Europe 84 AD: Agricola’s invasion of Caledonia
Flavian attempts to secure Rome’s imperial frontiers culminated in Britain in 81–84 AD, when the governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola attempted to conquer Caledonia. Although Agricola defeated the Caledonians in battle and successfully sent a fleet around northern Caledonia—confirming that Britain was an island—the Romans were unable to penetrate the Highlands and eventually withdrew.
81? AD Túathal’s return▲
While preparing for his invasion of Caledonia (Scotland), Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain, fortified the coastline opposite Hibernia (Ireland) and entertained an exiled Hibernian prince, thinking to use him as a pretext for a conquest of Hibernia. Although this conquest never happened, the account of an exiled prince matches the semi-legendary Túathal Techtmar, who is said to have returned to Ireland in the 70s or 80s. Roman artefacts have also been discovered at places in Leinster close to Túathal’s traditional landing site, so it is possible he received Roman aid or was even accompanied by Roman troops.
81–84 AD Agricola’s Invasion of Caledonia▲
In 81–82 AD Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Roman governor of Britain, suppressed native resistance in southern Caledonia (Scotland) and established a base at Inchtuthil, north of the Firth of Tay. The next year he moved north with naval support, routing a combined Caledonian army under Calgacus at Mons Graupius—although two-thirds of the Caledonians managed to escape into the “trackless wilds” of the Highlands—and in 84 instructed his fleet to sail around the north coast, confirming that Britain was an island. However, Agricola was recalled from Britain in 85, after which his conquests in Caledonia were abandoned.
14 Sep 81–18 Sep 96 AD Principate of Domitian▲
In September 81 AD the 29-year-old Domitian succeeded his elder brother Titus as ruler of the Roman Empire, being proclaimed emperor first by the Praetorian Guard and then confirmed the following day by the Senate. The authoritarian and micro-managing Domitian quickly moved the center of government to the imperial court, sidelining the Senate and—because he spent long stretches of time away from the capital—reducing the importance of Rome. Hated by the aristocracy, but popular with the military and people, Domitian ruled for 15 years—the longest reign since Tiberius—before being assassinated by court officials in 96 AD, bringing the Flavian dynasty to an end.
83 AD Chattan War of 83▲
In 82 or 83 AD the Roman emperor Domitian traveled to Gaul, ostensibly to conduct a census. Once there he formed a new legion—Legio I Minervia—and ordered an attack on the Chatti, defeating them and establishing a number of new forts in Germania. However, contemporary historians Suetonius and Tacitus later derided the campaign as unnecessary and Domitian’s subsequent triumph as farcical.
83 AD Upper and Lower Germania▲
While in Gaul, the Roman emperor Domitian developed the Limes Germanicus—the string of forts defending the Rhine border of the Roman Empire. At around the same time, he separated Lesser Germania—Germania west of the Rhine—from the province of Belgica, establishing the two imperial provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior (or Upper and Lower Germania).