| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
THE ROMANS COME AGAIN
 CAESAR must have felt that he had not really conquered the
Britons for, as soon as he arrived safely in France, he
began to gather together another army. In the spring of the
following year, he again sailed over to Britain. He came now
not with eighty, but with eight hundred ships and many
thousands of men. But this time there was no one to meet him
when he landed. The Britons indeed had heard of his coming,
and had gathered in great force to resist him. But, when
they saw such a huge number of ships, their hearts were
filled with fear, and they fled into the forests and hills
It must have been a wonderful sight, in the eyes of the
ancient Britons, to see so many ships sailing on the sea all
at once. They knew scarcely anything of the great lands
which lay beyond the blue sea surrounding their little
island. They had not even dreamed that the whole world
contained as many ships as they now saw. So it was not
surprising that at first they were afraid and fled. But they
did not lose courage for long. They soon returned and many
battles were fought.
The Romans seemed to think that they won all these battles,
but the Britons were not at all sure of it. Certainly a
great many people on both sides were killed. If the Britons
had been less brave than they were, they would have been
very badly beaten, for the Romans wore
 strong armour and
carried shields made of steel, while the Britons had little
armour, if any at all, and their shields were made of wood
covered with skins of animals. The Roman swords too were
strong and sharp, while those of the Britons were made of
copper. Copper is a very soft metal, and swords made of it
are easily bent and so made useless.
The Britons at this time were divided into many tribes, each
following their own chief. They often used to quarrel among
themselves. Now, however, they joined together against their
great enemy and chose a brave man, called Cassivellaunus, to
be their leader.
Cassivellaunus led the Britons so well, and Cæsar found it
such a difficult task to conquer them, that at last he was
glad to make peace again and sail back to his own country.
He did not like to go away as if he had been defeated, so he
sent messengers to the British chief, saying, "If you let me
take some of your warriors back to Rome as a sign that you
are now Roman subjects and will not rebel against me, I will
The Britons were only too glad to be rid of Cæsar and his
soldiers at any price. They gave him some British soldiers
to take back to Rome, and even promised to pay him a certain
sum of money every year.
But it almost seemed as if Neptune had been doing battle for
his beloved Albion with his winds and waves. For while Cæsar
had been fighting the Britons, such fierce storms arose that
his ships were thrown upon the rocky shore and many of them
dashed to pieces. Indeed so few of his ships remained fit to
put to sea again that Cæsar could not take all his soldiers
away at one time. As many went as could, and the ships came
back again for the others.
 Cæsar did not leave any soldiers in Britain at all, so it
does not seem as if he had really conquered the land. These
things happened in the year 54 B.C., that is, fifty-four
years before Christ was born. All Christian lands count time
from the year in which Christ was born, because His coming
is the most wonderful thing which has ever happened.
Anything that took place before Christ was born is said to
be in such and such a year B.C. Everything which has taken
place since then is said to be A.D. or Anno Domini, which
means, "in the year of our Lord." For instance, this book is written in the year 1905 A.D.
or 1905 years after the birth of Christ.
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