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Early Britain #4

Is not what most have been taught


                 From the book "Celt, Druid
                         and Culdee"

                             by

                      Isabel Hill Elder




THE ROMAN INVASION

AT the time of the Roman invasion evidence of prosperity and
culture existed in Britain to arouse the envy of the Romans, and
it is a matter of history that the inhabitants led a life as
separate as possible from them.

It was only after ten years incessant warfare that the Romans in
A.D.43 succeeded in effecting a footing in Britain. This is not
reconcilable with the view that the Romans were invading the
territory of untrained, undisciplined savages. The resistance of
Britain was, in reality, against the whole of the north of
Europe, and was highly creditable to the brave defenders of their
country. In the immortal words of SHAKESPEARE in his "Cymbeline,"
'CAESAR MADE NOT HERE HIS BOAST OF CAME AND SAW AND
OVERCAME.'(1)   

To estimate aright the military abilities of the 
British general, Caswallon, and the resources of the people at
the period of the first collision of our island  with the
Continent, it should be borne in mind that they were engaged
against, perhaps, the ablest general of antiquity. The DOUBLE
REPULSION of the JULIAN expedition, 55 and 54 B.C., remains
UNPARALLELED in British history.

In Britain there was one supreme Crown and three Coronets or
Princes' Crowns; there were numerous other 'kings' who never wore
crowns.


The sovereign who reigned in Britain at the time of the Claudian
invasion was Cunobelinus, or King Belinus, the CYMBELINE of
SHAKESPEARE. Cuno, Cun and Can have their equivalents in the
Saxon Cynig; in modern German, Konig, and in English, King.

Cunobelinus and his ancestors ha much intercourse with the
Romans; he is said to have spent he greater part of his boyhood
at the Court of the Romans.(2)

The Roman invasion of his reign was met by Cunobelinus and is
sons with a stubbornness of defence and bravery which earned for
them admiration of the enemy an aroused the wonder of all Europe.

Cunobelinus, after a reign of thirty years, abdicated in favour
of his third son, Caradoc (Caractacus), who now became Arviragus
or high king and by this title is most frequently referred to in
the British Chronicles.

Tacitus (the Roman historian of the time - Keith Hunt)reluctantly
tells us that: 'In Britain after the capture of Caractacus
(Arviragus) the Romans were frequently defeated and put to rout
by the single state of the Silures alone.'(3) The Silures, the
inhabitants of south-west Britain were noted for their military
prowess and culture.

It is evident from the partial story furnished by the invaders
themselves that the resistance offered by the Britons to their
invaders was a surprise for which they were ill-prepared, for
this resistance came not from hordes of savages but from a nation
whose leaders were well versed in military tactics. The Britons
were determined to defend their ancient laws and institutions at
all costs. They evinced profound homage for the memory of their
forefathers, and from their inborn love of liberty sprang the
undaunted energy with which they met the mercenary and implacable
plunderers of the world. By no people was every inch of the
country contested with more bravery and surrendered more
stubbornly than by these Britons; on terms, indeed, which
rendered every victory for the Romans little better than 
defeat.(4) It is absurd to suppose that such a nation could be
barbarous.

If popular amusements are to be taken as the test the Romans were
themselves the MOST BARBAROUS of the nations of Europe. When the
brutal sports of the gladiators were proposed to be introduced at
Athens even the cynics cried out, 'We must first pull down the
statue to mercy which our forefathers erected fifteen hundred
years ago.'

A similar gulf separated the British from the Roman temper, and
the comparison of the latter people with regard to the former
should be received with the caution which we would exercise today
in receiving the accounts of hostile strangers.

All the evidence supplied by Caesar refutes the
notion of material barbarism. Agriculture was universal, corn
everywhere abundant, pasturage a distinct branch of national
wealth, and the population so numerous as to excite his
astonishment - 'hominum, multitudo infinito' - the surest and
most satisfactory proof of and social state and ample means of
sustenance.(5)

