On the moment of triumph Caesar got the news that Gaul was rebelling. With heavy heart he once again had to give up the conquest of Britain and early in September 54 BC returned to Gaul with his whole army. The British were left to their own problems.
The final invasion. Before Rome attacked Britain, the British Celts had no need to neither build tribal coalitions nor seek alliance on the continent, but when Caesar invaded the first glimmering of a national consciousness of a national consciousness come into being.
After Caesar, the focus of trade to and from Britain shifted from southeast, and surrounded by traditional small farms and fortified farmsteads developed into towns that had specialised crafts. Two rival powers dominated the southeast of Britain; the Atrebates and the Catuvellauni.
When the last name of the two blocks was ousted, their ruler actually send out appeals to Rome requesting military assistance!
In AD 43 Emperor Claudius ordered the long - anticipated invasion of Britain. The Roman army landed unopposed at Rutupiae in Kent, and marched north. The command of the invading force was Aulus Plautius, leading an army of four Legions and auxiliary troops, complete with a contingent of war elephants, about 40,000 men - in the attack on Camulodunum, capital of the Catuvellauni tribe. Claudius' exuse was to satisfy Roman law by restoring the local power of King Verica of the Atrebates.
Claudius himself personally supervised the attack. Celtic Britain most influential and steadfast military leader was a chieftain the Roman called Caratacus of Catuvellauni, and the son of Cunobelinus. He fought bravely but when the Romans captured his stronghold he fled to Wales. Cludius stayed in Britain for about 15 days and when he left he gave the army instructions v to carry on with battle against the Celtic tribes. By AD 50 the tribes of southern Britain were under Roman rule and the Roman army started to move northwards.
The Legions moved over the British land, smashing Celtic hillforts by the numbers. No organized resistance was possible to coordinate due to the petty tribal self - interest and betrayal.
Betray and rebellion. In Wales Caratacus continued the fight against Rome, but with little chance to win. After yet another devastating loss he was desperate to escape. He and his family fled north seek shelter at the Brigantes, the biggest Celtic tribe in the North, in the part of West Yorkshire and much of northern Britain. A pro - Roman queen named Cartimandua ruled the Brigantes, a loose, but large association of clans and tribes. Caratacus begged the queen to protect him and his wife and cildren.
Cartimandua smiled and saw her chance. Secretly, she sent messages to the Roman authorities, which in AD 51 captured Caratacus and his family. Archaeologists have found large quantities of Roman roof tile at Stanwick and it is possible that, as part of her agreement with the Roman authorities Cartimandua was having a house built there in Roman rather than British style. Cartimandua's pro- Roman relationship probably benefited both sides: the Romans helped Cartimandua to keep control over opposing factions among her people, while the Romans had a buffer state between them and more hostile tribes further to the north.
Caratacus was taken to Rome where Claudius actually spared his lie. Tacticus records the chieftain as saying in his defense: "If you want to rule the world, does it follow that everyone else welcomes enslavement? "
Cartimandua's had golden years. She was the living representative of the goddess of sovereignty, Brigantia. Suddenly she divorced her husband Venutius, which she could since it was from her family that the right to rule the tribe came. Venutius himself was thought to have been a ruler of some northern tribes in his own right. In stead she re - married a man half her own age, a teenager called Vellocatus, who was, to add further insult, Venutius' own armour - bearer.
However this was no simple divorce for, by this action, her new husband became king.
King and queen. Cartimandua's rule ended in AD 69. Emperor Nero had died and a struggle broke out among the powerful men of Roman Empire to decide who would be his successor. Troops were taken away from Britain to fight abroad. Venutius, who had previously fought for the Romans, saw his chance and gathered his own warriors and foes among other members of his family as hostages in an attempt to prevent him from moving against her.
With an army Venutius struck against the queen. The civil war between the Celtic tribe continued for a time until Venutius gained the upper hand and Cartimandua herself was only saved from capture by a unit of Roman soldiers. Venutius became king of the Brigantes, and ruled it brieflyas an independent kingdom.
Roman intervention saved Cartimandua but in the end her actions gave the Romans an excuse to conquer Brigantia. The Romans could not tolerate the long Brigantian border in the hands of a hostile king.
A few later Venutius was defeated by the Roman governor Petilius Cerialis. What happened to Cartimandua is not know, except that she never regain her former power and her role in history was over. The Brigantes and the rest of northern Britain were finally conquered and absorbed into the Roman Empire.
Celtic Britain was doomed. Then, suddenly another ruler raised a new and more serious teat toward the Romans. This leader was also - against all odds - also a woman, but her story was different. Her name was Boudicca. She was not pro - Roman. She hated them and she had good reasons to be furious.