Brit-Am Historical Reports
28 March 2011 22 Adar-Sheni 5771
Strabo and Tacitus on Britain and Ireland:
2. Did Slavery make Scotia great?
3. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of
Explorator 13.49.


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1. Strabo and Tacitus on Britain and Ireland:
(a) Strabo on Britain and Ireland
Book IV Chapter 5
Most of the island is flat and overgrown with forests, although many of its districts are hilly. It bears grain, cattle, gold, silver, and iron. These things, accordingly, are exported from the island, as also hides, and slaves, and dogs that are by nature suited to the purposes of the chase; the Celti, however, use both these and the native dogs for the purposes of war too. The men of Britain are taller than the Celti, and not so yellow-haired, although their bodies are of looser build. The following is an indication of their size: I myself, in Rome, saw mere lads towering as much as half a foot above the tallest people in the city, although they were bandy-legged and presented no fair lines anywhere else in their figure. Their habits are in part like those of the Celti, but in part more simple and barbaric144 ? so much so that, on account of their inexperience, some of them, although well supplied with milk, make no cheese; and they have no experience in gardening or other agricultural pursuits. And they have powerful chieftains in their country.145 For the purposes of war they use chariots for the most part, just as some of the Celti do. The forests are their cities; for they fence in a p257spacious circular enclosure with trees which they have felled,146 and in that enclosure make huts for themselves and also pen up their cattle ? not, however, with the purpose of staying a long time.147 Their weather is more rainy than snowy; and on the days of clear sky fog prevails so long a time that throughout a whole day the sun is to be seen for only three or four hours round about midday. And this is the case also among the Morini and the Menapii and all the neighbours of the latter.

3 The Deified Caesar crossed over to the island twice, although he came back in haste, without accomplishing anything great or proceeding far into the island, not only on account of the quarrels that took place in the land of the Celti, among the barbarians and his own soldiers as well,148 but also on account of the fact that many of his ships had been lost at the time of the full moon, since the ebb-tides and the flood-tides got their increase at that time.149 However, he won two or three victories over the Britons, albeit he carried along only two legions of his army; and he brought back hostages, slaves, and quantities of the rest of the booty. At present, however, some of the chieftains there, after procuring the friendship of Caesar Augustus by sending embassies and by paying court to him,150 have not only dedicated offerings in the Capitol, but have also managed to make the whole of the island virtually Roman p259property. Further, they submit so easily to heavy duties, both on the exports from there to Celtica and on the imports from Celtica (these latter are ivorya chains and necklaces, and amber-gems151 and glass vessels and other petty wares of that sort), that there is no need of garrisoning the island; for one legion, at the least, and some cavalry would be required in order to carry off tribute from them, and the expense of the army would offset the tribute-money;152 in fact, the duties must necessarily be lessened if tribute is imposed, and, at the same time, dangers be encountered, if force is applied.

4 Besides some small islands round about Britain, there is also a large island, Ierne,153 which stretches parallel to Britain on the north, its breadth being greater than its length.154 Concerning this island I have nothing certain to tell, except that its inhabitants are more savage155 than the Britons, since they are man-eaters as well as heavy eaters,156 and since, further, they count it an honourable thing, when their fathers die, to devour them, and openly to have intercourse, not only with the other women, but also with their mothers and sisters; but I am saying this only with the understanding that I have no trustworthy p261witnesses for it; and yet, as for the matter of man-eating, that is said to be a custom of the Scythians also, and, in cases of necessity forced by sieges, the Celti,157 the Iberians,158 and several other peoples are said to have practised it.159

(b) Tacitus (Agricola):
Who were the original inhabitants of Britain, whether they were indigenous or foreign, is, as usual among barbarians, little known. Their physical characteristics are various and from these conclusions may be drawn. The red hair and large limbs of the inhabitants of Caledonia point clearly to a German origin. The dark complexion of the Silures, their usually curly hair, and the fact that Spain is the opposite shore to them, are an evidence that Iberians of a former date crossed over and occupied these parts. Those who are nearest to the Gauls are also like them, either from the permanent influence of original descent, or, because in countries which run out so far to meet each other, climate has produced similar physical qualities. But a general survey inclines me to believe that the Gauls established themselves in an island so near to them. Their religious belief may be traced in the strongly-marked British superstition. The language differs but little; there is the same boldness in challenging danger, and, when it is near, the same timidity in shrinking from it. The Britons, however, exhibit more spirit, as being a people whom a long peace has not yet enervated...

2. Did Slavery make Scotia great?
T. M. De vine

T. M. Devine is Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography and Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Citation Information. Britain and the World. Volume 4, Page 40-64 DOI 10.3366/brw.2011.0004, ISSN 2043-8567, Available Online March 2011 .
PDF plus

The relationship between slavery, the slave trade and British economic development remains a contested field of eighteenth century history. This article examines one hitherto unexplored aspect of the subject, the significance, if any, of profits derived from the slave-based economies of the Atlantic in Scotland's Great Leap Forward in the later eighteenth century. It is argued that because of the distinctive nature of Scottish development, compared to that of England, and the intimate connections between Scotland and plantation economies the question does merit serious consideration. The article, however, supports the traditional view that slave trading direct from Scottish ports was very limited, although Scottish merchants and mariners were often heavily involved in slave trafficking from London, Bristol and Liverpool. The key Scottish link was with the tobacco and sugar trades, plantation ownership in the Caribbean and as merchants, physicians, attorneys and overseers in the plantation economies. It is argued that in terms of both capital transfers and market opportunities slavery can indeed be considered one of the factors facilitating development in Scotland and was possibly a much more significant influence north of the border than in the industrialisation of England.

3. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of Explorator 13.49.
Remains of a medieval settlement in the Sudan:

An 11 000 years b.p. village site from Tel Qarasa (Syria):

Brief item on 'pagan' burials from Jaffa:

Nice feature on Temple Mount:

The 'Small Kotel' is not a holy site, apparently:

Pondering funding for Israel heritage sites:

Dr Leen Ritmeyer's Blog:


That Atlantis garbage just won't go away:

Visit our blog:
Some pottery which may have 'belonged' to Robert the Bruce:

They're building a replica Anglo Saxon burial chamber at Sutton Hoo:

Testing whether Iron Age hillforts in Wales communicated with fire signals:

This seems to be a followup to the find (almost three years ago) of some
intact brain tissue in a skull found when the University of York was doing some expanding:

Archaeology in Europe Blog:


Ancient human trash heaps as a source for Everglades tree islands:

... and Native Americans were transforming landscapes elsewhere as well:

Interesting feature on the Times of London's coverage of the US Civil War:


Feature on the Inca Empire:

More on what might be Captain Morgan's cannons:

Mike Ruggeri's Ancient Americas Breaking News:
Feature on xray fluorescence for analyzing assorted artifacts:

Interesting item on historical tsunamis in the Mediterranean:


Hadrian's Wall:


Archaeology Briefs:

Taygete Atlantis excavations blogs aggregator:


The recently-uncovered Hirbet Midras mosaics were vandalized:

Thrace and the Ancient World:


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