Try telling someone from China that WW2 began in 1939...
It's difficult to judge, not yet having seen the programme (and I bet it
will be difficult afterwords, too, but that's another story). However,
the Romans obviously knew about Britain a long time before the big AD43,
since they had made discovery voyages and knew about minerals and so on.
It would be almost inconceivable that there weren't at least some
representatives of Rome in the country, checking out things like mineral
wealth and so on. I've thought (and I think, said in this forum) that
the likelihood of there being Roman entrepreneurs at Charterhouse on
Mendip (for example) before AD43 is very high, since we have evidence
that lead was being exported as early as AD49, and given the vagaries of
discovery, it's pretty unlikely that we have found the very first dated
lead pig ever sent...we know that the Romans were trading with India,
for example, but they never added it to the empire (although imagine if
they had). They also visited China in the 2nd century, so clearly there
was Roman commercial interest in the world outside of the empire.
The comparison with the period before 1066 is quite solid. We tend to
regard the year of the three kings as being something that happened
dramatically in October 1066, but although there was a big battle then,
the Norman interest in England began way back in the reign of Edward the
confessor, or even before, and the process wasn't complete until the
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From: British archaeology discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Win Scutt
Sent: 31 July 2006 13:15
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Roman invasion of 43 (again) - and a look at
Rob asks: "What evidence is there to suggest one legion of the Roman
invasion force had ben in Britain for any period prior to the invasion?
Where do you contend they resided during that time? Surely also if this
been the case Tacitus or Dio would have made some mention of it?"
The idea that there was a Roman military presence in Britain prior to 43
was summarised in an article in the Independent on 26th June 2005:
Revealed: our friends the Romans did not invade Britain after all
Astonishing new archaeological finds reveal they were already our
50 years before Claudius spun his way into the history books. Steve
26 June 2005
The history of Britain will have to be rewritten. The AD43 Roman
never happened - and was simply a piece of sophisticated political spin
weak Emperor Claudius.
A series of astonishing archaeological findings of Roman military
to be revealed this week, will prove that the Romans had already arrived
decades earlier - and that they had been welcomed with open arms by
The discovery of swords, helmets and armour in Chichester, Sussex, dates
back to a period between the late first century BC and the early first
century AD- almost 50 years before the supposed invasion. Archaeologists
have studied the finds believe it will turn conventional Roman history
taught in schools on its head. "It is like discovering that the Second
War started in 1938," said Dr David Rudkin, a Roman expert leading the
The discoveries in Sussex will be revealed on Saturday during a Time
special on Channel 4 analysing the Roman invasion. Tony Robinson,
of Time Team, said: "One of the frustrating things with history is that
things become set in stone. We all believe it to be true. It is great to
challenge some of the most commonly accepted pieces of our history."
Dr Francis Pryor, president of the Council for British Archaeology, said
would prove controversial. "It turns the conventional view taught in all
textbooks on its head," he said. "It is going to cause lively debate
The AD43 Roman invasion is one of the best-known events in British
More than 40,000 Roman soldiers are believed to have landed in
Kent, before carving their way through the English countryside.
The evidence unearthed in Sussex overturns this theory. Archaeologists
believe that the Romans arrived up to 50 years earlier in Chichester.
were welcomed as liberators, overthrowing a series of tyrannical tribal
kings who had been terrorising clans across southern England.
Sussex and Hampshire became part of the Roman Empire 50 years before the
invasion that historians have always believed was the birth of Roman
The findings and their implications will be published by Dr Rudkin later
this year. The discoveries have centred on Fishbourne Roman Palace in
Sussex. Artefacts found there in a V-shaped ditch include part of a
alloy sword scabbard fitting that archaeologists have dated to the
between the late first century BC and early first century AD.
Dr Miles Russell, a senior archaeologist at Bournemouth University who
studied the evidence, said: "All this talk of the Romans arriving in
just wrong. We get so fixated on the idea of a single invasion. It is
more piecemeal. In Sussex and Hampshire they were in togas and speaking
Latin five decades before everyone else."
According to Dr Russell, it was in Emperor Claudius's interest to "spin"
invasion of AD43 as a great triumph against strong opposition. Claudius
become emperor two years earlier but his position following the death of
Caligula was tenuous. A bold military adventure to expand the empire
tighten Claudius's grip in Rome and prove his credentials as a strong
"Every period of history has its own spin doctors, and Claudius spun the
invasion to look strong," Dr Russell said. "But Britain was Roman before
Claudius got here."
Julius Caesar first tried to conquer Britain during the Iron Age in
but storms on the journey from Boulogne, in France, to Dover caused
two legions to turn back. A force of five legions tried again in May
and landed in Dover before marching towards London, defeating
the King of Catuvellauni in Hertfordshire. News of an impending
Gaul caused Caesar to retreat, but not before he had made his mark.
Britain at this stage in history was not one unified country, rather
tribes often at war with each other. Not all tribes joined the coalition
fight Caesar. For example, the Trinovantes appealed to Caesar to protect
them from Cassivellaunus who had run a series of raids into their
Dr Francis Pryor said that the findings in Sussex prove that
between tribes in southern England and the Romans continued after
attempted invasion. "The suggestion that they arrived in Chichester
plenty of sense. We were a pretty fierce force but the Romans had a
relatively easy run. This would have been a liberation of a friendly
not an invasion."
Oxford historian Dr Martin Henig, a Roman art specialist, said that the
whole of southern England could have been a Roman protectorate for
years prior to the AD43 invasion. "There is a possibility that there
actually Roman soldiers based in Britain during the whole period from
end of the first century BC," he said.
Time Team will unveil their findings in a live two-hour special on
evening on Channel 4. It will form part of the biggest ever
examination of Roman Britain running over eight days and involving
of archaeologists at sites across Britain. The series will investigate
aspect of the Romans' rule of Britain, from the supposed invasion to
departure 400 years later.
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