Having effected a landing (and the testimony of their own
historians is that never was a country more dearly purchased nor
held with greater difficulty) the Romans proceeded with their
policy of destruction for which they had become notorious on the
continent of Europe.
One notable instance has come down to us of the Roman spirit of
cruel indifference to human feelings and sufferings. The
immensely wealthy Prasutagus, King of the Iceni, apprehensive, in
the event of his death, of the Roman brutality likely to be
experienced by his queen, BOADICEA, and his two daughters, left
one half of his fortune to the Emperor Nero, endeavouring thus to
secure for them a measure of protection. When, however, his death
took place in A.D.60, the Roman 'praefect,' Caius Decius, seized
the royal hoard on the pretext that it came under the
denomination of public property. Resistance being made, the
legionaries stormed the palace and carried the treasures off to
the Castra.(6) The story of the barbarous treatment meted out to
its inmates need not be repeated here, nor of Boadicea, stung to
frenzy by these atrocities, bravely taking to the field in
defence of her family and her people, the Roman 'praefect'
having, in direct violation of the Claudian treaty, also
confiscated the estates of the Icenic nobility.
Seneca, the usurious, millionaire philosopher, advanced to the
Iceni, on the security of their public buildings, a sum of money
-  about two million pounds sterling in modern currency,(Elder
was writing in 1973...so much more than 2 million in 2003 as I
present to you this chapter - Keith Hunt)at ruinous rate,(7) this
loan, suddenly and violently called in, was the indirect cause of
the Boadicean war. It was a disgrace for a Roman to lend to a
Roman for interest; they were permitted, however, to lend to a
foreigner. (sound like the romans had an OT law that Israel was
given by God through Moses - Keith Hunt).
The territories of the Iceni were rich in lead-mines, some of
which were known to have been worked in times of even greater
antiquity; the Romans seized these mines soon after their arrival
in Britain, thus cutting off an important source of the wealth of
the Icenic people and obliging them to borrow money from Seneca
for the maintenance of their state.(8)
Boadicea, before leading her people and the tribe of the
Trinobantes who joined them, to war, to redress her wrongs,
ascended the 'generals' tribunal and addressed her army of
120,000 in these words:

"I rule not like Nitocris, over beasts of burden, as are the
effeminate nations of the East, nor, like Semiramis, over
tradesmen and traffickers, nor like the man-woman, Nero, over
slaves and eunuchs - such is the precious knowledge such
foreigners introduced amongst us - but I rule over Britons, 
little versed, indeed, in craft and diplomacy, but born and
trained to the game of war; men who in the cause of liberty stake
down their lives, the lives of their wives and children,
their lands and property - Queen of such a race, I implore your
aid for freedom, for victory over enemies infamous for the
wantonness of the wrong they inflict, for their perversion of
justice, for their insatiable greed; a people that revel in
unmanly pleasures, whose affections are more to be dreaded and
abhorred than their enmity. Never let a foreigner bear rule over
me or over my countrymen; never let slavery reign in this
island."(9)

(As I type and read these words, I have the hairs on the back of
my head stand up. They are words like a "Drake" or a "Nelson" or
a "Churchill" or even as George Bush the second, has used against
the Terrorists that took down the two Trade Towers in New York
city on September 11th 2001. No wonder the British have a
sculptured monument of Boadicea in her chariot to this very day
in London - Keith Hunt).

Boadicea's many SUCCESSFUL engagements with the Roman armies are
RECORDED in our histories, and when her DEATH took place in
Flintshire, after her eventual defeat, the Romans were IMPRESSED
with her EXTRAORDINARY MAGNIFICENCE of her obsequies. According
to Tacitus,(10) Boadicea died by poison; in the course of nature
according to the Greek historian Dion Cassius. 

Boadicea's kinsman, Caradoc, on meeting the invading Romans,
displayed a like spirit of bravery and courage; perhaps indeed no
warrior of ancient times succeeded in WINNING so much ADMIRATION
from the enemy as this king of the south-western Britons, better
known by his Latinized name of CARACTACUS.

