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


Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
just sitting here
Belin and Brenne are said to have conquered Rome , Claudius is said to have had a
son called Gloi ,half British , and lived here over 10 years , Constantius married a British Princess,
Constantine was therefore half British , Maxins was a son of Queen Helens Uncle ,
so Maximius must have been another Family member , uncle or in-law,Agricola and
Lucius were married to Caractacus daughter , and G/daughter.I am sure there were more , but i would need to read up again.

Sounds like Roman and British elites were pretty much Kinfolk, i am saying were they
really trying to conquer us , or was there something else going on ? Caracala did not
seem that enthused about slaughtering Brits either did he.

i am only asking if there could be other reasons they did not invade Scotland and
Last edited:
Mar 2014
It wasn't half good either and you could as easily if not more so invade Ireland via Pembrokeshire and North Wales/Liverpool what's more the hinterland and you communications to support the invasion is much better
It was half-good. That's actually the best way of describing it. According to Tacitus they almost annihilated the Ninth, but for cavalry intervention, and raids around the wall frequently took a high toll.

Yes, it would've been best to invade Ireland from that area, but if enemies can easily slip in by the back - across the sea from Scotland - history shows there'll never be peace for the occupying forces.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
Tacitus is unequivocal on the subject of Ireland and makes it quite clear that its conquest was very high on Agricola's wish list. From his writings we know that trade was being conducted between Roman ships and Ireland, perhaps even before the conquest of Britain. They were aware of the Irish harbours, landscape and people not only through trade, but information they received from a high ranking Irish Chieftain. My own view is that geography was not the problem, but rather their inability to get a foothold in what is now Argyll, the obvious embarkation point for a seabourne invasion of Ireland, due to stiff resistance by the natives.

Here is the relevant passage from which you can draw your own conclusions :

Its extent is small when compared with Britain, but exceeds the islands of our seas. In soil and climate, in the disposition, temper, and habits of its population, it differs but little from Britain. We know most of its harbours and approaches, and that through the intercourse of commerce. One of the petty kings of the nation, driven out by internal faction, had been received by Agricola, who detained him under the semblance of friendship till he could make use of him. I have often heard him say that a single legion with a few auxiliaries could conquer and occupy Ireland, and that it would have a salutary effect on Britain for the Roman arms to be seen everywhere, and for freedom, so to speak, to be banished from its sight.
I am glad I said my guess was uneducated because I see that many members are very knowledgeable on this subject. I withdraw my comment out of reverence.
Aug 2014
you kiddings right
Rome didn't expand into the last bits of Celtica and Gaulica mostly because the Monotheistic reforms were slowly corroding the empire from the inside out and in combination with the large scale killings of anyone who knew anything of other gods, or agriculture, or pottery, or industry, or healthcare, or wore funny hats were killed and the population collapsed from 50 million or something to 5 guys and their pope hat. Had Rome not gone the Monotheistic path but retained the Persian idea of "all gods are simply faces of God" and not gone with the business path, we'd live on the Turian homeworld today...
Dec 2014
Kent, England
A very interesting thread on a very interesting subject.

One possibility is that there never was a master plan for the conquest of Ireland or the incorporation of the whole of Scotland into the Roman Empire. I think it is very likely that no one ever thought either project through.

If we look at modern politico/military decisions they seem in many cases to be driven by combinations of rapidly changing short term considerations especially domestic political and special interest pressures. incompetence and corruption sometimes have a major part to play as well.

The actual practicality or desirability get forgotten.

These projects may well have suffered the same fate.
Dec 2014
Kent, England
Roman pride and confidence in their military is what led to many blunders on their part, also I've never been to Scotland, never really been outside my own state for that matter except for on one occasion, not counting Wyoming of course.

Well the Irish and Scottish are lucky I wasn't Roman Emperor at the time... I have a soft spot in my heart for beautiful places.

And to say that they weren't 'worth' conquering disagrees with what the British were trying to do for centuries! IE conquer the Scottish and the Irish. So they were obviously worth something to someone :T
The Norman English tried very hard to conquer Wales mainly for economic reasons and succeeded fairly quickly.
They also poured money into a bottomless pit trying to conquer Scotland, but almost entirely for political reasons ie to stop the grief of having an almost ungovernable country next door which constantly tried to act as a bridgehead for France and other enemy powers.
Have you heard of the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland?

Ireland was pretty much the same reasons although there was a lot of good agricultural land.

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