Where Did Caesar Land in Britain?
Julius Caesar landed in Britain on a low, shelving beach somewhere between the modern towns of Deal and Walmer in Kent. Caesar decided to invade Britain when he was proconsul in Gaul. Only vague ideas prevailed about the British islands, but they were known to be rich in tin.
So, late in August 55 B.C. Caesar sailed across the channel with 80 transports and two legions. After a short, ferocious fight amid the waves, his men reached the shore and put the Britons to flight. But Caesar’s troubles had only just begun. His cavalry, in 18 transports, was caught in a sudden gale and driven back to Gaul, while the high tide battered the ships that lay at anchor.
The Britons again attacked, were once more driven back and finally submitted. Caesar made no attempt to penetrate further inland and never even pretended that his expedition had been a success.
The following year he returned with five legions and some cavalry in 800 ships. He spent 10 days having all his ships hauled ashore. Then he crossed the River Thames near Brentford, but again the weather was abominable and gales played havoc with his ships and supplies.
The British had found a leader, Cassivelaunus, who harassed the Roman troops severely. After concluding a face-saving treaty, Caesar was glad to negotiate with the British chieftain, to accept some hostages and tribute and then to quit the island and return to Gaul once more. For nearly 100 years no invading army landed again in Britain.
Julius Caesar (102-44 B.C.) was a member of a noble family but also became a favorite with the people of Rome. As Overseer of the Public Games in 65 B.C., he organized magnificent spectacles to win popularity, for he felt himself to be the man who would save Rome from decay. In 59 B.C. he was elected Consul and a year later was sent as Proconsul to Transalpine Gaul (now France).