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Did the Roman invasion of Britain happen in Sussex or Richborough in Kent as generally accepted?

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Introduction

Question 1 Following the discovery of military remains at the Fishbourne site in the 1990's a theory developed that the Roman invasion of Britain happened in Sussex rather than at Richborough in Kent as has always been accepted. From available evidence do you agree with this theory? For this essay we are looking at two interpretations of the Roman Invasion - the traditional and the challenge argument and so throughout this essay I will be putting forward the two different views. The points will be arranged in chronological order, the base document for this essay is the account of Cassius Dio. I will also be studying the modern hypothesis of John Hind. Cassius Dio's account is of Aulus Plautius' invasion of Britain AD 43 may not be completely reliable as the historian wrote the account 150 years after the invasion. John Hinds account was written based around the evidence available. Primarily it was thought that the Romans invaded Britain in 43AD in Kent. Here we must acknowledge that this was not the first endeavour at an invasion. Julius Caesar was emperor at the time of the first invasion, around the time 50BC. He wished to expand his empire and believed that in order to do so he must conquer Britain. He had already managed to gain Gaul, which in present day is otherwise known as France, and so pressed on in making plans to invade Britain, unknown to him this would result in defeat. His fleets landed on the North of Kent. ...read more.

Middle

This was, I suggest, the coast and harbours of the Artrebatic kingdom behind and just east to the Isle of Wight." We already know the advantages of landing on Atrebate land such as the friendly atmosphere that would allow the troops to prepare themselves. Now with this evidence about the shooting star we must consider whether we believe that something short of a miracle happened. Imagine that it did, it would make sense, as the tribal land was neighbourly, the fleets would also not be disheartened to try a different approach to the invasion of Britain. Dio's account uses geographical description; this description seems to fit the reasoning that the troops sailed to Sussex than it does to Kent. This idea is perceived when Dio says, " they melted into marshes and forests," At the time of the second invasion this is what Sussex would have mainly consisted of. We know that in Kent there was no such marshes or forests as it is not included in Caesar's documents until after he is at the river Thames. This river is an important landmark to help us depict where the second invasion actually took place as it is mentioned in both sources. The river however, is not titled so could be either the River Maedyway, River Arun or the River Thames. Hind believes that the river is the Arun. He got this idea from ancient name Trisantona (Tarrant). This is the only named river by Ptolemy, a Roman geographer, along the entire Southeast England. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the one present in this particular discussion can be counter-argued. The point being that in Cassius Dio's account it was documented that the fleets were not happy. This could have been due to many reasons. One being that the feeling was caused because of the weather. The second that they were not pleased with the plans as they would be following in the footsteps of failure. However, it is very doubtful that they were disheartened because of the plans, as it is not in a soldier's way to be discouraged because of past defeat. If anything this would act as stimulant to prove that they can do it, to their leader and to themselves. Therefore the reason for the dampened spirits is the weather which does not weaken my argument in the slightest. However, I do still believe that Richborough was connected slightly but only due to the landing of Claudius which would have been a justifiable reason as to why poets mention Richborough and why a monument was built. John Hind appears to have the idea that most of the fleets landed in Sussex. However, some were sent to Richborough in order to fool the Britons and to make them become confused. Even though this summary is a very good one, and would account for the conflicting evidence it is only based on an assumption and there is very little evidence to prove this. There fore, I'm afraid to say that I must dismiss this idea and keep with my own opinion that the Roman invasion point was at Sussex. ...read more.

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