chapter  7
16 Pages

The Conquering Power

Literary sources for the Roman conquest of southern Britain are sparse. For the conquest of the South West, they are non-existent. Much has been hung upon the famous abbreviated account by Suetonius of Vespasian’s command of a legion in Britain in the invasion of a d 43 and immediately afterwards (Suetonius: 4,1). But the thirty engagements with the Britons, and the subjection of two powerful tribes and more than twenty strongholds can hardly have involved the legate with the South West. At most, his operations, and perhaps those of his successor in the command of the Second Legion, were directed towards the reduction of the Durotriges of Dorset and south Somerset, and perhaps the Belgae of Hampshire and Wiltshire. Other literary sources report nothing of the Roman advance towards the South West or of the eventual conquest of the peninsula.