Iulius Agricola, Gnaeus

(40—93 ad)

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(ad 40–93),

son of a senator from Forum Iulii, was brought up by his mother after his father's execution by Gaius 1. After study at Massalia, he was tribunusmilitum in Britain during the Boudiccan revolt (60–61). He then married, was quaestor of Asia (63–64), tribune of the plebs (66; see tribuni plebis), and praetor (68). Appointed by Galba to recover temple property, after joining the Flavian side he recruited troops in Italy. Commanding legion XX in Britain, he saw action under Petillius Cerialis (71–73). He was made a patrician, served as legate of Aquitania (73–76), became consul (76?) and pontifex, then legate of Britain for seven years (77–84), winning ornamentatriumphalia.

Apart from mentions by Cassius Dio, a lapidary inscription at Verulamium, and inscribed lead pipes from Deva, Agricola is known entirely from the biography by his son‐in‐law Tacitus. See biography, roman. He was certainly exceptional: the only senator known to have served three times in one province; unusually young as governor of Britain; the longest known tenure there. Favour from Vespasian and Titus may be surmised. In his first season (77) he conquered Anglesey; in the second he was in northern England and southern Scotland. Measures to promote Romanization in his second winter are stressed by Tacitus. In his third season (79) he advanced to the Tay, leading to Titus' fifteenth imperatorial acclamation; in the fourth (80) he consolidated along the Forth–Clyde. His fifth season (81) was in west Scotland: he drew up his forces facing Ireland, which he told Tacitus could easily have been conquered. He then tackled the Caledonians, victory narrowly eluding him in the sixth season (82) but being won at a great battle late in the seventh, mons Graupius, probably September 83. He ordered the fleet to circumnavigate Britain, finally proving that it was an island. Recalled, presumably in spring 84, he was denied further appointments because of Domitian's jealousy, acc. to Tacitus. See britain, roman.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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