Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The first Roman invasion of Britain

This is interesting: Archaeologists find first evidence for Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain

The first Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar in 55BC is a historical fact, with vivid accounts passed down by Tacitus, Cicero and Caesar himself.

Yet, despite a huge landing force of legionaries from 800 ships, no archaeological evidence for the attack or any physical remains of encampments have ever been found.

But now a chance excavation carried out ahead of a road building project in Kent has uncovered what is thought to be the first solid proof for the invasion….

I hadn’t been aware that Julius Caesar ever invaded Britain.

For novels set during or after the later conquest of Britain, my favorite is Gillian Bradshaw’s wonderful Island of Ghosts. I wonder if she’s ever considered writing one set during this earlier invasion?

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4 Comments The first Roman invasion of Britain

  1. Laurel Bliss

    I love Island of Ghosts! I got to review it for Library Journal back in 1998, and gave it a big thumbs up. That earlier invasion would totally make for an interesting setting.

  2. Elaine T

    I read a lot of Rosemary Sutcliff, who had a series of novels following a family set in Roman Britain (with installments up to William-the-Red of England’s time), which may be where I first heard about Caesar’s failed invasion. Or not. They still hold up to rereading, mostly, too. I hadn’t been aware that there wasn’t any archaeological evidence till now, though!

    I’m just rereading a pair of early Patricia Finneys set in Hadrian’s day. We see the famous Wall’s beginning discussed. They’re holding up reasonably well after more years than I like to think of…. A Shadow of Gulls, and The Crow Goddess, if anyone is interested. The main character is an Irish bard who certainly gets Roman attention when he performs the Aeneid.

    And, of course, I love Island of Ghosts .

  3. Rachel

    Maybe I’ll look up A Shadow of Gulls — though I’m pretty sure nothing set in that period is going to beat Island of Ghosts for me! It’s one of my favorite of Bradshaw’s. Maaaaybe I would put A Beacon at Alexandria above it — not sure.

  4. Elaine T

    Bradshaw’s is set much later, but a common element is narrator out of his native culture. And torn between loyalties across culture.

    I’d actually started rereading with the second, after briefly poking at Shadow and have now finished Goddess and gone back to #1, which so far is very Irish, and seems to be set to have climatic action as part of the famous Cattle Raid. The consequences of which, I assume, will drive the narrator out of Ireland to Roman Britain.

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