86.—Prow of a Roman Galley.details

[Picture: 86.—Prow of a Roman Galley.]
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86.—Prow of a Roman Galley.

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In the latter part of the summer of the year 55 B. C. (Halley, the astronomer, has gone far to prove that the exact day was the 26th of August), a Roman fleet crossed the Channel, bearing the infantry of two legions, about ten thousand men. This army was collected at the Portus Itius (Witsand), between Calais and Boulogne. Eighty galleys (Fig. 86) bore the invaders across the narrow seas. As they neared the white cliffs, which frowned upon their enterprise (Figs. 87, 88, 90), Cæsar beheld them covered with armed natives, ready to dispute his landing. The laurelled conqueror (Figs. 83, 84), who, according to Suetonius, only experienced three reverses during nine years’ command in Gaul, would not risk the Roman discipline against the British courage, on a coast thus girt with natural defences.” (p. 26)

Here we see the front of a boat (the prow of a ship), carved complete with a lizard or dragon at water-height. It is a galley, with a single row of oars. We cannot see the rowers: they are below the deck, and no doubt were slaves. We can, however, see the soldiers on deck with their decorated spears and their rifles. Er, no, wait, with their spears, that must be it, yes, spears.

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