INVASION: The Roman Conquest of Britain by John Peddie

INVASION: The Roman Conquest of Britain

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A dry account of the conquest of Britain in A.D. 43 under the Emperor Claudius. The poisonous and entertaining Roman historian Suetonius dismissed the invasion of Britain in A.D. 43 with the remark that ""Claudius' sole campaign was of no great importance."" The Emperor's main purpose in sending his general Aulus Plautius to subdue Britain's tribes was to earn a triumph for himself in the easiest way possible. Peddle has no interest in Imperial gossip and politics, preferring to concentrate on the minutiae of the invasion itself. Since there is little in the ancient texts about the invasion, Peddle relies on written accounts of other Roman campaigns (especially Julius Caesar's earlier invasion of Britain), archaeological evidence, and military logic. Peddie, recipient of the OBE Military Cross, Britain's second highest military honor, has essentially written a soldier's interpretation of the facts. He proves how much strategy was influenced by the logistics of moving around an enormous army that needed to be fed, and lists the options Plautius had, pointing to solutions that make the most sense historically and militarily. Peddle does an admirable job of reconstructing a battle plan, but little to make the reader understand what it felt like to be a Roman or British soldier in A.D. 43; nor does he offer a long enough view of the consequences of the invasion to convince us that Suetonius was wrong. So: a well researched but limited piece of historical writing.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's