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had won without his men.

E. 12. - Where the armies met is quite uncertain, though tradition
fixes on a not unlikely spot near London, whose name of "Battle
Bridge" has but lately been overlaid by the modern designation of
"King's Cross."[179] We only know that Suetonius drew up his line
across a glade in the forest, which thus protected his flanks, and
awaited the foe as they came pouring back from Verulam. In front of
the British line Boadicea, arrayed in the Icenian tartan, her plaid
fastened by a golden brooch, and a spear in her hand, was seen passing
along "loftily-charioted" from clan to clan, as she exhorted each
in turn to conquer or die. Suetonius is said to have given the like
exhortation to the Romans; but every man in their ranks must already
have been well aware that defeat would spell death for him. The one
chance was in steadiness and disciplined valour; and the legionaries
stood firm under a storm of missiles, withholding their own fire
till the foe came within close range. Then, and not till then, they
delivered a simultaneous discharge of their terrible _pila_[180] on
the British centre. The front gave with the volley, and the Romans, at
once wheeling into wedge-shape formation, charged sword in hand into
the gap, and cut the British line clean in two. Behind it was a laager
of wagons, containing their families and spoil, and there the Britons
made a last attempt to rally. But the furious Romans entered the
enclosure with them, and the fight became a simple massacre. No
fewer than eighty thousand fell, and the very horses and oxen were
slaughtered by the maddened soldiery to swell the heaps of slain.
Boadicea, broken-hearted, died by poison; and (being reinforced by
troops from Germany) Suetonius proceeded "to make a desert and call it
Peace."[181]

E. 13. - The punishment he dealt out to the revolted districts was
so remorseless that the new Procurator, Julius Classicianus, sent a
formal complaint to Rome on the suicidal impolicy of his superior's
measures. Nero, however, did not mend matters by sending (like
Claudius) a freed-man favourite as Royal Commissioner to supersede
Suetonius. Polycletus was received with derision both by Roman and
Briton, and Suetonius remained acting Governor till the wreck of some
warships afforded an excuse for a peremptory order to "hand over
the command" to Petronius Turpilianus. Fighting now ceased by mutual
consent; and this disgraceful slackness was called by the new Governor
"Peace with Honour" [_honestum pacis nomen segni otio imposuit_].



SECTION F.

Civil war - Otho and Vitellius - Army of
Britain - Priscus - Agricola - Vespasian Emperor - Cerealis - Brigantes put
down - Frontinus - Silurians put down - Agricola Pro-praetor - Ordovices
put down - Pacification of South Britain - Roman civilization
introduced - Caledonian campaign - Galgacus - Agricola's
rampart - Domitian - Resignation and death of Agricola.

F. 1. - Disgraceful as the policy of Petronius seemed to Tacitus
(under the inspiration probably of his father-in-law Agricola), it did
actually secure for Britain several years of much-needed peace. Not
till the months of confusion which followed the death of Nero [June
10, A.D. 68] did any native rising take place, and then only in Wales
and the north. The Roman Army of Britain was thus free to take sides
in the contest for the throne between Otho and Vitellius, of which all
that could be predicted was that the victor would be the worse of the
two [_deteriorem fore quisquis vicisset_]. They were, however, so
much ahead of their date that, before accepting this alternative,
they actually thought of setting up an Emperor of their own, after the
fashion so freely followed in later centuries. Fortunately the popular
subaltern [[Greek: hupostratêgos]] on whom their choice fell, one
Priscus, had the sense to see that the time was not yet come for such
action, and sarcastically refused the crown. "I am no more fit," he
said, "to be an Emperor [[Greek: autokrator]]than you to be soldiers."
The army now proceeded to "sit on the fence"; some legions, notably
the famous Fourteenth, slightly inclined to Otho, others to Vitellius,
till their hesitation was ended by their own special hero, Vespasian,
fresh from his Judaean victories,[182] coming forward as Pretender.
Agricola, now in command of the Twentieth, at once declared for him,
and the other legions followed suit - the Fourteenth being gratified by
the title "_Victores Britannici_," officially conferred upon them by
the Emperor's new Pro-praetor, Petilius Cerealis.

