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ing to the hand of the person who cast it."

*' Le Musee de Zurich possede line cuirasse gauloise formee de longue placjues
de fer. Au Louvre et au Mus:^e de Saiiit -Germain il existe des cuirasses
gauloises en bronze. . . . La cotte de mailles {etait une) invention gauloise."
(jNTapoleon, Fie de Cesar, ii. 34.

^ ' EcTi C£ Kai -/pu(T(p(i) loiKog t,vXoy, Ik y^Eipvc ovk IE, aytcvXijc 'tcpiefiii'oi',
~r]\ej-jt\u)Te^ov kuI jjeXovq w ^luXiaTa Kat irpuc tciq opiiioi' ^pwvrat di'ipag.
Strabo, iv. 197.

^ The mataris is described in the same passage of Strabo, Marapic
-uXtov Ti eicog. Cicero mentions it as a weapon of the Gauls (Ad Herenn.
iv. 33). The coins mentioned in the text are copied in tlie Revue Celtique,


114 Origins of English History.

The "scythed chariots," or " covini," should be noticed
in this connection. They seem to have been low two-
wheeled carts, drawn by two or four horses apiece, on
which a number of foot-soldiers, or rather dragoons, could
be carried within the enemy's line. The captain or driver
of the chariot was in command of the party. The cha-

i. 7j where they are connected with the worship of Dis Pater, and of the
Etruscan Charu or Charon. The weapons which returned to the thrower
were the club of Hercules, which was supposed to be attached to a lasso :
see Servius on Virg. .^n. vii. 741, "Teutonico ritu soliti torquere cateiam " :
the hammer and the "anvil" of Thor, which returned to the places from
which they were thrown : the club and the hand-stone of the " Dagda,"
a chief figure in the Irish mythology: the golden ball, or "apple,"
used as a weapon of this kind according to the legend of Fionn's
Enchantment, Revue Celtique, ii. 196 ; the iron balls which have been
found in late Celtic tombs, which are marked with grooves for attachment
to the string ; and, according to the authorities next-mentioned, the
javelin of Cephalus and the aqidfolia described by Pliny. The interest
of the question lies in the fact that these reflexive missiles are sometimes
confused with the Australian loomerang, which if skilfully cast will wheel
back in the air to the thrower ; and several strange ethnological theories
have been founded on this supposition. See Ferguson's Essay on the
Antiquity of the Boomerang, Trans. Roy. Ir. Acad., 1838 ; and Smyth,
Aborigines of Victoria, 327. They treat the " cateia," or spear as having
been connected in some way with the Australian implement. The minor
authorities cited are the line of Virgil above mentioned, Festus, suh voce
"Clava," the "panda cateia" of Silius Ital. Punic, iii. 374, "torquenscateias"
in Val. Flacc, Argon, vi. 83, Amm. Marcell. xxxi. 7, and a passage from
the Orig'ines of Isidore of Seville, which is chiefly remarkable for its
omission of the thong mentioned by Servius. " Clava est qualis fuit
Herculis, dicta quod sit'clavis ferreis invicem religata, et est cubito semis
facta in longitudine. Haec est cateia, quam Horatius Caiam dicit. Est
genus Gallici teli ex materia quam maxime lenta : quse jactu quidem non
longe, propter gravitatem evolat, sed ubi pervenit vi nimia perfringit.
Quod si ab artifice mittatur, rursus redit ad eum qui misit. Hujus
meminit Virgilius, dicens ' Teutonico ritu etc' Unde et eas Hispani
' Teutones ' vocant." Isidore Orig, xviii. c. 7. " 0« a remarque que
rEspagnol dit encore Chuzon, pour uri grand javelot ; mais ce mot nest
autre, jc pense, que le Basque Chuzoa." De Belloguet, Gloss. Gaul. 209.

Origitis of English History. 115

rioteers drove at full gallop along the enemy's front and
sought to confuse his ranks by the noise of the charge
and the danger of being run down, or of being injured by
the scythes attached to the chariots. The soldiers of each
party meanwhile hurled darts down as they passed, and,
when they saw an opportunity, leaped out and engaged in
a fight hand-to-hand. The drivers in the meantime drew
off and formed a line, behind which their men could rally
in case of need. These tactics appear to have been
peculiar to the British Gauls, the Inland Britons being
accustomed to rely upon their infantry, and the Continental
Gauls being fonder of the cavalrv arm. The Romans were
not so much impressed with the use of the bronze-scythes,
which they must have often seen in Gaul, and probably in
their Eastern campaigns, as with the novelty of the whole
manoeuvre and the wonderful skill of the drivers. " They
could stop their horses at full speed on a steep incline, or
turn them as they pleased at a gallop, and could run out
on the pole and stand on the yoke, and get back to their
place in a moment."^

