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them."^

They gained a province to ruin it by a slow decay.
The conscription and the grinding taxes, the slavery of
the many in the fields and mines, must be set against the
comfort of the few and the glory of belonging to the
Empire. Civilisation was in one sense advanced, but all
manliness had been sapped ; and freedom had vanished
from the province long before it fell an easy prey to the
great Earls and ^'mighty war-smiths," the Angles and
Saxons who founded the English kingdom.

The first invasions of Julius Caesar had been followed
by a century of repose. The fury of the civil wars secured
a long oblivion of Britain, and when the Empire was
established the prudence of Augustus forbade the exten-
sion of the frontier. His glory was satisfied by the
homage of a few chieftains who came with gifts to the
Capitol, and the names of the " suppliant kings " are still
recorded in the imperial inscriptions. The wish of
Augustus was a law to his successors, and the islanders
were left for two reigns to boast of their alliance with
Rome. It had become the fashion to despise a country
which was hardly worth a garrison. " It would require,"
said some, " at least a legion and some extra cavalry to
enforce the payment of tribute, and then the military
expenses would absorb all the increase of revenue." ^
Others laughed at the exploits for which a three-weeks'
thanksgiving had once seemed barely sufficient. " Divine
Caesar," they said, "landed his army in a swamp and fled

^ Tac. Agric. c. 30. ^ Strabo, iv. 278.

19 *



292 Origins of English History.

before the long-sought Britons/ Too much, it was thought,
had been made of a march along the high-road and the
fording of a stockaded river: the legions had been forced
back to the coast by an army of chariots and horsemen ; no
princes were sent as hostages, and no tribute had ever
been paid.

The invasion was of greater importance than the critics
were disposed to allow, though its effects were chiefly
seen in an increased commerce with the Continent. It
was the conquest of Gaul which most aff"ected the nations
beyond the Channel. The influence of the empire was felt
beyond its formal boundaries, and the provincial fashions
found a crowd of imitators in the rustic kingdoms on the
Thames. Another result of the conquest was an increase
of the Gaulish settlements in Britain. Commius, the
Prince of Arras, took refuge from the Romans in the
island which he had helped to invade, and the 'Atrebates '
were thenceforth established on the Upper Thames, and
ruled the country between Silchester and the hill-fortress
at Sarum. The ' Belgse ' founded a settlement on the Solent,
from which they spread westwards to the mouth of the
Severn, and built towns at Bath and Winchester, and at
Ilchester in the marshes of the Parret. The ' Parisii ' left
their island in the Seine, and settled in the fens of
Holderness and round the chalk-cliffs of Flamborough,
and dwelt in the straggling town of Petuaria " all round
the fair-havened bay." The graves on the Yorkshire
coast still yield the remains of their iron chariots and
horse-trappings, and their armour decorated with enamel

1 " Oceanumque vocans incerti stagna profundi,
Territa quaesitis ostendit terga Britannis."

Lucan, Phars. ii. 571.



Origins of English History. 293



and the red Mediterranean coral. ^ The prosperity of the
native states was indicated by the rise of regular towns
in place of the older camps of refuge, as well as bv
the increase of the continental trade. An advance in
metallurgy was marked by the use of a silver coinage," by
a change from the bronze weapons to the steel sabres and
ponderous spears of Gaul,'^ and by the export not only
of their surplus iron but of the precious ores which were
found and worked in the west ; and the ultimate conquest
was doubtless hastened by the dream of winning a Land
of Gold and a rich reward of victory.^ The returns from
the imperial custom-houses showed as great an increase in
the agricultural exports, and the British chiefs grew rich
with the price of their cattle and hides, and of the wheat
and barley from the Kentish fields. The sporting-dogs

^ These discoveries were made in the tumuH in the East Riding of
Yorkshire. "At Grimthorpe a skeleton was found with a spear- head and
sword both of iron, the latter in a curious sheath of bronze decorated with
studs of red coral." Archceol. xliii. 474. The bronze armlets are embellished
with scarlet enamel like those found at Beuvray. Pliny says that coral had
been used by the Gauls down to his time for ornamenting their armour.
Hist. Nat. xxxii. c. 11. That the art of enamelling was not confined to the
Continent is shown by a passage in the " Imagines" of Philostratus, where
the philosopher informs the Empress Julia Domna that this beautiful
work was made by the "islanders in the Outer Ocean." Philostratus
Imag. i. 28.

^ For an account of the silver coins of the Iceni see Sir T. Browne's
Hydriotaphia, c. 1, and Evans, ' Coins of the Ancient Britons.'