F. 2. - We now enter upon the last stage of the fifty years' struggle
made by British patriots before they finally bowed to the Roman
yoke. The glory of ending the long conflict is due to Agricola,
whose praises are chronicled by his son-in-law Tacitus, and who does
actually seem to have been a very choice example of Roman virtue and
ability. The Army of Britain had been his training school in
military life, and successive commanders had recognized his merits by
promotion. Now his superiors gave him an almost independent command,
in which he showed himself as modest as he was able. Thanks to him,
Cerealis was able in A.D. 70 to end a Brigantian war (of which the
inevitable Cartismandua was the "_teterrima causa_" now no less than
twenty years earlier), and the next Pro-praetor, Frontinus, to put
down, in 75, the very last effort of the indomitable Silurians. Yet
another year, and he himself was made Military Governor of the island,
and set about the task of permanently consolidating it as a Roman
Province, with an insight all his own.

F. 3. - The only Britons yet in arms south of the Tyne were the
Ordovices of North Wales, who had lately cut to pieces a troop of
Roman cavalry. Agricola marched against them, and, by swimming
his horsemen across the Menai Straits, surprised their stronghold,
Anglesey, thus bringing about the same instant submission of the whole
clan which through the same tactics he had seen won, seventeen years
earlier, by Suetonius.

F. 4. - But Agricola was not, like Suetonius, a mere military
conqueror. He saw that Britons would never unfeignedly submit so
long as they were treated as slaves; and he set himself to remedy the
grievances under which the provincials so long had suffered. Military
licence, therefore, and civil corruption alike, he put down with
a resolute hand, never acting through intermediaries, but himself
investigating every complaint, rewarding merit, and punishing
offences. The vexatious monopolies which previous governors had
granted, he did away with; and, while he firmly dealt with every
symptom of disloyalty, his aim was "not penalty but penitence" [_nom
paena sed saepius paenitentia_] - penitence shown in a frank acceptance
of Roman civilization. Under his influence Roman temples, Roman
forums, Roman dwelling-houses, Roman baths and porticoes, rose all
over the land, and, above all, Roman schools, where the youth of the
upper classes learnt with pride to adopt the tongue[183] and dress of
their conquerors. It is appropriate that the only inscription
relating to him as yet found in Britain should be on two of the lead
water-pipes (discovered in 1899 and 1902) which supplied his new Roman
city (_Deva_) at Chester.[184]

F. 5. - This proved a far more effectual method of conquest than any
yet adopted, and Southern Britain became so quiet and contented that
Agricola could meditate an extension of the Roman sway over the wilder
regions to the north, and even over Ireland.[185] He did not, indeed,
actually accomplish either design, but he extended the Roman frontier
to the Forth, and carried the Roman arms beyond the Tay. The game,
however, proved not worth the candle. The regions penetrated were wild
and barren, the inhabitants ferocious savages, who defended themselves
with such fury that it was not worth while to subdue them.

F. 6. - The final battle [A.D. 84], somewhere near Inverness, is
described in minute and picturesque detail by Tacitus, who was
present. He shows us the slopes of the Grampians alive with the
Highland host, some on foot, some in chariots, armed with claymore,
dirk, and targe as in later ages. He puts into the mouth of the
leader, Galgacus, an eloquent summary of the motives which did really
actuate them, and he reports the exhortation to close the fifty years
of British warfare with a glorious victory which Agricola, no doubt,
actually addressed to his soldiers. He paints for us the wild charge
of the clans, the varying fortunes of the conflict (which at one point
was so doubtful that Agricola dismounted to fight on foot with his
men), and the final hopeless rout of the Caledonian army, with
the slaughter of ten thousand men; the Roman loss being under four
hundred - including one unlucky colonel [_praefectus cohortis_] whose
horse ran away with him into the enemy's ranks.

F. 7. - Agricola had now the prudence to draw his stakes while the game
was still in his favour. He sent his fleet north-about (thus, for the
first time, _proving_ Britain to be an island),[186] and marched his
army across to meet it on the Clyde, whence he had already drawn his
famous rampart to the Forth, henceforward to be the extreme limit of
Roman Britain.[187] His work was now done, and well done. He resigned
his Province, and returned to Rome, in time to avoid dismissal by
Domitian, to whom preeminent merit in any subject was matter for
jealous hatred,[188] and who now made Agricola report himself by
night, and received him without one word of commendation. Had his life
been prolonged he would undoubtedly have perished, like so many of the
best of the Roman aristocracy, by the despot's hands; but just before
the unrestrained outbreak of tyranny, he suddenly died - "_felix
opportunitate mortis_" - to be immortalized by the love and genius
of his daughter's husband. And he left Britain, as it had never been
before, truly within the comity of the Roman Empire.




