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Who was Caratacus?

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Roman Timeline

 Caratacus was a Celtic chieftain who put up a fierce resistance to the Roman army.

When the Roman army invaded Britain in 43 AD they were met by a strong leader who was the king of the Catuvellauni. His name was Caratacus and we know about him because of the writings of Tacitus a Roman. It is very probable that he was the son of the Celtic king Cunobelinus.

His resistance to the Roman army was formidable, he fought a guerrilla war, retreating to the hills and moving from area to area. Eventually he was unable to outwit the Romans and in 51 AD, he was defeated by the Roman governor, Ostorious Scapula.

Caratacus fled to Brigante territory in the north of England.

Once an allie, Cartimandua, the Queen of the Brigantes, had forged a relationship with the Romans and at the same time was hanging onto power under threat from her own husband and at the time had the support of the Romans in doing this.

She betrayed Caratacus and handed him over to the Romans. He was sent to Rome where his strong and polite demenour made him stand out from the other captives and Claudius pardoned him.

Caratacus lived out the rest of his days in Rome

He found it to be a wonderful place and it is said he uttered these words;

 ‘And can you, then, who have got such possessions and so many of them, covet our poor tents?'” 

 

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Cassius Dio, Roman History

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