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Rolleston also describes the short, dark, round-headed stock in South Germany.
As to Belgium, it was ascertained by a Government inquiry in 1879, that the
people of the Walloon Provinces (and of the French Coast as far as Boulogne)
are of an exceptionally dark type, attributed to a survival of the pre-historic
population. The Bretons are mostly dark, with short and broad heads,
except in the Leojinais, which, was colonised by Celts from Britain.

Origins of English History,

These facts render it extremely probable that some
part of the Neolithic population has survived until the
present time, with a constant improvement no doubt from
its crossing and intermixture with the many other races
who have successively passed into Britain ; and this fact
gives a particular interest to everything which can
be definitely ascertained about the special characteristics
of the "Silurians."

Their ferocious courage appears in the history of their
desperate wars with Rome. No disaster or loss of leaders
was sufficient to break their obstinate spirit ; and the
Roman generals, accustomed to the frivolity of the Gauls
and the ''wild inconstancy" of the ordinary Britons, vowed
in vain " to extinguish the name of the Silures."^ Solinus
has left an account of the primitive simplicity of their
manners in an age when Britain, for the most part, was
familiar with the continental culture. "A stormy sea," he
said, " divides the Silurian island' from the region held

^ Tac. Annal. xii. 33, 39. Compare the account by Giraldus of the
people of Monmouthshire. " It seems worthy of remark, that the people
of what is called Venta are more accustomed to war, more famous for
valour, and more expert in archery, than those of any other part of Wales."
He then gives examples of their skill in archery, and adds, "What more
could be expected from a halista ? Yet the bows used by this people are
not made of horn, ivory, or yew, but of wild elm ; unpolished, rude and
uncouth, but stout 5 not calculated to shoot to a great distance, but able
to inflict very severe wounds in close fight." Girald. Cambr., Itin. Wall.
ii. c. 4. The translation is taken from Wright's edition.

' Solinus, c. 24. The sea dividing the " island of the Silures " from
the opposite coast is intended for the Bristol Channel. We do not
hear of the name " Sylina Insula " being applied to the Scilly Isles until
the time of Sulpicius Severas, who lived in the fifth century. (Sulp. Sev.
ii. 6^.) Pliny makes the Silurian country extend as far as the coast nearest
to Ireland. (Hist. Nat. iv. c. 30.) The Damnonia of Solinus included
Devon and Cornwall.

Origins of English History. 139

by the Damnonian Britons. Its natives still keep to their
ancient ways. They will have no markets nor money, but
give and take in kind, getting what they want by barter
and not by sale. They are devoted to the worship of
the gods ; and men and women alike show their skill in
divination of the future."

The sepulchral discoveries show that at some early
time these Neolithic tribes were alone in their possession
of Britain ; and that afterwards they were invaded by
the men of a different race, who had already seized the
dominion of the opposite coasts from Sweden to the
Atlantic promontories. The people of this second race
had advanced to Finisterre before they had learned the
use of any kind of metal : their tall skeletons and short
round skulls are found, mixed with the relics of the older
race, in chambered barrows where no article of bronze was
ever seen, though the pendants of turquoise and green
callais^ and the hatchets made of jade and other precious
eastern stones, attest the existence of a commerce with the
nations that had metals at command. But suddenly, and
without the appearance of any tentative or intermediate
forms, the tombs are discovered to contain bronze weapons
of a fine manufacture, as if the course of a new trade had
been directed towards the north.^ So far however as

^ There is a bronze dagger in the Museum of Northern Antiquities at
Copenhagen, of A^'hich the design is very famihar to the readers of anti-
quarian treatises ; it seems to indicate the source from which the bronze
was brought to Scandinavia. The handle is in the shape of a man, of a
southern or eastern type, carrying a vessel with a handle arched above it.
The figure seems to represent a slave. The body is slender, the aspect
soft and childish, and the hair close-cropped. The dress is a short kilt
fastened by a belt; and the ornaments are monstrous ear-rings and a
double necklace of beads.

140 Origins of English History.

Britain itself is concerned, we know nothing of the second
race before thev had become accustomed to the use of
bronze. Their appearance in this country seems to have
been coincident with the introduction of the metal ; for all
the graves where it is found contain their remains, either
alone or in company with those of the Neolithic people ;
but where the bones of the Stone- Age men are buried by
themselves, no trace of the metal weapons has ever yet
been discovered.

