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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Two

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter II

The first Invasion of Britain by the Romans, under Caius Julius Cæsar.

Britain was neither resorted to nor known by the Romans till the time of Caius Julius Cæsar, who, in the year 593 [other MSS more accurately "693"; the accepted date is 699] from the building of Rome, the 60th before the birth of Christ, having been elected Consul with Lucius Bibulus, whilst he conducted the war against the nations of the Germans and the Gauls, separated only by the river Rhine, came into the province of the Morini, from which, as we just now observed, is the shortest passage into this island. Here, having soon equipped a fleet of about 80 ships, large and small, he sailed over into Britain, where he at first met with a warm reception from the Britons, who made the most vigorous stand against him, and greatly harassed him. Afterwards being overtaken by a violent storm, he not only lost the greatest part of his fleet, but a great portion of his infantry, and almost all his cavalry.

Returning into France, he put his legions into winter quarters, and gave orders for building large and small ships of different descriptions, to the number of 600. Then, passing over again into Britain, he landed with an immense army, and attacked the Britons; but, whilst he was engaged in the battle, a sudden tempest arose, by which the ships, riding at anchor, were either dashed one against another, or driven on the sands; and 40 of them lost. The rest were with much difficulty repaired. Cæsar's cavalry was defeated by the enemy at the first charge, and here Labienus the tribune was killed: but Cæsar, renewing the attack after a great loss of his men, at length put the Britons to flight.

Thence he marched as far as the river Thames, which is said to be fordable only in one place. On the farther side of this river, an immense multitude of the enemy had assembled, under the command of Cassabelan their general; and fenced the bank, and almost all the ford under water, with very sharp stakes; the remains of which stakes are to be seen there to this day. They appear to be about the thickness of a man's leg, and being cased with lead, remain immovably fixed in the bottom of the river. The Romans having discovered this stratagem, avoided the danger by passing over the river at a little distance from them: which the Britons having perceived, and not daring to meet the shock of the Roman Legions, fled into the neighbouring woods to conceal themselves; from which they afterwards frequently sallied out, and greatly harassed the Romans. In the mean time, the strongest city of the Trinovantes (London), with Androgorius their general, surrendered to Cæsar, delivering forty hostages to him. This example was immediately followed by many other cities, which formed an alliance with the Romans. With their direction and assistance, Cæsar at length, with much difficulty, took Cassabelan's town, which was situated between two marshes, fortified by the surrounding woods, and furnished with all necessaries.

Cæsar, having afterwards returned into France, and put his legions into winter quarters, was suddenly surrounded and attacked on all sides by different nations, who rose in rebellion against the Romans.