Why didn't the Romans conquer Ireland or the rest of Scotland?

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,874
quick interjection. Someone mentioned earlier about Romes three legions in Britian. Could I get a real fast idea of why Britain needed three legions but not Spain?
The catalyst for occupying Britain was the German frontier after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Romans were arming the Baltic tribes on an industrial scale.
Geography of Spain compared to Britain where the German tribes were concerned is the most likely reason.
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book LIX, 25.


"And when he reached the ocean, as if he were going to conduct a campaign in Britain, and had drawn up all the soldiers on the beach, he embarked on a trireme, and then, after putting out a little from the land, sailed back again. Next he took his seat on a lofty platform and gave the soldiers the signal as if for battle, bidding the trumpeters urge them on; then of a sudden he ordered them to gather up the shells. Having secured these spoils (for he needed booty, of course, for his triumphal procession), he became greatly elated, as if he had enslaved the very ocean; and he gave his soldiers many presents. The shells he took back to Rome for the purpose of exhibiting the booty to the people there as well."

Also Suetonius, The Life of Caligula, 44-46.

Suetonius ? Life of Caligula
Thanks for the source Haesten. Bizarre does not even begin to cover Caligula's behaviour.

If that were the case why did they stay in Britain -- an island-- for the best part of 4 centuries ?
It was one thing to cross the channel to an Island that the legions could physically see on a clear day, even though Caligula could not get his soldiers to make the journey in 40AD, but quite another to persuade them to make a long perilous sea journey to an Island they could not see. Had the Romans managed to get a strong foothold in Dalriada I think the short voyage to the Antrim coast would have been on the cards, but the 150 mile sea trip from Chester was quite another matter.

I am not saying that terror of the sea crossing to Ireland among the Roman soldiers was the main reason why they did not invade, but the fear of mutiny from the Legions may possibly have been a factor as to why they did not. It is just another angle to think about however implausible it may seem.
 
Aug 2013
560
Earth
Thanks for the source Haesten. Bizarre does not even begin to cover Caligula's behaviour.



It was one thing to cross the channel to an Island that the legions could physically see on a clear day, even though Caligula could not get his soldiers to make the journey in 40AD, but quite another to persuade them to make a long perilous sea journey to an Island they could not see. Had the Romans managed to get a strong foothold in Dalriada I think the short voyage to the Antrim coast would have been on the cards, but the 150 mile sea trip from Chester was quite another matter.

I am not saying that terror of the sea crossing to Ireland among the Roman soldiers was the main reason why they did not invade, but the fear of mutiny from the Legions may possibly have been a factor as to why they did not. It is just another angle to think about however implausible it may seem.
No mutinous legions sounds perfectly plausible to me, something definitely to take into account at least.
 

ib-issi

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
3,403
just sitting here
Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book LIX, 25.


"And when he reached the ocean, as if he were going to conduct a campaign in Britain, and had drawn up all the soldiers on the beach, he embarked on a trireme, and then, after putting out a little from the land, sailed back again. Next he took his seat on a lofty platform and gave the soldiers the signal as if for battle, bidding the trumpeters urge them on; then of a sudden he ordered them to gather up the shells. Having secured these spoils (for he needed booty, of course, for his triumphal procession), he became greatly elated, as if he had enslaved the very ocean; and he gave his soldiers many presents. The shells he took back to Rome for the purpose of exhibiting the booty to the people there as well."

Also Suetonius, The Life of Caligula, 44-46.

Suetonius ? Life of Caligula
That is weird behaviour Haesten , any ideas what that was all about ??
was he expecting to scoop up Amber , without realising he was in the
wrong place ?? i dont get it
 

ib-issi

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
3,403
just sitting here
If that were the case why did they stay in Britain -- an island-- for the best part of 4 centuries ?
Could it be because they saw themselves as British , or descendents of British
what if these stories of Belin and Brenne are true ,and they did conquer Rome ,
arent there stories that they came at our request , because we wrote to them requesting assistance , because all our Knights had left with Belin and Brenne......is this men who could trace their ancestors to Britain coming back home...pangs of guilt maybe that they
had left us with little or no defence .

If we got Christianity in some form in AD37 , could it be that Brits did not like them
returning with their Pagan beliefs ....maybe it was not the Scans who made us drift
back to paganism , but the returning Anglo/Romans
 
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Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,874
Thanks for the source Haesten. Bizarre does not even begin to cover Caligula's behaviour.



It was one thing to cross the channel to an Island that the legions could physically see on a clear day, even though Caligula could not get his soldiers to make the journey in 40AD, but quite another to persuade them to make a long perilous sea journey to an Island they could not see. Had the Romans managed to get a strong foothold in Dalriada I think the short voyage to the Antrim coast would have been on the cards, but the 150 mile sea trip from Chester was quite another matter.

I am not saying that terror of the sea crossing to Ireland among the Roman soldiers was the main reason why they did not invade, but the fear of mutiny from the Legions may possibly have been a factor as to why they did not. It is just another angle to think about however implausible it may seem.
It's actually farther from the Roman fleet base at Boulogne to the nearest headland south of Romney Marsh than from the coast of Galloway to Larne, just 23 miles. Only a fraction of the distance they sailed from Italy to North Africa out of sight of land in the Med.

If they were to use Chester as a base, the navigation point would be Holyhead - Angelsey, to Dublin, 58 miles, way less than any crossing to North Africa unless they sailed all the way to Spain first to get their grain from Egypt.

The Isle of Mann is only important for controlling the Irish Sea trade after invasion, as per the Vikings.
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
Largely because it was bordered by enemies and potential threats, not all of whom shared a land border with it, and for the first century or so after Roman occupation it was beset by rebellions and tribal unrest. Some parts of it (e.g. the southwest) were only ever loosely-Romanised, and imperial government needed far more muscle. It's also harder, slower, and more problematic to send reinforcements to Britain compared with Spain, so most of this muscle had to be in-house.

Thanks for the source Haesten. Bizarre does not even begin to cover Caligula's behaviour
Salah has a theory I like, that Caligula was mocking his soldiers for fear of crossing the English Channel. It's like Cnut 'genuinely' attempting to hold back the tide so as to demonstrate to idiotic courtiers he couldn't control nature, only more harsh and probably not wise.
 
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