Fighting Caesar: Britons in Gaul and Gauls in Britain in Caesar’s Battle for Gaul

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Fighting Caesar: Britons in Gaul and Gauls in Britain in Caesar’s Battle for Gaul

October 5 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Fighting Caesar: Britons in Gaul and Gauls in Britain in Caesar’s Battle for Gaul

by Andrew Fitzpatrick FSA

Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC. One of the reasons that he gave for doing so was the aid that the Britons had given to the Gauls in almost every campaign during his long Battle for Gaul. This lecture will explore the nature of that assistance through the prism of a man whose grave was discovered at North Bersted, near Chichester.

The mourners of this 30-45-year-old man laid him to rest with the honours of a warrior in one of the most well-furnished burials of this time found in Europe. But those honours were not of a British nobleman, but a Gaulish one. His body was covered by the carriage of a wheeled vehicle, not a chariot but a parade car, and a panoply of weapons was placed alongside him, including a striking, unique, helmet.

The helmet crest was made of openwork panels decorated with Celtic art. The shapes of the panels represent a bird, a symbolism found on a very few, but all remarkable, helmets across Europe. This imagery may also provide the clue to understanding the historical context of this Gaulish nobleman.

The only bronze coins issued on the south coast of England in the mid-1st century BC were struck near Chichester. The image on their tails is of a man wearing a bird-shaped headdress or helmet. The prototype for these coins is a Gaulish one thought to have been issued by the Bellovaci tribe. In his account of the campaigns of 57 BC Julius Caesar related how the resistance against him was led by the Bellovaci and that when the campaign was lost, their leaders fled to Britain.

Does the grave at North Bersted brings us face to face with a man who took part in one of the most dramatic episodes in Europe’s early history, in which Britons fought in Gaul; and Gauls fled to Britain?

Please note that due to COVID 19 restrictions this event may be online only. 

Attendance by Live Stream:

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  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows and Non-Fellows.
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  • The event will begin at 13.00, GMT.
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October 5
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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