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The Catuvellauni were one of the Celtic people known as Celtic Britons, or Insular Celts, from the Belgic tribes of northeastern Gaul who migrated to pre-Roman Britain during the third wave of Celtic invaders; possibly related to the Catalauni. They occupied the northern bank of the Tamesas River (modern day Thames), and northwards (modern Hertfordshire). From their capital city of Wheathampstead they controlled modern day Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, the parts of Oxfordshire that lie to the east of the River Cherwell, Middlesex, and northeastern Surrey. In 54 BC Julius Caesar referred to the tribes living in the area as the Cassi.
On the north, the Catuvellauni were bordered by the Corieltavi, on the east by the Iceni and Trinovantes, on the south by the Atrebates, and on the west by the Dobunni and Cornovii. Their territory incuded modern day Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and southern Cambridgeshire and most likely Buckinghamshire and parts of Oxfordshire.
Under their tribal leader or "king", Cassivellaunnus, they became one of the most prominent and richest tribes of their time, even minting their own coinage.
Known Rulers of the Catuvellauni
Rulers of the Catuvellauni From Until Ruler's Name Comments circa 20 BC 9 AD Cassivellaunus 9 AD 40 AD Tasciovanus circa 40 AD 43 AD Togodumnus 43 AD 50 AD Caratacus
Timeline of Events
55 BC: Julius Caesar set sail to Britannia with about 10,000 men to scout out "the lie of the land". Area tribal leders resisted Caesar's landing but this resulted only in skirmishes. When storms wrecked Caesar's ships he was only interested in repairing the damage and returning to Gaul, vowing to return.
54 BC: Julius Caesar returns to Britannia with 800 ships, 25,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. The region's warring tribes wishing to deter Caesar's Roman conquest of Britain selected Cassivellaunnus, the king of the Catuvellauni, to lead their war effort in ending Caesar's invasion. Wth an army of 4,000 chariots, the Britons were only able to mount skirmishes and minor battles in the Cantii tribal lands. Caesar writes of the Britons that "they attain such proficiency that even on a steep incline they are able to control the horses at full gallop, and to check and turn them in a moment". Cassivellaunnus and his allies fall back to the Catuvellauni tribal capital at Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire (north of St Albans). A final battle was fought about 5 August in which Lugotorix, a noble Briton, is captured by Caesar Cassivellaunus decided to pursue peace with Rome.
- Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles
- British Broadcasting Co. (BBC), British Pre- History
- Martin J Dougherty, A Dark History: Celts, London, England: Amber Books Ltd, 2015
- Dr Ian Barnes, The Historical Atlas of the Celtic World, New York, NY: Chartwell Books, Inc, 2012
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