The Welsh or Cymry, as the eldest tribe, held three
priorities. Priority as the first colonizers of Britain;
priority of government and priority in matters of learning and
culture.(11) From this premier tribe was to be elected the
Pendragon, or military dictator with absolute power for the time
being in the case of national danger or foreign invasion.
Caractacus, third son of Cunobelinus, had now succeeded his
father as Pendragon under the title Arviragus, or 'high king'.
This Pendragon was proudly referred to by his fellow countrymen
as 'The Praiseworthy Opposer'. Arviragus had yet another name,
Gueirydd (Justiciary), from his office of administrator of
justice, and by this name is mentioned in the Welsh Chronicles.
These three titles by which this ancient king of renown was known
have been a source of confusion in the minds of historical
students and others, which would not exist if the custom of the
ancient Britons, that of using titular designations, were better
known. The case under consideration is a good example of this
custom; in elucidation the following may be noted: in seven
genealogical charts setting forth his pedigree, Arviragus is
shown to be the son of Cunobelinus and grandsire of Lucius (in
whose reign Christianity was established as the national
religion); in the pedigree according to the classics, i.e. Julius
Caesar, Tacitus, Suetonius, Dion Cassius and Orosius, Caractacus
is shown to be the son of Cunobelinus; in Rome Caractacus was
known also by his title, Arviragus, and is so referred to by the
poet Juvenal. In the pedigree according to Tysilio and in the
Welsh Chronicles, Caractacus appears under his title Gueirdd
(Justiciary), son of Cunobelinus and grandsire of Lucius.

Further, in the Triads, and some of the Welsh genealogies,
Caractacus appears as the son of Bran and grandsire of Lucius.
Bran, a contraction of Brenhan, i.e. 'King', is mentioned in the
Triads as 'Bran the Blessed' (the Blessed King). This was the
designation of Cunobelinus following his acceptance of
Christianity and his resignation of the crown in favour of his
third son, Caractacus. Bran the Blessed became Archdruid of
Siluria in order to devote the remainder of his life to
Christianity into which Druidism was beginning to merge.

Caradoc (Caractacus) was no rude savage fighting out of mere
animal instinct or in ignorance of the might of his adversary.
Familiar with the Latin language, this king was a true
representative of the higher classes of the Britons,'among whom a
as general taste for literature, a keen susceptibility to all
intellectual gratifications, a minute acquaintance with all the
principles and practice of their own national jurisprudence, and
a careful training in the schools of the rhetoricians, was very
generally diffused. Hence the rejoicing at Rome when this
military leader was BETRAYED and subsequently conducted through
the capital, amidst the excitement of three MILLION inhabitants
who thronged the line of procession to obtain a view of the
formidable captive.' The Senate was convened; the famous trial of
Caradoc followed, in which before the tribunal of the Emperor he
delivered himself thus : 

"Had my government in Britain been directed solely with a view to
the preservation my hereditary domains, or the aggrandizement of
my own family, I might, long since, have entered this city an
ally, not a prisoner; nor would you have disdained for a friend,
a prince, descended from illustrious ancestors, and the dictator
of many nations. My present condition, stripped of its former
majesty, is as adverse to myself as it is a cause of triumph to
you. What then? I was lord of men, arms, horses, wealth.
What wonder if at your dictation I refuse to resign them! Does it
follow that because the Romans aspire to universal dominion every
nation is to accept the vassalage they would impose? I am now in
your power, BETRAYED, NOT conquered. Had I, like others, yielded
without resistance, where would have been the name of Caradoc
[Caractacus]? Where your glory? Oblivion would have buried both
in the same tomb. Bid me live. I shall survive for ever in
history, one example at least of Roman clemency."

(Wow....I get goose-lumps reading this. So mighty a warier was
this man, so amazed were the Roman Empire generals, leaders, and
people, by his many battle wins over the Roman armies, that
INDEED the Roman senate granted him and his family their lives -
Keith Hunt)

The preservation of Caradoc forms a solitary EXCEPTION in the
long catalogue of victims merciless policy of Imperial Rome. His
life was spared on condition that he never again bore arms
against Rome. After a residence of SEVEN years in FREE custody in
Rome he was permitted to return to Britain.

The British prince, Caradoc, in maintaining his descent from
illustrious ancestors, could bring from the clan records evidence
of his pedigree; in those remote times genealogies were guarded
with extreme care and recorded with exactitude by the heral-bard
of each clan.(12)

On the public reception of a child, at the age of fifteen, into
the clan, his genealogy was proclaimed and challengers of it
commanded to come forward.
Pedigree and inheritance were so identified in the ancient
British code that an heir even in the ninth descent could redeem
at a valuation by jury any portion of an estate with which his
forefathers had been compelled to part.(13)

All the family of Caradoc were attached to literary pursuits;
copies of the best Greek and Roman authors were circulated in
Siluria and deposited in the chief centres of druidic 
learning.(14)

Caradoc's daughter, Claudia, who with other members of her family
remained in Rome as hostages during her father's captivity there,
wrote several volumes of hymns and odes.(15) Her praises were
sung by the poet Martial: 

     "Our Claudia named Rufina, sprung we know 
     From blue-eyed Britons; yet behold, she vies
     In grace with all that Greece or Rome can show. 
     As bred and born beneath their glowing skies."

