Зображення сторінки

But the interior of the greater number is arranged with more simplicity. In some few instances the earih, or material of which the tumulus is formed, is found in a mass, incumbent on the funeral deposit; but more frequently the remains of the deceased were placed in a Kistvaen, or chest, composed of several large slabs of stone, set upright, and protected at the top by a larger slab placed horizontally; or merely in a Cist, by which term may be understood an excavation cut in the soil, or chalk, ou which the tumulus is raised. Subsequent interments are frequently discovered, and often bear evident marks of having taken place at a period not very distant from the first deposit. Thus, many tumuli acted, probably, as family places of burial..

The skeleton of the ancient Briton, or his inurned ashes, are sometimes found without any article of accompaniment: but there usually are discovered numerous memorials of the simplicity of manners, and superstitious fancies, which prevailed among those who performed his funeral rites.

Mr. Whitaker observes, “ that a just, but wildly devious, belief in the immortality of the soul induced the Gauls aud Britons to bury many particulars with the body, which the deceased regarded in his life;"* and the truth of this remark is evinced by the disclosure of the sepulchral remains of the latter people. We here find the military arms of the deceased, sometimes half consumed by the flames of the funeral pile; the horn of the stag, or the tusk of the boar, emblems of his success in the chace; the bones of his horse, his dog, and those of other animals favoured by him in his life, or deemed worthy sacrifices to his shade.

The Urns discovered in the contiguity of the remains of the ancient Britons appear, from their rudeness of form, to have been made belore the use of the turner's lathe was known, and are divided by Sir R. C: Hoare into three classes:t-The Large Ura, in which the bones of the deceased when burned were de


• History of Manchester, Vol. II. p. 141—2.
+ Introduction to History of Ancient Wilts. p. 25,

posited. A second kind, different from the above, both in shape and design, which are inost frequently found with skeletons, and placed at the head or feet. It is observed by Sir Richard Hoare, that “ a very ancient custom prevailed, and even still is practised amongst savage nations, of depositing articles of food with the dead ;” and, as he thinks that the Britons very probably destined these vases for the same purpose, he denoininates them Drinking Cups. “ They are always neatly oruamented with varied patterns, and hold about a quart in measure.The third species of vase is of smaller proportions, and is often fan. tastic in its shape and ornaments. These latter vessels are fe. quently perforated on the sides; and the investigator of the Willshire tumuli is inclined to suppose that “they were filled with balsams and precious ointments, and suspended over the funeral


Amongst the most curious articles, after the abovo enumeration, may be noticed lance-heads and daggers of brass; stone celts,* in great abundance; arrow-heads, of stone, of flint, and of bone; various personal oruaments, of pure gold, of coloured stone, avd of bone; beads of amber, of jet, of glass, and horn; brass pins; and the adder-slone, or anguinum, to which it is said the Druids attached a great superstitious value.


• The reader may be reminded that the article which antiquaries generally altribute to the Celtæ, and therefore term a Celt (for want of a more specific appellation) is an instrument of a wedge-like form, usually of stone, or of brass, or copper. Although antiquaries agree as to the name, they differ much concerning the purpose for which these instruments were probably designed. Some suppose them to be no other than a species of chissel; others think that they were used as sacrificial implements, or as axe-heads for more homely purposes; while a third party believes them to have seried the blade of the British battle axe. There are engravings of Celts in several of our county histories; and a plate, representing a considerable variety of specimens, is inserted in Gougli's edition of Camden's Britannia (Edit. 1806.) It is understood that Mr. Brition las collected materials for a dissertation on these and other relics of British antiquity, and proposes to publish a volume op the subject, introductory to his work intituled Architectural antiquities.

Besides the tumuli thus appropriated to the inhumation of individuals, or of distinct families, it inay be observed, in this place, that it has been frequent, in most ages, for a heap of earth to be raised over the promiscuous remains of the less emi. went among those who perish on the field of battle. * These BATTLE BARROWS are easily distinguished from undoubted British tumuli, by the vast number of bones which they con



A new era in the history of Britain commences at the date of the Roman invasion of the island. Scenes of bloodshed, truly lamentable as they relate to the struggles between brave independent tribes, and a foreign enemy stimulated to conquest by ambition alone, usher to notice this period of history; but the achievements of the sword are so quickly followed by the pro. gress of those arts which civilize mankind and diguify human existence, that we are tempted to forget the penalties accruing from subjugation, and to view, in the success of the invader, only the progressive triumph of refinement over degrading rudejess.

