Book 1, Chapter 3, 55 BC to 78 AD – Julius Caesar
Such was the Britain which attracted the notice of a victorious and ambitions Roman general. The power of his nation had been extended and consolidated by many conquests, and it appeared as if the old dream of one universal empire was about to be realized. But the days of the old commonwealth were numbered, and a change in the form of supreme government had been resolved upon, and the necessary plans had been devised by one mastermind. Julius Caesar aimed at an imperial position, after a long career of military glory, in which he had subdued the Gauls, and had thereby added to the splendour and dread of the Roman name. Flushed with success, his ambition rose yet higher. He had under his command a large and well disciplined army, whose attachment was such that they would follow wherever he might lead, confident that their renowned general would conduct them to new victories and to greater fame. Among the projects which he aspired to accomplish, Plutarch records that he purposed to erect a temple to Mars, which should surpass all similar structures, to drain the Pontine marshes to make a highway through the Apennines, from the Adriatic to the Tiber, to subdue the Parthians on the Euphrates, to invade Scythia, and from thence to conquer Germany, returning to Rome, laden with spoils and trophies.
It was’ not a mere caprice that led this renowned warrior to resolve on the subjugation of Britain. During his Gallic wars, his opponents had been assisted by their kinsmen from Britain, and Caesar declares that this was the reason which induced him to invade the island. It is more than probable that he was also influenced by motives which it was not politic to avow, such as a desire to dazzle his countrymen, and to appear absorbed by remote objects, in order to disarm suspicion, or to furnish himself with a pretext for prolonging his distant command, and for maintaining an army devoted to him, until the time should arrive for the carrying out of his imperial plans.
Chapter 3, Julius Caesar
His Antecedents and Ambition
Chapter 3, Caractacus
Chapter 3, The Romans Revenge
Categories: Book 1