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06/26/2005 Archived Entry: "NO AD43?"

A fascinating item...and not a hoax. Or, rather, the hoax seems to have been committed by the Emperor Claudius (one of my favorites) and, then, taught to every British child through the ages. Steve Bloomfield writes in The Independent, " The history of Britain will have to be rewritten. The AD43 Roman invasion never happened - and was simply a piece of sophisticated political spin by a weak Emperor Claudius. A series of astonishing archaeological findings of Roman military equipment, to be revealed this week, will prove that the Romans had already arrived decades earlier - and that they had been welcomed with open arms by ancient Britons."

The BBC reports, "Re-writing history. The Independent on Sunday has news of a discovery which it says could result in Britain's history being re-written. Archaeologists have unearthed weapons in Chichester which apparently pre-date by 50 years the accepted date of the Roman invasion of Britain. In Sussex and Hampshire, they were in togas and speaking Latin, five decades before everyone else, one expert tells the paper. Another likens the find to discovering that World War II started in 1938. " The alleged AD43 invasion has been the subject of speculation by historians for many years. The city council site for Chichester -- assumed to be the point at which the Romans landed -- states, "The Roman invasion of AD43 is still hotly debated by experts because no historical sources mention where the Roman Army landed. Until recently it was thought that Richborough in Kent was the site, but recent evidence suggests that the Army may have landed in Chichester harbour." Oh well...I guess tourism for that town just took a dip.

I wonder how many other historical events that we accept as "fact" -- that we accept as real on the same epistemological level as the chair we feel beneath us -- actually never happened...or happened in a remarkably different manner than is assumed. The AD43 historical hoax is particularly interesting because, if truly a fabrication (as I believe it is), then it was created for political advantage. As I said, I like Claudius.

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