In Imperium we discover the vital strategic importance of Ireland to Britain down the centuries. First highlighted by Agricola in AD81, it would have been impossible for Roman (and later) Britain to have ignored events in Ireland. Irish raiding into Britain and pro- and anti-Roman struggles continued. Inadequate imperial responses triggered army revolts and usurpations, especially those of Carausius and Allectus. Constantine the Great was proclaimed emperor in York in the wake of campaigns against the Irish and their Pictish allies.
Not until the late twentieth century was the policy of dominating and controlling Britain’s smaller island neighbour formally and publicly abandoned, when Britain announced that it no longer retained a selfish strategic interest in Ireland and that it was for that country’s people to decide its own fate.
Drawing on neglected sources for early Irish history and placing these alongside British and imperial accounts, Imperium underlines the inevitable link that was established between Britain and its neighbour to the west almost two millennia ago.
© David Leedham 2011
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