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 .
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
Remains of a medieval settlement in the Sudan:
ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME (AND CLASSICS)
That Atlantis garbage just won't go away:
EUROPE AND THE UK (+ Ireland)
Some pottery which may have 'belonged' to Robert the Bruce:
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
Feature on xray fluorescence for analyzing assorted artifacts:
EXHIBITIONS, AUCTIONS, AND MUSEUM-RELATED
Thrace and the Ancient World:
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