® Mela, iii. c. 6. The rude iron sword-blades found in sheaves of 70 or
80 together, in or near earth-works in the South-western Counties are
believed to be of British manufacture. Archceol. xliii. 478, 486.

* Tac. Agric. c. 12; Carew, Surv. Cornw. 7; De la Beche, Geology of
Cornwall, 218, 611 ; Philipps, Anc. Metallurgy, Arch. Journ. 1859;
Hubner, Corp. Lat. Inscr. vii. 220. For an account of the British lead-
mines, where most of the silver was found, see Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxiv. c. 49.
The lead, he says, lay like a thick skin on the surface of the ground.



294 Origins of English Histoi'y.

formed a separate and valuable class of exports, including
rough terriers or spaniels which ran entirely by scent,
lurchers or greyhounds for hare-hunting, and those big
British hounds " strong enough to break the neck of a
bull," ugly and somewhat noisy till crossed with the
Thracian breed, but nevertheless esteemed by the
Roman sportsmen to be as useful as any hounds in
the world. ^

The discord of the British chieftains was the immediate
cause of the second invasion. The sons of Cunobeline
were at war with the House of Commius, to whose
territory Kent and some bordering districts belonged. A
prince of that family, sought refuge and vengeance at
Rome, and the courtiers of Claudius caught at the chance
of gratifying their master's vanity. An army of four legions
was landed on the southern coast, and Caractacus and his
brothers were driven far to the west, and were afterwards
defeated near a ' great river,' which seems to have been
the Thames. The capture of the chief stronghold at
Camulodunum was reserved for the Emperor's hand."' The
battle seems to have been arranged with Eastern pomp :

^ The small dog is the " agassceus" of Oppian, i. 468, also called
" petroniiis." See Gratian. Falisc. Cyneg. 178, 202, 206. It was afterwards
called " pctrunculus,'' as for instance in the Burgundian La\^'s. The Celtic
greyhound is the " vcrtragtis" or " vcrtraha," the "veltre" of our mediaeval
records. Blount, Tenures, g, ^^. " Et pictam macula vertraham delige
falsa," Gratian. Falisc. Cyneg. 203. Compare Martial, Epigr. xiv. 200.
The British hound was not the mastiff, which is a late importation from
Central Asia ; it seems to have rather resembled the mediaeval boarhound.
Compare also Claudian's description: "Magnaque taurorum fracturae colla
Britannae," Stilich. lii. 301.

" ' The vast earthworks still remaining at Lexden, one mile from
Colchester, give some idea of the strength and extent of the capital of
Cunobeline taken by Claudius.' Scarth, Roman Britain, 38.



Origins of English History. 295

and elephants/ clad in mail and bearing turrets filled with
slingers and bowmen, marched for once in line with the
Belgian pikemen and the Batavians from the island in the
Rhine.^

Claudius returned from an easy victory to a triumph of
unexampled splendour. A ship "like a moving palace"
bore him homewards from Marseilles, and the Senate
decreed the gift of a naval crown to welcome the conqueror
of the ocean.^ His father Drusus Germanicus had sailed
beyond- the Elbe to visit the Northern Ocean and to
search for fresh 'Pillars of Hercules'. " Our Drusus," said
the Romans, " was bold enough, but Ocean kept the secret
of Hercules and his own."'' But now it was feigned that
the furthest seas had been brought within the circuit of
the Empire. "The last bars have fallen," sang the poets,
" and the earth is girdled by a Roman Ocean. "^ " The

^ Dion Cass. (Xiphilinus) Iv. 22, 23 ; Orosius, Ann. vii. 56. The story of
Julius Caesar's elephant (Polysen. Strateg. viii. 23) is probably due to a
confusion of incidents in the two campaigns.

^ The Batavians, brought from the island formed by the Rhine and IVIaas,
took a prominent part in the conquest of Britain. Tac. Hist. i. 59, iv. 123
Ann. xiv. 38 • Agric. i8^ "^6. They were originally an offshoot from the
Chatti of the Black Forest, and were celebrated like their parent-tribe for
their courage and endurance in war, " counting fortune but a chance,
and valour the only certainty." Tac. Germ. 29, 30, 31 3 Hist. iv. 61, 64.
Tacitus, writing of them in the year 97, described them as follows : —
" Through some domestic quarrel they crossed over to their present home,
where they were to become a portion of the Empire. They still enjoy that
honour and the privileges of their old alliance, for they are not debased by
tribute nor ground down by the tax-gatherer ; they are exempt from sub-
sidies and benevolences, and are kept for the \\ars, put on one side to be
used only in a light, like weapons stored in an armoury." Tac. Germ. c. 29.