The invaders were tall men of the fair Finnish type
that still prevails so largely among the modern inhabitants
of Denmark and in the Wendish and Slavonian countries.
They differed remarkably from the straight-faced oval-
headed men who are identified with the Celts, the Ger-
mans of pure blood, and the "Anglo-Saxons" of our early
history. They were large-limbed and stout, the women
being tall and strong in proportion, as in a community
where life was easy and food cheap. The men seem to
have been rough-featured, with large jaws and prominent
chins, and skulls of a round short shape, with the forehead
in many cases retreating rapidly, as if there were need of
an occipital balance to carry off the heaviness of the large
lower jaw. " The eyebrows of these powerful men" (savs
Prof. RoUeston^), " if developed at all in correspondence
with the large underlying frontal sinuses and supra-orbital

^ British Barrows, 644. He cites similar descriptions given by Dr.
Thurnani of the round-headed people of the Bronze Age in the South-west of
England. "We have in certain parts of Great Britain and Germany, light
hair and complexion combined with considerable stature and with dolicho-
cephaly, so as to preser\'e for us what excavations, combined with measure-
ments and with traditions, entirely justify us in speaking of them as the
Teutonic or Germanic type. Secondly, we have the same hair, complexion,
and stature, combined with brachy-cephaly, in the Finns, in the Danes, in

Origins of English History. 141

ridges, must have given a beetling and even forbidding
appearance to the upper part of the face, while the boldly
outstanding and heavy cheek-bones must have produced
an impression of raw and rough strength and ponderosity
entirely in keeping with it. Overhung at its root, the nose
must have projected boldly forwards, not merely beyond
the plane of the forehead, but much beyond that of the
prominent eyebrows themselves."

We have still some remaining indications of the course
of the conquest. General Pitt Rivers states that " in
the Yorkshire Wolds unmistakeable traces are seen of the
landing and subsequent operations of an united people,
extending for miles into the interior of the country."^ Thev
seem to have mingled peaceably in these parts with the
people of the older settlements ; for the round barrows of
the Bronze Age in this quarter contain almost an equal
proportion of long-shaped and short-shaped skulls ; and it
is reasonably argued, that this is evidence that the new
occupants agreed and intermarried with the people of the
older type, especially as skulls have not unfrequently been
found which appear to combine the characteristics of these
different kinds of men. In other parts, and especially in
the neighbourhood of Stonehenge, the invaders appear to
have expelled the older tribes ; for no mixed forms have

some Slavs, and in many of not the least vigorous of our own countrymen.
Thirdly, hair, complexion, and stature, all alike of just the opposite cha-
racter, may be found combined with brachy-cephaly in South Germany,
and in some other parts of the Continent, as for example in Brittany."
{ll'id. 680.) "The elongated and fairly well-filled Anglo-Saxon cranium is
the prevalent form amongst us in England in the present day." (Jh'id. 646.)
Compare Thurnam's " Crania Britannica," and Guibert, " Ethnologic
Armoricaine," in the Proceedings at the Congrl-s Cdtique {St. Bricuc).
^ Archceologia, xlii. 52.

142 Origins of English History

hitherto been found in the multitudinous graves which are
crowded round the ruins of the temple ;^ and those remains
which have been discovered can be attributed definitely
either to the age of the long barrows or to that of the
people who built their round tombs in crowds on every
spot which had been sacred among the older race.-

The round barrows are found in almost every part of
England. They vary slightly in form, being for the most
part bowl-shaped in the north, and also in parts of Somerset ;
in Wiltshire and Dorset they are mostly oval or shaped
like a bell or a circular disc.^ Taken as a whole, they
contain many evidences of a considerable advance in cul-
ture. The pottery is very much finer than any which is
found in the tombs of the Stone Age, and occurs not only

^ General Pitt Rivers described in his Presidential address before the
British Association (Bath, 1888), twenty-six skeletons found in Cranborne
Chase ; " the head-form approached that of the neolithic long-barrow people,
Avith a probable admixture of either Roman or bronze-age types."