The British Gauls appear to have been excellent farmers,
skilled as well in the production of cereals as in stock-
raising and the management of the dairy. Their farms
were laid out in large fields, without enclosures or fences;

^ Ceesar, De Bell. Gall. iv. ^o^r, Tac. Agric. c. 12; Mela, iii. c. 33
Juvenal, iv. 136. Compare Lucan, —

" Optima gens flexis in gyrum Sequana frenis,
Et docilis rector rostrati Belga covini."

(Pharsalia i. 425.)
The scythed chariots were common in Gaul, and their remains have not
unfrequently been found in the tombs of the Gaulish chieftains. They
are said to have been used in Persia, and may have been introduced by
the Greeks of Marseilles.

8 *

ii6 Origins of English History.

and they had learned to make a permanent separation of
the pasture and arable, and to apply the manures which
were appropriate to each kind of field. We find no trace
of a co-operative husbandry, such as was afterwards
established in the English settlements. The plough was
of the wheeled kind, an invention that superseded the old
"over-treading plough," held down by the driver's foot, of
which a representation in bronze has been discovered in

They relied greatly upon marling and chalking the land.
" The same soil, however, w^as never twice chalked, as the
effects were visible after standing the experience of fifty
years."" The effect of the ordinary marl was of even
longer duration, the benefit being visible in some instances
for a period of eighty years. Pliny said that he never
knew a case where the marling required to be repeated.
But the process needed some care ; for the marl had to be
mixed with salt, and scattered thinly over the grass, or
ploughed into the arable with a proportion of farm-yard
manure ; and even then the effects were hardly noticeable
for a year or two.^

Their stock was much the same as that which their

^ For the invention of the wheeled plough, see Pliny, Hist. Nat. xviii. c. i8.
With respect to the figure mentioned in the text, see Wright, " Roman
Celt and Saxon," 256. The figure was found at Piersebridge, and is said
to be in Lord Londesborough's collection.

2 Arthur Young, Annals (1793), xxii. 547, ^^^, where the whole
subject is discussed with reference to Pliny. The chalk-marl was called
" argentaria " • the lime-marl, a stonier kind, was known by the Gaulish
name of "acaunu-marga." After the intercourse with Gaul became more
constant, other varieties of marl came into use, as " the red, dove-coloured,
sandy, and pumice-like varieties." (Pliny, Hist. Nat. xvi. c. 4.)

' "Alioquin novitate, quaecunque fuerit (marga), solum la^dat, ne sic
quidem primo post anno fertilis." (Pliny, Hist. Nat. xvii. c. 4.)

Origins of English History. 117

successors used for many years afterwards ; for there can
be little doubt, that almost all our domestic animals had
been brought to this country from the East by the races
that preceded the Celts, The exceptions are the domestic
fowl, the pigs descended from the wild swine, and the
cattle of the Urus type. Their horses, or ponies as we
should rather call them, were used apparently for food, as
well as for purposes of draught. Their cattle were of
two varieties : some were of the small Welsh breed {^Bos
Longifrons) which is called " the Celtic short-horn," and
others of the Kyloe or Argyllshire variety, which is hardly
to be distinguished from the wild cattle of Chillingham,
the descendants of Bos Primigenius. It has been doubted
whether the sheep was known in these islands before the
Roman invasions, chiefly because it is difficult to distin-
guish its remains from those of the goat. But the latest
discoveries are in favour of the theory, that the goat had
been to a great extent superseded by the sheep as early as
the beginning of the British Age of Bronze.^

With the aid of these details we can form a reasonably
clear idea of the outdoor life of the people. And we are
not without information concerning their social practices ;
for Posidonius has left us the description' of a Gaulish
banquet, which will help to explain the state of society
among the Gauls who had settled in Britain. The traveller
was delighted at the antique simplicity of his hosts, and
amused at their Gallic frivolity and readiness for fighting

1 On this part of the subject, see Prof. Rolleston"s essay on the
Prehistoric Fauna, in "British Barrows," 730, 750. As to the domestic
fowl, ibid. 7303 the pig, ibid. 7375 the sheep, ibid. 740 j as to Bos
Primigenius, ibid. 743.

