Pre Roman Cantiaci

When attempting to provide a narrative of the advent of the Romano-British period, it is necessary to look at the Classical sources, whether or not they can be relied upon. They provide the only written record of events, which were to alter irrevocably, the history, the future of the British Isles. It is the intention of this narrative however, not simply to repeat what is, seemingly accepted by the majority of people, but to bring it up to date, as far as current theories, archaeology, and research will permit. The Classical sources are without doubt very useful tools, somewhere to start looking for the answers to the questions: what happened, why did events happen as they did, when did they happen, and where did they happen. It is necessary also, to provide the scenario, the backdrop of the Britain upon which, the might of the Roman legions was about to fall, bringing to a close that period called ‘Prehistoric’, ‘Iron-age’, ‘the time of the Barbarians.’ The Classical sources available to the scholar, include, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, the Annals and Histories of Tacitus, Strabo’s Geographica, Cassius Dio, and Suetonius’s biographies, all of which provide aspects, which are relevant here. Although it is accepted by many that Britain was a Celtic country, that term in it-self, is now considered to be an over generalisation. There were many cultural, religious, artistic and blood links between the peoples of Britain, and the peoples of continental Europe, Gaul in particular. However, each people, each tribe, was a culture unto itself also, each with it’s own distinctive identity. The main arena of the events about to unfold, is the parts of the British Isles, which are now the counties of Kent and East Sussex, on the south coast, and which have the river Thames to their north together with those parts which bordered the northern bank of the Thames. Politically, in the 1st century before Christ, the area along the south coast was an area in turmoil. There had begun, another invasion, during the 1st century B.C., that of the Belgaei, it was they who became the warlords, the chieftains, the overlords, they stamped their culture on the southern tribes, among them, though to what extent is unclear, were the Cantiaci. They were however, far from the barbarians the Romans reported them as. They did perhaps live a simpler way of life, one more in-tune with the land upon which they lived, more in-tune with the seasons of the year, but as disciplined, in their own way, as the budding Empire of Rome.

The land was cultivated to a large degree, crops such as emmer and spelt wheat, barley, rye, and oats were harvested, the land was ploughed by an extinct breed of cattle called ‘bos longifrons’.

Celtic beans (Vicia faba minor) were grown, also ‘Fat Hen’(Chenopodium album); vetch for cattle fodder, and woad (Isatis tinctoria) as a dye plant. Small ‘Soay’ sheep grazed the uplands, providing meat and wool, pigs too were a major part of their diet, as were the huge herds of cattle. Their trained hunting dogs were heard of, even in Rome. Horses were bred, but not according to the archaeological record, for draught work, they were, it seems, bred solely for martial activities, such as hunting, and the driving of war chariots, each chariot requiring a team of two horses to pull them. All of this points to a sophisticated society, one capable of efficient husbandry and agriculture. Compared to the populous cities of Rome, the British lived in farmsteads, and small family groups of their round houses, wattle and daub walled with conical thatched roofs, dotted the landscape. A few more major settlements existed, some tribal ‘capitals’ have been given the title of citvitas, which, after the conquest, were utilised by the Romans as locations for some of their major settlements. The Belgic civitas of the Cantiaci, was, (in Latin) Durovernum Cantiacorum, a name preserved to this day, as Canterbury. Hill-forts, of an earlier period formed their main defences in times of intertribal conflict. Recent archaeology has discovered much about the life style of pre-Roman Britain, but many

questions have still to be answered. Decorative metalwork too shows of British artistic expressionism and ability, works in bronze, iron, and gold, some of enormous richness and craftsmanship have been excavated and discovered.

Across the English Channel, an altogether different opinion of the native Britons was being formulated by Gaius Julius Caesar. He had been heavily engaged battling with the Germanic tribes by the River Rhine, and, by the late summer of 55B.C., he was taking an interest in the mysterious island visible from Gaul. He drew upon the knowledge of traders, (who must have had their own agenda) and in his illuminating work, ‘The Gallic Wars’, he said of the Britons thus : caes.gal.5.12 "The interior portion of Britain is inhabited by those whom they say that is handed down by tradition that they were born in the island itself: the maritime portion by those who had passed over from the country of the Belgae for the purpose of plunder and making war; almost all of whom are called by the names of the states from which being sprung they went thither, and having waged war, continued there and began to cultivate the lands. The number of people is countless, and their buildings exceedingly numerous, for the most part very like those of the Gauls: the number of cattle is great. They use either brass or iron rings, determined at a certain weight as their money. Tin is produced in the midlands regions; in the maritime, iron, but the quantity of it is small; they employ brass, which is imported. There, as in Gaul, is timber of every description, except beech and fir. They do not regard it lawful to eat hare, and the cock, and the goose; they, however, breed them for amusement and pleasure. The climate is more temperate than in Gaul, the cold being less severe."

The concept of Belgic migration, be it for ‘plunder and making war’ or other reasons, is not the easiest to grasp. Frere says that it was an ethnic not a tribal title. Their influence spread over much of the south coast, though actual colonisation may have been restricted to the more central parts, from Hampshire, to Wiltshire. It does seem, from Caesar’s writings at least, that the Cantiaci, were a people who were willing to trade, and to some extent embrace the trappings of a rapacious Rome. caes.gal.5.14, "The most civilised of all these nations are those who inhabit Kent, which is entirely a maritime district, nor do they differ much from the Gallic customs. Most of the inland inhabitants do not grow corn, but live on milk and flesh, and are clad in skins. All the Britons, indeed, dye themselves with woad, which occasions a bluish colour, and thereby have a more terrible appearance in fight. They wear their hair long, and have every part of their body shaved except their head and upper lip. Ten and even twelve have wives common to them, and particularly brothers among brothers, and parents among their children, but if they have any issue by these wives, they are reputed to be the children of those by whom respectively each was first espoused when a virgin." It has been said that Celtic, Gaulic, British, warriors took the heads of their vanquished enemies, and presented them as trophies, that they took slaves, and sacrificed humans and that that behaviour is evidence of their barbarism. Evidence for the latter certainly exists across the Ironage Celtic cultures. Bodies have survived, mummified, in peat bogs from Denmark, England, Wales, Germany, Holland and even Scandinavia. This on the face of it seems a terrible fate for anyone to endure, but when such actions are criticised by Romans, who were regaled and entertained by the pseudo-ritualistic slaughter of men killing men, and women killing women, under the title of Gladiatorial Combat, it seems slightly hypocritical. Even today, atrocities of the worst kind are enacted all over the world, by so-called civilised societies. Certainly, life in ironage Britain was far from easy, and less than secure, but their way of life was their own, it was their identity. It was soon to be lost, forever. Guiding their path’s through the mysteries of life and death were the Druids. Little can be said of these people, their way of life, beliefs, even their appearance. They wrote nothing down, they recorded nothing, everything, every mystery was passed presumably by the telling of stories, time-remembered folk memories. Hated by the Romans in Gaul, hunted, harried and killed when found, many Druids that survived made their way across the water to Britain during the 1st century B.C. and the 50 years thereafter. Whatever is currently portrayed as being Druidic is a fake, a fabrication, Victorian revival romanticism, nothing more. Their temples were the trees, groves, springs, rivers, ponds, bogs, they needed no monumental marble columns, they had the land its-self. This then was the Britain, or one vision of it, which existed before the arrival of the Legions, it

may seem fanciful, it may seem sanitised, that was not the intention, the intention was to try and use the Romans own chronicles, but to interpret them, and the current archaeological record, into a view of what might have been. What actually was, we may never know for certain. by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton
   

Background in Gaul I
In 58BC the province of Transalpine Gaul was assigned to Caesar – the area included Northern France, Southern Holland, Belgium, Germany west of the Rhine and most of Switzerland. In his commentaries, Caesar described the area and the peoples of Gaul as such: Caes.gal.1.1": [1.1] "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gaul's, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gaul's from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gaul's in valor, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. One part of these, which it has been said that the Gaul's occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone; it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae; it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches toward the north. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun. Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the North Star." Strabo's account (Strabo IV.iv. 2,4) also says the whole race is madly keen on war, brave and impetuous and easily outwitted. Because of their frankness and straightforwardness their sympathies are easily roused to war in support of friends who think themselves wronged.

Caesar fought a bloody war to bring these lands and their tribes under his control, which lasted about a year, but spent the next six years fighting a number of rebellions before his conquest of Gaul could be considered to be complete. Caesar, fortunately for us, recorded these in his Bellum Gallicom, which was his own account of the Gallic Wars. Helveti In the spring of 58bc the tribe of the Helvetia who lived in the area of modern Switzerland decided to emigrate en masse into western Gaul. There were only two routes they could have taken – one between the Jura Mountains and the Rhone which was too narrow for wagons to pass through easily – the other through the Roman province. The Helvetia requested permission from Caesar to cross this area – he rather deceitfully told them he would consider their request while at the same time ordered as many fresh troops as possible from throughout the province. When the Helvetia envoys arrived to see Caesar on the appointed day he told them they could not cross the Roman province and that if they tried to use force he would stop them. The only other alternative the Helvetia had was to go through the territory of the Aedui. In "Caes.gal.1.11": it states: “The Helvetii had by this time led their forces over through the narrow defile and the territories of the Sequani, and had arrived at the territories of the Aedui, and were ravaging their lands.” The Aedui sent ambassadors to Caesar requesting help – Caesar heard that three parts of the Helvetii tribes had crossed the River Saone. He set off with three legions and attacked the rest who were still to cross the river – they were laden with baggage and surprised by his attack. Many were slain and the remainder fled to hide in the woods. Caesar then built a bridge over the river and pursued the Helvetia for some time before engaging them in battle where they were defeated. It is telling in Caesar’s commentaries the ruthlessness of his army – the following

shows the number of Helvetia who had begun the emigration march compared to the 110,000 who Caesar sent home following the battle. Caes.gal.1.29": [1.29] “In the camp of the Helvetii, lists were found, drawn up in Greek characters, and were brought to Caesar, in which an estimate had been drawn up, name by name, of the number which had gone forth from their country of those who were able to bear arms; and likewise the boys, the old men, and the women, separately. Of all which items the total was: Of the Helvetii [lit. of the heads of the Helvetii] 263,000 Of the Tulingi 36,000 Of the Latobrigi 14,000 Of the Rauraci 23,000 Of the Boii 32,000 The sum of all amounted to 368,000 Veneti The Veneti on the southern coast of Brittany were a maritime power with strong and extensive trading links to Britain. Their towns were built on promontories, which were difficult to reach by land. In 56bc they rebelled against Caesar by taking prisoner Roman soldiers who had been sent out to procure corn, then captured the envoys sent out to rescue them and demanded that their own hostages be returned to them. Caesar ordered ships of war to be built on the River Loire and for rowers, sailors and pilots to be provided.

He knew details of the style of the Veneti ships, which he describes as follows: "Caes.gal.3.13": The keels were somewhat flatter than those of our ships, whereby they could more easily encounter the shallows and the ebbing of the tide: the prows were raised very high, and, in like manner the sterns were adapted to the force of the waves and storms [which they were formed to sustain]. The ships were built wholly of oak, and designed to endure any force and violence whatever; the benches which were made of planks a foot in breadth, were fastened by iron spikes of the thickness of a man's thumb; the anchors were secured fast by iron chains instead of cables, and for sails they used skins and thin dressed leather. The battle and the Roman victory that followed are well documented in Cassius Dio Book XXXIX It is worth noting that Strabo (IV.iv.1) believes that Caesar intended to invade Britain in 56bc and that the reason for the Venetic revolt was to hinder Caesar’s voyage to Britain and to protect their trade there. Britons had come to the attention of Caesar during his battles with the Gaul’s – he knew that some Britons had crossed the channel to provide military aid. According to Caes gal 4.20, it says ‘ he discovered that in almost all the wars with the Gaul’s succors had been furnished to our

enemy from that country’ by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton
   

Caesar's first expedition 55BC
In the late summer of 55 BC Caesar made up his mind to prepare an expedition to Britain -he tells us he thought it would be advantageous politically to him to obtain more knowledge about this island and its people. The only information he had regarding the south east coast was from Traders and this was scant – he had no idea of what the size of the island was, what customs they used, or even which harbours were convenient for a number of large ships. He says in his work ‘ For neither does anyone expect traders go thither, not even to them was any portion of it known, except the sea coast and those parts, which are opposite to Gaul’ To obtain this information as quickly as possible before the expedition Caesar sent Caius Volusenus with a warship to do a reconnaissance along the Southeast coast. In the meantime Caesar moved with all of his forces to the country of the Morini in Gaul where there was the shortest crossing over the channel to Britain. He ordered the ships from the fleet, which he had built the previous year for his war against the Veneti, as well as ships from all neighboroughing countries to assemble there. Traders meanwhile had told the Britons the news of Caesar’s intentions – A number of the tribes of Britain sent envoys to Caesar offering hostages and submission to the government of the Roman people. Caesar met with them ‘ he after promising liberally, and exhorting them to continue in that purpose, sends them back to their own country’. Caesar sent them back to Britain along with Commius. Caesar had made Commius the king of the Atrebates after the conquest of that tribe. Caesar obviously thought highly of Commius – his work states ‘ a man whose courage and conduct he esteemed and who he thought would be faithful to him, and whose influence ranked highly in those countries’. Caesar orders him to visit as many of the tribes as he can and urge them to entrust themselves to the protection of Rome and to announce his forthcoming arrival. Caius Volunus who had reconnoitered the coast without disembarking, returned to Caesar on the fifth day and reported what he had observed – we are not told of his findings in Caesar’s works. While Caesar’s fleet were being assembled, a large section of the Morini tribe in Gaul sent envoys to Caesar –

