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drawn, and then, “their former foes, like ravening wolves rushing upon the field left without a shepherd, wafted across by the force of the oarsmen, and the blast of the wind, broke through the boundaries, spread slaughter on every side, and overran the whole country.” Again a legion was sent, but was withdrawn with a notice that no further assistance would be accorded to the island. “No sooner were they gone,” continues Gildas, " than the Picts and Scots landed from their boats, in which they had been borne across the Cichian Valley (the Irish Channel).” The Britons "left their cities, abandoned the protection of the Wall, and dispersed in flight; and the enemy pursued them with more unrelenting cruelty than before, and butchered our countrymen like sheep."
“The power of the Cruithnians (Picts) and of the Gaels (Scots) advanced into the heart of Britain,” says Nennius, “and drove them to the Tin (Tyne). ... Their power continually increased over Britain, so that it became heavier than the Roman tribute ; because the object aimed at by the Northern Cruithnians and Gaels was the total expulsion of the Britons from their lands.” 18
“Great was the power of the Gael over Britain,” says an early Irish writer, Cormac, b. 831, d. 903. “They divided Alba (i.e., Albion=Britain) amongst them in districts . . . and their residences and royal forts were built there.” He mentions Glastonbury as in their hands, and the fort of Mac Lethain in the hands of the Cornish Britons. 19
In the meantime the Saxon pirates had ravaged and depopulated Armorica. Sidonius Apollinaris shows us what devastation they wrought, and how they extended their attacks as far south as the Saintonge. 20 To more completely sweep the country they, planted stations along the coast from which they penetrated inland, burning and slaughtering:21 The results of these raids are revealed by the spade at this day. All the old sites of Roman-Gaulish towns in Brittany lie buried under beds of ashes.22
Finally, as Procopius says, the region of Armorica was the most desert in all Gaul.23 This peninsula accordingly offered a field for settlement by Britons flying from the swords of the Picts and Scots. The exodus began in the fifth century, but it was renewed, and the
18 Irish Nennius, ed. Todd & Herbert, 1848, p. 73. 19 Glossary of Cormac, ed. W. Stokes, 1862, pp. xlviii, xlix. 20 Sidon. Apoll., Paneg. Aviti, vv. 370-2, 348-50. 21 Greg. Turon., Hist. Franc., ii, 18, 19; V, 27; x, 9. 22 De la Borderie, Hist. de Bretagne, t. i, 221–225. 23 De Bello Gothico, iv, 20.
Britons came over in great masses when the Angle, Jute and Saxon obtained a foothold in Britain and rolled back the natives to the Severn.
Three main principalities had been founded in Armorica before the new rush of colonists, flying from the Saxons. These were the principalities of Dumnonia, Cornubia and Venetia, afterwards called Bro-weroc. There was another very soon absorbed into Dumnonia, that of Léon, and Po-her was a county in the folds of the Monts d'Arrée and the Montaignes Noires which eventually fell to Cornubia, but which was for a while closely connected with Dumnonia. It is reasonable to suppose that natives of insular Dumnonia, or Devon, flying before the inrush of the Irish, had settled Armorican Dumnonia and given to it the name it bore. So, also, we may suppose that Cornubia received its settlers from Cornwall, whence also the natives were driven by the Irish, who seized on the Land's End and Lizard districts, as also by a great body of emigrants from Gwent. Caerleon may have furnished the settlers who gave the name to Léon.
Vannes, Nantes and Rennes remained Gallo-Roman cities, as hostile in feeling to the new colonists as they were to the new Frank kingdom.
At first, probably, the settlers maintained a political connexion with the mother country. This is implied by a passage in the Life of S. Leonore, “Fuit vir unus in Britanicia ultra mare, nomine Rigaldus, qui in nostra primus venit citra mare habitare provincia, qui dux fuit Britonum ultra et citra mare usque ad mortem.” 24
What makes this probable is that we meet with the names of the Dumnonian princes Geraint and Selyf or Solomon, in Armorica, as though certain lands had been reserved to them as royal domain in the newly settled lands. But if this recognition of the British princes was at first allowed it cannot have endured for long.
How completely Armorica became settled from Britain appears from many allusions. Thus in the Life of S. Illtyd we read :-“ Letavia. . . sumpsit originem a matre Britannia. Erudita fuit a matre, filia.” 25
The biographer of S. Padarn, a late writer, gives us the traditions : “Corus ecclesiasticus Monachorum Letaviam deserens Brittanie meditabantur oras appetere.... Caterva sanctorum ad originem unde exierunt, transmittit sub ducibus." 26
The Book of Llan Dâv, with reference to Guidnerth, of Gwent, who for the murder of his brother was sent on pilgrimage, says that he departed for Armorica, as “Guidnerth himself and the Britons and the archbishop of that land were of one tongue and of one nation, although divided by a tract of land.” 27
24 De Smedt, Catalogus Codicum Hagiograph. in Bibl. Nat. Parisiens. ii, 153. 25 Cambro-British Saints, p. 158.
26 Ibid., p. 189.
We are obliged to repose largely on inference with regard to the earliest settlement of Britons in Armorica prior to the migration of the first half of the 6th century. But when we come to the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, it is otherwise, we have documentary evidence concerning that.
