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Following the initial Roman invasions, in 55 and 54 BC, Britain was left in peace for nearly 100 years, continuing to build trade links with Rome.
The sons of Cunobelinus, Togodumnus and Caratacus, encouraged anti-Roman feelings in the south-east. They stop paying tribute to Rome and they first expel their brother, the pro-Roman ruler Adminius from Kent and then Verica from Surrey in c41AD. Adminius and then Verica flee to Rome for assistance and finally this gives Claudius the excuse to refocus on Britain.
In 43AD, Claudius sent a Roman expedition led by Aulus Plautius. They sailed from Portus Itius (Boulogne) and landed at Rutupia, which at this time is an island in Wantsum Strait (which separated the Isle of Thanet from the mainland of Kent and formed a harbour at Richborough).
Caratacus tried to halt the Roman advance near Bigbury, but he was defeated and the Roman advance resumed. A series of skirmishes took place, Togodumnus was killed during one. The Britons flee and Caratacus heads for Wales.
Roman reinforcements were requested and Claudius himself came to take command. They advance and take Cunobelinus capital, disarming the inhabitants. He appoints Aulus Plautius as the first governor and on his return home, claims a great victory.
Britain (England and Wales) was a relatively small country, but it was too large to administer as a whole. The Romans were familiar with the Celtic tribal boundary system and they were able to accommodate some of these boundaries in their own organisation.
During the 3rd century, the country was divided in two parts: Britannia Superior, the south and Britannia Inferior, the militarised north. Superior meaning higher and inferior, lower i.e. nearer to and further from Rome.
In the 4th century further divisions were made to create five provinces: Britannia Prima (Wales and West Country); Flavia Casariensis (the north west), Britannia Secunda(the north east), Maxima Caesariensis (the south) and Valentia (the Midlands).
The administration of the province changed during the 4th century with the civil and military powers divided between the Vicar of Britain, as civil governor, and the Duke of Britain, with the military power.
Designed principally for military purposes, the Roman road network in Kent linked the ports of Richborough, Dover and Lympne to the towns of Canterbury, Rochester and through to London. The roads were paved with stone and gravel and were regularly maintained. A bridge supported on wooden piles was built over the river Medway at Rochester to carry Watling Street on towards London. The roads also sprouted settlements along the way and increased the flow of trade and communications.
The major Roman settlements were at Dover (Portus Dubris), Reculver (Regulbium), Richborough (Rutupiae) and Canterbury (Duroverum) the capital of Kent.
Rochester (Durobrivae) was built by the Romans and renamed Rofesceastre by the Saxons.
Other settlements of note were Ospringe, Milton Regis, Dartford and Springhead. All these settlements grew up alongside Watling Street, the majority continue to this day, however Springhead is no longer, there are only fields there now.
The Roman Villa, which in effect was a country house with an estate usually including a farm. There are around 50 examples in Kent, the most famous of which is Lullingstone. The first villa on the site was built around 80/ 90AD and was inhabited to the mid 5th century when it was damaged by fire. It has a superb example of mosaic floor depicting Jupiter. Other villa sites were at Eccles, Folkestone (East Cliffe), Darenth, Otford, Little Chart, Cobham Park and East Malling. In the Medway valley there are at least 14 villas known.
During Agricola’s governorship, he encouraged the gradual Romanising of the British people. The strategy was to develop towns and allow self-government through the existing pro Roman local tribes. Canterbury was an early example of the Cantiaci tribe’s town. The tribal chiefs took on local administrative roles like magistrates and were given Roman rights.