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they seem islands; but at the low tides, the sea retreating and leaving much space dry, they appear peninsulas;" a statement which has led to the identification of Ictis with the Mount St. Michael, in Cornwall, of our own day. Besides tin, lead and skins are mentioned as exchanged with foreign merchants for earthenware, glass beads, salt, and brazen vessels. To British exports were afterwards added slaves and fierce hunting dogs, and in the fourth century, if not before, wheat in large quantity.
Tacitus informs us that the natives of Britain were of several distinct races, as evidenced by their differences of personal appearance. The height and the yellow locks of the people on the north-east coast shewed their German origin, while the shorter stature and swarthy complexion of those in the west rendered it probable that they were a colony from Iberia. To all, the praise of desperate valour is due; Cæsar acknowledges that their horsemen and charioteers contended vigorously with him; and to the last period of Roman occupation, there were numerous tribes that had never been subdued. Xiphiline describes the state of these about the close of the second century of the Christian era.
The Mæatæ and Caledonians inhabit mountains wild and waterless, and plains desert and marshy, having neither walls nor cities nor tilth, but living by pasturage, by the chase, and on certain berries; for of their fish, though abundant and inexhaustible, they They live in tents naked and bare-footed, having wives in common, and rearing the whole of their progeny. Their state is chiefly democratical, and they
are above all things delighted by pillage; they fight from chariots, having small swift horses; they fight also on foot, are very fleet when running, and most resolute when compelled to stand; their arms consist of a shield and a short spear, having a brazen knob at the extremity of the shaft, that when shaken it may terrify the enemy by its noise; they use daggers also; they are capable of enduring hunger, thirst, and hardships of every description; for when plunged in the marshes they abide there many days with their heads only out of water; and in the woods they subsist on bark and roots; they prepare for all emergencies a certain kind of food, of which if they eat only so much as the size of a bean they neither hunger nor thirst. Such then is the island of Britannia, and such the inhabitants of that part of it which is hostile to us."
Herodian gives a very similar account, and adds, “They encircle their loins and necks with iron, deeming this an ornament and mark of opulence, in like manner as other barbarians esteem gold. They puncture their bodies with pictured forms of every sort of animals, on which account they wear no clothing, lest they should hide the figures on their body."
The kingly form of government prevailed among the Britons before the coming of Cæsar, and it was continued long after, though in subordination to the Roman governors, but the most truly influential persons were the Druids. These men were the depositories of all the learning of the Britons, and they had numerous schools where they taught "many things respecting the stars and their motion, respecting the extent of the world and
of our earth, respecting the nature of things, respecting the power and the majesty of the immortal gods." These doctrines were supposed to have originated in Britain, and in Cæsar's time those Gauls who wished to study them visited our island for the purpose.
But the Druids were not merely teachers; they imposed ordinances on all classes, and enforced them by terrible penalties; they were the arbiters of peace and war; they had sacred groves and rude stone temples, in which they offered human sacrifices; and so powerful was their influence over their countrymen, that the Romans disregarded their usual policy of leaving untouched the superstitions and priesthoods of conquered nations, and laboured zealously to destroy both the priests and the altars of Britain. Tacitus gives a lively account of the assault for this purpose on the stronghold of Druidism.
Suetonius "prepared to fall upon Mona (Anglesey h), a country powerful in inhabitants, and a common place of refuge to the revolters and fugitives; he built, for that end, boats with broad flat bottoms, the easier to approach a shore full of shallows and uncertain landings; in these the foot were embarked; the horse followed, partly by fording, partly by swimming.
"On the opposite shore stood the enemy's army, in thick array compact with men and arms; amongst them were women running frantically every where, to and fro, representing the wild manner and transports of furies; dismally clad in funeral apparel, with their hair di
The name Mona is often given to the Isle of Man, but it is certain that Anglesey is meant in this instance.
shevelled and torches in their hands; round the host also appeared their priests the Druids, with their hands lifted up to heaven, uttering direful imprecations, and invoking celestial vengeance; insomuch, that at the amazing novelty of the spectacle, the spirit of the Roman soldiers was struck with dismay; and, as if all their limbs had been benumbed, they stood motionless, their bodies exposed, like fixed marks, to wounds and darts; till, by the repeated exhortations of the general, as well as by mutual incitements from one another, they were at last roused to shake off the scandalous terror inspired by a band of raving women and fanatic priests; and thus advancing their ensigns, they discomfited all that resisted, and involved them in their own fires."
The aboriginal Britons are described as dwelling in slight cabins of reeds and wattles, and in some instances in caverns in the earth, many sets of which arranged with some degree of symmetry antiquaries have recognized; but Cæsar tells us that the maritime tribes had buildings in the fashion of the Gauls, that is, of wood, of a circular figure, and thatched. They had, however, public edifices for the purposes of religion, of which we have an example in the stupendous fabric of Stonehenge'. Such towns as they had, were clusters of huts erected on a cleared portion of the forests which covered the greater part of the island, and they were invariably surrounded by a rampart constructed of felled
The cromlechs which are found in various parts of our island were formerly regarded as temples, but recent investigation has convinced the generality of antiquarians that they are in reality sepulchral monuments. One of the finest examples is the double cromlech at Plas Newydd, in Anglesey, figured at the head of this chapter.
trees strongly interlaced and wattled, and a deep fosse, which together constituted a fortification that we may believe even the veteran legionaries often found it difficult to storm. The site of the modern city of London, with the river Thames in front, the river Fleet on the west, and an almost impenetrable forest in the rear, may be taken as a fair specimen of the locality usually selected for the residence of each British chief.
At the time that the Roman supremacy in Britain had its greatest extent, we distinguish the two great districts of Albion Superior and Inferior (in a general way, England and Wales, and Scotland) divided into the five provinces of Britannia Prima, Britannia Secunda, Flavia Cæsariensis, Maxima Cæsariensis, and Valentia.
1. Britannia Prima contained the country south of the Thames and the Severn, and, proceeding westward, we find tribes known to us by their Romanized names of the Cantii, Regni, Belgæ, Atrebates, Durotriges, and Damnonii.
2. Britannia Secunda may be called Wales, and contained the Silures in the south and south-east, the Demetæ on the western coast, and the Ordovices in the north.
3. Flavia Cæsariensis, the country between the Thames, the Severn and the Humber, contained the Trinobantes in the south, north of them the Cattieuchlani and Iceni, and in the central and western part the Dobuni, Coritani, and Cornavii.
4. Maxima Cæsariensis, between the Humber and the Tyne, contained the Parisii on the Yorkshire coast, and the Brigantes, who occupied the rest of the north of England.