"Londinium" was in fact the Roman adaptation of its native name Llyn Din which means "the City, or Fortress, of the Lake". The derivation of the word is at once apparent: the lake hemmed it in on the south. Then also the valley of the Fleet must have opposed a barrier on the west.
There is little doubt that stream, which had degenerated in later times to a mere rivulet, must have been a considerable river, up which the tide flowed for some distance. The view was very different then; and very different again in countless ages before, in post-Pliocene times.
The drift gravel at Charing Cross has yielded up the bones of the mammoth, rhinoceros; cave lion, and Irish elk, the great red deer and two species of ox, the urus and longifrons.
How strange must the scene of this river have been then, if, indeed, it existed at that remote period. Fascinating as the subject may be, we must pass on to historic times, and take up the story of this noble stream when it first figures in records.
Passing by Herodotus, Aristotle, and Polybius, whose notices are but vague, we come to the period when the legions of Imperial Rome first extended their conquests to these remote shores : to the landing of Julius Caesar, the defeat of Cassivelaunus, the subsequent gradual subjugation under Aulus Plautius and Vespasian, and the final noble stand made by Caractacus.
During that period nearly the whole of the South of England had been colonised by the Romans, and Londinium, had become an important town with walls and gates, the chief residence of merchants, whose ships were moored beneath its walls.Next page: Boadicea