Bronze head of the Emperor Claudius
Roman Britain, 1st century AD
Found at the River Alde at Rendham, near Saxmundham, Suffolk
The conqueror of Britain
This head, found in 1907, formed part of a life-size bronze statue of the Roman emperor Claudius (reigned AD 41-54). The conquest of Britain provided a military triumph for Claudius. He had no existing reputation as a leader, but was perceived as a retiring, scholarly person. Life-size and larger imperial statues were placed in important public and official spaces, and it is conceivable that the statue might originally have occupied such a space in the colonia (settlement) at Colchester.
It has been suggested that the removal of the head, and presumably the destruction of the body of the statue, might have taken place during the rebellion of the British tribal leader Boudica (in AD 61). This can be no more than a theory; there is no certain evidence even linking the statue with Colchester.
T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)