- This has been observed with respect to the groups of barrows near
Kits Coty House, at Avebury, in Anglesea, and in fact in almost every
part where the long barrows, or their ruins, have been found. There are
indications at Stonehenge, that the people of the Bronze Age were the actual
constructors of the temple on a site which had previously been selected as
a burial-ground for the chieftains of the neolithic tribes. Dr. Thurnam states,
that two of the round barrows near Stonehenge appear to be contemporary,
or very slightly posterior, to the date of the circle itself. " In digging down
to their base chippings and fragments not merely of the Sarsens were
found, but likewise of the blue felspathic hornstones foreign to Wiltshire
which assist in the formation of the megalithic structure." (^Archceologia,
xliii. 306.)

' Dr. Thurnam mentions conical barrows in Norfolk and Sussex "which
are really campaniform," and disc-shaped barrows on the Sussex Downs.
The shapes vary most in Wiltshire, as will be seen by the accounts in
Sir R. Hoare's magnificent work on Ancient Wilts. " The comparative
rarity of the more elaborate types of tumuli, even in counties the nearest
to Wiltshire, is very remarkable. The bowl-shaped barrows abound on

Origins of English History. 143

in shards and fragments, but in vases, perfect though still
hand-made, and in urns, " incense-cups,"^ drinking-cups,
and food vessels of various kinds. Among the hammers,
gorgets, and wrist-pieces of stone, which are sometimes
ornamented with gold, and the heads of javelins and arrows
which were manufactured according to the ancient pattern,
bronze implements are interspersed in great variety; and
the miniature axes and hammers, made out of precious
materials and deposited at the burial of the dead, appear
to indicate the notion of symbolical and spiritual offerings.
The ornaments buried in these graves were made of glass-
beads or amber ; or, according to the nature of the locality,
were worked in jet or some other bitumenised substance.
All round the alum-shale beds near Whitby the true jet
was extensively used for this purpose ; and the complex
necklaces have been described as consisting of rows of beads,
with dividing-plates marked with punctures " arranged
saltire-wise and in chevrons " ; or a simpler collar was
formed with cylinders of thin plates of jet, graduated and

the Mendip Hills, and on the noble Ridge-way between Dorchester and
Weymouth," {Archcelogia, xliii. 303.) The disc-shaped graves contain such
a profusion of ornaments of amber, glass, and jet, that they are thought
to be the burial-places of women, especially as these objects are rare in
barrows of the other varieties. (Ibid. 294; Hoare, Anc. Wilts, i. 166,

^ The perforated vessels called " incense-cups," which have been taken
for pots, lamps, and perfume-burners, are now regarded as having been
used at the solemnity of burning the body, for conveying lighted embers
to kindle the funeral pile. The drinking-cups are occasionally of shale,
amber, and even of thin plates of gold. A food vessel, from a barrow at
Goodmanham on the Yorkshire Wolds, has fluted bands, which are said
to resemble the patterns on ancient Etruscan vases. ( See British Barrows,
81, 99, 286 ; Archceologia, xliii. 359, 388.)

144 Origins of English History.

strung side by side in tiie form of a flexible necklace/
Where this material did not exist, analogous substances
were used for making the ornaments, as Kimmeridge shale
in Wilts and Dorset, or lignite from the Devonshire beds,
or Cannel coal in Shropshire. Some few of the articles of
adornment, beads, cups, earrings, and thin plates to be
fastened on the dress, were made of the native gold, or
rather of the mixed gold and silver which the smiths had not
vet learned to separate ; and though the patterns as a rule
were copied from the rough designs upon the pottery, the
stvle of the workmanship was excellent. The plates of
metal were hammered over engraved moulds of wood, or
the back was "tooled in the manner of repousse work" ;
and the separate pieces were skilfully dove-tailed or riveted
together without the use of any kind of solder.^ Many
other kinds of ornament have been from time to time

' The trae jet is chiefly found in the neighbourhood of Whitby 5 but
small deposits have been discovered at Cromer, at Watchet in Somerset,
and in the beds of the Aberthaw lias on the opposite Glamorganshire
coast. The finest examples of the ornaments have been found in Suther-
land and in the district round Holyhead. The most abundant examples
are seen in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Northumberland ; the most southern
locality where a specimen of the worked jet has been found is Soham Fen,
in Cambridgeshire. (See Dr. Thurnam's account, in the Archceologia, xliii.


