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Hibernia – Roman Ireland

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Map of the British Isles from 1654 with Hibernia
Map of the British Isles from 1654 with Hibernia

Hibernia is the Latin name of Ireland (also known as Britannia Hibernia), given to it by the Romans. The Roman name was transformed into Hibernia because of its similarity to the word hibernus – “winter”.

Such a name is used, among others, by Tacitus in his work Agricola. The Romans never attempted to conquer Hiberni. Tacitus recalls, however, that supposedly the governor of Britain Agricola (in the years 78-84 CE) considered conquering Hiberni, hoping that one legion and units of auxilia would be enough to maintain the new province. The invasion was to take place on the basis of “intervention” in the local affairs of the Celts and to restore power to the expelled and protected by the Romans prince.

However, it is certain that there was commercial cooperation. This is evidenced, among others, by the map from the 1st century CE by geographer Claudius Ptolemy, on which you can see the settlements and tribes that live on the island’s shores. Such knowledge could only be obtained through wandering merchants. Moreover, many Roman artifacts (mainly jewelry and coins) have been discovered in our times in central and southern Ireland.

There are also voices (including Thomas Charles-Edwards) suggesting the occurrence of intensive bringing slaves from Ireland to meet the needs of wealthy villas in Britain.

  • Tacitus, Agricola

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