Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 12:29 UK

Caesar statue plan for Deal beach

Bust of Julius Caesar found in the River Rhone near Arles
A bust of Caesar was found recently in the River Rhone near Arles

Business leaders in a Kent coastal town have launched a campaign to erect a statue to Julius Caesar, who landed there in 55 BC.

Caesar and a small fleet landed in Deal on their first reconnaissance visit to England, after deciding a Dover landing would leave them more open to attack.

The Romans won a brief battle and soon left, returning the next year, when they reached as far as the Thames.

Peter Jull, of Deal Chamber of Trade, said a statue would be a good reminder.

John Grigsby, from English Heritage, said Caesar confused his dates, thinking it was August when it was actually mid-September, and he was unsure of the tides, so he did not pursue his visit to Deal and returned to France to build new ships.

His second visit was more successful, he added.

But it was emperor Claudius who finally added Britain to the Roman Empire.

An army of four legions and approximately 20,000 auxiliaries, landed at Richborough, Kent, in AD 43.

Mr Jull said they wanted visitors to Deal to be able to see the prow of a beached ship, together with a statue of Julius Caesar, to give visitors an idea of what it was like.

"They would be able to walk through what was effectively a battlefield," he said.


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