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torically more important, as the point from which the Roman roads radiated.
The first occupation of England had been through a series of desperate wars; and the type of every Roman city was the camp. An oblong or square area was intersected by two main streets, cutting one another at right angles (the north gates and east gates of Saxon times), and protected by massive walls from the fate of the first Claudian colony near Colchester. The nucleus of the town population consisted of legionaries, who obtained a settlement in return for their services; a motley array of traders and camp followers grew up around these; while the old occupants were dispossessed and expelled by the new comers. Among the new citizens, the soldiers had been drafted out of every nation: Moors were settled at Watchcross, Spaniards at Pevensey, Dalmatians at Broughton; and these discordant materials were only moulded into a certain unity by their common service, the use of the Latin tongue and laws, and the presence of Roman traders and officials. To the last, therefore, these colonists remained distinct from the Britons of the country districts, although every year must have added a British element to the population. It is probable, also, that for a long time the towns retained their military character; the comparative absence of civic inscriptions in Britain is best explained by the supposition that they were governed by soldiers rather than by civil magistrates. During this period, they were no doubt towns, in the sense that they were not country; fortresses in the midst of an alien population; busy with the stir of trade, possessing the bath and forum, sometimes even the amphitheatre; but centres of corporate life, self-governing
1 Quart. Rev., vol. 97, "The Romans at Colchester." 2 Wright's Celt, Roman, and Saxon, pp. 250-1.
3" Other countries teem with notices of duumvirs, decurions, quinquennales, augustales, and flamens, but Britain is literally all but destitute of them. The solution seems to be forced upon us, though we can pretend to no historical evidence in support of it, that the government of the Roman towns in Britain was generally purely military."-Quart. Rev., vol. 97. This is true, I think, of the first two or three centuries of Roman rule.
communities of citizens, they could not be in any true sense. Before the end of the Roman dominion they had probably changed their character; the warlike habits of the first colonists had given way to the arts of peace; the framework of civic institutions had been introduced, and the people left to govern themselves, perhaps by very laches of the imperial government. But the liberty which they had at last received wanted time and peace to strike root; they never seem to have risen to the spirit of independence which carried the cities of South Gaul triumphantly through the shock of invasion; their municipal constitution, their laws, their mercantile guilds, have all, indeed, been transmitted to us, with more or less change, through the stormy Saxon times; but they were informed with a new spirit, and disguised under new names. The præfects, scabini, and curiales of our old cities are no more connected by popular apprehension with the mayor, aldermen, and common council of our own times, than Saxon architecture with its exemplars of Roman art. Yet, in fact, the constitution of our towns is as Roman as the bricks of St. Martin's church at Canterbury. Still, in the absence of definite records, it is not easy to say with precision in what manner the towns of Britain were organized. We may gather from inscriptions that there were at least three orders above the lowest; the gentry (equites), the bourgeoisie (decuriones), and artizans enrolled in corporations. The equites may be regarded as a nobility of office; property was their only qualification; but their rank designated them as the class from whom the higher magistrates should be chosen. They differed rather as a subdivision than as an order from the decuriones, whose unhappy dignity was either inherited, or derived from a landed property of more than twenty-five acres. On these men fell the whole duty of discharging the smaller and unprofitable municipal magistracies, which knights and senators disdained; all arrears in the taxes imposed were made good by them; and they were not allowed to take refuge from their responsibilities by service in the camp or church. It is probable that in the larger cities a senatus or common council was
formed from this class to transact business; but in great emergencies the whole body of those qualified was convened. The chief magistracy was that of the consuls, præfects, or duumvirs, and varied from one to four; they were named by the privileged class, appointed for short terms of office, and their nomination was confirmed by the emperor, or perhaps in Britain by his deputy. Their jurisdiction in civil matters, especially in the later times of the empire, was restricted to inferior cases; but they seem often to have acted as umpires. In criminal cases they could scourge, imprison on suspicion, and set free; and during their tenure of office no action could be brought against them. The defensor civitatis was properly chosen from the ranks below the bourgeoisie: in towns, he was a sort of people's advocate or tribune; in the country, he acted as a village magistrate, like the tithing man of the Saxon period. The curators who presided over taxation, and the ædiles who controlled public works, but whose office was regarded as