In Caes gal 4.22 ‘ to please their excuses respecting their conduct on the latter occasion, alleging that it was as men uncivilised, and as those who were unacquainted with our custom, that they had made war upon the Roman people, and promising to perform what he should command ‘. From Caesar’s point of view this must have seemed fortunate timing – he did not want to leave a hostile tribe behind him, ‘nor considered that employment in such trifling matters was to be preferred to his enterprise on Britain’. He decided therefore to demand a large number of hostages from the Morini and accepted the tribe’s submission. In the meantime Caesar assembled his troops of 2 legions of infantry and auxiliaries - the VII and X legions. These were to be transported to Britain in eighty ships. A further eighteen ships which were needed to carry the cavalry were unable to reach the harbour Caesar was in due to winds. Caesar left the harbour in the protection of his Lieutenant Publius Sulpicius Rufus with an adequate garrison force. Caesar set sail to Britain around midnight and ordered the cavalry to march the eight miles along the coast to their ships, set sail and follow him. The cavalry however conducted this operation too slowly and missed the tide. As Caesar reached the coastline of Britain he saw before him tall white cliffs with the massed war parties of chariots and cavalry watching and waiting above him. In caes.gal 4.23 he tells us ‘ the nature of the place was this; the sea was confined by mountains so close to it that a dart could be thrown from their summit upon the shore’. This was an unsuitable place for landing so the ships set anchor and waited for the rest of the fleet to arrive. Caesar held a meeting with his most senior staff, telling them of Volusenus’ findings from his reconnaissance and explained his plans. He reminded them that when he issued orders they must be carried instantly once given. As the weather and tide were in his favour, the ships set off for about 7 miles along the coast until they were along side an open and level shore. The Britons however had followed them along the coast and were waiting for the Romans. The size of the Roman ships meant they could only anchor in fairly deeper water and the Roman soldiers were unwilling to jump into the water as they were held back by the weight of their armour and the effect of the waves. However the enemy with their cavalry and charioteers were on familiar ground and were able to hurl their weapons from the shallows and the dry ground. Understandably the Roman soldiers, who were unaccustomed to this type of warfare and had

never fought against charioteers, were not exactly enthusiastic to leap from their ships into the water. Caesar was quick to notice their reluctance and ordered the ships of war to be removed from the ranks of the transport ships and positioned towards the open flank of the enemy – these ships contained siege engines as well as being equipped with men using slings and arrows. This action caused the enemy to falter – in Caes.gal.4.25 - ‘for the barbarians being startled by the form of our ships and the motions of our oars and the nature of our engines, which was strange to them, stopped, and shortly after retreated a little. Caesar’s men still hesitated in their advance onto the beach – but the Aquilifer (who was the most important standard bearer in a Roman legion - a legions eagle standard was its identity and its loss a mortal disgrace) called out prayers to the gods and exclaimed "Leap, fellow soldiers, unless you wish to betray your eagle to the enemy. I, for my part, will perform my duty to the commonwealth and my general." With this he leapt into the water and made his way towards the enemy. This motivated the Roman troops into action and they too leapt into the water and advanced against the enemy. The battle which followed was fought hard– but the Romans could not keep within their ranks or get a firm foothold. They were unable to follow their own standards and joined under the first standard they came across causing great confusion amongst themselves. The enemy however were at home in the shallows and took advantage of their confusion , using their cavalry to ride up and attack them , surrounding them with larger numbers and also throwing their weapons on the exposed flank of the whole group. Caesar ordered that the warships boats and the spy sloops were filled with soldiers and sent to help the men in distress. This help made all the difference to the beleaguered troops – as soon as they all had a footing on dry ground, they attacked the enemy and put them to flight. Caesar’s troops were not able to follow them for any distance however as the Roman Cavalry had still not arrived. Caesar tells us next that after the enemy had regrouped they sent him envoys to ask for peace. With these envoys they also sent along Commius the Atrebatian, who Caesar had sent to Britain earlier to visit all the tribes in an attempt to persuade them to submit to Rome before his arrival. Commius had been seized on his arrival in Britain after delivering Caesars message and held in chains. The British claimed to Caesar that this had been done under the instructions of ‘ the common people’. The chieftainship of these tribes was an elected office not a hereditary one, and the chiefs were duty bound to carry out the democratic wished of the peoples. Peace negotiations between the British chieftains and Caesar went on for 4 days – Caesar demanded hostages from them – some were given immediately but the rest were promised in a few days, as they were to come from remote places. On the fourth day the sails of the eighteen cavalry ships were spotted from the Roman camp when a sudden storm sprang up. Some of the ships were driven back to their port of departure

whilst others were blown down the channel, to the west, where they tried to anchor but the ships started to fill with water from the waves. They had no choice but to put out to sea during the storm and made for the coast of Gaul. For Caesar the disaster did not stop there. That night the moon was full and the tides particularly high – a fact he states was unknown to the Romans. The ships of war which he had drawn up on the beach were waterlogged by the tide and the storm continued to batter the heavier anchored transports until they were dashed together – several ships broke up an the remainder lost their cables, anchors and rigging. The Roman soldiers could only watch helplessly. The outlook for the Romans must have seemed bleak – they had no provisions for a stay of any length, and no facilities to repair the damaged fleet. This plight was apparent to the Britons still remaining within the Roman Camp and they started to leave in small groups to regroup their forces - this time they did not attack the Romans in force, but changed to guerrilla warfare tactics to prevent the legions from foraging for grain and provisions. Caesar in the meantime had begun the task of repairing his fleet by demolishing the worst damaged ships and using the wood and brass to repair the rest – twelve ships from the eighty were beyond repair. He tells us in caes.gal.4.31 ‘ since that business was executed by the soldiers with the greatest energy, he effected that, after the loss of twelve ships, a voyage could be made well enough in the rest’ Whilst this work was being carried out, members of the VII legion were sent out to reap corn – suddenly the troops on duty at the gate of the camp reported to Caesar that clouds of dust could be seen in the direction the legion had marched. He ordered two cohorts to join him and went to the scene of the action. It was apparent the VII were in great difficulties and were surrounded by the British cavalry and chariots who had ambushed the legion after hiding themselves in the woods. A small number of the legion had been killed and the rest thrown into confusion. When Caesar arrived the British hesitated giving him time to check his panicking legion. Caesar was unable to do much more than withdraw his men back to the camp. At this point in his commentaries he gives us a first hand description of the War chariots of the British tribes were used in battle. He states in caes.gal.4.33 ‘ Their mode of fighting with their chariots is this: firstly, they drive about in all directions and throw their weapons and generally break the ranks of the enemy with the very dread of their horses and the noise of their wheels; and when they have worked themselves in between the troops of horse, leap from their chariots and engage on foot. The charioteers in the meantime withdraw some distance form the battle, and so place themselves with the chariots that, if their masters are overpowered by the number of the enemy, they may have a ready retreat to their own troops. Thus they display in battle the speed of horse, the firmness of infantry; and by daily practice and exercise attain to such expertness that they are accustomed, even on a declining and steep place, to check their horses at great speed, and manage and turn them in an instant and run along the pole, and stand on the yoke, and thence betake themselves with the greatest celerity to their chariots again.’ The war chariots seemed to create havoc among the roman troops – The chariot as a weapon on

war was new to the Romans – the Gaels did not use them. A number of days of extremely bad weather followed this incident which prevented any further hostilities – however the ‘barbarians’ as Caesar called the British had gathered in force for what they considered to be the decisive opportunity for liberating themselves from the Roman invaders and they approached the fortified camp. The Romans were however prepared for them and under Caesar’s command were drawn up in disciplined ranks. This time they were on ground of their own choosing. When the action began the outcome was almost inevitable – the British were unable to sustain the attack for long and were pursued across the countryside by about 30 Roman Cavalry led by Commius the Atrebatian Caesar tells us they slew a great number of the British. Caesar met with British envoys the same day, demanding double the number of hostages and that they be delivered to the continent. Caesar knew that the equinox was near and was not prepared to wait any longer than necessary to return to Gaul. The weather was in his favour and he set sail for Gaul in his repaired ships just after midnight. Caesar clearly took risks in this punitive expedition – we are shown in his commentaries that he did not know how dangerous the conditions of the North Sea were in comparison to navigation in the Mediterranean – what is surprising however is that his experiences didn’t teach him a lesson and it wouldn’t be long before he made the same mistakes again… by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton
   

Caesars second expedition 54BC
After the abortive, and militarily embarrassing events of the previous year, Julius Caesar regrouped his forces, re-thought his strategy and tactics, and determined to recover some of his dented credibility with another attempt at a landing in Britain. The only sources available, are Classical ones, as stated previously, no records exist from the British viewpoint. It is a wellknown phenomenon, that the overall victors are the ones who write the history, in this event only the Roman perspective has come down to us. The veracity therefore of the Classical chronicles, has to be suspect, as has been evidenced by so many revelations about another empire, ironically, the British, which have shown, that there is always another side to every coin. This, together with an almost none-existent archaeological record provides little with which to work. It would be easy to copy verbatim, those same chronicles, and say – this was so – it might not have been so at all, but it is all we have, that, and some insight, and it has to be said, some speculation. The first clue to the events of 54B.C. are from Cassius Dio, who in his book XL he states that Caesar "among other undertakings constructed ships of a style half-way between his own swift vessels and the native ships of burden (trading vessels), endeavoring to make them at once as light and as seaworthy as possible and capable of being left high and dry without injury." This indicates the intention for the ships be capable of being beached, thereby reducing the threat of them being lost to wind and sea while at anchor. It also points to a major military enterprise, the organisation, and logistics required to construct, from scratch, an entire fleet would have been prodigious. Indeed, according to Caesar’s Gallic Wars 5.2, it says "When he arrived there (the army camped on the north shores of Gaul), having made a survey of the winter quarter, he finds that, by the extraordinary ardour (hard work) of the soldiers, amid the utmost scarcity of all materials, about six hundred ships of that kind which we have described above and twenty eight ships of war, had been built, and were not far from that state, that they might be launched in a few days." The ships, as described in this work, were according to this text "For the dispatch (speed) of lading (loading), and for drawing them on shore, he makes them a little lower (shallower draught) than those which we have been accustomed to use in our sea (the Mediterranean); and that so much more, because he knew that, on account of the frequent changes of the tide, less swells occurred there; for the purpose of transporting burdens and a great number of horses, (they were to be) a little broader (wider in the beam) than those which we use in other seas." It seems, from this, that the invasion fleet, which it has to be viewed as, were of a type of vessel, especially designed for the purpose of transporting a very large body of troops and all their horses, plus equipment and baggage, to a potentially hostile shore, in tidal conditions and unpredictable weather. This was no opportunist raid, as 55B.C. may be seen as, this was to be a full sea-bourn invasion. There is, as far as is known, no surviving evidence, archaeological, or otherwise, as to the actual appearance of any of this huge fleet. By the time the repaired vessels of the previous expedition, and private vessels of officers were included, the fleet numbered approximately 800 ships. In order to try and establish the numbers of soldiers employed on this expedition, we are told that there were 2,000 cavalry, if one assumes a minimum of 20 horses to a ship, this accounts for approximately 100 ships. The remaining 700, were manned mainly by soldiers, it seems, therefore, if we again assume a minimum of 50 soldiers to each vessel, on average, then a total number of 35,000 men would appear to be the smallest number required, although no figures are

anywhere indicated, there could well have been considerably more. The argument for this force to be larger than 35,000 men is a strong one, because when the four legions under the command of Aulus Plautius landed in 43 A.D., the total number of men has been estimated, and often quoted as being 40,000, and this with one legion less than Julius Caesar. After some administrative concerns had been dealt with, Caesar was able to concentrate on the project in hand, and according to his own writings, embarked five entire legions and two thousand cavalry, together with, presumably, a substantial quota of Auxiliaries. When the wind and weather were from the appropriate quarter, the fleet set sail, from Boulogne and Port Itius in particular, and possibly other ports on the north Gaulish coast. The night of July 6 is sometimes quoted as being the date of departure, although there is no documentary evidence to support this conjecture. What Caesar describes next, is very telling, and revealing. There has been much debate concerning the actual landing sites for all three landings. This one however, is by far the best described, and leaves little doubt to the area of the landings in Britain, if not the precise location. In Caes.gal.5.8, it states that they "set sail at sunset, and bourn forward by a gentle south-west wind, he was unable to maintain his course, in consequence of the wind dying away about midnight, and being carried too far by the tide, when the sun rose, espied Britain passed on his left." This is quite categorical, what is being described is that the fleet, made considerable leeway, on a tide setting eastward as the wind dropped, this on a roughly northern course, means that the fleet were pushed in the direction of where Dover is today, and beyond. Indeed, for Britain to be on the left, - or port side – means that they had been forced towards the narrows which then separated the mainland from the Isle of Thanet, not the best of places for a landing, with strong tidal currents, tide rips and an uncertain bottom. Instead of Britain being ahead of them, it was to their left, this is a vital clue. Had the tide however set them to the west, then the land would have been on their right (starboard), this therefore has to be excluded as a possibility. However, Caesar seemed aware of both the dangers of his whereabouts, and where he wished to be. At the turn of the tide, and with the aid of their oars (yet another clue to the appearance of the fleet), they altered their course westward. The chronicle continues "Then, again, following the change of tide, he urged them on with the oars, that he might make that part of the island in which he had discovered the preceding summer, that there was the best landing place, and in this affair the spirit of the soldiers was very much extolled, for they (the soldiers) with the transports and heavy ships, the labour of rowing not being discontinued, equaled the speed of the ships of war. All the ships reached Britain nearly at mid-day:… This then provides one answer as to where the landing took place, for if we know the time of year, (July?) and the rate of the tide added to the cruising speed of a Roman galley, and multiply it by the time between sunrise and mid-day, it gives us a distance. From current records, a mean tidal flow rate of ebb/flood tides in the Dover area, is about 70cm per second, which, multiplied up, is roughly 15 kilometers (see : http://www.shom.fr/fr_page/fr_act_geo/TPlidierleb.html ) over six hours between sunrise and mid-day. The maximum speed of war galleys under oars was about 10 – 12k per hour, this however was not maintainable for any length of time, and a cruising speed over the water of this fleet of about 3 – 4k per hour seems more reasonable. Given that the majority of the troops had landed by mid-day, a rowing time of 4 hours would provide a reasonable estimate. This gives us a figure of about 30k, from the point at which the fleet changed it’s course. If they had reached as far north as the area around Sandwich, then, measuring back, this places the landing site somewhere close to the present-day Folkestone.