^ Pliny, Hist. Nat. iii. c. 20, xxxiii. c. 163 Suetonius. Claud. 17.

^ Tac. Germ. c. 24.

^ "Et jam Romano cingimur Occano." See the 'Laus Claudii Caesaris,'
Burmann. Anthol. ii. 88.



296 Origins of English History.

world's end is no longer the end of the Empire, and
Oceanus turns himself back to look on the altars of
Claudius."^ " One look from Caesar has subdued the cliff-
girt isle, the land of the wintry pole, —

" ' Qua frigida semper
Praefulget stellis Arctos inocciduis.' "^

The record of the rejoicings has been preserved, and
inscriptions are extant to show the honours and decorations,
the collars bracelets and ornaments, which were lavished
on all who had gained distinction in the war. First in the
triumph came the images of the gods and the figures of
the Emperor's ancestors, and then the booty of the war,
the crowns sent by the provinces, and gifts from all parts
of the world. Claudius passed in his general's dress of
purple with ivory sceptre and oak-leaf crown. Messalina's
carriage followed ; and then came the officers distinguished
in the field, marching on foot and in plain robes, except
one who had been decorated before, and so was entitled
to ride a horse with jewelled trappings and to wear a tunic
embroidered with golden palms. On reaching the Capitol
the Emperor left his car, in accordance with the old routine,
and mounted the steps, praying and kneeling with the
help of his sons-in-law who supported him on either side.^
Another day was given to games in the Circus, and the
factions of the Blues and Greens were promised as many

1 Burmann. Anthol. ii. 84. The temple of Claudius was built at
" Camulodunum." The natives regarded it as the crown of their slavery,
and complained that the country was exhausted in providing cattle for
the sacrifices. It was destroyed in Boudicca's revolt, and its site has never
been exactly discovered. Tac. Ann. xiv. 29; Hiibner, Corp. Lat. Inscr.
vii. 34.

^ Burmann. Anthol. ii. 91.

^ Dion Cass. (Xiphilinus) Ix. 23; Suetonius. Claud. 17.



Origins of English History. 297

chariot-races as could be ran between morning and night.^
But the number was diminished to ten by the time taken
up in beast-fights and other shows which were more
appropriate to the amphitheatre. Bears were hunted and
killed, perhaps in allusion to the war still raging in the
northern forests. Gladiators were matched in single
combat between the races ; and as a crowning show the
famous " Pyrrhica" was danced by boys of the best families
in Asia, who had been summoned to take part in the
rejoicings. At the sound of a trumpet they appeared in
splendid uniforms, and counterfeited in the war-dance all
the movements used in the field, advancing and retreating,
and breaking rank and wheeling into line again, now
seeming to bend away from an enemy's blows and now to
hurl the spear or draw the bow.^

Afterwards came the brutal sports which seemed to the
Romans to be the chief reward of victory. " It is the
greatest pleasure in life," Cicero himself had said, " to see

^ As many as twenty-four races were run in one day by Caligula's
orders in a.l». 37, each race taking about half an hour. The course was
seven times round the hippodrome. The Circus, in the reign of Claudius,
was constructed to hold about 150,000 persons ; but it was very much
enlarged in later reigns. Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxviii. c.c. 24, loi ; Pausanias,
V. 12.

^ Dion Cass. (Xiphilinus) Ix. 30. For descriptions of the "Pyrrhica," see
Plato, Leg. vii. 18; Claudian, Sext. Cons. Honor. 621 5 Burm. Anthol. 134.
" Puelli puella^que virenti florentes setatula, forma conspicui, veste nitidi,
incessu gestuosi, Grsecanicam saltaturi Pyrrhicam dispositis ordinationibus
decoros ambitus inerrabant, nunc in orbem rotatum flexuosi nunc in
obliquam seriem connexi, et in quadratum patorem cuneati et in catervae
discidium separati." Apul. Metamorph. x. 29. " Ut est ille in pyrrhica
versicolorus discursus quum amicti cocco alii, alii et luto et ostro et
purpura creti, alii aliique cohserentes concursant." Fronto. Epist. ad Caes,
i. 4. Compare the account of the " Trojamentum " or " Ludus Trojae.'*
Virg. yEu. v. 545, 602, and Journ. Philol. ix. loi.



