Ancient Britain and the Invasions of Julius Caesar
THE INVASIONS OF
T. RICE HOLMES
Hon. Litt.D. (Dublin)
AUTHOR OF ‘A HISTORY OF THE INDIAN MUTINY’
‘CAESAR’S CONQUEST OF GAUL,’ ETC.
‘There seems no human thought so primitive as to have
lost its bearing on our own thought, nor so ancient as to
have broken its connection with our own life’.—E. B. Tylor.
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
HENRY FROWDE, M.A.
PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
NEW YORK AND TORONTO
This book is in one sense a companion of my Caesar’sConquest of Gaul; and much that was written in the prefaceof that volume is equally applicable here. The last threechapters of Part I, and the later articles in Part II, areintended to do for Britain what I formerly tried to do forGaul; but whereas the main object was then to illustratethe conquest, and the opening chapter was merely introductory,my aim in these pages has been to tell the story ofman’s life in our island from the earliest times in detail.What has been called ‘prehistory’ cannot be written withoutknowledge of archaeology; but from the historical standpointarchaeological details must be handled, not for theirown sake, but only in so far as they illustrate the developmentof culture. The two books are constructed on thesame principle: in this, as in the other, the secondpart is devoted to questions which could not properly bediscussed in narrative or quasi-narrative chapters, thoughI am encouraged by the judgement of expert critics, British,American, and Continental, of Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul, tohope that general readers who are interested in these mattersmay not find the articles which deal with them tedious. Thoseon Stonehenge, Ictis, and the ethnology of Britain, althoughthey controvert certain opinions which are commonlyaccepted, will, I hope, tend to place facts in their true light.Two articles deal with well-worn themes,—the identity of thePortus Itius, and the place of Caesar’s landing in Britain.These problems have been pronounced by eminent scholars,ivincluding Mommsen, to be insoluble; nevertheless, I ventureto affirm that in both cases the inquiry has now been workedout to demonstration. Critics who may be disposed toregard this claim as arrogant or frivolous will, I trust, readthe articles through before passing judgement upon them.The questions would have been settled long ago if any competentwriter had bestowed upon them as much care as hasbeen expended in investigating Hannibal’s passage over theAlps.
Books and articles on various branches of the study ofancient Britain are practically innumerable; no otherbook, intended to treat it comprehensively from the beginningto the Roman invasion of A.D. 43, has, so far as I know,yet appeared.
I wish to express my gratitude to all who have in any wayhelped me. I am indebted to Sir John Evans for figures1-6, 8-11, 14, 15, and 18-29, as well as for an opinion, mostkindly given, in regard to certain coins which are not mentionedin his Coins of the Ancient Britons; to the Directorof the British Museum for figures 30, 36-9, 41, 43, and 44;to the Society of Antiquaries for figures 7, 13, 16, 31, 35,and 40; to the Delegates of the Oxford University Press forfigures 12 and 32-4; to Dr. Joseph Anderson for figure 17;and to Canon Greenwell for a proof of a valuable and interestingarticle—‘Early Iron Age Burials in Yorkshire’—which,I believe, is to appear in Archaeologia. Captain Tizard, R.N.,F.R.S., kindly answered various questions which I askedhim about tidal currents. Mr. E. J. Webb, Sir GeorgeDarwin, Professor Postgate, Professor Haverfield, Mr. ClementReid, F.R.S., Mr. George Barrow, F.G.S., Captain J. Iron,Commander Richmond, R.N., and Commander Boxer, R.N.,gave me information, which, in every instance, will be found,acknowledged either in footnotes of Part I, or in Part II,on various points of detail.v
It is vain to plead that work would have been better ifcircumstances had been more favourable. But if any indulgencemay be accorded to an author who, except on holidays,can only find leisure for writing or research after he hasfulfilled the duties of an exacting profession, and who, inorder to gain time, has worked steadily throughout hisvacations for nearly thirty years, I am entitled to it.
11 Douro Place, Kensington, W.
October 19, 1907.vi