Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus

Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus – King of the Regni – Client of Rome

Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, (possibly also known as Togidubnus or Togidumnus) was a notable 1st-century king who ruled over the Regni or Regnenses tribe during the early Roman period in Britain.

Before the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, Chichester (Noviomagus Reginorum) and the nearby Roman villa at Fishbourne likely belonged to the territory of the Atrebates tribe. There is a possibility that Cogidubnus was a successor or heir of Verica, the Atrebatic king whose overthrow served as a catalyst for Emperor Claudius’ decision to invade Britain.

Following the Roman conquest, the area became part of the civitas of the Regnenses / Regni, which might have been Cogidubnus’ kingdom before its integration into the Roman province. During Cogidubnus’ reign, significant structures such as public baths, an amphitheater, and a forum were likely constructed in Silchester (Calleva Attrebatum), showcasing the influence and advancements brought forth during his time as king.

Barry Cunliffe (who was the archaeologist who uncovered Fishbourne) has put forward the theory that Fishbourne Roman Palace was Cogidubnus’s royal seat.

Literary References to Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus

In Tacitus’s Agricola, published c. 98, where his name appears as “Cogidumnus” in most manuscripts although they can be considered as copies, and “Togidumnus” in one, he is said to have governed several civitates (states or tribal territories) as a client ruler after the Roman conquest, and to have been loyal “down to our own times” (at least into the 70s).

Tacitus does not offer specific evidence regarding the size and extent of Cogidubnus’ kingdom in his writings. However, it can be inferred that his kingdom was significant and influential enough to be included briefly in summaries of British affairs

The first consular governor to be placed in command of Britain was Aulus Plautius: soon after came Ostorius Scapula, both distinguished soldiers. The nearest portion of Britain was reduced little by little to the condition of a province: a colony of veterans was also planted. Certain states were handed over to King Cogidumnus – he has remained continuously loyal down to our own times – according to the old and long-received principle of Roman policy, which employs kings as tools of enslavement.

The Agricola, Chapter 12

The question whether the Cogidumnus of Tacitus is the same person as the Cogidubnus of RIB 91 (see below) will probably never be known for certain, but I reckon it’s a safe-enough bet.

Numismatic Evidence for Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus

Other evidence which seems to confirm the reign of Cogidubnus in Britain comes in the form of two silver coins from the south of England, a stater found at Portsmouth, and a minim found at Hod Hill. Both of these coins are fully Romanised in design, and inscribed with the formula CRAB, which has been expanded to read C[ogidubnus] R[ex] A[trebatum] B[ritanniorum], or ‘Cogidumnus, King of the Atrebates of Britain’. If Cogidubnus was a client king of Rome, as is apparently evidenced, he would have been allowed to issue his own coinage. This practice is not unique to Cogidubnus in post-Iron-age Britain, for king Prasutagusof the Iceni tribe from Norfolk was another client of Rome, and is known also to have produced his own coinage after the 43AD invasion.

Epigraphic References to Tiberius Claudius Cogidumnus

Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus is further known from an inscription found on a damaged slab of marble discovered in Chichester in 1723. This inscription is datable to the late 1st century and provides valuable historical evidence about his existence and significance during that period. The inscription likely contains details about his reign and perhaps sheds light on his relationship with the Roman authorities or other aspects of his rule over the Regni tribe in early Roman Britain. Archaeological findings like this inscription play a crucial role in piecing together the history of ancient civilizations and their rulers.

RIB 91 - Altar dedicated to Neptune and Minerva

To Neptune and Minerva, for the welfare of the Divine House by the authority of Tiberius Claudius Togidubnus, great king of Britain, the guild of smiths and those therein gave this temple from their own resources, Pudens, son of Pudentinus, presenting the site.


Pro salute domus divinae is a very rare formula; see note to RIB 89.Cogidubnus: see 14 quaedam civitates Cogidumno regi donatae.r(egis) (et) legat(i) Aug(usti) in Brit(annia): on this title, which is characteristic of Claudius’ ‘tendency to mingle innovation with conservatism’ see Collingwood and Myres, Roman Britain and the English Settlements (1936) 86.qui in eo [sun]á¹­ Huebner suggests that this phrase comprises members who joined in meetings of the guild without possessing all its privileges.Waltzing, Corporations iv 267 lists this phrase among those which indicate membership of a guild, but does not suggest that it implies any difference in status: cf. CIL xii 1929 scaenici Asiaticiani et qui in eodem corpore sunt.