Rome: The Arch of Claudius

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Inscription from the now lost Arch of Claudius, Rome © David Gill

Among the inscriptions in the collection of the Capitoline Museums is a fragmentary Latin inscription originally displayed on the arch of the emperor Claudius over the via Flaminia. This records the emperor’s conquest of Britain with the subjection of eleven [not on this fragment] kings of Britain (Reges Brit[annorum]). The number is based on a fragment found in 1562.

The main fragment was recovered in 1641. The original inscription would have been approximately 6 m wide. The arch is dated by the titles in this inscription to AD 51 or early 52.

A suggested translation by Barrett reads:

The Senate and People of Rome [dedicated this] to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, son of Drusus, Pontifex Maximus, during his eleventh tenure of Tribunicia Potestas, Consul five times, hailed as Imperator twenty-two times, Censor, Pater Patriae, because he received into surrender eleven kings of the Britons, conquered without loss and he first brought the barbarian peoples across the Ocean under the authority of the Roman people.

  • Barrett, A. A. “Claudius’ British Victory Arch in Rome”. Britannia 22 (1991): 1–19 [JSTOR]

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