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British coinage from this period shows a complicated pattern of intrusion.The earliest Gallo-Belgic coins that have been found in Britain date to before 100 BC, perhaps as early as 150 BC, were struck in Gaul, and have been found mainly in Kent.In the highlands, north of the line between Gloucester and Lincoln, arable land was available in only isolated pockets, so pastoralism, supported by garden cultivation, was more common than settled farming, and communication was more difficult.

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Caesar claimed that, in the course of his conquest of Gaul, the Britons had supported the campaigns of the mainland Gauls against him, with fugitives from among the Gallic Belgae fleeing to Belgic settlements in Britain, suggesting that the possibility of a British expedition had already been considered by then.

In late summer, 55 BC, even though it was late in the campaigning season, Caesar decided to make an expedition to Britain.

The cavalry, delayed by adverse winds, still had not arrived, so the Britons could not be pursued and finished off, and Caesar could not enjoy what he calls, in his usual self-promoting style, his "accustomed success".

The Romans established a camp of which archaeological traces have been found, received ambassadors and had Commius, who had been arrested as soon as he had arrived in Britain, returned to them.

To make matters worse, the loaded Roman ships were too low in the water to go close inshore and the troops had to disembark in deep water, all the while attacked by the enemy from the shallows.

The troops were reluctant, but according to Caesar's account were led by the aquilifer (standard-bearer, whose name is not provided by Caesar) of the 10th legion who jumped in first as an example, shouting: The British were eventually driven back with catapultae and slings fired from the warships into the exposed flank of their formation and the Romans managed to land and drive them off.

Later coins of a similar type were struck in Britain and are found all along the south coast as far west as Dorset.

It appears that Belgic power was concentrated on the southeastern coast, although their influence spread further west and inland, perhaps through chieftains establishing political control over the native population.

Another eighteen transports of cavalry were to sail from a different port, probably Ambleteuse.

These ships may have been triremes or biremes, or may have been adapted from Venetic designs Caesar had seen previously, or may even have been requisitioned from the Veneti and other coastal tribes.

Clearly in a hurry, Caesar himself left a garrison at the port and set out "at the third watch" – well after midnight – on 23 August with the legions, leaving the cavalry to march to their ships, embark, and join him as soon as possible.

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