- These ornaments are found chiefly in places where the native gold was
worked, as in Cornwall and Devon, parts of North and South Wales, Cum-
berland, Lanarkshire, Sutherland, and several parts of Ireland, The Danes
of the Bronze Age were equally skilful in gold-work. Worsaae, Prim.
Inhab. Denm. (Thoms) 138. Compare the account given by Herodotus
of the Massaget^, a nation living in the neighbourhood of the Caspian
Sea : — " They had no iron or silver, but plenty of gold and copper : their
lances and axes were of copper, and their caps and belts were decorated
with golden ornaments." (Herod, i. c. 215.)

Origins of E7iglish History. 145

discovered in the tumuli ; such as ivory pins and beads,
and crescents made of the wolfs teeth and boars' tusks
which were perforated and worn as charms ; and necklaces
of Dentaliiim^ the shell called the Ear of Venus, and
nerite-shells, and the joints of the fossil sea-lily that are
known as " St. Cuthbert's beads. "^

The exploration of these barrows has produced a great
body of evidence to illustrate the life of the Bronze-Age
Britons. It is clear that they were not mere savages, or
a nation of hunters and fishers, or even a people in the
pastoral and migratory stage. The tribes had learned the
simpler arts of society, and had advanced towards the
refinements of civilised life before they were overwhelmed
and absorbed by the dominant Celtic peoples. They
were, for instance, the owners of flocks and herds ; they
knew enough of weaving to make clothes of linen and
wool, and without the potter's wheel they could mould
a plain and useful kind of earthenware. The stone
" querns" or hand-mills, and the seed-beds in terraces on
the hills of Wales and Yorkshire, show their acquaintance
with the growth of some kind of grain ; while their pits and
hut-circles prove that they were sufficiently civilised to
live in regular villages.

At what time and by what process they became incor-
porated with the Celtic peoples must remain altogether
uncertain. Where the rule of cremation has prevailed it
is difficult to distinguish their ornaments and weapons
from those of the Celtic type ; and even where a round-
headed population still actually survives, it is usually hard

1 Anc. Wilts, i. 114, 202. Dr. Thurnam describes a Dorsetshire barrow-
containing a perforated boar's tusk, and an urn at the feet of the skeleton
containing the burnt bones of a fox or badger. {Archceologia, xliii. 54°-)


146 Origins of English History.

to separate it from the stock of the latter Danes. It is
clear, however, that the older Bronze-Age tribes remained
in some parts of the country as late as the period of the
Roman invasion ; and it seems probable that the further
labours of philologists will confirm the theory that the
lanjzuaees of the Celts in Britain wxre sensibly influenced
by contact with the idioms of those Finnish tribes Avho
were the earlier occupants of the country.

Origins of English History. 147



Beginning of the Historical period. — Theories of British Ethnology. — Fair and dark
races. — Iberian theory. — Aquitanians. — Diversity of Iberian customs. — Basques. —
Origin of Milesian legends. — Mr. Skene's view as to the Silures. — Ethnological
table. — Survivals of the pre-Celtic stocks. — Evidence from language and
manners. — Comparison of Aryan customs. — Local names.— Personal names. —
Abnormal words and constructions. — Classical notices — Vitruvius, Tacitus, Hero-
dian, Dion Cassius. — Caledonians and Picts. — Rock-carvings and sculptured
stones. — Customs of succession. — Coronation-rites. — Relics of barbarism in
mediaeval Connaught and Wales.

IT has been claimed for the Bronze-Age men that their
civihsing influence was as important in the north
of Europe as that of the Celts in the west/ We have
seen, indeed, that before the beginning of history they had
learned something of the arts of agriculture, and had intro-
duced the knowledge of the useful metals. Coasting about
the narrow seas they had occupied long stretches of land
between the forest and the shore, and tracking the rivers
backwards from their estuaries had built their camps on
the open downs and wolds, or in the glades and clearings
in the woods. We have seen that in our own country
they were forced into contact with the people of a more
primitive age, dark slight-limbed Silurians, and the dusky
tribes who were called ' the children of the night.' Some,
according to their fortune in the wars, were driven by the
new invaders into the western woods and deserts ; others

1 See Worsaae. Primitive Inhab. Denmark (Thoms), 135, 136.

10 *

148 Origins of English History.

were able to hold their own until in course of time the two
races became fused and intermixed.

