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Object of the work. — Prehistoric inhabitants of Britain.—The Welsh bards on the first
settlement. — The ancient Fauna of the island.—Commencement of authentic history. --The Hyperborean legends. The travels of Pytheas in Britain-Fragments of his writings. - Marseilles in the age of Alexander the Great-Her commerce.—Rivalry with Carthage.—Mineral riches of Spain.--Extensive deposits of tin.-Manufacture of bronze.—The Phænician commerce.—The visit of Scipios to Marseilles.- Plans for interfering with trade of Carthage.-Voyage of discovery proposed.— The scientific discoveries of Pytheas—He is chosen as leader of an expedition--His writings:--Course of the expedition.-Gadeira.—The Tagus.-Erroneous notions of Spanish geography.--Havens of the Artabri.—Situation of the Cassiterides on Spanish coast. — Description of the inhabitants.-Visit of Publius Crassus. — Theory that the Cassiterides were the Scilly Islands discussed.--Carthaginian discoveries. — The voyages of Hanno and Himilco.-Course of Himilco's
-The tindistricts. — The Sargasso Sea. — Teneriffe.— Pytheas at Finisterre. - Religious rites of natives. —The Pyrenees.- The Ligurian shore.—The Loire and Island of Amnis. - Barbarous ritual.—The Morbihan and Celtic Islands. - The College of Druidesses. - Voyage to Britain. --Albion and lerne. — Pytheas travels in Britain.--His observations. -- Erroneous measurements.-Ancient ideas of the extent of the world. — State of Kent and Southern Britain.-Wheat-cultivation.--Metheglin and beer.-Agriculture. -Mode of dressing corn.—Pytheas did not visit Ireland, or the West of Britain. - Traditions of Stonehenge. - British trade in tin. - British coins from Greek models.- Districts where tin is found.—The Island of Mictis or Ictis—Its situation-Probably to be identified with Thanet.- Visit of Posidonius. -Description of tin-works. —Portus Itius.—Thanet formerly an island.—St. Michael's Mount formerly situated inland.
'HE following chapters are the result of an attempt
to rearrange in a convenient form what is known of the history of this country from those obscure ages which preceded the Roman invasions to the time when the English accepted the Christian religion and the civilising influences of the Church. The subject must always be interesting to those who care to trace the development of society from its remote and savage beginnings. The compiler's task is lightened by the labours of a multitude of scholars, from the Greek travellers who first explored the wonders of the northern world to the Welsh scribe who might have seen King Arthur; and from them to the
masters of comparative history who have lately traced the origin and growth of most of our modern institutions. The compilation may still be useful or convenient, though the field has been well laboured for centuries, and “hardly a gleaning-grape or ear of corn is left when the vintage and harvest are done."
The really prehistoric times are the province of the archæologist, and must be explored by his technical methods, though every one who approaches the subject of English history must feel a desire to know something of all kinds of men who have colonised or traversed our islands. Our principal ancestors, no doubt, came late from the shores and flats between the Rhine and the Gulf of Bothnia. But the English nation is compounded of the blood of many different races; and we might claim a personal interest not only in the Gaelic and Belgic tribes who struggled with the Roman legions, but even in the first cave-men who sought their prey by the slowly-receding ice-fields, and the
forgotten peoples, whose relics are explored in the sites of lakevillages or seaside refuse-heaps or in the funeral mounds, or whose memory is barely preserved in the names of mountains and rivers. For it is hardly possible that a race should ever be quite exterminated or extinguished : the blood of the conquerors must in time become mixed with that of the conquered; and the preservation of men for slaves and of women for wives will always insure the continued existence of the inferior race, however much it may lose of its original appearance, manners, or language.
The Welsh bards indulged their fancy in describing the state of Britain before the arrival of man. According to the authors of the earliest Triads, the swarms of wild bees in the woods gave its first name to the “ Isle of Honey": and the first settlers were supposed to marvel at the bears and wolves, the humped cattle of the forest, and the colonies of beavers in the streams. We need not follow the poet in his prehistoric flight, but we may be sure that down to the dawn of history a great part of the island must have been given over to wild beasts : even late in the historical period the Scottish bears were known in the Roman circus, the beavers' colonies were remembered in Wales and Yorkshire, and the wolf and wild boar lingered until the end of the 17th century in the more remote recesses of the island.