Certainly, from the South Foreland light east of Dover, to the western extremity of East Wear Bay, any kind of landing is very unlikely, as this is where the Chalk cliffs of the North Downs drop perpendicularly into the sea. To the west of the Folkestone area, were the Romney Marshes, not the best terrain for military maneuverings, nor does it fit any of the descriptions mentioned in the texts. Next west is the headland of Dungeness, a place also unsuitable for a sea-bourn assault. Anywhere further west similarly, does not fit in with Caesar’s description. It may be no coincidence that Folkestone, was the eastern end of the ancient British trackway known as the North Downs Trackway, which would have been vital for moving large numbers of troops into the British hinterland.

Theorised routes of channel crossing

At this point, is seems appropriate to explain a little about the legions of Caesar. The texts show that each was known by a number at this time, and may have had either official, or, unofficial titles, however, their composition was well established, regardless of some minor adjustments. A Caesarian legion was composed of about 5,000 men, organised into 10 Cohorts, of 500 men each. Legions had an assortment of officers, many of which were political appointments. The Legate, who had nominal command, while under him, were the Tribunes, of which the usual number was 6, these were the military commanders. The legion standard, the Aquila, or ‘Eagle,’ was carried by the Aquilifer. Each cohort was divided into 6 Centuries of 80 men, and each Century had it’s own Centurion in command, with an Optio as his back-up, each had it’s own standard, the Signum, carried by the Signifer, and a trumpeter, called a Cornicen, the trumpets being almost circular in design. Another officer allotted to each Century was the Tesserarius, who’s primary role was concerned with guard duties. There was a small cavalry element attached to each legion, but they served mainly as scouts, and dispatch riders. The cavalry, as employed by Caesar in 54A.D. were likely, either Gallic or Germanic auxiliaries organised into units called Alae each having a strength of 500 men. Each Alae was divided into

16 Turmae of 32 officers and men. This is by necessity, simplistic, and there are many works that discuss this aspect of military life in pre-empire times in considerably more detail. The ‘normal’ appearance of a Roman legionary, the common foot-soldier, had yet to make an appearance, although their weapons were the all familiar Gladius (short stabbing sword) Pilum (javelin with soft metal head designed to bend on penetrating impact either on shield, horse, or man, in order to kill, wound or hamper the movements of the unfortunate recipient.) The shield, oval at this period, was called a Scutum, while helmets were of an almost conical design in some cases, round in others with descending cheek guards and simpler to the later well known types, any crests were likely to have been horse hair plumes. The body armour was a tunic of mail, rather than the almost ubiquitous Lorica Segmentata, the hooped metal plate armour of later periods, also lacking seems to have been the studded leather straps which protected the groin area. These then were the legionaries who disembarked onto what they feared would be a hostile shore. However, the British, who had gathered together under a single war chief, a man called Cassivellaunus who was ricon – or king of the Catuvellauni people who’s domain reached from the northern banks of the river Thames into the current Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. According to Caesar, who’s account it is now necessary to follow, after seeing the quantity of ships landing troops, the watching Britons, located on the hills and cliffs overlooking the landing beaches, retreated. It may be however, that those were a scouting party, sent to determine where the Romans had landed, and – once seeing them ashore – departed to report to their king. Once ashore, a suitable location was found for the construction of a camp – it is unfortunate that no archaeological evidence for this place has been discovered, for it would resolve once and for all, where, exactly, this event took place. The fleet, he left at anchor, under the guardianship of ten cohorts, possibly two from each legion, and three hundred cavalry, who, it must be assumed, secured the camp, and the beachhead. It means that nearly 6,000 men were left to guard the ships, and the beach, which would be required to land them on, should the weather once again prove to be dangerous. The idea of leaving the fleet at anchor, knowing how treacherous the weather could be, suggests that Caesar was concerned that the British might be tempted to attack the camp, and if possible burn the ships, which would have left him and his army totally isolated. Safer therefore to leave them at anchor for as long as possible, and only beach them under the direst of meteorological threats. Caesar left Quintus Atrius in command of the guard, and the fleet. According to Caesar’s account, the army then proceeded to advance in the direction taken by the retreating British for a distance of twelve miles, where he says, they saw the enemy, advancing towards ‘the river.’ This river is assumed to be the river Stour, and this, geographically, is difficult to rationalise, as there is no part of the southern Kent coast that lies within a twelve-mile radius of that river. If the Folkestone area was the landing site, then it may be assumed, that the British would have retreated along the ‘North Down’s Trackway’, which terminated close to that site. The other, often quoted landing place is Deal, north of Dover, this location suffers from the same inconsistency of geography, being almost equidistant from Bigbury, as the proposed Folkestone site. It is logical also to assume, that in order to move over 30,000 men, such a track-way would be necessary for any kind of rapid advance. As the legions climbed the heights of the North Downs, the British commenced what can only be described as hit and run tactics, harrying the legions using their cavalry and chariots. Of any river crossing, Caesar makes no mention at this point, so maybe, it was of small military importance, he

continues to say however, that the British had refortified what can only have been a hill-fort. Theories abound, but it seems generally accepted, that the site of this fort was at Bigbury, just west of the present day Canterbury. Of the fort Caesar says this "they concealed themselves in woods, as they had secured a place admirably fortified by nature and by art, which, as it seemed, they had before prepared on account of a civil war, for all the entrances to it were shut up by a great number of felled trees." This describes a place that had been prepared in advance, a place where some consideration had been given to either delaying, or halting the Roman progress. Warriors were also hidden in the woods close by, from which they sallied forth to defend the fort’s entrances. Resistance was valiant – if futile – the soldiers of the 7th legion formed a testudo – or tortoise, then threw up a rampart against the fort’s defences. The testudo, was a formation of men in close order which were able to use their shields to make an impenetrable shell for the whole number of men enclosed. The interlocked shields covered the front, sides, rear, and top of the formation. This now familiar tactic, was revolutionary to the British, they had no clue how to either attack it, or defend against it. Having breached the fort’s defences, the battle was virtually over, after some sporadic fighting, the British withdrew, leaving it in the possession of the successful 7th legion, who suffered, but few casualties. Caesar then refortified the site to Roman specifications, and settled his army down within its earthen walls and ramparts for a well deserved rest. The following morning, in an attempt to discover in which direction the British had withdrawn, the column was divided into three, and ordered to scour the countryside for any sign of them. It was not long before the stragglers of the British were found, but at about the same time, messages were received at Caesar’s headquarters, that disaster had, once again, hit the fleet of anchored ships. A storm had arisen during the previous night, and damaged or destroyed many of the ships. Quintus Atrius reported by messenger that most of the fleet had been sunk, or badly damaged. After Caesar’s experience of 55B.C., he was nervous about this news, it was, most likely, the worst thing that could befall the expedition. The columns were immediately recalled, and he personally returned to the beachhead to find out the exact extent of the damage. It was not as bad as he feared, about forty ships had been lost, and many others damaged, but mostly, not beyond repair. Orders were issued to selected workmen from the legions to set about repairing those ships which could be repaired, and a message was sent back across the Channel – to Labenius – to instigate the rapid construction of as many more new ships as could be produced by the legions he had with him on the Continent to replace those lost. He then ordered all the still floating ships to be hauled ashore, for their future security. It was a massive task to ask of his legionaries, as it was necessary also to extend the fortified camp on the shore to include all the soon to be beached vessels. It took ten days, and nights, of unremitting labour to complete the whole endeavour, after which the fleet was safely beached behind extended and reinforced fortifications. Such a strongly defended position would, one assumes, have left at least some archaeological evidence, but to date, nothing of it has been found. It might be that the site has in the intervening two millennia, been eroded away, and has fallen into the sea. This argues against the Folkestone site, as, the land there has in fact extended from the Roman shore, and, it would by now be a considerable distance inland. Where ever the site was, Caesar left the same ten cohorts and cavalry to defend the beach, and set off back to Bigbury fort where the Britons had taken advantage of the hiatus to regroup, reinforce, re-organise, and rethink their tactics. It has to be said here, that Caesar’s Gallic Wars, as helpful as it maybe, can also be unhelpful too. The next part of his narrative speaks of several encounters between the two forces, but lacks any indication as to location. All he says is this and that occurred at ‘the camp,’ though whether this was still Bigbury camp, or later marching camps, remains a

unresolved. Logic dictates, that he was referring to marching camps, as his column advanced into the lands of the Cantiaci. As there is also made mention of ‘miles’ as a distance, this needs to be defined. A Roman mile, or mille passuum, was a distance of 1,000 paces measured at 5 feet per pace. This means a Roman mile was 5,000 feet, as opposed to 5,280 feet in the British Statute mile, and compares with the kilometre of 1.48 per Roman mile. It has also been suggested that a Roman legion could march between 15 and 30 m.p. a day. This would depend heavily on the terrain, and the access to their own paved roads, or lack of them. Cassivellaunus, as said, had been made overall war leader of the British tribes, this would not have sat very well with several of them, as leader of the Catuvellauni he had been responsible for the overpowering of many of the disaffected tribes, their homeland was north and west of the River Thames, although their influence spread much further, and it might have been Cassivellaunus’s own personality which enabled the temporary alliance between tribes, because such a concept of cooperation was not alien to their way of life. Spies and informants reported some of this to Caesar as his army advanced west into Kent, and north towards the Thames. His intention may have been to take, capture, or kill Cassivellaunus, and thereby removing in one fell swoop, the resistance of the tribes. What ever his motives, Caesar had to find a ford across the heavily tidal river Thames. It was during the advance when, after an un-successful raid by British chariots, and cavalry, that an over zealous section of Romans chased too far, and consequently became isolated from the main column, Caesar reports several deaths as a result. Another encounter was at the site of a marching camp where engineers, engaged in fortifying the camp, were unexpectedly attacked by a large force of British. Two cohorts were sent as reinforcements, but they, being from different legions, did not form a close enough unit, which allowed the British to engage the gap between the cohorts, and thereby make their escape. The death of Quintus Laberius Durus, a tribune, was reported. Caesar says at this point "In the whole of this method of fighting since the engagement took place under the eyes and before the camp, it was perceived that our men, on account of the weight of their arms, in as much as they could neither pursue [the enemy when] retreating, nor dare quit their standards, were little suited to this kind of enemy; that the horse [cavalry] also fought with great danger, because the [the Britons] generally retreated even designedly, and when they had drawn off our men a short distance from the legions, leaped from their chariots and fought on foot in unequal [and to them advantageous] battle. But the system of cavalry engagement is wont to produce equal danger, and indeed the same, both to those who retreat, and to those who pursue. To this was added, that they never fought in close order, but in small parties and at great distances, and had detachments placed [in different parts]; and then one relieved the other, and the vigorous and fresh succeeded [replaced] the wearied." The day after the above events there occurred yet another attack while the legionaries had been instructed to do some foraging. The attack came from all quarters, and even got within striking distance of the revered legionary eagles. The danger to their eagles might have been the spur required for the legions to regroup, and after awaiting the arrival of the cavalry arm a counter attack was made with great success. So great was the victory, that afterwards, any attacks that were made were puny in comparison, and of small account. The allied tribes however had not been defeated, they had withdrawn to yet another fortified line of defence, the River Thames. This seems quite unequivocal Caes Gal 5.18 states "Caesar, having discovered their design, leads his army into the territory of Cassivellaunus to the river Thames which river can be forded in one place only, and that with difficulty." This now poses the question, how did Caesar know it was the river Thames – was it the same waterway as that

