26 Aug: When Caesar Invaded Britain

When Julius Caesar showed up in the Channel with thousands of men on 26th August 55 BC, he doubtless intended to get a bit further than the coast of Kent. Unfortunately for him, he had moored his ships where they could be pelted from the cliffs, and the Gaulish chief he sent in advance had been imprisoned.

Nonetheless, he reported back to Rome that his British adventure had been enormously worthwhile – as he had traveled to the very edges of the known world – and had another, marginally more successful, pop at it just one year later.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly dig into Caesar’s own confessions of ignorance about the British people and lands; consider how we Brits were already more familiar with Roman culture than vice-versa; and explain how Caesar’s adventures, though ultimately unsuccessful, may well have inspired the later Roman takeovers… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The Roman Invasions of Britain’ (University of Warwick): https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/classics/warwickclassicsnetwork/romancoventry/resources/interactions/invasion/

• ‘Julius Caesar’s Invasions Of Britain’ (HistoryExtra, 2018):


• ‘Caesar on Britain // Roman Primary Source (58-49 BC)’ (Voices of the Past, 2019):