contemptible, are found universally in the towns of the empire, and may be assumed to have existed in Britain. Below the privileged classes and the magistrates, was the great bulk of the commonalty (plebs). The importance of the trade corporations may be judged from the fact, that no fewer than forty-four varieties are known to have existed in the empire, ranging in importance from physicians and sculptors to carpenters and potters. They were probably not as numerous in Britain, where the only inscriptions found relate to smiths, and where the wants of the few large proprietors were supplied by trained slaves in their own households. Viewed as a whole, the corporate life of the Roman towns was executive, not political; it resembled that of the French towns under Louis XV. But a system, elaborated by sensible men, however perverted by despotism, is invaluable in times of revolution, as preserving the rudiments of law, into which the next occupants of power may breathe their own spirit. The basilica, or cour de justice, of the imperial system, was transformed in Saxon times into the guildhall; the forum became the market-overt of our ancestors, within which sales
were legal; and the meetings of the decuriones were replaced by corresponding gemots. The magistracies and customs of Roman law were preserved and changed in the same manner as the buildings. But the distinction of the judge of law from the judge of fact or juryman, was derived from Italian sources many hundred years later, when men reverted to the fountain of legislation.1
Next to their fortified cities (the castra or chesters), the roads were the great mechanism of Roman government. In Britain, a distant, and for some time a poor province, they were not constructed with the same massive solidity as the Via Appia; it is only near the large towns that they rest on stone or on a thick bed of concrete. In other respects, they display the characteristic features of Roman engineering; crossing morasses on causeways, and climbing over hills with unswerving directness of purpose. These causeways were connected by transverse lines of communication (limites); and on wild borders the limes was often a broad strip of cleared land, drained by a fosse on each side; the roadway being raised in the middle, perhaps with a parallel line of rampart. Castles in front of the lines protected it at intervals. Thus the whole system was military, and was primarily intended to connect the chief strategical points in the island. Two3 great roads connected London with the lines of Hadrian; one going westward to Chester, swerving east to York (the northern præfect's residence), and then going westward again to Bowness: this is the famous Watling Street of Anglo-Saxon times. The second
1 Inscriptiones 124, 127, 128, Mon. Brit.; Wright's Celt, Roman, and Saxon, chaps. xii. and xv.; Guizot's Civilisation en France, tom. i., iiéme leçon; Pancirollus de Magistratibus Municipalibus; Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities-articles, Colonia, Equites, Basilica. From a curious passage in Tertullian, we learn that such a society as the Christian church was subject to the law of corporations, licita factiones. He makes ædilitas his contrast to tyrannis. Apologia, caps. 38. 46. So Juvenal, Satire x., 1. 102, speaks of "the ragged Edile," but mentions the office more respectfully, Satire iii., 1. 162-179. 2 Sat. Rev., May 22, 1858. 3 Itinerary of Antonine, A.D. 320.
road passed through the eastern counties, where the largest fortified camps were built, probably against Saxon invaders; turned off through Lincoln to York, and then went eastward to Wallsend. A third more direct road (afterwards Ermine Street) went from London to York, passing north through Bedfordshire. Akeman street, whose Saxon name commemorates the healing powers of the Bath waters, connected that city with London. The line from Chester to Caerleon, important as a military frontier, and because it led through a mining district, was fringed with Roman towns; while a second road (the Ryknield Way), running through Doncaster, and passing down east of Droitwich, connected York with the estuary of the Severn. London and Richborough, London and Chichester, and London and Dorchester, were the chief highways of the south-east. It would seem as if the midland districts, being simply agricultural, were the least cared for; or rather, perhaps, they lay1 (mécontents mais contenus) in helpless quiet within the great military pentagon, whose points are York, London, Winchester, Caerleon, and Chester. Before any one of these cities, the troops quartered in the others could be concentrated at the shortest possible notice; and the districts that lay outside the lines, the Anglian and south-eastern counties, the line of the Severn, and along the vallum, are the parts of Britain which were most jealously guarded, and where Roman remains abound most. It may seem strange that the bleak north should have had a larger population under Constantine and Honorius than at any time since, till our own century. But the neighbourhood of the wall, wrongly called of Hadrian, required the presence of many workmen, and of a large garrison; while Roman avarice and energy conspired to open up the rich mines of the northern districts.
The life of the Roman colonists in Britain, was of course much the same as that of Romanized citizens elsewhere. They
1 Louis Napoleon's comparison of the French bourgeoisie to the area of a triangle, whose lines are the clergy, the army, and the people.-A Few Words on France, by a Scotch M.P.