known today? In order to check this it is necessary to venture into the original Latin text - which says - ‘flumen Tamesim’ – river Tamesem, when then, and from where did the Tamesem part come from? According to a dictionary of English place names it says ‘ Thames – Tamesis 51B.C. An ancient Celtic river name possibly meaning ‘dark one’ or simply ‘river’’. Which means that the river Thames could actually mean – river River !! If this is so – then the finite acceptance that Caesar did cross the Thames may not be finite at all. It has been suggested that the Thames had several crossing points, not bridges, but fords, or causeways. Locations for these fords have been proposed, they include, Battersea, Brentford, and Westminster, all of which have been verified as possible fords by archaeologists. The Westminster site seems to be the current favourite. There was an extension of the later built Watling Street which appears to have crossed the river in that location, and there is evidence of an island off the northern bank which has been called Thorney, and it has to be said, that Caesar also mentions ‘alteram fluminis ripam’ – a second river bank, which would have to be assaulted in the case of a ford at this point. However, it must be pointed out that all this is conjecture, and the locations of roman crossing places of the Thames is still a hotly debated topic amongst academics. The Britons had very likely, by means of false information lead Caesar to the desired ford because when the legions approached the south bank, the opposite bank was lined with a great multitude of warriors and the river banks had been fortified with stakes embedded into the ground, some above water, some below. Caesar did not hesitate long and dispatched his cavalry across the river, and then ordered forward his legions in support. The defences were not very effective, and the Romans landed in relative safety immediately falling upon the enemy. Likely surprised by the ease with which the Romans had crossed the barrier of the river, the British quickly lost heart, and made their escapes as best they could. Cassivellaunus was able to retain control of over 4,000 chariots, and, as they withdrew into their own heartland, they drove before them all the cattle and people, thereby depriving the advancing legions of plunder, slaves, and food stocks. The cavalry were instructed, after several sorties had been ambushed, not to venture too far from the relative security of the legions. The defeat of Cassivellaunus at the Thames seems to have been the catalyst for a more general revolt of his self imposed authority. Several disaffected tribes began to make embassies to Caesar, premier among them was Mandubratius of the Trinovantes who’s father had been slain by Cassivellaunus. The offer to surrender them selves to Rome, rather than endure the dominance of other Britons might appear a strange thing to do. It could be however, that the prospect of peace and security, under the umbrella of Rome was more appealing than their own British heritage, a concept, which may not have then been apparent to them. In exchange for their promised loyalty, the tribes invited Caesar to install a Roman dignitary to oversee their protection and interests from a vengeful Cassivellaunus, a Roman who by his simple presence would hopefully deter any incursions into Trinovantian lands. Caesar readily agreed, but added the provisos that forty hostages be handed over, and his army be provided with as much corn as they required. Once the negotiations had been completed between Caesar and the Trinobantes, other tribes soon followed suit. Those named by Caesar were the Cenemagni, the Segontiaci, the Ancalites, the Bibroci, and the Cassi, all of which sent embassies to Caesar. It was – it is said – from these embassies that Caesar learned of the location of the ‘command centre’ of Cassivellaunus, and that it was not far from his present location.

While these events had been happening north of the Thames, to the south of that river, Cassivellaunus had used what remained of his authority with those tribes still loyal to him, those who’s kings were called Cingetorix, Carvillius, Taximagulus and Segonax to rally their warriors, and assemble them ready for an all out attack on the fortified landing site and beached fleet of ships, which were Caesar’s sole line of communication with Gaul. Likely as a result of an uncoordinated attack by the rival British kings, they were soon defeated with heavy losses, to such a degree that news of the disaster was immediately sent north to Cassivellaunus. He however, had trouble enough of his own to contend with. Caesar had discovered the whereabouts of his main camp, which had been fortified with ditches and earthen walls. Approaches to the camp were made difficult by the proximity of dense woodlands and bog-land. It must have seemed a formidable place to assault. It was not however Caesar’s way, to procrastinate, and he launched an attack from two directions, which was decisive. The British fled to an enclave within the camp where "A great many cattle was found there, and many of the enemy were taken and slain in their flight." The location of this last stand it has been claimed, was at the earthwork known today as Devil’s Dyke, at Wheathampstead, in Hertfordshire, just north of the later Roman settlement called Verulanium, today called, St. Albans. Evidence of Belgic occupation of the site circa 50 B.C., was discovered by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, when he excavated there in the 1930’s. The ditch has been estimated as being130 feet wide at the top, and 40 feet deep, and though much eroded, much of it’s impressiveness can still be envisaged there today. It may be surmised that this earthwork was linked to another very close by, called the Stad, being as they are, even today almost linked by a wet ditch called The Moat. If these three features were combined in 54 B.C. they would have made an enormous rectangular enclosure defended on at least three sides. The northern side, is seemingly open, although it might be possible that any defensive features on this side have been lost. A display board in a local museum says "For at least 100 years before the Roman Conquest in AD 43 this part of Hertfordshire was the heartland of a powerful and aggressive tribe known as Catuvellauni, Celtic for 'expert warrior'..... The earliest capital of the Catuvellauni is likely to have been at Wheathampstead. ..... Here are massive earthworks known as Devil's Dyke. ......... This was attacked by Julius Caesar in 54 BC. "

Cassivellaunus, learning of the betrayal of several tribes, the massive defeat on the Kent coast, which added to the devastation of his own lands, and the huge loss of life of his people and his warriors, had no other option but to sue for peace. Though the intermediary, Commius, an Atrebatian, arrangements were made for the hand over of hostages, and the payment of tribute to Rome. Agreement was also extracted for Cassivellaunus not to take revenge, or make war upon either Mandubratius, or the Trinovantes as a whole. News had arrived that revolt had broken out in Gaul, and Caesar was desperate to return there to restore Roman authority. Consequently, subsequent to the reception of the hostages and tribute, the legions made their way back to the waiting fleet, who’s losses had been replaced, and repairs all but completed ready for the embarkation of the army and it’s acquired masses of prisoners. The season too made it imperative that the crossing be made with dispatch, as the equinoctial storms were soon expected, and Caesar needed his legions intact for Gaul. So it was that the Roman army left British shores, not to return for almost a hundred years, a hiatus which was to see many changes, both in Rome, and in Britain. It seems, after this span of time to be an anti-climactic end to such a great endeavour, indeed, from some contemporary commentaries, it seemed so at the time too, as Caesar returned with no grand plunder, and seemingly nothing to show for the entire campaign. His legacy was however to influence British tribal politics for the next hundred years, and for those tribes who had embraced the arrival of the Romans, it began a period of preRomanisation, which would eventually lead to historic consequences. It cannot be over emphasised just how much of the above narrative depends on the writings of Caesar, not an especially unbiased account of things. Much remains speculation, and argument and debate continue amongst academics. Archaeology has yet to prove or disprove most of the above, and, while discoveries are still being made, they remain sparse, and inconclusive. It cannot be over emphasised just how much of the above narrative depends on the writings of Caesar, not an especially unbiased account of things. Much remains speculation, and argument and debate continue amongst academics. Archaeology has yet to prove or disprove most of the above, and, while discoveries are still being made, they remain sparse, and inconclusive.

I came, I saw, I conquered! As a brief aside, a post-script, and to clarify a minor oft quoted misconception, it is sometimes said that Julius Caesar uttered the immortal words "Veni vedi vici" at the conclusion of his British expeditions of 55 B.C. and 54 B.C. It is necessary here to correct this perceived error which has somehow crept into British historical myth. It was several years after Caesar had turned his army, his thoughts, and his back on the British Isles, when, after the military competition between himself and his rival for control of Rome, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, known more generally to history as, Pompey, came to an end with the murder of Pompey in Egypt. His ignoble end came as a result of his army being defeated by that of Caesar’s at the battle of Pharsalia in August, 48 B.C. After a brief dalliance in Alexandria with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, his presence was required at the location of a small local disturbance in northeastern Anatolia where, Pharnaces, king of the Cimmerian Bospherus, in 47 B.C. had taken advantage of Caesar’s pre-occupation in Egypt to try and regain his father’s kingdom of Pontus. Suetonius, writing in c110A.D. says that Caesar "vanquished him in a single battle within five days after his arrival and four hours after getting sight of him" He later continues to describe Caesar’s triumphal return to Rome "In his Pontic triumph he displayed among the show-pieces of the procession an inscription of but three words, "I came, I saw, I conquered," [ 'Veni, vidi, vici'] not indicating the events of the war, as the others did, but the speed with which it was finished." (Suetonius : De Vita Caesarum Divas Julius) This hopefully will lay to rest any lingering speculation regarding the origin of a very famous quotation. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook.html

by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton
   

Cantiaci and the South East between the Julian and Claudian Invasions

Apart from Caesars comments regarding there being four tribes with their own rulers in Cantiaci we know very little about the peoples living in the area during the years between the invasions of Caesar and Claudius. (Caesar De Bello Gallico v.22) "... Cassivellaunus sent messages to Cantium, a country by the sea, as above set forth, over whose four districts Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus, and Segovax ruled as kings…......" In the book 'The Cantiaci’, Alec Detsicas states that the Cantiaci area formed part of a larger region centred on the Thames and stretching as far north as the East Anglia Rivers, west to the Chiltern ridge and south to the High Weald of Kent and Sussex. In this area were five main tribal groups - the Catuvellauni, Cantiaci, Coritani, Iceni and Trinovantes.

We do not know the exact territories of these peoples -- we can only plot these by looking at the distribution of coins issued by the individual rulers to ascertain their political influence and by archaeological fieldwork and interpretation. When Caesar departed he had imposed terms on the British tribes - payment of tributes were fixed to ensure that the terms of the treaties were adhered to. In addition Cassivellaunus of the Catuvellaunian area was forbidden to molest the Trinovantes to his east. Caesar tells us that hostages were given – current opinion is that these were not ‘hostages’ in the true sense but were future client kings / sons of kings who were willing to go to Rome and were then educated in the Roman way of life before returning to Britain. This is given credence by the fact that Suetonius tells us the following in his De Vita Caesarum-Divus Augustus - The Lives of the Caesars--The Deified Augustus: XLVIII. Except in a few instances he restored the kingdoms of which he gained possession by the right of conquest to those from whom he had taken them or joined them with other foreign nations. He also united the kings with whom he was in alliance by mutual ties, and was very ready to propose or favour intermarriages or friendships among them. He never failed to treat them all with consideration as integral parts of the empire, regularly appointing a guardian for such as were too young to rule or whose minds were affected, until they grew up or recovered; and he brought up the children of many of them and educated them with his own. During the expansion of the Roman Empire it was normal practice for alliances to be formed

with their neighbours and in some cases Roman troops being temporarily or permanently garrisoned in these neighbouring territories where Client Kings had been established. Whilst we do not have any concrete evidence of this in Britain, some sites have been identified where the archaeological evidence could be interpreted as showing pre conquest occupation. An example is what appears to be a small Roman Military fort at Gosbecks near Colchester where the rounded corners going under the Late Iron Age Heath Farm Dyke seems to suggest that the fort pre dates the dyke

Settlements In the South East in particular there was a rapid development into urbanised civilisation - a number of the earlier Iron Age hill forts went into decline although some such as Bigbury, near Canterbury were re-defended. The Belgae from Northern France who had emigrated here from around 100BC mainly founded the peoples of the area - they tended to form political units, which had less need of forts. These hill-forts were replaced by the foundation of Oppidum sited on large areas of low lying ground (approx.75-100 acres), defined by linking of natural features and discontinuous great dykes. They served a variety of functions - Oppidum are characterized by their mints and from foreign pottery finds which appear in abundance. The locations of these Oppidum were situated on the trade routes needed for distribution and marketing. The Oppidum were also centres for seats of government. However Oppidum still remain poorly understood and evidence is limited Some of the settlements thought to be Oppidum in the South East can be identified as: DVROVERNVM CANTIACORVM (Canterbury) The pre-Roman settlement had an oppidum at this crossing place on the River Stour with direct access to the sea through the Stour Estuary. Belgic Rectangular huts and drainage gullies have been found on both sides of the River Stour

