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Subject:

Re: Roman invasion of 43 (again) - and WW2

From:

Vince Russett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 31 Jul 2006 13:34:33 +0100

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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
1080s

Vince

Vince Russett
County Archaeologist
North Somerset Council
01275 888523
07917 265644
 
Member, CHarterhouse Environs Research Team
Member, Bleadon and Lympsham Environs Research Team
Member, Yatton Cleeve and Claverham Archaeological Research Team
Member, Detecting Archaeologists Research Team
Member, Nailsea Environmental and Archaeological Team
Member, WInscombe and Sandford Environs Researchers
Member, CLevedon Environs Archaeological Team
Member, Gatcombe Environs Research Team
Member, CAdbury Environs Survey And Research
Member, WEston-Super-Mare Archaeological Research Team
-----Original Message-----
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
Fishbourne

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
had
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
AD
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
countrymen
50 years before Claudius spun his way into the history books. Steve
Bloomfield reports
26 June 2005

The history of Britain will have to be rewritten. The AD43 Roman
invasion
never happened - and was simply a piece of sophisticated political spin
by a
weak Emperor Claudius.

A series of astonishing archaeological findings of Roman military
equipment,
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
ancient
Britons.

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
who
have studied the finds believe it will turn conventional Roman history
taught in schools on its head. "It is like discovering that the Second
World
War started in 1938," said Dr David Rudkin, a Roman expert leading the
work.

The discoveries in Sussex will be revealed on Saturday during a Time
Team
special on Channel 4 analysing the Roman invasion. Tony Robinson,
presenter
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
it
would prove controversial. "It turns the conventional view taught in all
the
textbooks on its head," he said. "It is going to cause lively debate
among
Roman specialists."

The AD43 Roman invasion is one of the best-known events in British
history.
More than 40,000 Roman soldiers are believed to have landed in
Richborough,
Kent, before carving their way through the English countryside.

The evidence unearthed in Sussex overturns this theory. Archaeologists
now
believe that the Romans arrived up to 50 years earlier in Chichester.
They
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
Britain.

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
copper
alloy sword scabbard fitting that archaeologists have dated to the
period
between the late first century BC and early first century AD.

Dr Miles Russell, a senior archaeologist at Bournemouth University who
has
studied the evidence, said: "All this talk of the Romans arriving in
AD43 is
just wrong. We get so fixated on the idea of a single invasion. It is
far
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"
the
invasion of AD43 as a great triumph against strong opposition. Claudius
had
become emperor two years earlier but his position following the death of
Caligula was tenuous. A bold military adventure to expand the empire
would
tighten Claudius's grip in Rome and prove his credentials as a strong
leader.

"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
55BC,
but storms on the journey from Boulogne, in France, to Dover caused
Caesar's
two legions to turn back. A force of five legions tried again in May
54BC
and landed in Dover before marching towards London, defeating
Cassivellaunus
the King of Catuvellauni in Hertfordshire. News of an impending
rebellion in
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
some 25
tribes often at war with each other. Not all tribes joined the coalition
to
fight Caesar. For example, the Trinovantes appealed to Caesar to protect
them from Cassivellaunus who had run a series of raids into their
territory.

Dr Francis Pryor said that the findings in Sussex prove that
relationships
between tribes in southern England and the Romans continued after
Caesar's
attempted invasion. "The suggestion that they arrived in Chichester
makes
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
tribe -
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
nearly 50
years prior to the AD43 invasion. "There is a possibility that there
were
actually Roman soldiers based in Britain during the whole period from
the
end of the first century BC," he said.

Time Team will unveil their findings in a live two-hour special on
Saturday
evening on Channel 4. It will form part of the biggest ever
archaeological
examination of Roman Britain running over eight days and involving
hundreds
of archaeologists at sites across Britain. The series will investigate
every
aspect of the Romans' rule of Britain, from the supposed invasion to
their
departure 400 years later. 

-- 
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25/07/2006
 

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