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first authentic record with which the history of Britain opened, viz., the Commentaries of Cæsar.
Cæsar found the greater part of the present Home and Midland Counties in the possession of the Belgians, whom he states to have been chiefly of German origin.* It appears to us that these statements of so accurate and
experienced an observer as Cæsar, whose informants were themselves Belgians, must be held to be conclusive, unless we can meet them with well-founded objections.
We find the Belgians in Britain, in Cæsar's time established chiefly in Kent, as we might expect from its situation being right opposite their coast on the continent, which commences, according to Cæsar, north of the Seine. The capital of Kent was, the same as at present, Durovernum (now Canterbury) situate near the coast where they had to make good their first footing in the country. Kent included, however, also Surrey, where London-then only confined to the south side of the Thames—was situate (Londinum retus oppidum, quod Augustum posteritus appellavit. AMMIAN. MARCELLIN. XXVII. 8). Kent, the first or original part of the Belgian occupancy in Britain, was accordingly also the largest individual part of it. From Kent the Belgian occupancy stretched in a straight line right across the country, including the present counties of Middlesex, Hertford (with the capital Verulanum, the present St. Alban's,) Essex, Berks, Wilts, and Hants. The Belgians were a settled agricultural people. They reared grain in abundance; they improved the land by the art of marling (Plin. Hist. Nat. xvii. 4, Tacit. Agric. xii. DIODOR v. 21). The density of the population, the great number of buildings, and cattle
* Cæsar, having inquired of the Legates of the Remi—the ancient occu. pants, under the same name, of the parts about Rheims—what state constituted the power of the Belgæ, is answered :— The majority of the Belgæ were derived from the Germans (Plerosque Belgas ortos esse ab Germanis). Having in the olden times crossed the Rhine, they settled in their present countries, on account of the fruitfulness of the soil, and expelled the Gauls, who inhabited the parts before them. Their numbers were known, because, united by, relationships, and affinities, it could be ascertained what numbers each chief could bring.'. The principal tribes are then enumerated, such as the Bellovaci (who could furnish 100,000 men), the Suessones, the Nervii, the Attrebates, the Ambioni, the Morini, the Menapii, the Calesi, Velocasses, Veromandui, Adnatici, the Condrusi, Eburones, Caerasi, and Paemoni, who were collectively called Germans (qui uno nomine Germani appellantur).-CAEs. Bell. Gall. iv. 11. Of the Belgæ in Britain, Cæsar says : --The interior of Britain is inhabited by those who are recorded to have been born in the island itself; whereas, the sea-coast is in the occupancy of immigrants from the country of the Belgæ.
All these are called by names nearly the same as those of the states they came from, names which they have retained in the country upon which they made war, and in the land whereon they settled.'-Ibid. v. 12.
appeared most striking to the Romans. They fought in chariots (esseda) on the axles of which formidable, well-tempered scythes were fastened. They had copper and iron money, and (at all events, under Cunobelin, the successor of Cassibelaunus-Shakespeare's Cymbeline)-gold coin, which still exists. What a decided advance in arts and general civilization does not all this pre-suppose, and what an immense contrast does it not form with the savage state of the natives !
It was clearly, by the instrumentality of this early Germanic settlement, that a deep, indelible impress was given to the heart of England-embracing all the “Home” counties-which has rendered these parts pre-eminently English, that is Germanic. We find in these Belgian districts of Britain many local names preserved from the times anterior to the Roman period, to the present day; for the subsequent German immigrants, finding these names, either originally German or adopted—and, as it were, adapted — by previous German settlers, retained them, whereas the names of localities in the British districts were either entirely changed or strongly modified. Kent (Cantium) is the only name of à county that has been preserved from the pre-Roman time. The name appears to be clearly German, and not British. Zeuss, in his 'Grammatica Celtica,' derives, indeed, Cantium from cann, white, on account of the white colour of its shore. The word was naturally retained for the whole district; for here, on the Kanti coast, the Belgians, had, of course, to make good their first footing, and from thence they spread across the island. The inhabitants, during the Anglo-saxon period, showed their clear understanding of the name by calling themselves Kant-woere (Latin Cantuarii), the dwellers on the Kant or Kanti (coast).
It is also very likely that the name of London, another of those names preserved from the pre-Roman time, is of Belgian, and not of British origin. The final dun, dunum, dinum, in the names of towns, is generally claimed to be exclusively Gallic or British, but we do not see on what grounds. The Low German has not only the word Dun, (a hill) in common use, in the full original form, (High Germ. Düne, Engl. Downs, French, Dunes, Dutch, Duynen), but it has also the root of the words, viz., dunen, to swell.
The Gavelkind, or law of succession peculiar to Kent, known to have existed in the pre-Roman time, and in force up to recent times, has been proved to consist of usages purely Germanic, and has, like the local names, been in uninterrupted continuance on account of the uninterrupted Germanic character of the county.
From those early times onward, all through the Roman period,
the German influx into Britain scems to have proceeded without interruption. It was undoubtedly much promoted through the instrumentality of the German troops, who always constituted a considerable part of the imperial armies. Agricola had already the German cohorts of the Usipii.
Very soon the Saxons make their appearance as enemies, at first --where one would have least expected them-on the northern frontier of Roman Britain. Ammianus Marcellinus, says, under A.D. 264:— The Picts, the Saxons, the Scots and the Attacots, harassed the Britons with continued troubles.
But we have in the third century German enemies by no means merely on the frontier; we have them already in the heart of the country. Mamertinus, ' Panegyric on the Emp. Maximian,' says (about A.D. 300) that the Roman army had defeated within the city of London a hostile army of Franks, who had sacked the town. We have thus hostile Franks in Middlesex, under Dioclesian, 200 years before the epoch of Hengist.
