Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

joe

Roman invasion of Ireland

Recommended Posts

Agricola said that with one legion and as many auxiliaries he could have conquered Ireland.

Could he really?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agricola said that with one legion and as many auxiliaries he could have conquered Ireland.

Could he really?

 

...interesting...

 

...what would have the population numbers been in Ireland at that time? I dont think it was very populated...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume he was making that claim on the basis of intelligence available to him which we don't have, but then, any invasion of Ireland was no simple matter regardless of the numbers involved. Much would hinge on the usual Roman habit of playing one tribe off against another, seeking allies, and so forth. There's no mention of another Roman haboit of preparing for Imperial annexation by trading in luxuries to soften the irish population though I am assuming they already traded with the British provinces anyway. I also note that Agricola is saying these things to stir up support for such a venture, thus he probably is being optimnistic  Some of those irish iron age forts were in difficult places to assault (yes, I do know about Masada) and the weather conditions in Ireland would have been difficult too. Could he really? I really wouldn't know. I'm not sure anyone else does either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He is said to have had a group of Irish exiles in his entourage who could have provided intelligence and provided support if he invaded. He would  have probably been planning to install severaal of these as client kings to give him a base and allies.

Additionally I doubt the hill forts would have been any more difficult to what they had already faced in Britain.

 

We do know there was at least some Roman presence there later as a Roman fort has been found near Dublin.

 

Haven't had any luck fnding popuation figures yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drumanagh you mean? Some historians believ it was a Roman fort. More likely it was either a trading post or a settlement of refugees from the empire. At any rate there is not enough evidence to assert the fort was entirely Roman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's also important to remember that the Romans never took over Caledonia, nor did they even have full control over what is today modern-day Cornwall. Britannia itself was very far away from the imperial centre, and was often a drain on the military resources of the Empire. The main reason Britannia itself was invaded was because the emperor Claudius needed a military victory to solidify his power back home and he chose britain because it loomed large in the Roman imagination as the place Julius Caesar invaded but never conquered. The main reason Julius Caesar himself invaded was because British tribes were subverting his recent conquests in Gaul.

 

After Claudius, emperors still had to impress their subjects with military victories, but after this they were often looking to the East (Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian) and North (Trajan, Aurelius). To add Hibernia to the empire might have been a nice goal (and it is a good topic for speculation!) but I do not think they could have done it. Even fi they had wanted to do it, I do not think it would have been possible either.

 

Although, I am interested to know what cultural influence the Roman Empire had on Hibernia, even without an invasion. Was it similar to pre-Claudian Britannia where the southern tribes traded with the Romans and learned Latin?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Britain was on the Roman wish list for some time. Julius Caesar had made riads to sever support for the Gauls, and find the silver he had heard of. Augustus had plans to conquer britain but never got around to it. Caligula set up an operation only for his troops to waver on the beaches before embarkation. Claudius would eventually use the very same legions that Caligula had raised for the invasion..

 

The wars in Spain were quite protracted but there was a great deal of contact between Rome and spanish tribes besides the tips of swords. Logistically for instance the Romans had begun buying their supplies from the tribespeople. At the other end of the scale we events such as Galba's rather dishonest and cruel offer to the Lusitanii. I'm not sure the situation was identical to Britain because Spain would eventually become a somewhat more peaceful area than Britain, but then - in Britain Rome had troublesome neighbours and a rumbuctuous population, "rich in usurpers" as Gildas puts it, and Rome seemed to have taken a similar view of the territory that we see in colonial expanison in the American west.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×