Gildas, after describing in his inflated style the miseries of his native Britain, goes on to say :-“ Some of the wretched remnant were consequently captured on the mountains and killed in heaps. Others, overcome by hunger, came and yielded themselves to the enemies, to be their slaves for ever, if they were not instantly slain, which was equivalent to the highest service. Others repaired to parts beyond the sea, with strong lamentation, as if, instead of the oarsman's call, singing thus beneath the swelling sails, “Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for eating, and among the Gentiles hast Thou scattered us.'” 28 Gildas does not say whither the British refugees betook themselves, that we learn from other sources.
Eginhard, writing under the date 786, says : “At the period when insular Britain was invaded by the Angles and Saxons, a large portion of its inhabitants traversed the sea and came to occupy the country of the Veneti and the Curiosoliti, at the extremity of Gaul.” 29
Procopius says : “ The isle of Britain is inhabited by three nations that are very numerous, each having its own king, the Angles, the Frisians (i.e., Saxons) and the Britons. These nations possess such an abundance of men, that annually a number of them quit the isle along with wives and children, and emigrate to the Franks, who assign to them as dwelling the most distant portion of their empire.” 30
Procopius, living at Byzantium, was ill-informed. There is no evidence of Saxons and Angles settling in the extremities of Gaul, though there is of“ Frisians ” ravaging the north coast of Brittany. Ernold Nigellus, in 834, also speaks of the migration to Armorica, and says that it was conducted peaceably.
The author of the Life of S. Winwaloe says :—“The sons of the Britons, leaving the British sea, landed on these shores, at a period when the barbarian Saxon conquered the Isle. These children of a beloved race established themselves in this country, glad to find repose after so many griefs. In the meantime, the unfortunate Britons who had not quitted their country, were decimated by plague. Their corpses lay without sepulture. The major portion of the isle was depopulated. Then a small number of men who had escaped the sword of the invaders abandoned their native land, to seek refuge, some among the Scots, the rest in Belgic Gaul.” 31 Wrdistan wrote this in the ninth century, but he rested his statements on early authorities, though for this particular fact he quotes only popular tradition, “ut vulgo refertur.”
27 Book of Llan Dâv, p. 181.
29 “ Cum ab Anglis et Saxonibus Britannia fuisset invasa, magna pars incolarum ejus mare trajicentes, in ultimis Galliæ finibus, Venetorum et Curiosolitarum regiones occupavit." Annal., ann. 786.
30 De Bello Gothico, iv, 20.
To about the years 460 or 470, in documents relating to Armorica, that name prevails, and the inhabitants are spoken of as Veneti, Ossismi, Curiosoliti, Redones, or Naneti. But from that date all is altered. The name of Armorica disappears, the ancient peoples are no more spoken of, but the land is entitled Lesser Britain, and the inhabitants are Britons. 32
The linguistic evidence is conclusive as to the extent and completeness of the colonisation. “The Armorican Breton tongue was not only closely akin to that of the insular British or Welsh, it was identical with it.” 33 Now, if there had been a mere infiltration of colonists, the result would have been a fusion of the British with the base Gallo-Latin of the inhabitants. But this did not take place. The Gallo-Roman population had disappeared out of the country places, and remained only in the towns. Those natives who clung to the fields and woods were of the original non-Aryan stock, and probably still retained their agglutinative tongue.
M. de Courson 34 first promulgated the theory that the settlers in Breton Cornubia were refugees from the North of Britain, and he was followed by M. de la Borderie. According to him the Otadini of the Wall fled before the Picts and found a home in Armorica, and founded the settlement of Cornubia there. He relied on no
31 Britannia insula, de qua stirpis nostra origo olim, ut vulgo refertur, processit . . . Longe ab hujus moribus parvam distasse sobolem suam non opinor, quæ quondam ratibus ad istam devecta est, citra mare Britannicum, terram tempore non alio quo gens—barbara dudum, aspera jam armis, moribus indiscreta-Saxonum maternum possedit cespitem. Hinc se cara soboles in istum conclusit sinum, quo se tuta loco, magnis laboribus fessa, ad oram concessit sine bello quieta.” Vita S. Winwaloei, i, 1.
32 De la Borderie, Hist. de Bretagne, i, p. 248.
34 De Courson, La Bretagne, Paris, 1863, p. 163; De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretagne, i, pp. 301--2. J. Loth, in Revue Celtique, t. xxv, p. 91 et seq.