Such continued contests with the German people in Britain at that period, shew that Constantius had by no means succeeded in reducing them, after the fall of Allectus, the successor of Carausius, to such a complete subjection as is otherwise stated. That rebellion of Carausius we deem the eventful period which, more than any other, has contributed to the effectual Germanization of this country.
As the power of Carausius and his successor rested on the German population, they endeavoured as much as possible to augment and strengthen it. They reigned by Frank warriors, and were in alliance with the Saxons. Their reign signifies nothing less than the preponderance, independence, and consolidation of the Germanic element in Britain. The Roman rule was not again virtually restored in Britain.
Anno Domini 306, Constantius died at York, and Constantine, his son, assisted by all who were near, but especially by Erocus, king of the Alemanni, assumed the empire. Aurelius Victor, now Erocus, king of the Alemanni, accompanied Constantine as an ally, so that there were Alemanni in Yorkshire, as well as Franks in Middlesex; and both too as more or less independent populations.
We now come to a period of the utmost importance in the Germanisation of Britain.
The Notitia Dignitatum Utriusque Imperii, a list attributed to some time between the reigns of Valens and Honorius (A. D. 369 -408) mentions the jurisdiction of the Count of the Saxon Shore
in Britain. Sub dispositione viri spectabilis Comitis Littoris Saxonici per '
Britanniam,' are, etc. Earlier writers speak merely of the Comes maritimi tractus.' This is the same dignity that was continued afterwards as the Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Comes Littoris Saxonici had, however, nine ports, including Brancaster, in Norfolk; and Pevensey, in Sussex. The present vir spectabilis Comes Littoris Saxonici, is Viscount Palmerston.
We have, therefore, already in the latter half of the fourth century, still a hundred years before Hengist, a regularly recognized . Saxon' population, extending from the Wash to Southampton Water. That the Franks, who about seventy years previously, had sacked London, belonged to these Saxons, admits of but little doubt. The terms Saxons, Franks, Belgians, Alemanni, Suevi (Swabians), are in these earlier times applied with little accuracy to various German tribes, as could not otherwise be expected, these denominations not applying to particular tribes, but to confederations, to which, at different times, different tribes might belong. The Menapians, e.g. are in Cæsar mentioned as belonging to the Belgians; in Ireland, according to Ptolemy, we find them associated with the Chauci, a tribe forming the very heart of the subsequent Saxon confederation; and finally, we find the Menapians reckoned as Franks.
In the meantime, the Roman troops who had to hold this German population in subjection, were themselves, to a considerable extent, Germans, The Notitia mentions as German cohorts under the Comes Litt. Saxon., the Tungricani, stationed at Dubris (Dover); the Tungri, at Borcovicum; the Turnacenses, at Lemanus (Lymne); the Batavians, at Procolitia.
We now approach the time when, according to the usual accounts, the great immigration of those Angles took place, who, as is stated, coming over from the mouth of the Elbe, in the small craft then used, in one vast body, settled forth with in this country, at that period entirely occupied by the aboriginal British population, who, judging from the absence of any traces of them in the tracts thus occupied by the Angles (or Anglo-Saxons), must have been entirely exterminated. We have seen, from our previous data, hitherto well authenticated, that there existed already in Britain, at the very commencement of British history, and probably long before Cæsar's invasion, a large consolidated German population, the result of continuous and increasing immigrations and much augmented during the two last centuries of the Roman epoch. These immigrants had gradually and by small settlements spread over the greater part of eastern and central Britain. The explanation of the discrepancy here involved by Lappenberg (History of England), being one of the greatest masterpieces of historical criticism extant, has conclusively established the utter worthlessness of the historical account, respecting the Anglian settlement in Britain, and clearly proved it to rest on a purely mythological and poetical base. We have no historical account whatever of the Anglian settlement in Britain. Hengist and Horsa are no more historical personages, than their great grandfather Wodan. The first authentic date is of A. D. 597, the date of the celebrated letters of Gregory to St. Augustin and Bishop Etherius (BEDE, Hist. Eccl., i. 25.) This shows us that at that date the Angles were already fully established in this country.
The fact that, previous to the retreat of the Romans, the Angles in Britain are never mentioned, appears to prove negatively that up to that time no advent of any numerous bodies of Angles had taken place, and in that respect confirms in a general manner the date usually assumed for the immigration of the Angles, viz., the latter half of the fifth century.
On the other hand, the Angles in their original home in Germany, are mentioned very early, and by the best authors. Tacitus, (Germ. 40, says :— The Longobardi (ascertained to have dwelt on the Elbe in the tract between Luneburg and Magdeburg), are ennobled by the smallness of their numbers; since, though surrounded by many powerful nations, they derive security, not from obsequiousness, but from their martial enterprise. The neighbouring Reudigni, and the Aviones, Angli, Varini, Eudoses, Suardones and Nuithones, are defended by rivers and forests. Nothing remarkable occurs in any of these, except that they unite in the worship of Hertha, or mother earth (nisi quod in commune Hertham, id est, Terram Matrem colunt), and suppose her to interfere in the affairs of men, and to visit the different nations. island of the ocean stands a sacred and unviolated grove, in which is a consecrated chariot, covered with a veil, which the priest alone is allowed to touch. The island mentioned, is presumed to be Heligoland (Hilgoland, Heiligeland, Holyland), at the mouth of the Elbe, both name and place agreeing. Ptolemy says: 'Of the nations of the interior, the greatest is that of the Suevi Angili, who are the most eastern of the Longobardi, stretching as far northward as the middle Elbe. Strabo coincides with these statements.
The term Suevi in Ptolemy, is to us of no significance, as we