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Gnaeus Julius Agricola

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (July 13 40 - August 23, 93) was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain.

Agricola was born in Gallia Narbonensis (modern southern France), as the son of Julius Graecinus and his wife Procilla. Agricola was married to Domitia Decidiana, with whom he had a daughter (possibly Julia Agricola) who married the historian Tacitus. His son-in-law chronicled his career and was one of his great supporters.

His career started as a military tribune in Britain between 58 and 62, in the staff of governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus. Returning to Rome, Agricola served as tribune of the plebs in 66, following with a praetorship two years later. In 71 Agricola was appointed legate to the governor of Britain Quintus Petillius Cerialis and commander of the twentieth legion (Valeria victrix). When Cerialis left the province, Agricola was appointed governor of the province of Gallia Aquitania. This promotion was accompanied by an elevation to the status of patrician. After some peaceful years in Gaul, Agricola was named consul suffect in 77, and, in the following year, chosen as governor of Britain. As governor, he subdued Wales and northern England before invading Scotland, where he defeated the Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Graupius, the last undefeated tribe in Scotland. During this time, his fleet made the first known circumnavigation of Britain. He was recalled to Rome in 84, reputedly because of the costs of the campaign but more probably because his successes worried the emperor Domitian. Despite having been awarded a triumph, Agricola lost the imperial trust due to his success and popularity. He died in 93, during a disguised exile outside Rome, after refusing the office of governor of the Africa province.

Preceded by:
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Roman governors of Britain Followed by:
Sallustius Lucullus

Last updated: 02-07-2005 14:48:05
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55