Cunobelin – King of the Catuvellauni

Son of Tasciovanus, father of AdminiusTogodumnus and Caratacus. During the last years of his father’s reign, he invaded the territory of the Trinovantes and subdued them, probably prompted by the news of Rome’s loss of Varus’ three legions in Germany in 9AD, and therefore fairly confident that his action would go unpunished. He continued to rule over the Trinovantes from Camulodunum by dint of his own resources and retained his seat of government there when he succeeded to the Catuvellaunian throne upon the death of Tasciovanus in circa 10AD. He became ‘the first British statesman,’ and through diplomatic means, probably had his kingship over the joint Catuvellaunian/Trinovantian kingdom ratified by Rome, for some of his later coinage bears the title ‘REX’. He continued to rule the combined tribes from Camulodunum for many years, and his capital became the focal point of British politics, learning and trade. Suddenly, in c.40AD, he was enfeebled, possibly due to a stroke. Subsequent military actions by his sons Togodumnus and Caratacus, who swept throughout south-east Britain deposing first their own brother Adminius (who had pro-Roman tendancies) then their old adversary Verica of the Atrebates, brought the attentions of Rome. Cunobelin died shortly before the coming of Rome in c.42AD.

The name Cunobelin, comes from Latin Cunobelinus, derived from Common Brittonic *Cunobelinos “Strong as a Dog”, “Strong Dog”.