CHAPTER IV

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION, A.D. 85-211


SECTION A.

Pacification of Britain - Roman roads - London their centre - Authority
for names - Watling Street - Ermine Street - Icknield Way.

A. 1. - The work of Agricola inaugurated in Britain that wonderful _Pax
Romana_ which is so unique a phenomenon in the history of the world.
That Peace was not indeed in our island so long continued or so
unbroken as in the Mediterranean lands, where, for centuries on end,
no weapon was used in anger. But even here swords were beaten into
ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks to an extent never known
before or since in our annals. So profound was the quiet that for a
whole generation Britain vanishes from history altogether. All through
the Golden Age of Rome, the reigns of Nerva and Trajan, no writer
even names her; and not till A.D. 120 do we find so much as a passing
mention of our country. But we may be sure that under such rulers the
good work of Agricola was developing itself upon the lines he had laid
down, and that Roman civilization was getting an ever firmer hold. The
population was recovering from the frightful drain of the Conquest,
the waste cities were rebuilt, and new towns sprang up all over the
land, for the most part probably on old British sites, connected by
a network of roads, no longer the mere trackways of the Britons, but
"streets" elaborately constructed and metalled.

A. 2. - All are familiar with the Roman roads of Britain as they
figure on our maps. Like our present lines of railway, the main routes
radiate in all directions from London, and for a like reason; London
having been, in Roman days as now, the great commercial centre of the
country. The reason for this, that it was the lowest place where the
Thames could be bridged, we have already referred to.[189] We see the
_Watling Street_ roughly corresponding to the North-Western Railway on
one side of the metropolis, and to the South-Eastern on the other; the
_Ermine Street_ corresponding to the Great Northern Railway; while
the Great Western, the South-Western, the Great Eastern, and the
Portsmouth branch of the South Coast system are all represented in
like manner. We notice, perhaps, that, except the Watling Street and
the Ermine Street, all these routes are nameless; though we find four
minor roads with names crossing England from north-east to south-west,
and one from north-west to south-east. The former are the _Fosse
Way_ (from Grimsby on the Humber to Seaton on the Axe), the _Ryknield
Street_ (from Newcastle-on-Tyne to Caerleon-upon-Usk), the _Akeman
Street_ (from Wells on the Wash to Aust on the Severn), and the
_Icknield Way_ (from Norfolk to Dorset). The latter is the _Via
Devana_ (from Chester to Colchester).

A. 3. - It comes as a surprise to most when we learn that all these
names (except the Watling Street, the Fosse, and the Icknield Way
only) are merely affixed to their respective roads by the conjectures
of 17th-century antiquarianism, Gale being their special identifier.
The names themselves (except in the case of the Via Devana) are old,
and three of them, the Ermine Street, the Icknield Street, and the
Fosse Way, figure in the inquisition of 1070 as being, together with
the Watling Street, those of the Four Royal Roads (_quatuor chimini_)
of England, the King's Highways, exempt from local jurisdiction and
under the special guard of the King's Peace. Two are said to cross the
length of the land, two its breadth. But their identification (except
in the case of the main course of Watling Street) has been matter of
antiquarian dispute from the 12th century downwards.[190] The very
first chronicler who mentions them, Geoffrey of Monmouth, makes Ermine
Street run from St. David's to Southampton, Icknield Street from St.
David's to Newcastle, and the Fosse Way from Totnes in Devon to far
Caithness; and his error has misled many succeeding authorities. That
it _is_ an error, at least with regard to the Icknield Way and the
Fosse Way, is sufficiently proved by the various mediaeval charters
which mention these roads in connection with localities along their
course as assigned by our received geography.

As to the main Watling Street there is no dispute. Running right
across the island from the Irish Sea[191] to the Straits of Dover, it
suggested to the minds of our English ancestors the shining track of
the Milky Way from end to end of the heavens. Even so Chaucer, in his
'House of Fame,' sings:

"Lo there!" quod he, "cast up your eye,
Se yonder, lo! the Galaxie,
The whiche men clepe the Milky Way,
For it is white, and some, parfay,
Y-callen han it Watlinge-strete."

