Roman Britain

Roman Britain
Catalog # SKU1474
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Edward Conybeare


Roman Britain

By Edward Conybeare

In the present work my object has been to give a readable sketch of the historical growth and decay of Roman influence in Britain, illustrated by the archaeology of the period, rather than a mainly archaeological treatise with a bare outline of the history.


All history, as Professor Freeman so well points out, centres round the great name of Rome. For, of all the great divisions of the human race, it is the Aryan family which has come to the front. Assimilating, developing, and giving vastly wider scope to the highest forms of thought and religion originated by other families, notably the Semitic, the various Aryan nationalities form, and have formed for ages, the vanguard of civilization. These nationalities are now practically co-extensive with Christendom; and on them has been laid by Divine Providence "the white man's burden"-the task of raising the rest of mankind along with themselves to an ever higher level-social, material, intellectual, and spiritual.

Aryan history is thus, for all practical purposes, the history of mankind. And a mere glance at Aryan history shows how entirely its great central feature is the period during which all the leading forces of Aryanism were grouped and fused together under the world-wide Empire of Rome. In that Empire all the streams of our Ancient History find their end, and from that Empire all those of Modern History take their beginning. "All roads," says the proverb, "lead to Rome;" and this is emphatically true of the lines of historical research; for as we tread them we are conscious at every step of the Romani Nominis umbra, the all-pervading influence of "the mighty name of Rome."

And above all is this true of the history of Western Europe in general and of our own island in particular. For Britain, History (meaning thereby the more or less trustworthy record of political and social development) does not even begin till its destinies were drawn within the sphere of Roman influence. It is with Julius Caesar, that great writer (and yet greater maker) of History, that, for us, this record commences.

But before dealing with "Britain's tale" as connected with "Caesar's fate," it will be well to note briefly what earlier information ancient documents and remains can afford us with regard to our island and its inhabitants. With the earliest dwellers upon its soil of whom traces remain we are, indeed, scarcely concerned. For in the far-off days of the "River-bed" men (five thousand or five hundred thousand years ago, according as we accept the physicist's or the geologist's estimate of the age of our planet) Britain was not yet an island.

Neither the Channel nor the North Sea as yet cut it off from the Continent when those primaeval savages herded beside the banks of its streams, along with elephant and hippopotamus, bison and elk, bear and hyaena; amid whose remains we find their roughly-chipped flint axes and arrow-heads, the fire-marked stones which they used in boiling their water, and the sawn or broken bases of the antlers which for some unknown purpose6 they were in the habit of cutting up-perhaps, like the Lapps of to-day, to anchor their sledges withal in the snow. For the great Glacial Epoch, which had covered half the Northern Hemisphere with its mighty ice-sheet, was still, in their day, lingering on, and their environment was probably that of Northern Siberia to-day. Some archaeologists, indeed, hold that they are to this day represented by the Esquimaux races; but this theory cannot be considered in any way proved.

Whether, indeed, they were "men" at all, in any real sense of the word, may well be questioned. For of the many attempts which philosophers in all ages have made to define the word "man," the only one which is truly defensible is that which differentiates him from other animals, not by his physical or intellectual, but by his spiritual superiority. Many other creatures are as well adapted in bodily conformation for their environment, and the lowest savages are intellectually at a far lower level of development than the highest insects; but none stand in the same relation to the Unseen.

Softcover, 5" x 8", 325+ pages


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