Architect of Roman Britain
- Simon Turney
15th February 2022
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a man fated for conquest and tied to the island of Britannia. He cut his teeth on military command during the revolt of Boudicca, later commanded a legion against the warlike Brigantes and was finally given the governorship of the province and was able to lead the armies north, incorporating into the empire the wild northern lands that had remained unclaimed for three decades. He broke the back of the Scottish tribes at Mons Graupius and achieved what no other Roman ever managed. Agricola had a settled Britannia in his hands, only to be removed and see it evaporate without him.
Agricola’s biography was written by his son-in-law Tacitus, and his life has otherwise never been examined in detail. Here, using the archaeological record and contemporary accounts to compare with Tacitus, we work to uncover the truth about the man who made Roman Britain. Was Tacitus an unreliable narrator?