Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus

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Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus or Togidubnus was a British king who ruled as a Roman client in the 1st century AD. According to the Roman historian Tacitus,[1] following the Roman conquest of AD 43, Cogidubnus was given a number of states to rule, and remained loyal "down to our own times" (at least into the 70s).

Cogidubnus is also mentioned in an inscription on a damaged slab of marble found in Chichester in 1723, dated to the late 1st century. Reconstructed by J.E. Bogaers,[2] it reads (reconstructed parts in square brackets):

[N]EPTVNO·ET·MINERVAE
TEMPLVM
[PR]O·SALVTE·DO[MVS]·DIVINA[E]
[EX]·AVCTORITAT[E·TI]·CLAVD·
[CO]GIDVBNI·R[EG·MA]GNI·BRIT·
[COLE]GIVM·FABROR·ET[·Q]VI·IN·E[O]
[SVNT]·D·S·D·DONANTE·APEAM
[...]ENTE PVDENTINI·FIL

Which translates as:

"The guild of artisans and its members provide (this) temple to Neptune and Minerva at their own expense for the protection of the Divine House, on the authority of Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, great king of Britain (or "of Britons"). [...]dens, son of Pudentinus, donated the land."

The reference to the "Divine House" (or "House of the Deified Emperor") suggests the inscription was made after the death of Vespasian in 79. The first two letters of the king's native name, given in the genitive case, are missing. It has usually been reconstructed as "Cogidubnus", following the majority of manuscripts of Tacitus, but some believe "Togidubnus" is the more linguistically correct form.[3] He is nearly contemporary with Togodumnus, a prince of the Catuvellauni mentioned by Cassius Dio,[4] and the similarity of their names has led some to conclude they were the same man,[5] although the sources do not support this: Dio's Togodumnus died in 43 resisting the Roman invasion, while the Cogidubnus of Tacitus and the Chichester inscription lived into the latter half of the 1st century as a Roman ally.

The Roman names Tiberius Claudius indicate that he was given Roman citizenship by the emperor Claudius, or possibly by Nero. It has been suggested that he was related to Claudia Rufina, a woman of British descent mentioned by the poet Martial,[6] although there is no evidence, beyond their shared nationality and nomen gentile, to connect them. The title Rex Magnus usually implies kingship over a number of territories, supporting Tacitus. The reconstruction of this title as R[·LEGAT·AV]G·IN·BRIT ("king and imperial legate in Britain") is now considered a misreading.

Chichester (Noviomagus) was part of the territory of the Atrebates before the conquest, so Cogidubnus may have been an heir of Verica, the Atrebatic king whose overthrow prompted the Roman conquest.[7] It later became part of the territory of the Regni,[8] which was probably Cogidubnus' kingdom before being incorporated into the Roman province. The archaeologist Barry Cunliffe suggests that the extensive Roman villa at Fishbourne, near Chichester, was Cogidubnus's seat.[5] The public baths, amphitheatre and forum in Silchester were probably built in Cogidubnus' time.[9]

References

  1. Tacitus, Agricola 14; his name appears as "Cogidumnus" in most manuscripts and "Togidumnus" in one.
  2. J. E. Bogaers (1979) "King Cogidubnus in Chichester: another reading of RIB 91", Britannia 10, pp. 243-254
  3. Charles E. Murgia, "The Minor works of Tacitus: a study in textual criticism", Classical Philology 72, 1977, p. 339
  4. Cassius Dio, Roman History 60.20
  5. 5.0 5.1 Barry Cunliffe, Fisbourne Roman Palace, 1998
  6. Martial, Epigrams 11.53
  7. Cassius Dio, Roman History 60.19; Philip de Jersey, Celtic Coinage in Britain, Shire Archaeology, 1996
  8. Ptolemy, Geography 2.2
  9. Anthony A Barrett, "The Career of Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus", Britannia 10, 1979, pp. 227-242