It is the object of this chapter to collect what is known
about their descendants within the historical period. We
shall endeavour to distinguish between the traces of the
tall Finnish race and those of the more primitive settlers.
It must remain impossible in many cases to separate the
old forms of language and traces of primeval customs
which are due to one or another of the prehistoric
societies; but it will still be useful to deal collectively with
the various traces of their presence, and to estimate what
allowance is to be made for the continuance in an Aryan
nation of foreign and primitive elements.

We have chosen the simplest of the theories propounded
in a long debate. We have seen traces of at least two
nations established in these islands before the era of the
Celtic settlements. Some prefer to include in one wide
description all the fair tribes of high stature with red or
golden hair and blue or grey-blue eyes ; and they count
as true Celts all of that kind who were neither Danes nor
Germans. Some class together in the same way all the
short peoples with black hair and eyes, whether pale-
skinned or ruddy in complexion, calling them Iberians on
account of their supposed affinity with the dark races
remaining in the south of Europe. All the tall, round-
headed and broad-headed men are described together as
comprising " the van of the Aryan army," with whom
became intermingled tall and dark red-haired men from
Scandinavia, and fair people of Low-German descent. All
the short and dark races, whether long-headed or round-
skulled, are treated as descendants of a primitive non-
Aryan stock, including " the broad-headed dark Welsh-

Origins of English History. 149

man and the broad-headed dark Frenchman," and con-
nected by blood not only with the modern Basque, but
with the ancient and little-known Ligurian and Etruscan

It has sometimes been stated, that the resemblance of
the dark British type to the ancient Aquitanians is one of
" the fixed points in British ethnology." But when we
examine the grounds for the assertion, we find that there
is hardly any aflSrmative evidence in its favour. To learn
anything of the Aquitanians we must go to Strabo's
account of their country. We find a meagre notice of
a score of little tribes living near the coast between the
Garonne and the Pyrenees. *' They diff'er," said the
geographer, "from the Gaulish nation both in physical
appearance and in language, and they rather resemble the
Iberians : " and, from Agricola's remark about the Silures,
w^e must suppose that Strabo referred to their swarthy
complexion and dark and curly hair. But when we turn
to his more minute description of the various Iberian
tribes, we find nothing to help us to a clearer notion of
what Aquitanians or Silures were like.

The nations of the Peninsula differed from each other
on such important points as language, religion, and govern-
ment. Each province had a grammar and alphabet to
itself. Some had no gods at all : others sacrificed heca-
tombs of goats, horse, and men to a god of war ; the
Celtiberians and their neighbours to the north danced all
night at the full moon in honour of " a nameless god " ;
some would cut off their captives' right hands, and offer
them as oblations at the altar. In some tribes men danced
singly to the sound of the flute and trumpet ; others pre-
ferred the fashion of dancing in a huge ring, men and

150 Origins of English History.

women together. Some wore " mitres " in battle, others
caps of sinews knotted together, and others used the
hehnet with a triple plume. According to Strabo, " they
married like the Greeks." We should rather say that they
lived under the " Mutter-recht," which some have thought
to be a relic from an Amazonian stage of society. For
among the Iberians, as among the ancient Lycians, the
women were exalted above the men. The wife governed
the family ; the daughters inherited the property, subject
to dowries for the sons on marriage ; the name and pedi-
gree were traced from the mother's side ; the inferiority of
the father was marked by the curious symbolism of the
Couvade, the mother going to work in the fields, while
the husband and child were carefully nursed at home. All
these abnormal circumstances should be taken into account
by those who assert the identity of the Iberians with the
Britons of the Silurian type. Several of the customs above
described have left distinct traces in the usages which still
prevail in the region of the Pyrenees. But at present
there seems to be no point of connection between them
and anything which was ever observed in this country.

The test of language has been applied, but w^ith equally
little success. On the assumption that the modern Basque
has a connection with one or another of the Iberian dialects,
some have sought to correlate the British local names with
similar words in Basque. '' Britannia " has been derived
from a locative " Etan^'' and " Siluria" from "6^r," a word
for water. The roots "// " and '' Ur " occur in old Spanish
appellatives, and have been seen in some of the names of
rivers and islands in Scotland. But it still seems to be
agreed that nothing can be made of the matter. The
Basque language is ancient in structure, but modern in its

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