- Athen. iv. 15;, 153 j Strabo, iv. 277 ■ Diod. Sic. v. c, 31 ; Eustath. in
Ihad. iii. 271, viii. 321, pp. 915, 1606.

1 1 8 Origins of English History.

at meal-times. "They were just like the people in Homer's
time." Not till after the feast might the stranger be asked
his name and the purpose of his journey. But they differed
from the Greek warriors in some ways, according to the
minuter critics : for they thought a cut from the haunch to
be the best part of the animal ; even the Germans, their
neighbours, had lost the heroic fashion, and roasted the
joints separately instead of taking "long slices from the
chines of pork " ; and besides, he said, they drank milk, or
wine unmixed with water. The guests sat on a carpet of
rushes, or on skins of dogs and w^olves, not far from the
pots and spits of the fireplace ; or they would sometimes
sit in a circle on the grass in front of little tables,^ on which
the bread was set in baskets of British work. There was
always plenty of meat, both roast and boiled, of which
they partook " rather after the fashion of lions," for they
would take up the joint and gnaw at it ; but if a man
could not get the meat off, he would use his little bronze
knife, which he kept in a separate sheath by the side of his
sword or dagger. They drank beer and hydromel, which
was carried about in metal beakers or jugs of earthenware ;
and the boys were always busy at taking it round, because
the guests only drank by little mouthfuls, "pouring the
beer through their long moustaches like water through a
sieve or a funnel." The minstrels sang- and the harpers

^Compare the little tables of the Germans, "Sua cuique niensa,"
Tacitus, Germ. c. 22.

2 Posidonius did not sufficiently appreciate the bards. " The Celts
(he said) take about with them a sort of parasites to sing their praises
in public " (Strabo, iv. 277 ; Died. Sic. v. c. 31). Compare the description
of the Irish minstrels in Froissart's Chronicle. A knight of the court of
Richard the Second was appointed to look after four Irish kings. "When
they were seated at table, they would make their minstrels and principal

Origins of English History. 119

played, and as the company drank they bowed to the right,
in honour of their god. The guests sat in three rings, —
nobles, shield-bearers, and javelin-men, all in order of their
precedence, and everyone of whatever rank had his full
share of the meat and drink. If the warriors quarrelled
about their helping of food, or on any matter of precedence,
they would get up and fight the question out to the death ;
and in more ancient times the strongest man would seize
the joint and defy the company to mortal combat. If no
duel occurred during the meal, the guests were entertained
with a sword-play,^ or sometimes a man would die to
amuse the rest. The careless Gaul would bargain for a
reward to be paid to his friends, and then would lie down
on his long shield and allow his throat to be cut or his
body to be transfixed with a lance.

servants sit beside jthem, and eat from their plates and drink from their
cups. They told me that this was a praiseworthy custom of their country,
where everything was in common. I permitted this to be done for three
days j but on the fourth I ordered the tables to be laid and covered pro-
perly, placing the kings at a high table, the minstrels at one below, and
the servants lower still. The kings looked at each other and refused to
eat, saying that I had deprived them of their old custom in which they
had been brought up." (Froiss. Chron. iv. c. 84.)

1 For the German quarrels at meals, see Tac. Germ. c. 22. For the
sword-play, iVid. c. 24. " They have but one kind of show, and they use
it at every gathering. Naked lads, who know the game, leap among
swords and in front of spears. Practice gives cleverness, and cleverness
grace : but it is not a trade, or a thing done for hire ; however venture-
some the sport, their only payment is the delight of the crowd."

I20 Origins of English History.



The population outside the Gaulish settlements. — Insular Celts.— Pre-Celtic tribes. —
How classified. —The Stone Age.— Bronze Age. — Iron Age.— Evidence of sequence
in use of metals. — Special evidence as to Britain. — Remains of Palceolithic Age. —
Britons of the Later Stone Age. — Tombs of the kings. — Cromlechs — Rites and
superstitions connected with them — Examples. — Stories of Wayland's Smithy. —
Troui des Nutans. — Classification of barrows — Chambered and unchambered
varieties — Their contents. — Physical characteristics of the Tomb-builders. — The
nature of their society. — Lake dwellings. — Survival of theneolithicrace. — Legends
of Irish bards. — The Firbolgs. — Black Celts. — The Silures — Their character and
habits. — Commencement of Bronze Age — On the Continent — In Britain. — Tribes
of Finnish type — Contents of their barrows — Implements — Ornaments — Their
agriculture — Nature of their society.

