Europe 43 AD: Claudius’ Invasion of Britain
By c.40 AD the expansion of the Catuvellauni in Britain had brought an end to the Roman client kingdoms set up by Julius Caesar over a century earlier. After succeeding Caligula (41 AD) and restoring stability to the Empire, Claudius led a retaliatory invasion of Britain in 43. The Romans quickly defeated the Catuvellauni, capturing their capital of Camulodunon (Colchester) a few weeks after landing.
24 Jan 41–13 Oct 54 AD Reign of Claudius▲
After the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorian Guard found his uncle Claudius—until then often ignored due to afflictions such as a limp and slight deafness—hiding behind a curtain in the palace. As the last living member of the Julian family, he was proclaimed emperor—the first Roman emperor born outside Italy (he was born in Lugdunum, Gaul). A surprisingly able administrator and ambitious builder, he began the first major expansion of the Empire since Augustus by invading Britain in 43 AD. His reign lasted for 13 years until his death—possibly by poison—at the age of 63.
41–72 AD Claudian Commagene▲
Following Claudius’ accession to power, he both restored Antiochus IV as client king of Commagene and returned Antiochus’ territories in Cilicia to him. Antiochus—and until her death c.52 AD his wife Julia Iotapa—ruled in Commagene and its dependencies for more than 30 years, before being deposed by Vespasian on unlikely allegations of conspiring with Parthia. Despite this, he was allowed to peacefully live out his final years in Sparta and Rome.
42 AD Armenian Succession War of 42▲
Taking advantage of the civil war raging in Parthia, Claudius ordered the restoration of Mithridates to the throne of Armenia. Invading the kingdom with a force of Roman legionaries and Iberian cavalry, Mithridates routed the Parthian client governor, Demonax, in battle and swiftly established his rule. At around this time, Sophene seems to have broken away from Armenia to become a separate Roman client kingdom.
43 AD Annexation of Lycia▲
As Caligula’s successor, Claudius sought to end the frequent unrest among the various client kingdoms of the Mediterranean. In 43 AD, following what was apparently a revolution in which a number of Romans were killed, he led a campaign to subdue the Lycian League. Lycia was then annexed as a Roman province, although its structure as a league was maintained and its ancestral laws restored.
43 AD Claudius’ invasion of Britain▲
In around 40 AD the Catuvellauni absorbed the last remnants of the Roman client kingdom of the Atrebates, forcing King Verica of the Atrebates to flee Britain and take refuge in Italy. Seizing this opportunity, Emperor Claudius amassed four legions under the command of Aulus Plautius for an invasion of Britain to restore Verica. Crossing the Channel in the summer of 43, the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni in what is now Kent, then advanced across the Channel to seize Camulodunon (Colchester), the Catuvellauni capital. This last operation was supervised by Claudius himself, who spent sixteen days overlooking operations in Britain before leaving the campaign to his generals.