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ROMAN TRADE AND VILLAS.
brought into England the manufactures in which they anticipated fourteen hundred years of Germanic civilization—the tinted glass, the Samian potteries, and the sculptured bronze. They were skilled in the tricks of trade; the inscribed boxes of their quack medicines are still disinterred; spurious coin is found in quantities that induce us to regard it as a device of the imperial treasury; and locks, with contrivances in the wards which have been re-invented and patented in the last thirty years, attest alike the art of their thieves and of their smiths. Roman bricks and Roman mortar have furnished inexhaustible materials for Saxon towns, Norman castles, and even for English farm-houses. The great number of the Roman villas whose remains can still be traced, is a proof that the lords of the soil were in easy circumstances; while the fact that the structures were commonly of wood, raised upon a brick or stone foundation, is an argument against large fortunes. Probably no rich man would have chosen to spend his life so far from Rome, and under a British sky. Nor can the towns have been magnificent, even in cases like Silchester, where the walls enclose an area three miles in circuit. The amphitheatres, still known to us, never equal the colossal dimensions of those of Verona or Treves ;3 only one instance is at present known in which the sides are not apparently of turf. The houses were probably thatched.
1 Roach Smith's Antiquities of Richborough, p. 102.
2 This was first pointed out in King's Munimenta Antiqua. Generally speaking, English villas are inferior to those of the continent, both in size and in the magnificence of their remains. But there are remains of brick and stone highly ornamented on the line of Hadrian's vallum, especially at Borcovicus or Housesteads.-Wellbeloved's Eburacum.
Probably, however, some have been destroyed or covered up, as Giraldus Cambrensis speaks of "loca theatralia muris egregiis partim adhuc extantibus." -Itin. Camb., c. 5. But their dimensions are more certain, and are never very large, unless the curious cavity at Cheriton is really the remains of an old circus. They were so at Rome itself till the time of Nero. Merivale, book vi., p. 171. There is a legend that Silchester, and I think Wroxeter, were set on fire by sparrows with lighted matches tied to them, whom the native tribes, unable to storm the walls, collected and let fly. Tiles, however, must have been used as well. That splendid fragment, "The Ruin," speaks of "the purple arch with its tiles."-Codex Exoniensis, p. 477.
COUNTRY LIFE IN THE PROVINCES.
except where the main streets ran, giving passage for horses and troops, the Roman towns were probably grouped in continuous masses of buildings, intersected by narrow alleys1 like modern Venice. In some sanitary details the civilization of several centuries had told upon the customs of the people. Large sewers, large aqueducts, and extramural interment, are common features. At first the bodies of the dead were burned, and their ashes preserved in mortuary urns. In the third or fourth centuries, the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body caused the old Roman practice of interment to be revived. But no kindly superstition was allowed to sanction burial in the crowded thoroughfares of the cities; the dead body, often covered up with lime, was carried out of the city gates; and the great highways were lined with tombs, whose inscriptions appealed to the passer-by for sympathy.
But the traveller in Roman England, who wandered away from the main road, or from the cities, would find himself among villages which had known little change since the days of Cunobelin. Probably to the last, native chiefs like Cogidubnus of Chichester, were allowed to retain the shadow of their old royalty, and enjoyed the loyal allegiance of their clans.3 Between the British gentry and the Roman officials and merchants, there would be constant intercourse in the towns, and at last frequent intermarriages. It is just possible that in such a county as Kent, which lay in the line of traffic between Britain and Gaul, the old British tongue may have died out, and been replaced by a debased Latin, like that
1 "Vicinus meus est manuque tangi
De nostris Novius potest fenestris."-Martial, lib. i., Epig. 77.
2 Wellbeloved's Eburacum, pp. 96-116.
3 Mr. Akerman has shown ground for supposing that money was coined by several native princes under the Romans, e. g., by Bodroc in Gloucester, and by Veric in Surrey. He thinks, however, that these dynasties soon died out or were dethroned.—Archæologia, vol. 33. I imagine them to have remained in the country with a certain titular rank from the Romans, and intrusted with the jurisdiction of their own districts. In the two cases cited, Veric's kingdom of Sussex and Surrey is precisely one of the parts of England most barren of Roman remains. And in the fifth century, Vortigern is represented as the heir of a line of princes established at Gloucester.-Nennius, c. 49.
