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Chapter I, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 1 page 2

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The inhabitants of the island in the time of Caesar lived in a very primitive state, depending for support upon their flocks and herds; their houses were of the rudest description, formed of osiers or wickers woven together, and tempered with mud; and their cities consisted of a number of these cabins ranged without order, and surrounded by a deep ditch or fosse.

The costume of the ancient Britons was equally primitive, being made from the spoils of the chase. These skins, Tertullian informs us, in preparing for war, they were accustomed to throw off, and display with pride their tall muscular bodies, tattooed in a variety of devices.

They were a handsome, athletic race, wearing their hair long, and the moustache upon the upper lip; and scanty as their numbers were, might have bid defiance to the Romans or any other invaders, had they not been divided by intestine broils and factions.

Such was the country and such the condition of its inhabitants when Caesar undertook its conquest; to which he was led not so much by the thirst of dominion as by the necessity he found himself under of doing something to acquire a name which at Home might balance that of Pompey. He had already partially subdued the Gauls, and determined on subjecting Britain.

Having decided on the expedition, the victorious general commenced his preparations with his accustomed energy. His first care was to obtain hostages from the Gauls: he questioned the merchants and others who had visited Britain as to its resources and extent, the natives which inhabited it, their manners, customs, and religion, and sent Comius, whom he had created King of the Atrabates in Gaul, to demand the submission of the islanders.

On the first news of the intended descent, the Britons, excited by the Druids and Bards, assembled in arms, in order to defend their coasts, but at the same time did not neglect other means of warding off the danger which threatened their independence, and dispatched ambassadors to Caesar with offers of alliance. They were received courteously, although the wily Roman knew that, incited by their priests, they had arrested his messenger, and kept him in chains. Meanwhile Caesar prepared his fleet, and assembled his soldiers for the expedition.

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