At Dover it still retains its name, and so it does in one part of its
course through London (which it enters as the Edgware Road, and leaves
as the Old Kent Road).[192]

A. 4. - This name, like that of the Ermine Street, is most probably
derived from Teutonic mythology; the "Watlings" being the patrons of
handicraft in the Anglo-Saxon Pantheon, and "Irmin" the War-god from
whom "Germany" is called.[193] There is no reason to suppose that
the roads of Britain had any Roman name, like those of Italy. The
designations given them by our English forefathers show how deeply
these mighty works impressed their imagination. The term "street"
which they adopted for them shows, as Professor Freeman has pointed
out, that such engineering ability was something quite new to their
experience.[194] It is the Latin "Via _strata_" Anglicized, and
describes no mere track, but the elaborately constructed Roman
causeway, along which the soft alluvium was first dug away, and
its place taken by layers of graduated road metal, with the surface
frequently an actual pavement.[195]

A. 5. - For the assignment of the name Ermine Street to the Great North
Road there is no ancient authority.[196] All we can say is that this
theory is more probable than that set forth by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
That the road existed in Roman times is certain, as London and York
were the two chief towns in the island; and direct communication
between them must have been of the first importance, both for military
and economical reasons. Indeed it is probably older yet. (See p. 117.)
But, with the exceptions already pointed out, the nomenclature of the
Romano-British roads is almost wholly guess-work. Some archaeological
maps show additional Watling Streets and Ermine Streets branching
in all directions over the land,[197] presumably on the authority of
local tradition. And these traditions may be not wholly unfounded;
for the same motives which made the English immigrants of one district
ascribe the handiwork of by-gone days to mythological powers might
operate to the like end in another.

A. 6. - The origin of the names Ryknield Street and Akeman Street
is beyond discovery;[198] but that of the Icknield Street is almost
undoubtedly due to its connection with the great Icenian tribe, to
whose territory it formed the only outlet.[199] By them, in the days
of their greatness, it was probably driven to the Thames, the more
southerly extension being perhaps later. It was never, as its present
condition abundantly testifies, made into a regular Roman "Street."
The final syllable may possibly, as Guest suggests, be the A.S. _hild_
= war.

A. 7. - Besides these main routes, a whole network of minor roads must
have connected the multitudinous villages and towns of Roman Britain,
a fact which is borne witness to by the very roundabout route often
given in the 'Itinerary' of Antoninus between places which we know
were directly connected.[200] Moreover this network must have been
at least as close as that of our present railways, and probably
approximated to that of our present roads.



SECTION B.

Romano-British towns - Ancient lists - Methods of identification - Dense
rural population - Remains in Cam valley - Coins - Thimbles - Horseshoes.

B. 1. - Of these many Romano-British towns we have five contemporary
lists; those of Ptolemy in the 2nd century, of the Antonine
'Itinerary' in the 3rd, of the 'Notitia'[201] in the 5th, and those
of Nennius and of the Ravenna Geographer, composed while the memory of
the Roman occupation was still fresh. Ptolemy and Nennius profess to
give complete catalogues; the 'Itinerary' and 'Notitia' contain only
incidental references; while the Ravenna list, though far the most
copious, is expressly stated to be composed only of selected names. Of
these it has no fewer than 236, while the 'Notitia' gives 118, Ptolemy
60, and Nennius 28 (to which Marcus Anchoreta adds 5 more).

B. 2. - With this mass of material[202] it might seem to be an easy
task to locate every Roman site in Britain; especially as Ptolemy
gives the latitude (and sometimes the longitude[203] also) of every
place he mentions, and the 'Itinerary' the distances between its
stations. Unfortunately it is quite otherwise; and of the whole number
barely fifty can be at all certainly identified, while more than half
cannot even be guessed at with anything like reasonable probability.
To begin with, the text of every one of these authorities is corrupt
to a degree incredible; in Ptolemy we find _Nalkua_, for example,
where the 'Itinerary' and Ravenna lists give _Calleva_; _Simeni_
figures for _Iceni_, _Imensa_ for _Tamesis_. The 'Itinerary' itself
reads indiscriminately _Segeloco_ and _Ageloco_, _Lagecio_ and
_Legeolio_; and examples might be multiplied indefinitely. In Nennius,
particularly, the names are so disguised that, with two or three
exceptions, their identification is the merest guess-work; _Lunden_ is
unmistakable, and _Ebroauc_ is obviously York; but who shall say what
places lie hid under _Meguaid_, _Urnath_, _Guasmoric_, and _Celemon_?
And if this corruption is bad amongst the names, it absolutely runs
riot amongst the numbers, both in Ptolemy and the 'Itinerary,' so that
the degrees of the former and the distances of the latter are alike
grievously untrustworthy guides. Ptolemy, for example, says that the
longest day in London is 18 hours, an obvious mistake for 17, as the
context clearly shows. There is further the actual equation of error
in each authority: Ptolemy, for all his care, has confused
Exeter (_Isca Damnoniorum_) with the more famous _Isca Silurum_
(Caerleon-on-Usk); and there are blunders in his latitude and
longitude which cannot wholly be ascribed to textual corruption. Still
another difficulty is that then, as now, towns quite remote from each
other bore the same name, or names very similar. Not only were two
called _Isca_, but three were _Venta_, two _Calleva_, two _Segontium_,
and no fewer than seven _Magna_; while _Durobrivae_ is only too like
to _Durocobrivae_, _Margiodunum_ to _Moridunum_, _Durnovaria_ to
_Durovernum_, etc. The last name even gets confounded with _Dubris_ by
transcribers.