1 The Scotch bear is mentioned by Martial: “ Nuda Caledonio sic pectora præbuit urso.” Wolves became extinct in England soon after the reign of Edward I., but the last is said to have been destroyed in Scotland in A.D. 1697. In Ireland they lasted for another generation. The manor of Henwick, in Northamptonshire, was held by the family of Lovett, or Luvet, by the service of chasing the wolf, “ fugacionem lupi quam dictus Johannes mihi pro terrâ de Henwyht debebat.” (Nichol. Collect. Topogr., vi. 300.) The Luvets bore for their arms “ Argent, three wolves passant in pale sable armed and langued gules.” The service of the Luvets is recognised in a fine between Engaine and Luvet, in the roth year of King John. The record called the “Testa de Nevil” contains an entry as to the grant, by William the Conqueror to Robert de Umfreville, of the valley and forest of Riddesdale, by the service of defending that part of the country from enemies and wolves, with the sword which the King wore, when he first came to Northumberland. The family of Engaine held Pytchley, in Northamptonshire, by the service of hunting the wolf across the county wherever they pleased. (Pleas of the Crown, 3 Edw. I., 1. 20.) An inquisition on the death of John Engaine, in 31 Edw. I. (Calend. Geneal. 777), showed that he held other lands there by the service or rent of feeding the King's brach-hounds, kept for hunting wolves, wild cats, &c. The City of Norwich paid every year to Edward the Confessor“ a bear, and six dogs for the bear:” but the bears in the 11th century would be imported from abroad. Stow's “Survey of London” contains a wellknown description of the forest of Middlesex in the reign of Henry II., where the citizens were wont to hunt the wild bull and the boar on the hills of Hampstead. The reindeer was found in the north of Scotland as late as the 12th century, as will be afterwards more fully mentioned.
The authentic history of Britain begins in the age of Alexander the Great, in the fourth century before Christ, when the Greeks acquired an extensive knowledge of the western and northern countries from Gibraltar to the mouth of the Vistula, and as far north as the Arctic Circle. We shall show how the knowledge was acquired, and afterwards obscured by the inability of later writers to distinguish between the facts of travel and the incidents of popular romances. When these parts of the northern tracts were rediscovered many generations afterwards by the Romans, it had become impossible for them to separate history from fable, and they took credit for finding a new world, as if it had not all been described in their ancient books, So America and the regions of Central Africa were discovered and lost, and rediscovered and lost again, probably many times in succession : and so the colony of Old Greenland flourished for centuries, till it decayed from the ravages of plague and barbarian invasion, and for nearly 300 years
situation and direction were forgotten. The earliest literature of Greece shows the existence of
The wild cattle still remain at Chillingham, and in several other parks. The beaver was common in Wales, and has left its name at Beverley, and Nant-y-ffrangon, near Snowdon. “The beaver (says Prof. Boyd Dawkins) was hunted for its fur on the banks of the Teivi, in Cardiganshire, during the time of the first Crusade, and became extinct shortly afterwards.” (Cave-hunting, p. 76.) See p. 290 of the same learned work for a passage describing the fauna of the western districts in the Pleistocene age: “We must picture to ourselves a fertile plain occupying the whole of the Bristol Channel, and supporting herds of reindeer, horses, and bisons, many elephants, and rhinoceroses, and now and then traversed by a stray hippopotamus, which would afford abundant prey to the lions, bears, and hyænas inhabiting all the accessible caves, as well as to their great enemy and destroyer, Man.” On the whole subject of the prehistoric fauna see this work, and the same author's “Treatise on the Relation of the Pleistocene Mammalia to those now living in Europe, Palæont. Soc., 1874.”
a rumour or tradition that somewhere to the north of the Euxine and behind the Gulf of Adria, the resort of the amber-merchants, the Hyperborean people lived “at the back of the north wind,” and worshipped the Delian Apollo with hecatombs of wild asses in a land of perpetual sunshine, where the swans sung like nightingales, and life was an unending banquet. We need not pause very long over the consideration of the origin of these fancies, which acquired a fresh popularity when later poets and novelists incorporated the Boread legends with travellers’ descriptions of the ritual of a solar worship and the brightness of an arctic summer : but we will pass at once to a detailed
i Hyperboreans.—There are two distinct sets of Hyperborean legends, that appear to be generally confused together in those books, which deal with Stonehenge and the supposed relations of the ancient Britons with the Levant. The first is almost as old as Greek literature, and refers to the nations north of the Euxine, the countrymen of the Scythians Abaris and Anacharsis, and of the virgins who came to Delos. For these Hecatæus of Miletus was the chief authority: see the full details in Herodotus, iv. 32–36. For the orwv ékároußol, see Pindar's roth Pythian
Humboldt (Cosm. ii. 141, Sabine's Edn.) considered that the six gold-bearing regions of Altai, the kingdoms of the Arimaspi and griffins, were the sites of "the meteorological mythus" of these Hyperboreans. For a collection of information as to passages bearing on the locality of these Scythians, see Herbert's “Cyclops Christianus.” Niebuhr was inclined to place the Hyperboreans of Herodotus to the north of Italy. Herodotus himself offered no opinion, and iv. c. 36, “smiled to think that people were already writing circumnavigations of the world without knowing anything about geography." The earliest trace of acquaintance with the brief nights of the Northern summer is, perhaps, to be found in Odyssey X. 36, εγγύς γάρ νυκτός τε και ήματός εισι κέλευθοι.
The other set of traditions begins with the romance of Hecatæus of Abdera, a contemporary of Pytheas, who wove the stories about Britain and Scandinavia into connection with the more ancient legends. This at least is the author's theory, which he will endeavour to fortify by authority in a later chapter.