DVROBRIVAE (Rochester) Pre-Roman native settlement on the Medway. Coin moulds have been found QUARRY ROAD, Loose (near Maidstone) Possible Belgic oppidum, Quarry Wood, Shepway, TQ 766 516 - controlled the crossing of the Medway link to multimap arial photo of the area Other main Oppidum in the larger area are: VERULAMIUM (St Albans) The Catuvellauni established a settlement centre and associated dykes on the plateau south of the River Ver. The earthworks can be seen in a simple form at Beech bottom dyke and Devils dyke. CAMULODUNUM (Colchester) The earthworks here enclose a territory of some 12 square miles and appear to run from river valley to river valley. The focal point of the site was a large farmstead within a trapezoidal shaped area in the Gosbecks area. To the north but also within the earthworks is the Sheepen area by the river which was a manufacturing area including a coin mint and workshops. Fragments on coin moulds have been recovered from the area. Trade The time between the Julian and Claudian invasions was a time of turmoil and unrest, which opened up new markets for trade particularly in Slaves. In the Cantiaci region trade links with the Roman world had been in place since the 1st century BC using Gallo-Belgic coinage as well as the more locally produced potin coinage of North Kent. The previous Atlantic route between the South East Coast at locations such as Hengistbury Head in Dorset with Southern Gaul and the Mediterranean was virtually replaced by the more direct route between Northern Gaul, the Mediterranean world and southeast England following the Veneti revolt in BC 56 when Caesar defeated the Veneti fleet. Trade was expanding in this area - from the middle of the first century BC, Roman merchandise was steadily being brought into the region due to intensified contacts bringing about changes in the lifestyle of the Cantiaci inhabitants. Imports consisted of amphorae, pottery fine wares from Gaul, Germany and the Mediterranean, glassware, bronze vessels and silver cups. The exports were more primitive consisting of basic

raw materials and agricultural produce and show clearly the difference between an underdeveloped country and a more progressive one. Amphorae The alliance which was forged between Rome and the Trinovantes after Caesar appears to have also led to an increase in trade - Large numbers of Amphorae have been found on many sites in Hertfordshire and Essex as well as in other areas such as the oppidum at Bagendon near Chichester. The amphorae contained wine as well as olives, nuts or other as products such as garum – a fish sauce which comes from the southern Spanish coastal region. The main types of Amphorae found in the South East are the Dressel 1B form – numerous kilns sites for the production of these have been found in Italy and the Richborough 527 type, which were probably made in the Eolie Islands off the coast of Sicily. Politics and Power There appears to be two distinctive dynasties in the South East – The Commian dynasty centred on the south and Tasciovanian in the east north of the Thames. Commius had fled to Britain after the rebellion in Gaul where he had been involved in the rebel movement with Vercingetorix – from coins found in Sussex and Hampshire it appears likely that he established a kingdom in that area. These coins have ‘COMMIUS’ on them and are known as British Q coins. His son Tincommius may have had a formal treaty with Augustus. The earlier coins Tincommius produced were identical in style to those of Commius – these showed head and horse imagery. The coins he later produced in Sussex and Hampshire are more romanised in style. His two brothers Eppilus and Verica plotted against Tincommius and he fled to Rome hoping to enlist the help of Augustus with no success. In C AD 15 the younger brother Verica ousted Eppilus – Eppilus escaped to Kent where he also ejected the king Dubnovellaunos. Dubnovellaunos had been the first Cantiaci king to issue inscribed coins – mainly in a ‘Celtic’ style with ‘DVBNOVELLAV’ inscribed on them. These coins are found over a large area centred on oppidum at Durobrivae (modern day Rochester) Tasciovanus may have been the son or grandson of Cassivellaunus and was the first Catuvellaunian leader to issue coins inscribed with his name and a mintmark from Verulamium. [VER c.20BC] Tasciovanus started a period of expansion against the Trinovantes in direct contravention of the Treaty and coins bearing his name are found with the mintmark of CAMV (Camulodum) showing he had taken over the Trinovantes capital for a period before retreating. On his death his son Cunobelin succeeded him. In AD9 the Romans suffered a massive disaster

in the Tuetoberger Forest in Germany when three legions under Varus were massacred – Cunobelin possibly invaded the territory of the Trinovantes when it was unlikely that Augustus was in a position to retaliate. Cunobelin is found minting coins in gold, silver and bronze, not from the Catuvellaunian capital at Verulamium but from Camulodunum. This policy of expansionism continued with most of Kent and beyond the Thames into the Atrebate territory being dominated by Cunobelin. Despite this apparent hostility overseas trade continued to expand in this region. Cunobelin who reigned for nearly 30 years appears to have achieved such a position of power that he was described by Suetonius as ‘Rex Britannorum’ . He was obviously a great statesman and maintained a balanced kingdom, which he brought to a peak of Romanisation. Cunobelin is thought to have died shortly before the AD 43 invasions – from coin evidence it seems his territory had already been divided between his sons, Adminius, Caratacus and Togodumnus. The political situation changed rapidly after Cunobelins death as both Caratacus and Togodumnus adopted a policy of hostility towards Rome. Adminius who held pro-Roman views might have had his base on the extremity of North East Kent, which included the only, land locked harbour and the Wansum Channel. He was driven from Cantium by Cunobelin before his death and fled to Gauis who was campaigning in Germany. Togodumnus took over his father’s kingdom and Caratacus began a calculated campaign of invasion to the lands of Verica and the Atrebates – Verica fled to Rome seeking the help of Claudius. Matters had become out of hand – The southeast area had changed from being a region, which operated under a client kingship where Rome was the overlord. This region had enjoyed the benefits and commerce of the Empire for a number of generations. Caratacus and Togodumnus had created political unrest and an unstable situation with no clear successor to Cunobelin. This threatened the trade which was inextricably linked to Rome The forthcoming invasion may have been initially to secure the Catuvellauni territory rather than an invasion of Britain itself.

by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton

43AD Invasion
The channel crossing according to Dio: “They were sent over in three divisions, in order that they not be hindered in landing as might happen to a single force, and in their voyage across they became discouraged because they were driven back in their course, and then plucked up courage because of a flash of light rising in the east shot across to the west, the direction in which they were sailing. So they put into the island and found none to oppose them.” This last is interesting because, unlike 55 and 54BC, this landing was apparently either in friendly territory, or, the Britons were taken completely by surprise. The latter seems unlikely on account of the protracted preparations, abortive mutiny, and delays that the expedition had endured. Traders, informants, fisherfolk, all would have reported the preparations for the imminent Roman arrival, providing enough time for local chieftains to raise their war bands had the Roman landing been uninvited or unwished for. Dio provides a clue regarding this when he wrote “…. for a certain Bericus, who had been driven out of the island as a result of an uprising, had persuaded Claudius to send a force thither.” If Dio is to be taken at his word, then this may have been more of a policing action to settle a local British dispute than it was an outright invasion. The question has to be therefore asked whether the arrival of Plautius and his army in 43AD was actually intended as an invasion. Opposition to the arrival of a Roman army on British soil was eventually organised by the two sons of a recalcitrant, though deceased chief of the Catuvellauni tribe called, Cunobelin, the elder of which was called Caratacus, and the younger, Togodumnus. This minor dynasty was responsible for expanding their tribal lands at the expense of their near neighbours the Atrebates, Trinovantes and the Cantium, and it could have been their ambition which prompted Plautius’s expedition. An expedition which was seen as protecting those tribal leaders who were sympathetic to Rome and her ways, it may have began as nothing more than an attempt to restore the status quo, rather than a long term military commitment. According to Cassius Dio: “the Britons as a result of their inquiries had not expected that they (the Romans) would come, and had therefore not assembled beforehand. And even when they did assemble, they would not come to close quarters with the Romans, but took refuge in the swamps and the forests, hoping to wear out the invaders in fruitless effort, so that, just as in the days of Julius Caesar, they would sail back with nothing accomplished.” (Dio book LX 60 - xix) He continues “Plautius accordingly, had a deal of trouble in searching them out; but when at last he did find them, he first defeated Caratacus and then Togodumnus, the sons of Cynobellinus, who was dead. After the flight of these kings he gained by capitulation a part of the Bodunni, who were ruled by a tribe of the Catuvellauni; leaving a garrison there, he advanced further and came to a river.” The above passages provide for an alternative reason for the Briton’s failure to attack the Romans while they were at their most vulnerable. If Dio is to be accepted, then the two warlords

were hoping that this would turn out to be another brief excursion, that Plautius took it upon himself to extend and expand on his unforeseen luck of an unopposed landing can only be seen as a major error of judgement by Caratacus and Togodumnus. Dio’s words “searching them out” is also ambiguous, did he mean searching out the native army, or did he mean searching for the two brothers. Were they the reason for Plautius being there in the first place? If so, then the invasion once more begins to look more like a policing action to rid the island of what he saw as constant trouble makers. Provided Richborough, or a site close by was the landing place, the river to which Dio refers can, geographically, only have been the Medway which meanders its way southwards from its estuary west of the present Isle of Sheppey, past Maidstone and west through Tonbridge. The alleged site of the battle has recently been commemorated by the setting up of an engraved stone at the village of Snodland (TQ 71 62) on the present A228 a short distance northwest of Maidstone. The village lies close to the ancient trackway now called “The Pilgrim’s Way”, where it crosses the Medway but while the Pilgrim’s Way crosses the Downs in a west-north-westerly direction from Ashford to Maidstone, the more northern route which later became Watling Street leads almost directly west from Richborough to Maidstone. Archaeological evidence to support the northern route was discovered in 1957, when a hoard of 34 gold coins dated to 41AD was found at Bredgar near Sittingbourne. Frere (Britannia pp 64) says that this amount “…..was too small to represent a subsidy to some native prince, but it is too large to be the savings of and ordinary legionary soldier; moreover, the coins show progressive decrease in wear from the earliest to the latest, which suggests they represent a cross-section of the currency…….. Such a large sum (three months’ pay for a centurion) was probably the property of an officer, concealed before some skirmish, and it reinforces the view that the army passed north of the Downs by the route later laid out as Watling Street.” The hoard is currently housed at the British Museum.

In John Manleys book AD 43 - a reassessment he states the following :

"On 30 July 1957, when a trench was being dug for the foundations of a bungalow, 33 gold aurei were found and a subsequent search produced one further coin (Carson 1960). There was no sign of a container but since some of the coins were still stacked together the implication was that they had been packed in rolls and wrapped in cloth which had rotted. The coins range from Julius Caesar to Claudius with the four latest issued in the reign of Claudius in AD 41-2. The latest coins were in mint condition but the earlier coins were worn. Since no native coins were found with the hoard the find was associated with Roman as opposed to indigenous ownership. Pay for an ordinary centurion was about 150 aurei per year, and it was concluded that the 34 aurei could well have represented the personal savings of someone of the rank of centurion or upwards in the legions which invaded Britain in 43AD. Of course the location of the village of Bredgar, on the downs some 10 miles (16km) to the east of the Medway, and just before the line of the hills begins to descend towards the Medway, raised the obvious possibility that an official might have concealed these savings at the army’s last halting place before the battle of the Medway. Superficially the argument is plausible, but underlying it are numerous assumptions: for instance that the hoard was concealed in the summer of AD43 , that it did belong to a Roman Officer, that it was hidden by him and not stolen from him , that the officer was part of an invading unit heading for the Medway – all these things are unknowable. In addition it seems debatable whether and campaigning officer fighting in a contested invasion would carry with him his personal savings. What did Roman soldiers do with their pay when they were on the march? Surely pay, or any savings accrued, were kept in safely guarded stores, capable of being redeemed by an individual when the progress of the campaign allowed some leisure time. In addition , it again seems likely that an officer would deliberately conceal a personal fortune , knowing that his army was on the march and would stay at a particular location for only a brief period of time. In reality the Bredgar Hoard may imply the presence nearby of the Roman Military but it tells us nothing of the size of the force, the year in which it was present , the direction it was taking, and least of all is it proof for the battle of the Medway. The hoard could just as easily represent payment to a British Chief who collaborated with the invasion force." In Autumn 1999 Kent Archaeological Field School announced discovery of a possible 4 acre Roman Fort at Syndale near Faversham. At Snodland there has been a local ferry across the Medway to Burnham since at least the 16th century. There is no mention of there ever having been a ford in the immediate vicinity. This might be evidence for other renditions of these events, but for the sake of narrative, it requires a decision to be made, as with so much of this period. Snodland and it’s environs were the sites of extensive marsh-lands, drained since the 19th century and before. Those marshes used to extend south from Rochester (Durobrivae) almost to Aylesford, they often extended for a few hundred yards on both banks of the river making the prospect of chariot warfare very unlikely. It becomes more apparent to this writer that any successful crossing of the Medway HAD to take place where the river banks were capable of withstanding the use of both cavalry and chariots, similarly marsh and bog would have hindered the legions ability to manoeuvre. It is with these

things in mind that the suggestion is made that the crossing could not have occurred at Snodland, but rather only either at Rochester where the river is narrow, and swimmers could have traversed at slack water, or that it took place much further south, even near Larkfield, where there is evidence of Roman occupation. Rochester however lies along the route of Watling Street, there was a crossing, though at that time, no bridge, it seems right, it seems to fit the scenario. In addition John Manley tells us "A military style ditch , deliberately backfilled , was located beneath the later villa at Eccles in the mid-1970’s , just to the East of the Medway and reasonably close to the Medway Monument. The ditch was traced east-west for a length of 92.65m. no corners were located and the ditch contained pottery apparently earlier than AD65. However the full report is still to be published." To close this vague section, it might be helpful to have it summarised by the words of the closing conclusion from the special symposium on the landing places hosted by the Sussex Archaeological Society, 23rd October, 1999, spoken by Professor Barry Cunliffe of Oxford University. “In summarising what everyone agreed to be a very stimulating and worthwhile conference, Professor Cunliffe reinforced the point that he had made at the very start of the day, that it is vital to be open-minded and unprejusticed in all archaeology. Tradition has no godgiven right to be correct and we should always try to focus on a problem without being too partisan. In the 1880’s Clausentum (Southampton Water) was suggested as the landing place for the AD43 invasion. The discovery of the structures at Richborough brought that site into prominence, and gradually new Solent ideas re-emerged while Kent was quoted in the major textbooks. Hind’s article in 1989 has thrown another light on the subject, bringing the bias back to Sussex. There is no doubt that the invasion was set in a complex geopolitical context and the debate should continue, using an open mind to consider the evidence.” It is hoped that this site, while adhering to the traditional, has looked at the evidence with an open mind. The Medway Crossing The physical obstacle posed by the river Medway led to what might arguably be seen as one of the most decisive battles on British soil, for it’s eventual outcome led to nearly 400 years of Roman authority. The name Medway might stem back to pre-Roman days, one theory being that it derives from ‘Medu’ meaning either mead or sweet water. The two armies ranged up facing each other, with Plautius’ legions constantly maneuvering in order to keep the British tied down observing their movements in order to best counter them whenever and however they decided to attempt the river crossing. It was on the west bank of the Medway the Britons had decided to make their stand, thinking that the river would provide sufficient of a barrier, enough to give them the advantage. Of the battle, Dio says “The barbarians thought that the Romans would not be able to cross it (the river) without a bridge, and consequently bivouacked in rather careless fashion on the opposite bank; but he (Plautius) sent across a detachment of Germans, who were accustomed to swim easily in full armour across the most turbulent of streams.” This translation, states that it was a Germanic unit that swam over the river, but others are equally as adamant that it should read – Κελτους – which, they say translates as Keltoi or, Celts, but no reference is made to their origin be them from northern Gaul, Germanic tribes or indeed, Britain. Tacitus however does mention the Batavians, and that there were eight cohorts of them, a force which would amount to no less than 4,000 men. So who were these elite troops, soldiers able to swim rivers in

full armour, the Batavi? They came from what is today northern Holland, a people who were excellent horsemen brought up in the winding waterways of the Low-countries.

