roman-friendly, was deposed - and whether he was deposed by the
> > Catuvellauni or by another faction of his own people, that put his
> > into hostile hands. The Isle of Wight had to be taken by Vespasian, so
> > the time the invasion was launched, the approach to the Solent was
> > certainly
> > held by anti-Roman forces.
> To some degree you are correct. I chose to ignore the Isle of Wight
> Vespasian was able to subdue the people fairly quickly. However the
> mainland Sussex coast was Pro Roman anyway. As for Verica being disposed
> think this is a minor point in the bigger picture. Claudius needed to
> respect from the Senate and the Army or he was going to lose his status as
> Emperor. Thus Verica's running back to Rome was the catalyst he needed to
> launch this attack.
I think there's more to it than Claudius needing status. That was part of
it, as was rewarding the army, who'd put him in power, with a lucrative war.
But Claudius's appointment was not some kind of Year Zero, where you forget
everything that went before. Caligula had attempted to invade only a couple
of years previously, but his invasion had collapsed. Rome just wasn't the
sort of society that would let that sort of thing stand. You made the point
about ships leaving the Rhine encouraging the Germans - how would they, not
to mention the Gauls, react to the might of Rome effectively being faced
down by the Brits?
Then you have to consider why Caligula thought it necessary. You might
dismiss it as "he was just mad", but future historians, based on similarly
scant and salacious sources, might dismiss George Bush's decision to invade
Iraq with "he was just stupid" - and it's always more complicated than that,
and it usually comes down to money. Augustus tried to invade Britain a
couple of times early on, but by the end of his reign there's Strabo telling
us about all the money Rome makes out of the island, explicitly saying that
conquest would be less lucrative. In Tiberius's reign some Roman ships were
washed to Britain in a storm, and were sent back safe and sound. Britain was
stable and friendly, and trade was booming. That's not a boat you want to
Things were different in Caligula's time. The stability was gone. Civitates
were attacking each other, kings were being deposed - not the sort of
environment that's conducive to trade. Someone, whether Caligula or someone
under him, decided something had to be done. Only Caligula cocked it up, the
situation kept getting worse, there were more fugitives, and the decision
fell to Claudius. I wouldn't be surprised if it started being prepared for
the minute he was secure in power.