THE Gaulish settlers had become so nearly civilized
that they were ready to adopt the fashions of the
South, almost as soon as they felt the approach of the
Roman power. Their fitful spirit yielded in advance ;
and their conquerors observed with contempt " how soon
sloth following on ease crept over them, and how they lost
their courage along with their freedom." Henceforth we
shall have to do with the history of bolder races, as much
excelHng the Gauls in the vigour and ingenuity of their
defence, as they fell short in matters of culture and

The districts undisturbed by the new colonies were held
by the Celts of the earlier immigration, save where the
remoter or less desirable regions may have been retained
by tribes surviving from the ages of stone and bronze.
We shall be concerned later with the history of the

Origins of English History. 121

Celtic tribes ; but we must begin by analyzing in the
first place the more primitive elements, of which the pre-
sence is still to be observed in portions of the modern

The periods of pre-historic time, so far as relate to the
growth of our own society, are usefully distinguished by
the transitions from the possession of polished flint and
bone to that of bronze, and afterwards of iron. The
date at w^hich a metal or alloy became known to particular
peoples must have depended in each case on a variety
of local circumstances. No one speaking generally for
all the world could tell w^hether the working of iron
preceded or followed the manufacture of bronze. The
existence of the alloy implies a previous knowledge of
the components. Copper " celts " are found in Ireland
and Switzerland, and copper axes in Scotland, Italy, and
Hungary •} while the word " axe " itself is said to be
phonologically the same as an old Celtic name for copper ;
so that we may conclude that the invention of bronze was
the result of an attempt to harden the edges of the weapons
of pure copper. As to tin again, no remains have been
found of its use in a pure state, except a few beads, coins,
and knife-handles, of comparatively recent times ; but we
are not without evidence that it was used in Central Asia
many centuries before the Christian Era. Its Eastern
name implies that it was introduced to supply the place
formerly given to lead, which was anciently called "Kazdir";
its western names, such as " stan " and " stagnum," have
come from some unknown tongue.

These calculations would take us back to the vast
antiquity of the Asian Empires. But if the inquiry is

^ Westropp, Prehist, Phases, 71 ; Wilde, Catal. Roy. Irish Acad.

122 Origins of English History.

confined to our own country, and the neighbouring coasts
from which its population has been from time to time
derived, we shall find that the " age of polished stone,"
\vhen no metals were known but gold, was succeeded
suddenly and abruptly by a period distinguished by the
number and variety of its w^eapons, tools, implements,
and 'jewels of bronze' ; and that several centuries must
have elapsed before the art of working in iron prevailed.

The nations of pre-historic Britain may be classified
according to a system derived from the history of the
metals. The oldest races were in the pre-metallic stage,
w^hen bronze w^as introduced by a new nation, sometimes
identified with the oldest Celts, but now more generally
attributed to the Finnish or Ugrian stock. When the
Celts arrived in their turn, they may have brought in the
knowledge of iron and silver ; the Continental Celts are
known to have used iron broad-swords at the Battle of the
Anio in the fourth century before Christ, and iron was
certainly \vorked in Sussex by the Britons of Julius
Caesar's time ; but as no objects of iron have been
recovered from our Celtic tiumili^ except in some instances
of a doubtful date, it will be safer to assume that the
British Celts belonged to the Later Bronze Age as well
as to the Age of Iron.

We shall now deal in order with what is known of these
several kinds of men, following as far as may be the course
of their immigration from the East. We shall collect the
most striking results of the inquiries into their ancient
customs, so that having thus cleared the ground w^e may
form some useful estimate of the influence which can be
attributed to their descendants.

We need not describe in detail the relics of the palaeo-

Origins of English History. 123

lithic tribes, who ranged the country under an ahnost arctic
climate, waging their precarious wars with the wild animals
of the Quaternary Age. The searching of their caves and
rock-shelters, and of the drifts and beds of loam and gravel,
in England and the neighbouring countries, has brought
to light great numbers of their flint-knives, hammers, and
adzes, and instruments for working in leather. The beads
and amulets, and the sketches of the mammoth and groups
of reindeer which have been found in the French deposits,
show that they were not without some rudiments of intelli-
gence and skill ; and, at any rate, they could trap and
defeat the larger carnivorous animals. We cannot gain a
clearer notion of their life than that which is given by the
picture of the Fennic tribes of whom Tacitus said, that
they attained the most difficult of all things, to be
" beyond the need of prayer." " They are wonderfully
savage (he said) and miserably poor. They have no
weapons, no horses, no homes : they feed on herbs and are
clad with the skins of beasts ; the ground is their bed, and
their only hope of life is in their arrows, which for lack of
iron they sharpen with tips of bone. The women live by
hunting, just like the men ; for they accompany the men
in their wanderings and seek their share of the prey : and
they have no other refuge for their young children against
wild beasts or storms, than to cover them up in a nest
made of interlacing boughs. Such are the homes to
which the young men return, in which the old men take
their rest."^

