Thursday 28 November 2002 9.48pm
A good flight of fancy here mate when you speak about Hannibal.
But here's some history that put's the joke out of the window.
Hannibal. (247 BC- Bithynia 182 BC), Carthaginian general, leader of the famous march across the Alps. These are the dates of when the first Romans came here. Personaly I think that the Hannibal was inventing the game of Football so that the Italians & the Spanish could have a long history of practice for when the met the ancient Brits first eleven.
Roman Britain - the Roman Invasion
Caesar's Summer Vacation. In 55 B.C. Julius Caesar, then general of the Roman armies in Gaul, decided that it would be a good move to try a little summer invasion of Britiain. It may have been a move intended to gain prestige back home in Rome, but it was a move that made sense. The Celts in Gaul had been receiving aid from their close relations in southern England. British Celts may even have fought with related tribes in Gaul against the Romans. Certainly J. C. complained that defeated Gauls would slip away to Britain to regroup. Tackling the British Celts made sense in the battle to secure Gaul for Rome.
Caesar's invasion proved successful but inconclusive. Landing in present day Kent, he did battle with several tribes that summer, and did very well, thank you. The following summer he returned for more, easily defeating the first real historical British figure we know of, King Cassivellaunus. Remember that British "kings" at this time were really no more than tribal chiefs. There was no such thing as a unified "Britain", and there was no such thing as a unified Celtic army to meet the Roman advance.
Julius Caesar left after two summers fighting, exacting a promise of tribute from the defeated tribes, but it was not for another century that Rome would try to extend its influence in England. In the meantime, however, the contacts between the Roman Empire and Celtic England grew. Trade flourished, and it is suggested that some Celtic princes were sent to Rome to be educated.
One important social change that occurred at this time was that kingship became hereditary, rather than a post awarded to the best war leader. This change was to have disastrous consequences; several princes fled to Rome to appeal for help in succession squabbles. Rome was happy to use this as a convenient excuse for invasion.
The Pretext. In 43 A.D. Claudius became Emperor of Rome. Needing a public relations coup to secure his tenuous position (nothing ever changes in politics, does it?) he decided to revive the dream of expanding the Empire to the British Isles. The pretext was conveniently provided by Caratacus, king of the Catavellauni tribe. Caratacus invaded the territories of the Atrebates, whose king, Verica, fled to Rome and appealed for help. Claudius was quite happy to respond.
Britain was regarded with some mystical awe by the Romans, and at first Claudius' troops, 40,000 of them, refused to disembark from the invasion boats. Once they screwed up their courage, however, they made a good job of it, sweeping up from the landing place at Richborough in Kent in a three pronged attack. We know more about the southern prong, at least partly because it was commanded by a future Emperor of Rome, Vespasian.