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The Oxford Companion to British History

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary


Roman emperor ad 41–54.

Because of his physical infirmities, Claudius had been denied the normal career of a Roman aristocrat. After the assassination of Caligula, the middle-aged Claudius was unexpectedly proclaimed emperor by the army. To reward the army and prove his martial prowess, Claudius decided to resume the work of his ancestor Julius *Caesar with an invasion of Britain in 43. Though the invasion force was commanded by *Aulus Plautius, the emperor himself came to Britain for the formal entry into Camulodunum (*Colchester). Having spent sixteen days in the new province, Claudius returned to Rome, where he celebrated a triumph. Claudius awarded the title Britannicus to his son, and the invasion was the most famous event of his reign. A large temple dedicated to him was constructed in Colchester.

Alan Simon Esmonde Cleary