Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 4)
On his first expedition to Britain in 55 BC, Julius Caesar wrote in Conquest of Gaul the following description of the coastal white cliffs: “…on his approach the whole line of hills crowned with the armed forces of the enemy. There was so little space between the sea and the rising wall of rock, that the shore was easily commanded by any spear thrown from above.”
The final challenge in the photographic shoot for transforming my eleven-year-old granddaughter into Catrin, the Celtic spiritual warrior in the historical epic fantasy, APOLLO’S RAVEN, was to provide a realistic backdrop of the hillsides leading up to the white cliffs along the British Channel. The adventure is set in 24 AD Ancient Britain where the army of Catrin’s father battles with Roman who have allied with his Celtic rivals in their plan to overtake his kingdom.
Rome’s Influence on Ancient Britain
Although Caesar mounted two expeditions to Britain in 55-54 BC, Rome did not invade and occupy this island until 43 AD. Even so, coins minted after Caesar’s expeditions suggest Rome heavily influenced the process of establishing dynasties in the two most powerful tribes in southeast Britain. Establishing loyal client-kingdoms outside the areas under Rome’s direct control was standard foreign policy. Celtic client kings may have spent their youth growing up in aristocratic Roman circles to learn the Roman culture and even to gain experience in the Roman army. In addition, there is archaeological evidence of extensive trading between Britain and the Continent as early as 100 BC.
Although the narrowest point between the Strait of Dover is only 21 miles between Britain and France (Roman Gaul), the logistics of moving soldiers, cavalry, and supplies proved to be a formidable task. Invasion of Britain was a high priority for Augustus, but other crises in the Empire may have influenced his decision not to invade. The Roman historian, Tacitus, records that in 16 AD some Roman soldiers were cast ashore in Britain and promptly returned to Rome by a local ruler.
The above historical assumptions of Rome’s influence on the political climate in Ancient Britain set the backdrop to APOLLOS’ RAVEN.
Photographic Challenge – Setting
The photographer, Rebekah West [Rebekah West Photography and Creative International; Website: http://rebekahwest.com] had to find a suitable location in Boulder that looked similar to the grassy and forested landscape of the white cliffs’ hillsides. The British coastline is known for encroaching fog while in Colorado most days are arid and sunny. Further complicating the shoot, Colorado had a severe drought. Throughout Colorado, several forest fires raged, creating a smoky haze along the front range.
The final location of the shoot was Fairview High School situated next to open space in Boulder. The school building served as the backdrop for a stone fortress while the open space provided a grassy hillside and groves of trees.
On the evening of the photographic shoot, the air cleared and the approaching sunset provided fabulous lighting for the photographs.
(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure)
“The Conquest of Gaul,” Julius Caesar; translated by F. P. Long; The Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading, 2005, pg. 94.
“AD 43 The Roman Invasion of Britain,” John Manley; Tempus Publishing, Inc., 2002.