In 55 BC, Rome had its sights set on Britain. Across two attempts, a huge invasion force led by one of the greatest miltary leaders in history, Julius Caesar, landed in Kent. Eventually he would break through and conquer the southern heart of the island.
It had not been an easy task. In his first attempt to conquer Britain, Caesar took with him only two legions, and achieved little beyond a landing on the coast of Kent. His force was heavily contested as soon as it landed on the beaches near Dover and had only managed to break inland through a combination of grit, determination and advanced military weapons and tactics.
Caesar's second invasion consisted of 628 ships, five legions and 2,000 cavalry. The force was so imposing that the Britons did not dare contest Caesar's landing in Kent, waiting instead until he began to move inland. Caesar's force penetrated into Middlesex and crossing the Thames, forcing the British warlord Cassivellaunus to surrender as a tributary to Rome.
Yet the great Caesar did not stay in Britain long. Instead, he returned to Rome in triumph, utilizing the success of his distant conquest to bolster his eventual dictatorship.
In the first episode of this series, bushcraft and survival expert Ray Mears explores the surviving evidence we have of Caesar's invasions of Britain over 2000 years ago. Featuring historians Dr Simon Elliot, Dr Steve Willis and Roman reenactor David Richardson.