Caligula invasion of Britain

Before 40 AD, Verica was the most powerful tribal leader of Britain and he was recognized by Rome as the King of Britain. However, in 40 AD, Cynobellinus defeated Verica and became the most powerful tribal leader of Britain. Cynobellinus expelled Verica from Britain.


Around this time Caligula may have planned a campaign to conquer Britain. Soon, he arrived at English Channel to launch his campaign.

Around this time in Britain, King Cynobellinus expelled his son, Adminius for unknown reason. Later Adminius arrived at Caligula camp with group of few followers and ask for his military help.

Caligula received Adminius and pretended that he was there to surrender whole of Britain.

He soon wrote a pompous letter to Rome about his new conquest of Britain. He ordered messenger to deliver this letter to consuls of Rome just before the meeting of Senate, so that it can be read in senate.

He wanted to impress Senate and people of Rome with his military prowess.

However Caligula never invaded Britain and just builds 2 lighthouses on the coast of France, which shines at night to guide the course of ships.

However, he readied the troops and facilities that made possible Claudius’ invasion possible three years later.

Caligula waged war on Poseidon / Neptune

Caligula camped on English Channel for many days.

Finally one day, as if he intended to conclude the war with Britain, he ordered his troops to get in battle formations. He also ordered his ballistas and other artillery unit to prepare for attack.

Suddenly, he ordered his troops to gather shells and fill their helmets and the folds of their gowns with these shells.

He called these shells as spoils of war, which he waged against Neptune (Poseidon). (Poseidon was god of Ocean for Greek and Neptune was god of Ocean for Roman).

To show his generosity to his soldier, he than promised gratuity of a hundred denarii to each soldier and asked his soldier to “Go your way happy; go your way rich.”

He also built monument to his victory by erecting lighthouses.

There are many theories regarding bizarre behavior of Caligula. As per one theory, Caligula wanted to invade Britain but his troops mutinied. So, Caligula decided to humiliate his troops by asking them to pick seashells.

However the most plausible theory about his bizarre behavior was his narcissistic and egotistical nature.

Even before his march on English Channel, Caligula appeared in public dressed as various gods and demigods such as Hercules, Mercury, Venus and Apollo.

In some of the public documents he referred himself as “Jupiter”, the god of the sky and thunder. Caligula also forced people and Senate of Rome to worship him as a tangible and living god.

Given that Caligula had God Complex, it is not bizarre that he waged war on Poseidon / Neptune

Leave a Reply