298 Origins of English History.

a brave enemy led off to torture and death." The Field
of Mars, on the other side of the river, was now chosen as
the scene of a fresh entertainment. At a place where the
park was surrounded by water on three sides a fortress
was built in imitation of the banks and stockades of Camu-
lodunum : and the straw-thatched palaces and streets of
wattled huts w^ere defended, stormed, and sacked, by armies
of British captives reserved to die in a theatrical war. Three
years afterwards, in a.d, 47, when Plautius gained his
triumph for the conquest of Southern Britain, the massacre
was renewed in a somew^hat different form. The prisoners
w^ere enrolled among the heavy-armed gladiators who fought,
as "Gauls" and " Samnites," against the " Thracians "
armed with the target and crooked dagger, and the
^'retiarii" with nets and harpoons ready to entangle
their adversaries as the fisherman catches the tunny-fish.
Thousands of Britons are said to have perished in these
combats, and in the chariot-fights in which they were com-
pelled to exhibit their native methods of warfare.^

As the conquest advanced, other uses were found for
the natives in the mines and public works, or in military
service abroad. As early as a.d. 69 a force of 8,000
Britons was enrolled in the army of Vitellius, and in later
times we find their levies scattered in all parts of the
world, in the forts on the Pyrenees and the Balkans, in
the Household at Constantinople, and along the distant
frontiers of the African and Armenian deserts.^

^ Dion Cass. (Xiphilinus) Ix. 30. The costume of the rctiarius is best
known by the mosaic of Cupids fighting, in the Roman villa at Bignor in
Sussex. Archceologia, xviii. 203. See also Dyer's Pompeii, 227, Fried-
lander quotes the song of the retiarius : " Non te peto, piscem peto, quid
me fugi' Galle ?"j Manners of the Romans (Vogel), ii. 274.

2 Tac. Agric. 15, Hist. i. 59. The " Notitia Dignitatum," or Official



Origins of English History. 299

In the year a.d. 50, six years after the capture of
Camiilodunum, the southern parts of Britain were falling
into the condition of a Roman province. Four legions
had been left under Plautius to consolidate and extend the
conquest. The troops under his immediate command
were engaged in the midland districts, while Vespasian
and Titus fought their way in the south to the Mendip
Hills and the Severn. The future Emperors over-ran the
territories of the "Regni" and the "Belgae"; they defeated
the armies of "two mighty nations," and took a score of
camps by storm ; and the broken tribes and captive kings
were regarded afterwards as having been the signs and first-
fruits of the fortune of the Flavian dynasty.^ Meantime
Plautius had been replaced by Ostorius Scapula, the new
general in command, and it was determined to secure what
had been gained already before undertaking a new struggle
against Caractacus and the nation of the Silures.^ The
whole frontier was in confusion, the midland tribes having

Calendar of the Empire, which was compiled about the end of the fourth
century, is almost the only authority for the distribution of the forces raised,
in Britain. In this list we find mention of British regiments quartered in
Gaul, Spain, Illyria, Egypt, and Armenia, and others enrolled among the
home forces or palatine guards. Though it was against the policy of the
State to allow the natives of any province to serve at home, inscriptions have
been found at Matlock, and at places in Yorkshire and Cumberland, which
seem to indicate the presence of a British contingent. See Hiibner, Corp.
Lat. Inscr. vii. 50, 227, and 'Das Rumische Heer in Britamiicn,' (Berlin,
1881).

^ Suetonius. Vespasian 4; Tac. Agric. 13.

2 Tacitus ascribes the death of Ostorius to his anxieties in the war.
"The Silures drew the other nations to revolt ..... In this posture of
affairs Ostorius died, being quite spent with fatigue and trouble. The enemy
rejoiced at his death as a general in no way contemptible, and the rather
because, though he did not fall in battle, he expired under the burthen of that
war." Tac. Ann. xii. 39 (Camden).



300 Origins of English History.

invaded the territories of the allies, "because they never
expected that the new general would take the field in
winter." Some of the allies themselves began to show
symptoms of wavering, and the "Iceni" shortly afterwards
broke out into open war. Ostorius seized the opportunity
of establishing a regular government ; the invasion was
repelled with the first troops at hand ; and the Icenian
army was crushed without waiting for the arrival of the
legions. A line of forts was drawn across the island from
the Severn to the eastern fens ■} and a colony of discharged
soldiers was settled at Camulodunum, where a pleasant
open town was rising beside the ruins of the fortress. The
"Iceni" were permitted a doubtful freedom under a king
whose private wealth was a sufficient guarantee for peace,
and several territories in the South were transferred to
another friendly chieftain.^

The wantonness of the Roman tyranny appears by the
complaints attributed to the provincials, and by the record
of those evil doings which led to Boudicca's revolt. The

^ Tac. Annal. xii. 31. Rhys, Celtic Britain, 80.

