Unit 4: Roman Invasion AD 43-410
In May AD 43, Roman commander Aulus Plautius invaded Britain from Boulogne He brought with him four legions and about 20000 auxiliary troops. The Roman army landed on the Kent coast and defeated the Britons in a series of skirmishes. In the early autumn, Emperor Claudius arrived with reinforcements (including elephants) and personally supervised the capture of Colchester. Claudius accepted the surrender of eleven tribal kings, appointed Aulus Plautius as the first Governor of Britain, and returned to Rome.
Conflict between some British tribes and the Roman invaders continued, although other tribes—such as the Iceni (of modern East Anglia), Atrebates (modern Sussex) and Brigantes (of northern 'England')—quickly accepted Roman influence and began to assimilate.
By AD 47, the legions had penetrated as far south-west as Cornwall, as far west as Wales (where tribes under the leadership of Caractacus put up resistance but were defeated) and as far north as the Humber. The Romans began constructing a system of military roads, founded Londinium (modern London) and built a crossing over the Thames (near the site of present London Bridge). By AD 60, the frontier had been pushed further and more tribes had been taken under Roman ‘protection’.
By 410, Roman troops were being continually withdrawn from Britain to help with conflicts elsewhere in the empire. In 410, the citizens of Roman Britain wrote to the Emperor Honorius and asked him to help them against Saxon and Pictish raiders. But Honorius had his own problems with the Gothic chieftain, Alaric, and wrote back telling the Britons to ‘look to their own defences’.