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called Druids, and by the national bards, and accordingly determined to effect their extermination. The island of Anglesea, or Mona, was their retreat their sacred island. Across the Menai Straits, over which the railway train now moves with the rapidity of the hurricane, the Roman general transported his infantry in shallow vessels, while his cavalry swam across the passage. On the shore of the island were armed men in dense array, women with dishevelled hair running amongst them like furies, clothed in dark robes, and bearing lighted torches. The Atè of the poets, with her burning brand and bloody sword, would seem to be the personification of these terrific women. Surrounding these multitudes were bands of Druids, lifting up their deprecating hands to Heaven with the most frantic gestures. The Roman soldiers were awe-struck, and with difficulty could be led on to attack such unwonted enemies. But priests, and women, and armed hosts at length fled before the terrors of an unsparing soldiery: multitudes perished by sword and fire, and the groves soon yielded to the Roman axe.
While Suetonius was thus occupied, Boadicea, queen of the Iceni,1 roused the Britons to make another effort for freedom. Urged on by their queen, the infuriated tribes avenged the insult to their religion by the slaughter of seventy thousand Romans and their supporters. Town after town, inhabited by the enemy, was reduced to ashes. On the return of Suetonius, however, a decisive battle was fought, in which 80,000 Britons are said to have been killed. Boadicea, who had led them to battle, swallowed poison rather than adorn a Roman triumph. Suetonius, following up his successes with too great severity, was recalled. Other Roman governors succeeded, whose policy was to conciliate the natives. The wise and just administration of Julius Agricola completed the conquest, and confirmed the supremacy of Rome. (Domitian, twelfth Emperor of Rome, A.D. 81.)
During the Roman dominion, Britain was divided into five provinces, each governed by a Praetor appointed by the Prefect. The tranquillity of the island was incessantly disturbed by the
1 One of the Briton tribes.
TO A.D. 448.]
inroads of the Picts and Scots, the fierce wild tenants of the Caledonian mountains, against whom a rampart had been erected by Agricola from the Forth to the Clyde. A second and more substantial wall was built from the Solway Firth to the Tyne, a distance of 80 miles, known as the wall of Adrian (fifteenth Emperor of Rome, A.D. 120). Some years after, this wall was strengthened and improved by the Emperor Severus (twenty-first Emperor of Rome), who died at York (A.D. 211).
When the Romans invaded this island, they found it, as we have seen, inhabited by various tribes, who, though habitually carrying on petty wars with each other, were prepared to unite against the common enemy. Though their clothing consisted only of the skins of wild beasts, which at that time abounded throughout the country, and though their armour was much inferior to that of the invaders, they had made some progress in the mechanical arts. This is sufficiently testified by the great Druidical temples-such as Stonehenge in Wiltshire-the war-chariots, the roads, and a few large stone erections of a more durable structure than the huts inhabited by the masses of the people. They were peculiarly distinguished by their bravery and determination, and by their independent bearing, even in the presence of their conquerors. The land was cultivated, and produced abundance of grain, which was gathered together in subterranean storehouses.
both agricultural and Christianity also found
During the four centuries of Roman occupation, the Britons made considerable progress in the erection of towns, the formation of municipal institutions, and in the arts of life. The resources of the country were largely developed mineral; and good roads were multiplied. its way into the island at this early period, and had its share of imperial persecution during its short existence here. It afterwards entirely disappeared under the Anglo-Saxons, until A.D. 597.
But the time had arrived when the great Roman empire, embracing most of the known world, was destined to be broken up by barbarian tribes from the north-the Goths, Vandals, and Huns. The situation of things in Italy was critical, and the Roman legions
were withdrawn from Britain to defend the imperial capital, A.D. 448.
STATE OF ENGLAND IN THE TIME OF THE ROMANS.
