The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

Britons, called Alcluith. The Scots arriving on the north side of this bay, settled themselves there.


CHAPTER II.
CAIUS JULIUS CÆSAR, THE FIRST ROMAN THAT CAME INTO
BRITAIN.

Britain had never been visited by the Romans, and was, indeed, entirely unknown to them before the time of Caius Julius Cæsar, who, in the year 693 after the building of Rome, but the sixtieth year before the incarnation of our Lord, being consul with Lucius Bibulus, whilst he made war upon the Germans and the Gauls, which were divided only by the river Rhine, came into the province of the Morini, from whence is the nearest and shortest passage into Britain. Here, having provided about eighty ships of burden and vessels with oars, he sailed over into Britain; where, being first roughly handled in a battle, and then meeting with a violent storm, he lost a considerable part of his fleet, no small number of soldiers, and almost all his horse. Returning into Gaul, he put his legions into winter quarters, and gave orders for building six hundred sail of both sorts. With these he passed over early in the spring into Britain, but, whilst he was marching with a large army towards the enemy, the ships riding at anchor, were by a tempest either dashed one against another, or driven upon the sands and wrecked. Forty of them perished, the rest were, with much difficulty, repaired. Cæsar's cavalry was at the first charge defeated by the Britons, and Labienus, the tribune, slain. In the second engagement, he, with great hazard to his men, put the Britons to flight. Thence he proceeded to the river Thames, where an immense multitude of the enemy had posted themselves on

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