Verica

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Verica (early 1st century AD) was a British client king of the Roman Empire in the years preceding the Claudian invasion of 43 AD.

From his coinage, he appears to have been king of the Atrebates tribe and a son of Commius. He succeeded his elder brother Eppillus as king in about 15 AD, reigning at Calleva Atrebatum, today called Silchester. He was recognised as rex by Rome and appears to have had friendly trade and diplomatic links with the empire, possibly headquartered at present day Fishbourne Roman Palace, where one of his signet rings was recently discovered.[1]

His territory was pressed from the east by the Catuvellauni, led by Epaticcus, brother of Cunobelinus, who conquered Calleva in about 25 AD. After Epaticcus's death ca. 35 AD Verica regained some territory, but Cunobelinus's son Caratacus took over and conquered the entire kingdom some time after 40 AD.

Dio Cassius records that "Bericus" (almost certainly Verica) was expelled from Britain around this time during a revolt.[2] Suetonius refers to demands by the Britons that Rome return "certain deserters".[3] As rex, Verica was nominally an ally of Rome, so his exile gave Claudius an excuse to begin his invasion.

Verica's relationship with Rome has been used to argue for the site of the Roman invasion of Britain as being along the south coast to assist him, rather than being at the traditional spot at Richborough in Kent.

After the invasion, Verica may have been restored as king but this is not attested in the historical or archaeological record. In any case a new ruler for the region, Cogidubnus, soon appeared. Cogidubnus may have been an heir of Verica who by this time would have been very elderly indeed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Britain AD, Episode I
  2. ^ Dio Cassius, Roman History 60:19
  3. ^ Suetonius, Claudius 17

External links[edit]