It seems likely that they were mixed units of cavalry and infantry strongly loyal to Rome, to the point that they had the honour of proving the guard cavalry to Julius Caesar. Their method of traversing water-causes would likely have been by clinging onto their horses mains, or their saddles, this could enable each horse to support two men, it’s rider, and another. As soon as Plautius ordered their advance, they entered the waters of the Medway, and soon were able to make a crossing that took the Britons totally by surprise. They had orders to disable the enemy’s horses, which would disable their most formidable fighting arm, their chariots. The constant movement of Roman troops would have permitted these cohorts to slip out of British observation to a place where they could cross the river without being seen. That objective was successfully accomplished, and their appearance behind the ranks of bemused Britons led to their total confusion. Their main weapon was being decimated; their chariots and their horses would no longer be of any practical use to them. As the Britons tried to salvage what they could from the assault of the Batavi, this enabled Plautius to launch his main assault with his heavy infantry, his legions. Led by Flavius Sabinus and Vespasian, (presumably) with the Legio II Augusta (although there is no evidence to support the presumption), the legions made a safe crossing, and established a bridgehead on the west bank of the Medway. Fighting became fierce in the extreme as the forces of Caratacus attacked the legions. Of Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus), who was to become emperor in 69AD, until his death in 79AD., Suetonius has little to say regarding these events in Britannia, in his De Vita Caesarum--Divus Vespasianus iv, he says “In the reign

of Claudius he was sent in command of a legion to Germania, through the influence of Narcissus; from there he was transferred to Britannia [See Claud. xvii], where he fought thirty battles with the enemy.” The subsequent conquest of the Isle of Wight (Vecits) by Vespasian received far more comment in contemporary biographies than did his adventures prior to the Emperor’s arrival on land of the British. Not enough is mentioned that adds to our knowledge of this campaign, while other events in the same biography receive far more in-depth coverage. This could be indicative that legend and tradition has been at work over the centuries, or that his involvement at Medway was not considered that decisive. To the rallying call of their bronze war horn, called the Carnax, the Britons rallied and fought for their king, their land, and their way of life. In ever increasing desperation they threw themselves at the steady lines and phalanxes of the roman cohorts. The day closed with neither side able to claim victory, the British withdrew to nearby woodlands, and rested, the legions too took as much sleep as adrenaline and battlefield conditions would permit. The following day dawned and conflict resumed, a second day of battle, a rare event for those times, such was the determination and desperation with which this was fought. Their lack of effective cavalry and the use of their chariots though eventually began to tell. However, decisive actions were necessary to bring about a victory, according to Dio, “the struggle was indecisive until Gnaeus Hosidius Geta, after narrowly missing being captured, finally managed to defeat the Barbarians so soundly that he received the ornamenta triumphalia, though he had never been a consul.” Precisely what actions were taken by Geta might never be known, although many have speculated, they were though, sufficient on the day for him to receive an honour from the emperor. The ornamenta triumphalia had evolved from the more traditional Roman triumphs, which had become the preserve of the imperial family. To compensate, this honour was introduced which allowed for the recipient to be granted titles, to be allowed to appear in public wearing the robes of imperators and to be able to bequeath to their descendants, triumphal statues. It is often stated that Geta was the Legate of the Legio II Augusta, and therefore, it was that legion which he led against the British. It seems logical, but again, there is no supportive evidence of any kind. The actions taken by Geta were enough to break the fighting spirit of the Britons, and they withdrew towards the next natural barrier. Caratacus and his brother must have been able to contain the defeat for rather than becoming a rout, there was a semi-organised retreat towards the River Thames. Dio says “Thence the Britons retired to the river Thames at a point near where it empties into the ocean and at flood tide forms a lake. This they easily crossed because they knew where the firm ground and the easy passages in this region were to be found.”(LX 60. xx) Once again, the question of location raises its enigmatic head. Many have been the theories as to where the description of Dio leads. Current research has shown that there was/may have been, a gravel bank forming a shallow ford crossing the Thames in the vicinity of Westminster and Lambeth. What today is Westminster was in the 1st century, an island which has been called Thorney Island, one of the earlier Time Team programs, while excavating the grounds of Lambeth Palace, had a look at the river, and local knowledge suggested that remnants of this bank survive. Down stream from this was the tidal head of the Thames, between the current Westminster Bridge and London Bridge is even today called the Pool of London.

The riverbanks then were not as those of today which have been manicured by man. Then they were open and likely to flood at high water. This would have resulted in swamps and reed beds which the heavily armoured legions would have found difficult to navigate in the best of circumstances, and might account for what seems to be lacking from Dio's description of the forthcoming battle, the legions. The Celts (Batavi) were once more employed to swim the river, while others managed to find a bridge further up-stream. Any bridge would have been a rudimentary affair compared to the massive structures built by Caesar, and may only have supported a few men crossing at any one time. Dio makes no mention that this bridge was defended, which seems odd, but sufficient men were able to cross for them be able to aid their mounted comrades down-stream. From Dio it appears that the two forces outflanked the waiting Britons and were able in inflict many casualties. The lack of horses to drive their chariots and to mount their cavalry would have hindered British tactics and their ability to manoeuvre. They were caught in the jaws of the typical Roman style pincer tactic. Meanwhile, the legions seem to have got themselves lost in the reed beds and marshes, incurring enough casualties, likely from drowning, for Dio to make mention of it “In pursuing the remainder incautiously, they got into the swamps from which it was difficult to make their way out, and so lost a number of men.” This defeat of the Britons was decisive on the day, and they melted away, resistance it seems had stopped. An event happened soon after the battle finished which seems ambiguous. Dio LX 60.xxi states “Shortly afterwards (the battle) Togodumnus perished, but the Britons, so far from yielding, united all the more firmly to avenge his death. Because of this fact and because of the difficulties he had encountered at the Thames, Plautius became afraid, and instead of advancing any further, proceeded to guard what he had already won, and sent for Claudius.” Once more, there could be a question mark over the translation of the text here, and personally lacking the knowledge, I have used the words from the above-mentioned web site - “The conventional translation gives that the death of Togodumnus occurred later but the text seems to state quite plainly that it was because of the death of Togodumnus and its effect on the rest of the Britons that Plautius became

alarmed. Also the use of jqapentoV the Aorist Passive Participle of the verb jqeirw, to describe the death itself is a strange choice because the strict translation of this verb in the Passive is not so much 'to kill' as 'to destroy.' Something is done to the individual that causes his death, unlike the usual apokueinw which means 'to kill', pure and simple, in the Active as well as the Passive. Togodumnus was a prince of Britain whose father, Cunobelin had reigned for forty years and whose patron had been Augustus himself. If Togodumnus had died normally in a normal battle then it cannot surely have caused anything other that the normal reaction to a warrior's death, however noble. There seems from the text something abnormal about his death that roused normally placid Britons to fight in his name. Could he have been executed? Could the Celts on the Roman side have taken revenge for things that Togodumnus had done during the insurrection? Had he been captured first then formally been put to death instead of being given the usual courtesy afforded to noble prisoners that had been captured in battle. It would seem that Plautius had nothing to do with it because of its effect on Plautius and on the Britons. Note that it was the effect not only on the BarBaroi but the BreTTanoi as well. The occasion and the manner of his death had united the 'Barbarians' and the 'Britons' and this was the fact that alarmed Plautius and caused him to alert Claudius. This would seem to indicate that up until then the whole venture could not have been thought to be on the scale of an invasion. If four legions and their auxiliaries had been present, the reaction of Plautius would not have been that of alarm. It would have been the culmination of what he had come for and it is nonsensical to suggest that he would have sent for Claudius for moral and physical support. What it does suggest is that the venture had plainly escalated out of control and that he had to send to Claudius for reinforcements.” From this and Dio, it would seem that Plautius made his position defensive, which would mean a fort or forts of some substance. Archaeology has to date failed to either locate or define where these where. And while London, or Londinium became the imperial capital of the island, that was several years in the future. How far Plautius ranged from the original crossing is not mentioned but the suggestion is that it was not far, however, it remains a possibility that he could have fortified the site that was to become Londinium. There might be some clues from the layout of Roman roads, but once again, academics do not agree about the course of 1st century roads, and at this time, they might not have yet existed. At the same time, it maybe that as part of Plautius’ fortifications and defences he instigated the construction of the roads leading to the Thames crossing from Kent. There is archaeological evidence for a fort within Roman London, at Cripplegate, but it has been attributed to the early 2nd century and as quarters for the governor’s guards (Singulares). Similarly, London Bridge was the original location for the Roman bridge over the Thames, but it too was of later date and although it would be convenient for the bridge to have formed the crossing for Claudius when he arrived, there is no case to be made. The hiatus is also difficult to resolve with certainty. Paulius had accepted the submissions of several British tribes since his initial landing(s) and they continued to submit after the battle to cross the river Thames while others continued the resistance. It maybe that he sought reinforcements from the continental mainland, or it might have been that he had prior instructions to halt his advance at some strategic point in order to inform Claudius, so that he could make an imperial event of the march to, and conquest of Camulodunum (Colchester) which was the headquarters of Caratacus and his sphere of influence in the south-east. Frere (Britannia) says that word was sent to the Emperor at the beginning of July, and that Claudius arrived about mid-August, this is about six weeks, not very long if the request was unexpected, and if the required reinforcements were to be found and marched to the Channel ports. Frere also says that Plautius withdrew to the southern banks of the Thames during this time, which seems

both un-necessary if local tribes had given their submission, and if they had not, then the prospect of once more having to force a crossing, this time under the critical eye of his Emperor would have been a daunting prospect indeed. by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton

43AD The Landing Site
Academics have argued the cases for many landing sites, from the Isle of Wight in one direction to eastern Kent in the other, a span that covers half of the south coast of England. A recent symposium on this very subject failed to resolve the question, however, the tendency seems to be currently leaning towards three un-named sites in Sussex, which is hardly helpful. If Sussex was indeed the location of the landing beaches, then another question is posed, that of the forthcoming Battle of the Medway, more of which later. Without doubt the most popular, and accepted landing beaches, or harbours with writers, are on the east coast of Kent, north of Dover, but there remains almost nothing of their passing, almost nothing in the archaeological record to even suggest this area to be the correct one. It will remain, most likely, one of the hottest contended questions amongst historians and archaeologists, a question, which may never be resolved.

All of the above is extrapolated from the words of Cassius Dio, and the small amount of archaeological data that has come to light in the past few years. There remains one momentous conjecture, what if the traditional translations of Dio are wrong. This must be investigated in order that any narrative might continue with any credibility what so ever. Only Dio provides any clues to the landing and subsequent events of the arrival of Aulus Plautius in 43 AD, consequently his exact words must be examined with the greatest of care. In the website www.rehistoriaeantiqua.co.uk just such an examination has been undertaken, and with some disquieting results. Briefly, what is explained is that there are two extant manuscripts of Dio’s Roman History, the Laurentianus and the Marcianus, and that these between them contain the greater part of books XXXVI to LX, finishing at LX, xxviii.iii. There are also three subsidiary manuscripts, the Vaticanus Graecus, the Parisinus, and the Mediceus, the latter of which includes the whole of book LX while also being the original from which Parisinus was copied. Cassius Dio used Greek instead of Latin as the vehicle for his work, which allows for particular “fluidity and flexibility of Greek allows a full play on nuance…” The disquieting sentence of this follows

soon after when the writer says “What seems to have happened in the extant translations of the Claudian invasion is that pre-conceived ideas have been allowed to influence the way the text [Dio’s] speaks to us. It has always been assumed that there was and invasion – ergo – there will be an invasion.” The piece continues “There were four legions detected in Britain, by the evidence of the historical and archaeological record shortly after AD 43, therefore, four legions came over with Aulus Plautius.” The same website goes on to suggest that the lack of any mention of the gathering of the legions, or the logistical support which such an enterprise would have demanded could indicate that the entire episode might have been forged not by Claudius, but by Plautius and Caesar’s representative – Narcissus between them. More will be made of that insight as this narrative continues, but enough for the moment to indicate just how tentative and speculative the whole actually is.

