Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

B.C. 57. DIVITIACUS, king of the Suessones (in north-eastern Gaul), has the supremacy in Britain.

B.C. 56. The Venetia obtain assistance from the Britons against the Romans.

B.C. 55. Caius Julius Cæsar prepares for an expedition into Britain.

The Britons, hearing of his preparations, dispatch ambassadors to Cæsar, who sends them back accompanied by Commius, king of the Atrebates".

Commius is imprisoned by the Britons.

Caius Volusenus is sent to the coast of Britain to announce the coming of Cæsar and procure information, but returns on the fifth day without having ventured to land.

The Veneti inhabited the southern coast of Gallia Lugdunensis, in the modern department of Morbihan.

The Atrebates inhabited northern Gaul, in Artois, and the modern department Pas de Calais : there was also a tribe of Atrebates in Britain.

Cæsar sails from Gessoriacum (now Boulogne), August 25, and effects a landing after a severe contest near the South Foreland, August 26.

Ambassadors come from the Britons to Cæsar and a peace is concluded, August 30.

The Roman fleet greatly damaged by the high tides, on the same night.

The foraging parties of the Romans are assailed, and their camp unsuccessfully attacked by the Britons.

Cæsar, after losing many men in action with the Britons, accepts a promise of hostages, and retires to Gaul about September 20.

Cæsar having sent an account of his expedition to Rome, a twenty days' festival is in consequence decreed. Two only of the British states send the promised hostages.

Cæsar would appear to have retired somewhat precipitately from the island, as Xiphiline, in recording the speech which he ascribes to Bunduica (Boudicea) makes her speak of their ancestors having "driven far away that Julius Cæsar."

B.C. 54. Cæsar builds a fleet of light vessels, which he employs in a second invasion of Britain.

Sails from Itius Portus (near Gessoriacum) in May, having been detained 23 days by bad weather, and lands unopposed in Britain.

Cassivellaunus, as generalissimo of the Britons, collects a force to oppose the Romans.

The Roman fleet damaged by a storm.

A party of the Romans defeated, and the tribune Laberius killed. The Britons harass Cæsar's march.

Cæsar crosses the Tamesis (Thames).

"Cæsar attempting to pass a large river of Britain," says Polyænus, "Cassolaulus, king of the Britons, obstructed him with many horsemen and chariots. Cæsar had in his train a very large elephant, an animal hitherto unseen by the Britons. Having armed him with scales of iron, and put a large tower upon him, and placed therein archers and slingers, he ordered them to enter the stream. The Britons were amazed on beholding a beast till then unseen, and of an extraordinary nature. As to the horses what need we write of them, since even among the Greeks horses flee at seeing an elephant though without harness; but thus towered and armed, and casting darts and slinging, they could not endure even to look upon the sight: the Britons therefore fled with their horses and chariots. Thus the Romans passed the river without molestation, having terrified the enemy by a single animal.”

The tribes of the eastern and central parts of Britain come to terms with Cæsar c.

Cæsar takes the capital of Cassivellaunus, (afterwards Verulamium, now St. Alban's).

Cassivellaunus incites the tribes in Cantium (Kent) to attack the Roman camp.

Cassivellaunus is defeated, and surrenders.

Cæsar returns to Gaul before the end of September.

The Trinobantes, Cenimagni, Ancalites, Bibroci, Segontiaci, and Cassi, dwelling in the district from the Thames to the Wash, and westward as far as Hampshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire. The Trinobantes, whose king Imanuantius had been killed by Cassivellaunus, were the first to abandon the confederacy.

B.C. 51. Commius, the former ally of Cæsar, having taken arms against the Romans and been defeated, flees for refuge to Britain.

B.C. 44. Cæsar is slain in the Senate-house, March 15. Octavianus, his nephew, succeeds to his power, and takes the style of Augustus and Emperor.

The written history of Britain ceases with the second withdrawal of Cæsar, and only recommences with the preparations of Augustus for a fresh invasion about 20 years after; but the want is partially supplied by the information afforded by coins that have been discovered, from which we learn that Tasciovanus reigned in the interval, probably over the eastern districts; and it is conjectured that his son was Cunobelin, whose capital occupied the site on which was afterwards planted the Roman colony of Camulodunum.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

These coins are of gold, and both in their devices and style of art evidence a degree of civilization very unlike what might be expected if Cæsar's description of Britain were considered to apply to the whole country, instead of being restricted to the small part that fell under his personal observation.

B.C. 34. Augustus proceeds to Gaul with the view

of invading Britain, but is stopped by a revolt of some of the Gaulish tribes.

B.C. 26. Augustus having resumed his preparations, the Britons send him ambassadors and tribute.

A.D. 1. The birth of our Lord and Saviour.

A.D. 14. Augustus dies, August 19. He is succeeded by Tiberius, who is said by Henry of Huntingdon to rule over Britain.

A.D. 16. Some Roman soldiers, shipwrecked on the shore of Britain, are protected and sent back by the chiefs.

A.D. 32. Our Lord is crucified.

A.D. 37. Death of Tiberius, March 26. Caligula succeeds.

A.D. 40. Caligula, prevailed on by a fugitive Britona, prepares to invade the island, but proceeds no further than the coast of Gaul.

"Caius, arriving at the ocean," says Dio Cassius, "as though intending to war in Britain, and drawing up all his troops along the beach, went on board a trireme, and having launched out a little distance from the land, returned again. And shortly after this, sitting on a lofty throne, and giving a signal to the soldiers as if for battle, and exciting them by his trumpeters, he then suddenly ordered them to gather up sea shells. And having taken such booty, for it would seem that he wanted spoils for the pomp of triumphal honours, he was as highly elated as though he had subdued the very ocean,

• This man's name is variously given: Adminius, son of Cinobellinus, king of Britain, by Suetonius, and Minocynobellinus, son of the king of the Britons, by Paulus Orosius.

« PreviousContinue »