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Roman Britian - The Initial Invasion

This month I want to delve into some research on the invasion of Romans in Britannia and how they expanded their empire and their rule there. Then, finally, how and why they left. Should be interesting...especially with a few pictures of scantily clad Romans!

The British Isle was under frequent attack from various Barbarians, Vikings, and Romans. The most notable Roman attacks actually began around 55 BC with Emperor Julius Caesar. Typically, cities and countries that were threatened by the Romans would pay a tribute (tax) in order to avoid actual war, especially when the locals knew they could not defeat their enemy. Rome had better military tactics, a larger army, and better weapons, which is why they were able to expand so far.

August 26, 55 BC - Julius Caesar approached the Dover Channel with 2 legions of fighters (about 10,000 men) with the intention of quickly defeating the "barbarian" peoples and adding Britain to the Empire (and thus increasing his grandeur). However, it would not be an easy battle. The British Celts had been alerted and were ready to battle. Caesar's back-up calvary got caught in a storm and were forced to return to Gaul (modern-day France), leaving Caesar in a precarious situation. After some minor skirmishes and additional fleet damage by storms, Caesar admitted defeat and returned home.

The next year, he attempted the campaign again but with a much larger army (5 legions) and a fleet of 800 ships. On July 6th, they landed at Deal. On July 8th, the Celts retreated to a hill fort at Bigbury where the romans built a ramp and captured the fort. Unfortunately, another storm hit the Roman fleet and forced the legions back to the beach to repair their ships. In the mean time, the Celts appointed Cassivellaunus as their chief who eventually surrendered to Caesar when their attacks failed. They agreed to pay a tribute, ending the campaign. In September the Romans left Britain.

Book Resources:

Web Resources:
Wikipedia - Roman Conquest of Britain

Excellent Timeline

Interesting story about Julius Caesar

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