Centralisation was the characteristic mark of the Roman system of administration; in other words, all departments of governments centred in, and emanated from the emperor. Under him was the Prefect of Gaul, who included Britain in his prefecture. A vice-prefect ruled over Britain, which was divided into five provinces, each having a president or consul; these provinces were subdivided into cities, ninety-two of which existed in Britain under the Roman domination. The officers who administered the local affairs of each city were called the Curiales. They were men possessed of landed property, and performed all municipal functions, from that of the tax-gatherer to the chief magistrate, but had no political power, being; in point of fact, the unwilling servants of the prefectures of the provinces. Rome did all that a despotic government could do to develop the material resources and comforts of the nations whose destinies she ruled. Britain, when a Roman province, was traversed by roads, long, straight, and solid, of which there are remains to this day. She had cities with schools, temples, baths, and theatres; under her, British agriculture was so flourishing, that we are told the Emperor Julian fed the provinces along the Rhine, then desolated by war, with 600 barges full of corn from Britain. Her tin, lead, and iron mines were worked, and highly prized by the conquerors. It is described by a Roman writer as an island stored with corn, flourishing in pasture, and rich in variety of mines. During the Roman occupation of Britain, as has been already stated, Christianity was introduced, and the name of the Briton Saint Alban is on the list of martyrs who perished during the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. Beside our municipal institutions, the names of many of our months remind us of our Roman masters.
Questions-1. When and under whom did the Romans invade Britain? 2. What was the character and state of civilisation of the natives? 3. What measures did Suetonius take in order to reduce the Britons; and under whom was the conquest of the island completed? 4. Give in writing an account of the state of the country under the Roman rule.
INVASIONS OF THE PICTS AND SCOTS.
THE SAXON AND DANISH INVASIONS, AND THEIR DIVIDED RULE
THIS EPOCH IS MARKED BY THE INTRODUCTION OF
1. Settlement of Anglo-Saxon England.
INVASIONS OF THE PICTS AND SCOTS-THE SAXON OCCUPATION AND HEPTARCHY -MONARCHY UNDER EGBERT-DANISH INVASIONS.
WHEN the Britons were left to their own resources for repelling the incursions of the Picts and Scots, they found that long subjection had enervated their once warlike spirit. The profession of arms had been monopolized by their Roman masters. The northern incursions becoming more destructive, and spreading farther into the interior of the country, Vortigern, one of the British kings, invited the aid of the Saxons, a German tribe from the banks of the Elbe (A.D. 449), who had for a considerable time maintained close communication with Britain, and were established in small numbers on some parts of the coast. A band of Saxons, under the leadership of Hengist and Horsa, accordingly landed on the Isle of Thanet, at the mouth of the Thames. The Picts and Scots were successfully driven back to their mountain fastnesses, but the Britons found their
new friends more formidable than their old foes.
The alarm and
of Saxons and Angles daily landed on the island. jealousy of the Britons were at last awakened, but there was a want of union in their resistance, and the Saxons crushed them in detail. Prince Arthur is the name that shines out most brightly in this struggle of the Britons against the Saxon invaders—a struggle which lasted 150 years; and during which the island and its inhabitants lost all trace of Roman civilisation. The Britons were nearly exterminated; the survivors sought refuge in the mountains of Wales and in Cornwall; others crossed to Armorica, and gave their name to that part of the coast of France known as Brittany.
The Angles and Saxons now divided the country into seven kingdoms, called the Saxon Heptarchy, viz., Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Essex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia. During the existence of the Heptarchy, one of the seven kings was, by common consent, regarded as supreme, and bore the title of Bretwalda. The wars caused by the ambition and rivalries of the different kings to obtain this dignity make up the tissue of the history of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, varied only by the successive conversion of the Saxon kings to Christianity. When Ethelbert, king of Kent, was Bretwalda in the year 597, Pope Gregory sent Augustin and other monks as missionaries to England. The soil was in some degree prepared for them, as Bertha, Ethelbert's queen, daughter of Caribert, king of Paris, already professed the Christian faith. Ethelbert was ere long baptized, and his subjects followed his example. Augustin was the first archbishop of Canterbury, and "primate of all England." Christianity gradually superseded the old Saxon worship of Odin in the other kingdoms of the Heptarchy, but only after many fierce struggles. The history of its establishment was written by the venerable Bede, who lived cotemporary with the events he recorded, and whose virtues and learning form an agreeable contrast to the treachery and the destructive wars that signalized the period of the Heptarchy.
About the same time lived Alcuin of York, whose