1 Tac. Germ. c. 46. Good descriptions of the palaeolithic societies will
be found in Figuier's " Primitive Man " (Tylor) and in " V Homme pendant
lesAges dela Pierre,'" by Dupont (Paris, 1872). Prof. Rolleston aptly cited,
in a late Address to the British Association, the complaint of Job against the

124 Origins of English History.

No continuity of race can be proved between these
savages and any tribe or nation which is now to be found
in the West of Europe. We shall therefore pass to the
Neolithic Age, on which so much research has been of
late years expended, that we can form some clear idea of
the habits of the people of that time, of the nature of their
homes, and even of their physical appearance.

The most important relics of that period are the great
mounds or "Tombs of the Kings," the vaults and tribal
sepulchres, which remain still buried in earth or denuded
as " cromlechs " and standing-stones, all round the British
Islands and along the opposite coasts, from Brittany in one
direction to the inner regions of the Baltic in the other.

The mounds have been in most cases disturbed bv earlv
treasure-hunters, or by persons searching for saltpetre, or
farmers who required the mould for the purposes of agri-
culture. The massive structures of stone, which were
thus laid bare, have been the subject of all kinds of fan-
ciful theories about serpent-worship and the ritual of the
Druids ; and in former ages they were generally regarded
with superstitious feelings, "fears of the brave and follies
of the wise," which now only linger among the most igno-
rant peasantry. Their names are of such forms as the
Giant's Grave and the " Fairy Toote,"^ " Hob o' th' Hurst's

people of the lower races, " whose fathers he would have disdained to set
with the dogs of the flock." "Fleeing into the wilderness in former time
desolate and waste, to dwell in the clefts of the valleys, in caves of the
earth and in rocks ; among the bushes they brayed j under the nettles they
were gathered together." (Job xxx. t, 3, 6, 7.)

^ An important and interesting account of the exploration of the long
barrow called the Fairy Toote, at Nempnet. near Bath, by Mr. T. Bere in
1789, will be found in the Gent. Mag. 1 789-1 792, vol. lix. i. 392, and
1. 602 J Ixii. 2, 1082, 1188.

Origins of English History. 125

House," the Pixy Rocks and Odin's Stone ; or in some
cases they recall the legend of the dragon which hides the
enchanted treasure. In France the names are of the same
kind, or arise from the story of some legendary god or
hero, as Roland or Gargantua, or of some precious object
buried there, as at the Dolmen des Pier res Turquoises. The
uncovered long barrows of the Province of Drenthe, in
Holland, are known as Uilnebedden^ or Giants' Beds, and
the chambered mounds of Denmark as jfettestuer^ or
abodes of giants.

A few examples may be selected from the abundant
literature of this subject, to illustrate in the first place the
nature of the rites which took place at the funeral mounds,
after their original purpose was forgotten ; and secondly,
to show how these barrows became connected with the
ancient story of " Robin Goodfellows that would mend old
irons in those ^olian isles of Lipari," of which one version
has been quoted from a fragment of the writings of Pytheas.

The first instance is taken from the life of the Apostle
of Germany. When St. Boniface began the conversion
of Friesland, at the beginning of the eighth century, he
found that one of the megalithic tombs in the Province of
Drenthe had been turned into an altar for human sacrifices.
The wild Teutons "sent to Woden " any stranger who
fell into their hands, making him first creep through the
narrow openings of the stones that supported the " altar."
The latter practice was observed till late in the Middle
Ages, " especially when they caught a man from Brabant";
but the bloodthirsty offering was abolished by the influence
of the saint.^ Monuments of this kind are known to

1 This little-known story may be found in Keysler, Antiqu. Septcnt. 41,
in the Tract upon Stonehenge. It is cited from Schoenhovius, De Origine

126 Origins of English History.

have been used as altars in Holstein and in places near
the mouth of the Elbe ; and a celebrated Ordinance of
Carloman, promulgated in a.d. 743, forbade the Franks
to continue the rites which they performed " upon the
stones."^ The way in which the cromlechs were regarded

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