I conduct with alacrity the reader to a brief examination of this Historical Era; and, as a necessary subject of preliminary discussion, I present a succinct account of the military operations of the Romans in this country, from the date of the first invasion under Cæsar, to the period at which, in a military capacity, they finally quitled Britain.

Julius Cæsar, who had long prosecuted a war in Gaul for the extension of the Roman empire, directed his ambitious views towards the neighbouring island of Britain, even whilst his entire success in Gaul was uncertain. He esfected his first landing, according to the calculation of Dr. Halley, on the 26th of August, in the year 55 before the commencement of the Christian Era. Without oblaining any important advantage, he quitted the island after a stay of little more than three weeks; hastened, as himself insinuates, by an apprehension of the quick approach of winter.


* This custom has descended even to the times of our fathers; three barrows were raised over the remains of the slain on the field of Culluden, so lately as the year 1746.

In the spring of the succeeding year (A. A. C. 54.) Cæsar, who had been making great preparations in Gaul for such an undertaking during the winter, again invaded Britain, and with a formidable power. His army consisted of five legions of infantry, and two thousand cavalry; and was transported in a fleet of more than eight hundred ships. The Britons had before ineffectually struggled to prevent his landing; but they now waited his approach on some rising ground, at the distance of several miles from the coast, and endeavoured to profit by the natural strength of the country, and their knowledge of its recesses. They had prepared for internal defence with vigour and discretion, having placed the sole conduct of the war in the hands of an individual prince, Cassivellaunus, or C'assibellinus.

This general directed the efforts of the Britons with admira. ble skill, and his army on several occasions displayed great valour; but a want of lasting unanimity amongst the confede: rated States, rendered unavailing the wisdom of the chief and the courage of the soldier. The capital of Cassivellaunus fell a prey to the enemy; and this brave privce was under the neces. sity of suing for peace, and of consenting that Britain should pay a yearly tribute to the Romans, and should deliver kostages, as pledges of good faith.

Thus ended Cæsar's second campaign in Britain, during which he did not penetrate farther into the interior of the country than Verolam, the capital of Cassivellaunus. He re-embarked for Gaul in the latter part of the mouth of September, in the same year in which he entered the islavd; and it is evident that he


made no greater a progress towards the conquest of Britain, thane consisted in bloodshed and ravage amongst a few of its most exposed states, as he raised no fort, nor left any military force to exact that obedience, which would appear to be inferred from the obligation of paying tribute, into which a part had entered in the name of the whole.* - When relieved from the second hostile visit of Julius Cæsar, Britain remained free from invasion for the term of ninety-seven years. During this period the island continued nominally tributary to Rome, and an occasional interchange of friendly circum

stances appears to have existed between the two countries. But · the Romans, in their pride of empire, looked with repugnance

on an intercourse with any people who were not the slaves of their authority. They often threatened hostility, for the purpose of subjugation; and, in the year of the Christian Era 43, they cominenced a war, destined to produce events highly curious and important in the British annals.

Iu this year, Aulus Plautius, by command of the Emperor Claudius, led from Gaul into Britain an army which consisted of


A new, and very ingenious, view of the political arts practised by Cæsar, in regard to his invasion of Britain, is presented in the history of Hertfordshire, under the article of " Early Inhabitants.” It is there observed that Cæsar, “having conquered the whole of the Belgic tribes of Gaul, was probably glad of so favourable an excuse as that of protecting the Celtic nations against the Belgæ of Britain, to extend his dominions over a new world, though he condescends, himself, to give a better reason, ris. that of punishing the Britons (meaning, evidertly, the Belgic Britons) for the assistance they had sent his enemies on the continent, who, were, indeed, their relations and countrymen. And ibis explains, at the same time, the alliance which the Celis, on their side, were so ready to make with him against the common enemy."

In another page of the same work, it is observed that "the object of the invasion is plainly proved, by the strong circumstance of the Celtic nations alone (the Iceni Magni, the Segontiaci, the Ancalites, the Bibroci, and the Cassii) who inhabited the country the most open to the irruptions of the Belgæ, immediately sending embassadoss to Cæsar."

« НазадПродовжити »