- " Some of the states were given to King Cogidubnus, who Hved down to
our own day," said Tacitus, " as a most faithful ally, so that the Romans
according to their custom might find in kings themselves fresh means of
establishing their mastery." Tac. Agric. 14; Ann. xii. '^i. This territory
had belonged to certain tribes of the "Regni." Its new capital was
" Noviomagus," about ten miles south of Roman London. It was connected
with " the town of the Regni," in the neighbourhood of Chichester, by a
military road, called the Stone Street, which crossed the Banstead Downs.
A celebrated inscription was found at Chichester in the last century, relating
to a temple of Neptune and Minerva, built under the authority of " Tiberius
Claudius Cogidubnus, King and Lieutenant of the Emperor in Britain." It
is difficult to conceive any legal authority for these titles, but they may refer
to some privilege granted to the first king of the line or to one of his
immediate descendants. Hiibner, Corp. Lat. Inscr. vii. 18.



Origins of English History. 301

legal dues, indeed, were severe, but by no means intoler-
able. The conscription was necessary for repairing the
drain upon the other provinces, though the Britons com-
plained that their sons were torn away, " as if they might
die for every country but their own." The tribute, the
tithe of corn, and the obligation of feeding the Court and
the army, w^ere all endurable, when the burden was equally
distributed ; but such a thing was never known to happen,
till Agricola came to the government and "restored her
good name to Peace." ^ Before this time the Britons were
treated as slaves and prisoners of war: the colonists thrust
them from their lands : the tithe-farmers combined to buv

J

up the stock of corn, which the chieftains were forced to
purchase back at a ruinous price to fulfil their duty to the
government. The illicit contrivances for gain were more
intolerable than the tribute itself.^ The people groaned
under a double tyranny ; each state had formerly been
governed by a single King ; " but now," they said, " we
are under both Legate and Procurator ; the one preys on
our blood, and the other on our lands ; the officers of the
one, and the slaves of the other, combine extortion and
insult; nothing is safe from their avarice, and nothing from
their lust."

Then followed the Icenian mutiny. " Prasutagus, famous
for his great treasures, had made Csesar and his daughters
joint heirs, thinking by this respect to save his kingdom
and family from insult. But it happened quite otherwise ;
for his kingdom was made a prey by the captains and
his house pillaged by the slaves, and, as if the whole

^ Tac. Agric. 20 5 Ann. xiv. 31. Agricola took command of the pro-
vince in A.D. 79.

* Tac. Agric. 19 (Church).



302 Origins of English History.

was now become lawful booty, the chiefs of the Iceni
were deprived of their paternal estates, and those of the
blood-royal were treated as the meanest slaves."' The
story of the actual revolt is too familiar to need repetition.
Paulinus was recalled from Mona by the news that the
Ninth Legion was nearly annihilated. The new colony had
been destroyed, and the temple sacked after a two days'
siege : the nations of Eastern and Central Britain moved
in a vast horde to sweep the helpless province. The
troops were dispersed in forts and block-houses, and the
barbarians were exhausting the refinements of cruelty on
all who fell into their hands, as though endeavouring (said
the angry Romans) to avenge in advance the terrible
punishments which awaited them. Paulinus acted with
the spirit and judgment which became such a famous
soldier. Marching across the island by the new military
road, he reached London with the Fourteenth Legion and a
few men of the Twentieth, and such Gauls and Germans as
he could get together from stations which he had relieved
upon the route. " He could not presently resolve whether
to make that place the seat of war or not, but determined
at last to sacrifice this one town to the safety of the rest ;
and not relenting at the sighs and tears of the inhabitants,
who entreated his aid and protection, he gave orders to
march, receiving such as followed him into his army; those
who by weakness of sex or age stayed behind, or were
tempted by their affection for the place to remain there,
were destroyed by the enemy.'" London was sacked as

^ Tac. Ann. xiv. 31 (Camden). The revolt began in a.d. 61, when
Suetonius Paulinus had been two years in command.

^ Tac. Ann. xiv. '^'^ (Camden). London, Verulam, and Camulodunum,.
were all open towns, though founded on the sites of Celtic fortresses. They



Origins of English History. 30



j^j



soon as its defenders retreated, and before they got far
they learned that Verulam had been destroyed by another
wing of the mass which was closing upon them. It was
believed that over 70,000 people had been massacred in
the three captured towns.

The fate of the province was at stake, and Paulinus
determined to risk a decisive battle as soon as he could
gain an advantage of position. Finding that the main
force of the enemy was encamped in a plain skirted by
steep and thickly-wooded hills, he forced his way through
the forest, and emerged at the mouth of a ravine where he
formed his line of battle. The native camps lay round
the narrow opening, each nation by itself according to the
Celtic fashion, with long lines of waggons stretching as far



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