For the sake of this narrative, it will be assumed that the landing site was at Richborough by the Isle of Thanet, eastern Kent. There are many reasons why this location ‘works’, not least the presence of ‘Claudian’ ditches which currently survive for some small and rather ragged extent which were originally excavated by P. J. Bush-Fox. The debate concerning erosion along this coast line seems not to be resolved, but if there has been considerable erosion, then one academic

at least suggests that the original ditched site enclosed an area of a rectangular enclosure 650m x 650m, an enclosure of 42 hectares, or, 105 acres, more than enough to accommodate the main invasion force. Frere’s ‘Britannia’ supports the Richborough conjecture as does Wacher’s ‘Roman Britain’ and Peddie’s ‘Conquest – The Roman Invasion of Britain’ together with several other works including naturally enough the guide books from the Richborough area. To reiterate, the Loeb translation of Dio states “They were sent over in three divisions, in order that they should not be hindered in landing – as might happen to a single force…” This has been taken by some to suggest that Plautius divided his force even before establishing a safe beach-head – or indeed – three. This goes against all military logic, more likely that the army was transported in three ‘waves’, the first to take, hold and fortify the beach-head for the safe arrival of the following two waves. Peddie continues further and states that unless the entire army intended to survive totally upon forage for their survival, then baggage and rations would have to have been transported together with mules sufficient to carry them. The number of required mules, together with muleteers he calculates to a minimum of 694 animals plus drivers on the first day, rising to 4,166 after the third day as lines of communication stretched further from the beach-head. He also calculates the rations for 35,000 men, allotting 3lbs per man per day to 105,000lbs or 4,7250 kilograms, fodder for animals to be added to this amount. His calculations for the number of ships necessary to transport a total of 45,373 men, 14,750 animals in one lift based on the assumption of one century of 80 men per ship amounts to 933. And of all this massive build up, logistical demands and movement on the Gallic shore (regardless of exacerbated problems caused by the delay of an almost mutinous army), Dio makes no mention, other than the previously mentioned mutiny. This apparent lack of logistical support, which would have been vital for any sea-bourn invasion (e.g. Operation Overlord – the Normandy landings of June 6th 1944), Plautius would have had to ensure fodder for his transport animals and arguably more importantly, rations for his fighting men and the civilian support workers for perhaps a minimum of three days. The amount of food-stuffs necessary to feed 50,000 men would have been considerable, and if Plautius was expecting to land on a hostile shore, then logic dictates that he must have taken sufficient supplies to last until a sea bridge could be established whereby his ships would be able to re-supply the army on a frequent and regular basis. The alternative was that the army intended to survive on whatever they could collect from the indigenous people of Kent. In other-words, plunder. Whether that population could have managed to support an invading army seems doubtful, but if one compares similar armies and tactics e.g. the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte in their many campaigns across Europe in the early 19th century, they too used plunder as a means of sustenance, and coped quite well. How local communities coped is less well documented, however, any food stuffs within the path of an invading army would have been commandeered from corn to cattle, from apples to fish, everything edible would have been taken. So it might well be therefore, that it was Plautius’ plan that the army support it’s self, and the only rations required were those which the men were able to carry for themselves, until such time as they could be replenished by either method, re-supply or plunder.

The selection of Richborough for the initial landing site is questionable, but that it soon developed into what can only be called – the Gateway to Britannia – cannot be in doubt. As archaeology has proved, it soon became an important port and harbour (mostly lost to erosion), but with a huge population for it’s time. It was the beginning terminus of one of the most important Roman highways, Watling Street, which ran from Richborough, to London, then on to the legionary fortress at Wroxeter on the mid-Welsh border. That Claudius saw Richborough as somewhere special, somewhere requiring a massive monument to commemorate his invasion of Britain is attested by the foundations of a huge quadrifons, or monumental gate-way. This monument survives today only as foundations, but its sheer scale must be indicative of the symbolic significance of Richborough

There are also Roman finds from the time of Claudius at Dover immediately south, Lympne to the southwest, and Reculver to the north, all of which provide flanking cover for Richborough. Between them, these places fully defend the southeast corner of England. No other single area on the south coast is so well protected. This must be significant. To reiterate, for the sake of convenience, and this narrative, it will be assumed that Richborough (POTRVS RVTVPIAE) was the landing place for the legions and auxiliaries of Plautius. by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton

43AD The Legions

During the 97 years since the might of Rome was last visited upon the British Isles much had changed both in Britain, and, in Rome. No longer a republic, Rome was now a dictatorship under the overall authority of Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, known as Claudius. He had become Caesar after his nephew, Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, otherwise called, Caligula, had been murdered in the year 41 A.D. In order to establish his precarious hold on the Imperial throne and in order to gain the respect and loyalty of his legions, the emperor Claudius needed a military campaign, and above all, a military victory. There was little actually left which inspired Claudius into what may turn out to be a disaster, so, what ever the campaign, it had to be virtually guaranteed to be successful. The depredations of and extravagance of Caligula had decimated the imperial treasury, these too had to be replenished, and plunder was the easiest and most popular way of accumulating revenue. In 43A.D., he created the new province of Mauritanias, followed about three years later by the inclusion of Thrace, also as a new province. This expansionism was compounded by the resurrection of Julius Caesar’s plans to incorporate Britain into the empire. Trade with the isles had increased during the hiatus, stories of masses of corn, grown and harvested in Britain, sold to Rome, which could simply be taken, was an attractive, and seemingly economical method of increasing the food supply to the ever open maw of an insatiable empire. There were reports of mineral wealth in the form of silver, tin and iron, all of which were needed by the Empire. The population of the islands was, relatively, dense and could provide men for the army, slaves for Roman citizens, gladiators for the blood soaked sand of the arenas. There were other reasons for invading Britain. It was the thorn in the imperial flesh on account of it harbouring Gallic rebels and the ever-troublesome Druids, who constantly undermined Roman authority in a still predominantly ‘Celtic’ Gaul. Rebellious mystics who passed freely between Britain and Gaul, spreading, it was thought, discontent, disobedience, defiance and dissent. Cassius Dio though

states another reason (LX – 19) “a certain Bericus, who had been driven out of the island as a result of an uprising, had persuaded Claudius to send a force thither.” The tools with which Claudius had to achieve his ambitions in regard to Britain were his legions. Since the time of the deified Julius, they too had undergone major changes. After the naval battle of Actium, in 31B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, became the first Imperial Caesar, known as Augustus. He acquired a legacy of the 50, essentially disparate, legions of the previous warring factions of the triumvirate. Those legions, comprised of mainly of temporary volunteers, were quite simply, too many for the empire to support and maintain. Augustus therefore disbanded some, amalgamated others, and made the remainder into a standing army of 28 legions manned entirely by full time professional soldiers. Most of the Augustan legions were to survive in some form for the following two centuries. In 43 A.D. the Roman conquest of Britain began, an army of between 40 and 50 thousand men were assembled at embarkation ports on the north coast of Gaul, including those used almost a century earlier by Julius Caesar. The heavy infantry was composed of four legions, and most sources will announce without fear or favour that those legions were the Legio II Augusta, Legio IX Hispana, Legio XIV Gemina and Legio XX Valeria. It has to be stated however, that there exists very little evidence for verifying such an assertion. Much of the following narrative has to be based on the hypothesis that absence of evidence is not evidence for absence, that is to say, that because there is no archaeological evidence to support a conjecture, the lack of such evidence alone does not mean such a conjecture is in error. It is necessary to look at the history of each legion as far as it can be proved, either by archaeology or by original text in order to try to verify the inclusion of each legion in the assemblage. Here then, are such histories, beginning numerically with Legio II Augusta. This legion had traditions going back possibly to before 43 B.C., but during the reconstruction of the army by Augustus three new legions were created from soldiers of dubious loyalty with a core of loyal veterans, these were the legions II, III and VIII, which all were honoured with the title of ‘Augusta’. After a lengthy campaign in Spain, and consequential to the loss of legios XVII, XVIII and XVIIII and their commander, Publius Quinctilous Varus in the Teutoburgerwald, in the year 9 A.D., the Legio II was transferred to Argentoratum (Strasbourg). By the time of Claudius, Legio II was under the command of Titus Flavious Vespasianus, who is known to have been present during the 43 A.D. campaign in Britain. It may then be safe to assume that Legio II were included in the British adventure, for what use a commander, if he has no troops to command.

The Legio IX Hispana (9th Spanish Legion) might have been able to trace its origins back to the legions of Caesar who had a legio IX with him in Gaul c58 B.C. An active, and apparently loyal and respected legion, it likewise saw action in Spain between 30 and 19 B.C. after which it too was transferred to the German frontier, where little is known other than a tombstone of a colonist at Cales dated 14 B.C. It was then posted to Pannonia were it was permanently stationed apart from a brief campaign in Mauritania after which it returned to Pannonia (a province on the river Danube, now in central Europe). Why, then would they be used in a campaign almost at the other end of the empire? The probable answer, Aulus Plautius was their overall commander in Pannonia, and it seems natural for him to take one of his best legions with him for the campaign in Britain. They were certainly in Britain during the revolt of Boudicca (60 A.D.) because they were severely mauled while trying to prevent the sack of Londinium. Much legend and myth surrounds the fate of this legion, fostered by the fictional work, ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ by Rosemary Sutcliff. Truth they say is often stranger than fiction, and the fate of the Legio IX is not for this place, but, what ever it’s fate, we may never it know for certain, other than the legion was reformed after the decimations of Boudicca, and served in Britain until about 120 A.D. after which it’s presence at Nijmegan is attested. Legio XIV Gemina (Frere Britannica 1974, pp 61) otherwise called the 14th TWIN (or double) LEGION was first formed 53-3 B.C. under the command of Quintus Cicero, brother of the orator. The epithet Gemina indicates that the Legio XIV was formed as a result of the amalgamation of two other units though evidence for which two units is lacking. During the reign of Tiberius the legion was stationed at Moguntiacum (Mainz) on the German frontier after an active period of campaigning under Augustus. Evidence for the legion taking part in the invasion of 43 A.D., is as with the others, circumstantial, in this case maybe even more so. It has been suggested that they were commanded by Titus Flavius Sabinianus, the brother of Vespasian, his presence is attested by Dio, (LX – 20). A legionary fortress at Mandvessedvm (Mancetter) in the midlands of England close to the north-western boundary of the Catuvellaunian tribal lands was occupied by the Legio XIV by 46

A.D. They were later pushed further north to counter a revolt by the Brigantes, after which they were in action against the tribes of Wales, eventually re-locating their base from Mancetter to Viroconium (Wroxeter) on the English side of the river Seven. After their defeat of the rebels commanded by Boudicca in 60 A.D., the Legio XIV were granted the title Martia Victix (Martial and Victorious). In 64 A.D., under orders from the Emperor Nero, the legion was transferred from Britain to the Rhine. The origins of the Legio XX Valeria (Valiant) are unknown, but they appear to have been formed as a new legion during the Augustan reforms, soon after which they were stationed on the lower Danube. As with the XIV, Legio XX’s presence at the invasion of 43 A.D. is also circumstantial. They were moved from their base at Novaesium (Neuss) in Germany in the same year, and a legionary fortress at Camulodunum (Colchester) was soon established by the legion. The legionary fortress at Colchester has been dated to 44 and 49 A.D. (Colchester Archaeologist issue 14, 2001), and it is upon this, primarily, that their presence at the initial invasion has been presumed here. This was the only one of the legions to be permanently stationed in Britain, it taking part in many actions, including the defeat of Boudicca together with the Legio XIV. It may have been as a result of that victory, that as with their companions, they too were awarded the additional title of Victirx. There was a reserve legion, Legio VIII Augusta, also from Pannonia, which was held on the Continent in anticipation of the arrival of the Emperor to accompany him across the Channel, it was transferred to Moesia in 44 A.D. when it was felt safe to reduce the expeditionary force. The rest of the invasion force was made up of units of auxiliaries. Frere makes mention of two Thracian Ala, and two Thracian Cohorts, while Dio mentions archers, Tacitus speaks of eight Cohorts of Batavians attached to Legio XIV. Dio also mentions ‘Celts’ or ‘Germans’ depending on the translation, which may have been recruited from either Gaul, or the conquered Germanic tribes who, capable of swimming, may have made up the eight cohorts attached to the XIVth. The only thing certain about the composition of the entire expeditionary force, is that nothing is certain. Their number, between 40,000 and 50,000 men, were to be transported in 1,000 ships from Boulogne, and possibly other close-by harbours on the northern shores of Gaul were ready in good time for the campaigning season. The senator Aulus Plautius an experienced and seasoned soldier, was appointed as commander. When he arrived at the encamped army however, he found it in a state of discontent. According to Cassius Dio (LX - 19): “he had difficulty in inducing his army to advance beyond Gaul. For the soldiers were indignant at the thought of carrying on a campaign outside the limits of the known world.” Why this should be, again, is uncertain. Maybe memories, and legends of Julius Caesar’s adventures, and subsequent lack of plunder might have had some bearing. It maybe also, that the soldiers were indeed perturbed by the prospect of a sea crossing to a place which to them was virtually unknown. It is indicative however of the power of the army to forestall the grand schemes of politicians. When Claudius was informed of the reluctance of his legions to embark, he sent one of his favoured ministers to negotiate with them. He was a freedman, a favourite of the emperor, seemingly a self-seeking man named Narcissus who had used his position to acquire a vast fortune, he was though, no soldier. His function in the Claudian administration was as secretary for the Imperial Correspondence. The army was first harangued by Plautius and then by Narcissus on behalf of

the emperor. Dio once more picks up the story “Narcissus, who had been sent out by Claudius, mounted the tribunal (raised platform – podium) of Plautius and attempted to address them. Then they became much angrier at this and would not allow Narcissus to say a word …..” Then, in one voice, the army changed it’s mind with a shout of “Io Saturnalia” (Hurrah!!!! – For the festival of Saturn!!) Dio fails to clarify the sudden change of mind in the army although the vision of a freed slave urging the soldiers to fight might have induced some kind of soldier’s appreciation of ironic humour, hence their salutation. That might have been all required to break the tension of the moment. Whatever the reasons, they followed Plautius onboard the waiting vessels of the embarkation fleet. Their procrastination however had delayed the entire campaign so that their departure was made in the latter part of the season. Of the sea crossing, and the disembarkation, Dio says “They were sent over in three divisions, in order that they should not be hindered in landing,— as might happen to a single force,— and in their voyage across they first became discouraged because they were driven back in their course, and then plucked up courage because a flash of light rising in the east shot across to the west, the direction in which they were sailing. So they put in to the island and found none to oppose them.” This tempting and frustrating part of the text has led to continuing discussion and debate, which to date, has not been resolved. While it seems to say so much, it fails in so many other ways to inform. by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton

Claudius arrives
Dio states in LX60xxi that “he had been instructed to do this (send for Claudius) in case he met with any particular resistance, and, in fact, extensive equipment, including elephants had already been got together for the expedition.” It seems plain enough from this that reinforcements had been organised and kept ready for deployment, including elephants. This is a rare reference to the use of these animals as weapons of war in imperial Roman texts

It becomes necessary to look at these majestic beasts in order to try and establish which type of elephant was employed, and how. While this might be seen (within this narrative) as an aside, it is felt that the question has not been discussed at any length in other places. Also, while no concrete conclusions can be reached, other than the un-likelihood of a chance discovery of elephantine remains at Colchester, the options should be explained as far as possible. Until recently, it was thought that there were but two main species of elephant, the Asian or Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) and the African (Loxadonta africana) but genetic evidence from the African Forest elephant has revealed it to be either an independent species or a major subspecies given the designation of Loxodonta africana cyclotis. This (sub)species is slightly

smaller than the African, it’s primary habitat indicated from its name being closely forested areas where it was used to heaving over trees with its tusks in order to travel through the dense vegetation. It is known that Numidians caught these animals and used them as weapons; it seems likely therefore that the great Hannibal used them when he attacked Rome. It is also thought that these animals were manned by up to three men riding on the animal’s back, a driver, an archer, and a spears-man armed with javelins, they were not housed in a howdah as is so often depicted, these elephants were simply not large enough. If howdahs were part of the equipment, then they would have had to be on Asian elephants, the only other serious contender for the British expedition. It is known that Alexander (the Great) met with these beasts, and might have used them, consequently, it follows that Roman generals fighting in the eastern empire might also have employed them As with today, any innovation in weaponry is quickly adopted and adapted by other military regimes. It seems reasonable to assume that different species were used in different parts of the Empire.

The African Forest in the African and western empire, where they could easily be shipped from their home in the Atlas Mountains via Sicily to Rome; the Asian in the eastern Empire where the transportation of them could be restrained to that area of influence rather than risk them traversing the entire length of the Empire. Endorsement for this assumption is provided by the Roman writer Pliney the Younger who wrote in his Eighth Book of the History of Nature, chapter xi “Elephants breed in that part of Affricke which lyeth beyond the deserts and wilderness of the Syrtes: also in Mauritania: they are also found among the Aethiopians and Troglodites: but India bringeth forth the biggest.” Prior to this, in chapter viii he wrote “The Indians are wont to take elephants in this manner …….. In Africk they catch them in great ditches …….. “ This means that both species were available to the Roman military machine. One other though less convincing option for the use of elephants in the British Isles was ceremonial. A raw display of power meant to intimidate newly subdued territories. On this occasion, they might have been used to pull a chariot or cart, precedence for this is provided by the numismatics of Nero who had made a gold aurae which displays on the reverse: Quadriga of elephants l., bearing two chairs holding two male figures, Divine Claudius, radiate, holding eagle-tipped scepter in r., and Divine Augustus, radiate, holding patera in r. and scepter in l.;

above elephants, EXS C: by authority of the Senate; AGRIPP(INA) AVG(VSTA) DIVI CLAVD(II) {supply uxor} NERONIS CAES(ARIS) MATER: Agrippina Augusta, wife of Divine Claudius, mother of Nero Caesar. Again, Pliney the Younger said in chapter ii, “the first time that ever they (elephants) were known to draw at Rome was in the Triumph of Pompey the Great after he subdued Affricke, for then were two of them put in geeres to his triumphant chariot.”

So the usage of elephants in the Claudian invasion, as with so much else, is speculative, as with so many other aspects of these events. While leaps of faith might be tempting, they have to be reinforced with as much evidence as it is possible to collate. The use of elephants in warfare is far from well documented, and why Plautius felt the need to employ them is not mentioned. Whether they were to be used to counter any threat from the British cavalry or chariots, horses seemingly have a natural aversion to the odour of them or, he hoped that by their shear presence they would be enough to intimidate the Britons. Neither are the numbers of elephants mentioned, for them to provide an effective fighting arm they would have to have been present in quantity, rather than just a representative sample. This then begs the question about fodder and the logistics required to carry them across the Channel, and to maintain them in health while they were with Plautius in Britain. Cassius Dio answers none of this; we are left with speculation, yet again. Meanwhile, the emperor Claudius was travelling from Italy. That he was pre-prepared for the call from Plautius is given credence by Dio who says “Claudius entrusted affairs at home including the command of the troops, to his colleague Lucius Vitellius, whom he had caused to remain in office like himself for a whole half year; and then he himself then set out for the front.” The time scale in this passage is revealing, it states that Claudius had been awaiting the message from Plautius since he departed on the campaign. It could therefore be safe to assume that it was always his intention to be in Britain for the final push, the final battle, the final subjugation of HIS part of the Empire, or that the message from Plautius was so alarming that he felt it necessary to be present for the final phase of the campaign.

According to Cassius Dio, Claudius made much of his journey by ship and boat, first down the Tiber to Ostia, thence following the coast to Masselia (Marseilles), north from there up the river Rhone taking advantage of the speed of travel on the natural waterways as much as possible; only coming ashore to traverse those parts which linked rivers; until “he came to the ocean and crossed over to Britain, where he joined the legions that were waiting for him near the river Thames.” As previously suggested, the emperor’s likely disembarkation point was at Richborough, the location of the triumphal quadrifons can lead to few other conclusions. Travelling with, and collecting enroute some of the reinforcements, including most probably the elephants, Imperial Caesar arrived in Britain. His arrival marked by fanfares and parades (one imagines).

Legionary reinforcements may have been provided by the Legio VIII, which had been held in reserve across the channel. Frere (pp 65) says that contingents of the Praetorian Guard also accompanied Claudius, possibly under the command of their prefect, Rufius Pollio. Dio then continues, “Taking over the command of these (legions), he crossed the stream, and engaging the barbarians, who had gathered at his approach, he defeated them and captured Camulodunum, the capital of Cynobellinus (Cunobelin).” In contradiction to some of the above, this would seem to say that Plautius had indeed withdrawn to the safety of the south bank of the Thames, but the rest of this passage is so vague that “the stream” could mean anything. It also points to there having been yet another battle north of the Thames, which if British resistance was both fierce and organised, would be necessary. However, no mention is made of the elephants (sadly), or any affects they had on the Britons.

Whether the battle mentioned by Dio was for the hill fort of Camulodunum (hill fort because it was the British way, to withdraw in times of severe danger to such vast fortifications) or outside the approaches to the same cannot be determined. Whether Caratacus led the resistance at this time likewise is uncertain, though probable. What can be said with certainty is that the Romans saw the site as strategically important. They occupied it, they changed all about it, they created their provincial capital there; it is known today as Colchester, which is still a military town. It was a place that was to hold significance yet for the Britons, as it was subsequently destroyed by Boudicca in 60AD.

While this section seems brief, there is so little evidence upon which to base any kind of narrative, that brevity cannot be avoided. Suetonius (XVIL) says this of the whole Claudian participation “He made but one campaign and that of little importance. When the Senate voted him the triumphal regalia, thinking the honour beneath the imperial dignity and desiring the glory of a legitimate triumph, he chose Britain as the best place for gaining it, a land that been attempted by no one since the Deified Julius and was just at that time in a state of rebellion because of the refusal to return certain deserters (Togodumnus?) On the voyage there from Ostia he was nearly cast away twice in furious north-westers, off Liguria (the Gulf of Genoa) and near the Stoechades islands . Therefore he made the journey from Massilia (Marseilles) all the way to Gesoriacum (Boulogne) by land, crossed from there, and without any battle or bloodshed received the submission of a part of the island, returned to Rome within six months after leaving the City, and celebrated a triumph of great splendour. To witness the sight he allowed not only the governors of the provinces to come to Rome, but even some of the exiles; and among the tokens of his victory he set a naval crown on the gable of the palace beside the civic crown, as a sign that he had crossed and, as it were, subdued the ocean.” The above passage sums up the whole of this enterprise in a nutshell. Much of what has been written over the last two millennia

which has compounded error upon error, assumption upon assumption, theory upon theory, creating a tradition so well grounded in the public sub-conscious that any offering likely to contradict such tradition would be the target of at the very least, disdain. Whether or not certain events happened as portrayed in the all too vague Roman texts, whether those writers had some hidden agenda of their own, none can say. Similarly, all of the above events have here been treated with applied caution in an attempt to provide something more than the few scant words of Dio and Suetonius by including as many other disciplines as possible in order to ‘fill out’ the narrative. In particular, the intervention of Claudius has had countless words written about it, but as can be seen, they are based upon so very little. It seems a shame to close this in an apparently anticlimactic way, but in order to avoid any further bolstering of ‘tradition’, it has been decided simply to provide the texts. Dio concludes this part of British history thus “Thereupon he won over numerous tribes, in some cases by capitulation, in others by force, and was saluted as imperitor several times, contrary to precedent; for no man mat receive this title more than once for one and the same war. He deprived the conquered of their arms and handed them over to Plautius, bidding him also to subjugate the remaining districts. Claudius himself now hastened back to Rome, sending ahead the news of his victory by his sons-in-law Magnus and Silanus. These on learning of his achievement gave him the title of Britannicus and granted him permission to celebrate a triumph.” Some sources will say that Claudius stayed but sixteen days in Britain, hardly enough for him to be considered as the actual ‘conqueror’, his eventual presence being more that of someone who simply had to make an appearance, rather it was Plautius who, it appears, did all the work necessary to subjugate Britain. Thus began some 367 years of Roman authority in Britain, an authority that ended when the emperor Honorius withdrew the Roman legions from the islands in 410AD to protect the Roman homeland from invasion. 367 years that have captured the imagination of academics, students of history, archaeologists, enthusiastic amateurs (including the composers of these few pages) and school children, and which, hopefully, will continue to do so for many generations yet to come. Thanks to all those who helped , in many cases not knowing what they were helping with. by Corinne Mills and Richard Hayton

Conclusion and Bibliography
Conclusion This is our version of the Invasions based on what we have read and our own interpretation. Having said that, I find my thoughts on this subject are ever changing. I think its very important to be open-minded and ever questioning and not to just accept what we have been told in our education or read in a book and that the debate should continue. Previous archaeological findings are being challenged on locations of landings, historical evidence is often being rewritten or re-assessed - I doubt that until (if ever) concrete archaeological evidence of landing sites is discovered that 'educated' guesswork is all we can hope for. I have enjoyed working with Richard on this project - its been fun, educational, frustrating, and time consuming. Without Richards total commitment and determination I could not have completed this on my own. My heartfelt thanks to you Richard.

Bibliography COLLINS FIELD GUIDE TO ARCHAEOLOGY IN BRITAIN Eric S. Wood ISBN 00-219168-7

THE BOG PEOPLE P.V. Glob ISBN 0-571-19469-9

ROMAN BRITAIN John Wacher Pub. J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd

ART OF THE CELTS Lloyd and Jennifer Laing ISBN 0-500-20256-7

THE DRUIDS T. D. Kendrick ISBN 1 85958 036X

BRITANNIA Sheppard Frere 1974 edition

CELTIC ART AND DESIGN Iain Zaczek ISBN 1 85891 191 5

GREECE AND ROME AT WAR Peter Connolly ISBN 0 356 06798 1981

Ordinance Survey Landrander series

BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY Chambers ISBN 0 550 16041 8 1993

THE ULTIMATE TIME TEAM COMPANION Tim Taylor for the Lambeth Palace episode regarding Thames crossings

MUIR’S HISTORICAL ATLAS 6th reprint edition 1974

AD 43 THE ROMAN INVASION OF BRITAIN

John Manley Tempus Publishing 2002 ISBN 0 7524 1959 5

THE IRON AGE ROMAN TRANSITION Britons and Romans: advancing an archaeological agenda CBA Research Report 125 John Creighton

 

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