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attack. But that when at peace they lived in cities formed of commodiously constructed houses, and even public edifices, is apparent from Caesar's own words : “The people are innumerable and the buildings multitudinous, and not unlike those of the Gauls.” Were these people only in the woods Caesar could not have seen them : were the forest citadels their only towns, where were the multitudes of buildings ? It must, therefore, be admitted that they lived in towns, with structural houses and, indeed, public edifices, as their buildings are compared with those of the Gauls.
Caesar's statement is the more surprising because the word he uses,“ aedificia”, was really then coming into general use at Rome from the stone edifices then erecting for public and private purposes in Rome. The houses in Rome itself, as well as in the cities of Europe generally, were, previous to his invasion of Britain, wooden structures, after the style of those still used by the Gabii in Latium, and as seen in ancient sculptures in Rome. On the Antonine column, and elsewhere, two kinds of Gaulish buildings are sculptured, the oblong rectangular hut of occupation, and lofty circular structures, apparently temples, as the native temples of Etruria, Latium, etc., were of that form and style. One still exists in Rome: the Temple of Vesta. The word aedes would have been used if only dwellings were under his observation, but the word aedificia, then as now, implied properlyconstructed edifices—a term applied generally to public structures, whether for civil or religious purposes. It is clear that, overcome by surprise, Caesar admits the important, if not the imposing, aspect of the British cities; not taking into account the grandeur which was at the moment converting Rome, by means of its superb temples and palaces, into the regal city of the world, through the enormous wealth derived from Eastern conquest. No one was more aware of this, from his knowledge of Rome, than Caesar, whose head-engineer, Mamurra, bis Praefectus fabrum in Gaul, was the first citizen who adorned his house with slabs of marble.1 The magnificence of new Rome was such that it drew forth the memorable comparison of Caractacus later on. The new private houses, at the time of Caesar, realised by sale, according to Pliny, from £30,000 and upwards of our money ; that of Clodius cost 131,000, and that of Scaurus 100,000 sestertia, or nearly £900,000 sterling, i.e., about nine-tenths of a million ; and, comparing the value of money then and now, this must have amounted to over £2,000,000. If my memory serves me, it was Caesar who first introduced the pediment, previously sacred to the temples of the gods, into a feature of domestic architecture on his own house.
1 Pliny, It. N., xxxvi, 7.
With a crowded population living in thickly-accumulated houses, the word, “ creberrima”, implying not only many, but close or thickly placed (“ aedificia”) buildings, it is manifest that the so-called “towns” in the woods were, as already stated Caesar distinctly asserts, constructed to avoid the warlike attacks of military assailants (incursiones hostium) from the incursion of an enemy, and were only used in cases of such danger.
Let us view them as Caesar represents them when not in such military seclusion, and they will be found to be a civilised and commercial people, using well-known public roads of traffic, and living in towns, apparently with public buildings, including even theatres, for they bred animals for their domestic and civic sports, as well as hounds for hunting.
They were, as Caesar describes, perfect horsemen, and, as skins were in those days a grand feature in commerce, not only for clothing and tents, but, as he also describes, for the sails of vessels, their hunting must have been a daily vocation and a highly remunerative calling.
They were importers and exporters of goods, some of which are specified by Caesar, knew the nature and value of metals, had metal as a circulating commercial medium, were road-makers, builders of chariots and vehicles of traffic, and must have been metallurgists of no ordinary kind, as their long swords and the scythes to their chariot wheels, and generally offensive and defensive armour, prove.
They were under laws and were ruled by kings, were
brave, open, and chivalric in war, good agriculturists, and extensive breeders of cattle ; and held sacred the highest religious views ever professed by any nations, ancient or modern, viz., a future state of reward and punishment for the acts done in human life.
The one great blot mentioned by Caesar is evidently a misconstruction of the Oriental custom in force even amongst the Hebrews and the Brahmins—that of perpetuating descent by the widows of deceased brothers. This is clear from its being particularly referred by Caesar to the office of brotherhood. The acquittal of Tamar, as innocent of crime, shows also the similarity on another point which Caesar puts as exceptional. On the other hand, the Orders of their Society were based on consanguinity, were divided into ranks of purity and distinction, that is, into sacerdotal and military orders; and the bitterest insults that could be offered, as in the case of Boadicea and her daughters, were those of degrading their womanly sanctity.
Caesar, B. vi, ch. xx, speaks of those most distinguished by birth, evidently showing the honour attributed to pure descent; and though he is describing the Gaulish people, yet, as he points out that their institutions were derived from Britain, the same description, with even a stronger force, applied to the people of this island. Their philosophy was in advance of that of Pythagoras, as, though they held that the soul passed into other bodies, they never degraded their theory by including inferior animal nature as its habitat.
But beyond this, all the nations on both sides of the Channel formed a legal bund not dissimilar to that of the much later Hanseatic League. They were, as Caesar tells us, in league with the Veneti under a maritime code, and were bound to send succour to that State, the people of which were highly advanced in the art of naval architecture. This condition was so fully carried out by Britain, that Caesar makes these succours the asserted ground for his invasion of the island.
Allowing for the difference of date, and the remoteness of Britain from the great centres of civilised refinement, it would be difficult to imagine greater advancement in