B. 3. - In all the lists we are struck by the extraordinary
preponderance of northern names. Half the sites given by Ptolemy lie
north of the Humber, and this is also the case with the Ravenna list,
while in the 'Notitia' the proportion is far greater. In the last case
this is due to the fact that the military garrisons, with which the
catalogue is concerned, were mainly quartered in the north, and a like
explanation probably holds good for the earlier and later lists
also. Nennius, as is to be expected, draws most of his names from the
districts which the Saxons had not yet reached; all being given with
the Celtic prefix _Caer_ (=city).

B. 4. - Amid all these snares the most certain identification of a
Roman site is furnished by the discovery of inscriptions relating to
the special troops with which the name is associated in historical
documents. When, for example, we find in the Roman station at
Birdoswald, on the Wall of Hadrian, an inscription recording the
occupation of the spot by a Dacian cohort, and read in the 'Notitia'
that such a cohort was posted at _Amboglanna per lineam Valli_, we
are sure that Amboglanna and Birdoswald are identical. This method,
unfortunately, helps us very little except on the Wall, for the
legionary inscriptions elsewhere are found in many places with which
history does not particularly associate the individual legions thus
commemorated.[204] However, the special number of such traces of the
Second Legion at Caerleon, the Twentieth at Chester, and the Sixth at
York, would alone justify us in certainly determining those places
to be the Isca, Deva, and Eboracum given as their respective
head-quarters in our documentary and historical evidence.

B. 5. - In the case of York another proof is available; for the name,
different as it sounds, can be traced, by a continuous stream of
linguistic development, through the Old English Eorfowic to the Roman
_Eboracum_. In the same way the name of _Dubris_ has unmistakably
survived in Dover, _Lemannae_ in Lympne, _Regulbium_ in Reculver.
_Colonia, Glevum_, _Venta, Corinium, Danum_, and _Mancunium_, with the
suffix "chester,"[205] have become Colchester, Gloucester, Winchester,
Cirencester, Doncaster, and Manchester. Lincoln is _Lindum Colonia_,
Richborough, _Ritupis_; while the phonetic value of the word London
has remained absolutely unaltered from the very first, and varies but
slightly even in its historical orthography.

B. 6. - With names of this class, of which there are about thirty,
for a starting-point, we can next, by the aid of our various lists
(especially Ptolemy's, which gives the tribe in which each town lies,
and the 'Itinerary'), assign, with a very high degree of probability,
some thirty more - similarity of name being still more or less of
a guide. For example, when midway between _Venta_ (Winchester) and
_Sorbiodunum_ (Sarum) the 'Itinerary' places _Brige_, and the name
_Broughton_ now occupies this midway spot, _Brige_ and _Broughton_ may
be safely assumed to be the same. This method shows Leicester to
be the Roman _Ratae_, Carlisle to be _Luguvallum_, Newcastle
_Pons Aelii_, etc., with so much probability that none of these
identifications have been seriously disputed amongst antiquaries;
while few are found to deny that Cambridge represents
_Camboricum_,[206] Huntingdon (or Godmanchester) _Durolipons_,
Silchester _Calleva_, etc. A list of all the sites which may be said
to be fairly certified will be found at the end of this chapter.

B. 7. - Beyond them we come to about as many more names in our ancient
catalogues of which all we can say is that we know the district to
which they belong, and may safely apply them to one or other of the
existing Roman sites in that district; the particular application
being disputed with all the heat of the _odium archaeologicum_. Thus
_Bremetonacum_ was certainly in Lancashire; but whether it is


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