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The Tudors

In late summer of this year a Roman general called Julius Caesar landed in Kent with two legions, about 10,000 men. Caesar had been conquering another Celtic group of people called The Gauls who lived in what is now France and Belgium. He may have come across to make sure the Celtic Britons didnít help the Gauls.

He didnít stay long, went back to France for the winter skiing season but came back the next year which because we were counting backwards was 54BC. This time he came with 5 legions which was 25,000 men. He won a series of battles with some tribes while others sought a truce or even surrendered. The picture shows how it may have looked to the Britons when they looked down on the Roman fleet. On this second invasion he may have had 800 ships with him. Bit of a frightener that.

Cassivellaunis (no simple names, no one was called John) was the ruler of the Catuvellauni tribe and waged a war against Caesar but his hideout was revealed to Caesar by tribes who had already surrendered and Cassi (itís so much shorter) had no choice but to surrender too.

Then Caesar learned that the Gauls were getting angry again because there had been a bad harvest and so he left Great Britain, never to return.

However, as the Romans could write, Caesar did tell us a bit about the savages he met. To be honest he wasnít very nice about us but you have to remember he was trying to impress all the people back in Rome about how brave he was so he may have not completely told the truth. He wanted to look good. He said that ďAll the Britons 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. "

Another Roman historian wrote that the Britons were very tall with rippling muscles under clear white skin. He said the hair was blonde but not naturally so. He also said we looked like wood-demons with thick black hair, shaggy like a horse's mane. "Some of them are clean-shaven," he added, "but others, especially chiefs, shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth."

I told you they werenít very nice about us. But, to be honest, looking at Caesar he wasn't the beeís knees when it came to looks. This is a bust made of him, in marble, when he was about 50. He was 45 when he first invaded.

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