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Longifrons) which is called “the Celtic short-horn," and others of the Kyloe or Argyllshire variety, which is hardly to be distinguished from the wild cattle of Chillingham, the descendants of Bos Primigenius. It has been doubted whether the sheep was known in these islands before the Roman invasions, chiefly because it is difficult to distinguish its remains from those of the goat. But the latest discoveries are in favour of the theory, that the goat had been superseded by the sheep as early as the beginning of the British Age of Bronze.?
With the aid of these details we can form a reasonably clear idea of the outdoor life of the people. And we are not without information concerning their social practices; for Posidonius has left us the description of a Gaulish banquet, which will help to explain the state of society among the Gauls who had settled in Britain. The traveller was delighted at the antique simplicity of his hosts, and amused at their Gallic frivolity and readiness for fighting at meal-times. “They were just like the people in Homer's time.” Not till after the feast might the stranger be asked his name and the purpose of his journey. But they differed from the Greek warriors in some ways, according to the minuter critics : for they thought a cut from the haunch to be the best part of the animal; even the Germans, their neighbours, had lost the heroic fashion, and roasted the joints separately instead of taking “long slices from the
1 On this part of the subject, see Prof. Rolleston's “Essay on the Prehistoric Fauna," in British Barrows (Greenwell & Rolleston), 730, 750. As to the domestic fowl, ibid. 730; the pig, ibid. 737; the sheep, ibid. 740; as to Bos Primigenius, ibid. 743.
2 Athen. iv. 151, 153; Strabo, iv. 277; Diod. Sic. v. 31; Eustath., in Iliad, iii. 271, viii. 321, pp. 915, 1606.
chines of pork”; and besides, he said, they drank milk, or wine unmixed with water. The guests sat on a carpet of rushes, or on skins of dogs and wolves, not far from the pots and spits of the fireplace; or they would sometimes sit in a circle on the grass in front of little tables,' on which the bread was set in baskets of British work. There was always plenty of meat, both roast and boiled, of which they partook“ rather after the fashion of lions,” for they would take up the joint and gnaw at it; but if a man could not get the meat off, he would use his little bronze knife, which he kept in a separate sheath by the side of his sword or dagger. They drank beer and hydromel, which was carried about in metal beakers or jugs of earthenware; and the boys were always busy at taking it round, because the guests only drank by little mouthfuls, “pouring the beer through their long moustaches like water through a sieve or a funnel.” The minstrels sang’ and the harpers
1 Compare the little tables of the Germans, “Sua cuique mensa” (Tac. Germ. c. 22). “Id est (says Brotier, in his Commentary) ex veteri populorum usu, et quum vorax erat hominum genus.”
2 Posidonius did not sufficiently appreciate the bards. “ The Celts (he said) take about with them a sort of parasites to sing their praises in public" (Strabo iv. 277; Diod. Sic. v. 31). Compare the description of the Irish minstrels in Froissart's Chronicle. A knight of the court of Richard the Second was appointed to look after four Irish kings. “When they were seated at table, they would make their minstrels and principal servants sit beside them, and eat from their plates and drink from their cups. They told me that this was a praiseworthy custom of their country, where everything was in common. I permitted this to be done for three days; but on the fourth I ordered the tables to be laid and covered properly, placing the kings at a high table, the minstrels at one below, and the servants lower still. The kings looked at each other and refused to eat, saying that I had deprived them of their old custom in which they had been brought up." (Froiss. Chron. iv. c. 84.) See the Irish travels of Barnaby Rich, Logan, Scottish Gael. ii. 147.
played, and as the company drank they bowed to the right, in honour of their god. The guests sat in three rings,nobles, shield-bearers, and javelin-men, all in order of their precedence, and everyone of whatever rank had his full share of the meat and drink. If the warriors quarrelled about their helping of food, or on any matter of precedence, they would get up and fight the question out to the death ; and in more ancient times the strongest man would seize the joint and defy the company to mortal combat. If no duel occurred during the meal, the guests were entertained with a sword-play, or sometimes a man would die to amuse the rest. The careless Gaul would bargain for a reward to be paid to his friends, and then would lie down on his long shield and allow his throat to be cut or his body to be transfixed with a lance.
1 For the German quarrels at meals, see Tac. Germ. C. 22. For the sword-play, ibid. c. 24. “They have but one kind of show, and they use it at every gathering. Naked lads, who know the game, leap among swords and in front of spears. Practice gives cleverness, and cleverness grace : but it is not a trade, or a thing done for hire ; however venturesome the sport, their only payment is the delight of the crowd.”
CELTS AND NON-CELTIC TRIBES.
The population outside the Gaulish settlements.- Insular Celts. —Pre-Celtic tribes. —
How classified.—The Stone Age.—Bronze Age.--Iron Age. -Evidence of sequence in use of metals.-Special evidence as to Britain.-Remains of Palæolithic Age.Britons of the Later Stone Age. — Tombs of the kings.-Cromlechs-Rites and superstitions connected with them-Examples. —Stories of Wayland's Smithy.Trous des Nutons.--Classification of barrows - Chambered and unchambered varieties—Their contents.-Physical characteristics of the Tomb-builders. — The nature of their society.–Lake-dwellings.-Survival of the neolithic race.—Legends of Irish bards.— The Firbolgs. - Black Celts. — The Silures—Their character and habits.--Commencement of Bronze Age-On the Continent-In Britain.—Tribes of Finnish type-Contents of their barrows-Implements–Ornaments—Their agriculture-Nature of their society.
‘HE Gaulish settlers had become so nearly civilized,
that they were ready to adopt the fashions of the South almost as soon as they felt the approach of the
Their fitful spirit yielded in advance; and their conquerors observed with contempt “how soon sloth following on ease crept over them, and how they lost their courage along with their freedom.” Henceforth we shall have to do with the history of bolder races, as much excelling the Gauls in the vigour and ingenuity of their defence, as they fell short in matters of culture and refinement.
The districts undisturbed by the new colonies were held by the Celts of an earlier immigration, save where the remoter or less desirable regions may have been retained by tribes surviving from the ages of stone and bronze. We shall be concerned later with the history of the Celtic Clans; but we must begin by analyzing in the first place the more primitive elements, of which the presence is still to be observed in portions of the modern population.
The periods of pre-historic time, so far as relate to the growth of our own society, are usefully distinguished by the transitions from the possession of polished Aint and bone to that of bronze and afterwards of iron and steel. The date at which a metal or alloy became known to particular peoples must have depended in each case on a variety of local circumstances. No one speaking generally for all the world could tell whether the working of iron preceded or followed the manufacture of bronze. The existence of the alloy implies a previous knowledge of the components. Copper "celts” are found in Ireland and Switzerland, axes in Scotland, Scania, Italy, and Hungary : 1 while the word "axe” itself is said to be phonologically the same as old Celtic names for copper; so that we may conclude that the invention of bronze was the result of an attempt to harden the edges of the weapons of pure copper.
. As to tin again, no remains have been found of its use in a pure state, except a few beads, coins, and knife-handles of comparatively recent times; but we are not without evidence that it was used in Central Asia many centuries before the Christian era, and its Eastern names imply that it was introduced to supply for some purposes the place which had before been given to lead; its western names have come from some unknown tongue prevailing in the countries frequented by the merchants.
These calculations would take us back to the vast antiquity of the Asian Empires. But if the inquiry is
1 Westropp, Prehist. Phases, 71 ; Wilde, Catal. R. I. Acad.