INFLUENCES OF THE ROMAN OCCUPATION.
spoken in the towns, and in which inscriptions are found in the western counties. The barbarous Welsh tribes were probably least affected by Roman rule; yet the terms of civilization in Welsh are commonly from a Latin1 original. But to account for the great admixture of British words in Anglo-Saxon and in English, we must assume that the natives mostly retained their ancient tongue. The argument is even stronger if we look at literature. The Roman authors were certainly read in England; we even possess a Juvencus, which was once the property of a young Pictish officer. Yet so rare and superficial was this culture, that Britain produced no single poet or rhetorician to rival the Gaul Sidonius or the African Tertullian. And when the conquerors disappeared, a race of native poets sprung up, whose complicated system of rhymes, and alliterations, and antithetical couplets, presents the most exact contrast conceivable to the stately hexameters of Virgil or the graceful trochaics of Catullus. The laws of Rome, it may be thought, would strike root more easily than the language. They of course prevailed in the colonies, and probably in the more settled parts of the island. But in the Welsh codes that we possess, whatever be their antiquity, there is no immediate trace of the Pandects; while the Keltic custom of borough-English, by which property devolves to the youngest son, has lasted down to historical times in our own country, and has seemingly been transplanted from England to Brittany. The cromlechs, or sepulchral monuments of the Britons, are known, from the trinkets and coins found in them, to have been erected during the
'Such as "pont," a bridge, "carchar," a prison, "arad," a plough. This evidence is not, however, quite trustworthy. Nations often exchange an old word for a new, under the influence of civilized neighbours or conquerors. The Welsh "ceffyl," is perhaps derived from the Roman "caballus," yet the Welsh trained horses before Cæsar set foot in the island. The Russians have adopted many German and English terms for ideas which have Sclavonic names. "Ahme," from the French "âme," threatened to supersede "seele," in German literature during the early part of the eighteenth century.
2 Rev. T. L. Davies, Philolog. Transactions, 1857, No. v.
3 Zeuss refers this system of versification to the fifth and sixth centuries. -Grammatica Celtica, vol. 2, vi. 2.
CHARACTER OF THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT.
period of Roman dominion.1 More striking evidence could not be wished of the barbarism, or, if a milder term be preferred, of the stubborn nationality, of the tribes in the country districts. They saw around them the marvels of Roman architecture and sculpture, the arch, the statue, and the bas-relief, and they preferred to overshadow the grave with the largest stone they could find in the neighbourhood. Three stones, so placed as to bridge a space, are the highest achievement of native sepul
To sum up all, then, the occupation of Britain by the Romans was like the French colonization of Algeria, with the difference of a long and a short tenure. The government was military and municipal; the conquerors unsympathetic and hard. But the peace which they enforced favoured commerce; the mines which they developed were prolific in salt, iron, tin, and lead. Under Julian, 357 A.D., eight hundred vessels visited the English coasts for the corn trade; the animals and the fruits of other countries, even the fig and the vine, were introduced. The splendour of Roman remains attracted attention in the twelfth century, when the grass was growing over them, and generations had already quarried in them for homes. Above all, those numerous cities had been centres of Roman polity and law. It is impossible to underrate these influences, or to doubt that many of them remained, and even gathered strength, where all seemed to be swept away. For good or for evil, England was henceforth a part of the European commonwealth of nations; sharing that commerce, for want of which Ireland remained barbarous; sharing the alliances, for disregarding which the Saxon dynasty perished; penetrated by ideas which have connected the people in every historical struggle, crusades and French wars, with the sympathies and hopes of other men.
1 Wright's Celt, Roman, and Saxon, p. 61.
2 Zosimus, iii., 145.
3 Perhaps the cat (L. catus; W. cath) was brought over by the Romans. It occurs comparatively seldom in Gaelic legends, where the horse, dog, and pig are common characters. It is valued highly in the Welsh laws, and declared to be part of the proper complement of a hamlet.-Laws of Wales, vol. ii., pp. 76,692. Probably, therefore, it was not indigenous, and was scarce down to a late date.
DECLINE OF THE ROMAN DOMINION.
CAUSES OF WEAKNESS IN THE EMPIRE.-REVOLT OF CARAUSIUS.-CONSTANTIUS ROMAN WALL.-REVOLTS OF MAXIMUS AND
CONSTANTINE.-BRITAIN LEFT TO ITSELF.
DURING the third century the Roman empire was fast breaking up. It had succeeded in weakening the nationality of its subject peoples, but it had not moulded them into citizens; they were provincials, not Romans. In fact, it was no object of the emperors to revive traditions of the Republic, or excite an enthusiasm for the old Roman greatness that must have ended in the desire of the old Roman liberties. Every institution of the empire tended to replace the idea of a common country, by the phantom of a central authority, against which combination should be impossible. Citizenship, indeed, was forced upon all, and the old distinctions of separate franchises were annulled; but then citizenship, in the the third century, meant only the obligation to pay taxes, and not the right to bear arms, or to hold office. Foreign officers led the legions, foreign consuls assembled the senate, the emperor himself was often sprung from the obscure blood of races1 whom the old Roman patricians had only considered fit for the amphitheatre. Above all, society was split up into several castes. A small aristocracy of office, and a pariah population of slaves, were the two extremes. Between
The parents of Diocletian were Dalmatian slaves; those of Probus, Illyrian peasants. Maximin was a Thracian peasant, of Gothic origin.