In a later epigram Martial writes:

     "For mountains, bridges, rivers, churches and fair women,
     Britain is past compare."(16) 

Caradoc's sister, 'Pomponia Grecina', received her cognomen
through her acquaintance with Greek literature, while her aunt,
Blonwen, daughter of Cunobelinus, is believed to be the Imogen of
Shakespeare in his "Cymbeline." The great poet immortalized this
ancient British king in the lines:

     "The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline personates thee."(17) 

The state of the country of the northern Britons is indicated by
the number of large cities beyond the Forth which Agricola
explored with his fleet. This could not mean cities which he had
erected, he having been only six years in the country, nor could
cities have arisen in that period, 'amplas civitates', as we
learn from his biographer, Tacitus.
In a general account of Britain, Ptolemy, in A.D. 110, enumerates
fifty-six cities; later, Marcianus enumerated fifty-nine.
It was not until the reign of Hadrian A.D. 120, that Britain was
INCORPORATED BY TREATY, NOT CONQUEST, with the Roman
dominions,(18) the Britons retained their kings, land, laws and
rights, and accepted a Roman nucleus of the army for the defence
of the realm. These local kings and princes of Britain were
obliged to become lieutenants of the Roman Emperor, just as the
heads of our countries are now styled lieutenants of the
Sovereign. They were bound to permit the construction of a Roman
'castra' garrisoned by Roman legionaries, with their usual staff
of engineers, in their chief city. On the ruins of British
buildings and monuments rose the Roman 'castras' and villas, the
remains of which are treasured by many in this country who
appear to be quite unaware of the earlier civilization. The
buildings erected by the Romans were foreign to British ideas and
never became an integral part of British life.

When Alaric and his Goths were engaged in the sack of Rome, the
Britons remembered their ancient independence and their brave
ancestors; and having armed themselves, they threw off the Roman
yoke, deposed the imperial magistrates and proclaimed their
insular independence. The Emperor Honorius sent letters addressed
to the civitates of Britain, clearing them from the
responsibility of being any part of the Roman world.(19)    

The Romans came to a country which was in all its essentials
prosperous and free. They left it in many places devastated.
Roman policy is tersely summed up in the words of the Pictish
sovereign Galgacus, "To robbery, slaughter, plunder, the Romans
give the lying name of Empire; they make a solitude and call it 
peace."(20)

The Roman imperial system had its strong points, but it had many
weak ones - the two main weak points were WAR and SLAVERY. With
the Romans war became the instrument of progress, but it was a
system fatal to real progress and to the domestic virtues. To
plough the soil and wait for the harvest seemed to them a
spiritless method of acquiring that which might more easily be
obtained, by conquest. Eloquence and the affairs of government as
well as the exciting and barbarous sports of the arena, were
esteemed and valued by Rome more than religion; hence her
basilicas and her amphitheatres were far more spacious and
magnificent than her temples. 

(One may wonder how a relatively small in height people, as the
Italians are, could conquer so much of the world. The answer is
given by Tacitus, the Roman historian of the first century A.D. -
the most part of the Roman army was made up of hired Germanic
fighters, who were from ancient times well known for fierce
fighting - Keith Hunt)

The temper of the Britons may be judged by the evidence of the
important part a non-idolatrous religion exercised in their daily
lives; it has been said that the history of Britain is written in
her churches. This truism is applicable from the most remote
times, and from the nature of ancient worship it is possible to
discover the source of the uprightness, the independence and the
tolerance which characterized the early Britons.

These characteristics were noted by the Romans without their
effecting the least check on unprincipled avarice and ambition.
Salvian, A.D.430, does not hesitate to say that the barbarians
(so-called)led better lives than the Romans even of those who
were orthodox. 'Their modesty,' he says. 'purifies the earth all
stained by Roman debauchery.'(21) Amid the calamities and
sufferings of the first invasion of Rome by our Gothic ancestors
in A.D.402, St.Augustine of Hippo remarked upon the marvellous
forbearance of the soldiers of Alaric before the tombs of the
Christian martyrs; he even went so far as to speak of the mercy
and humility of these terrible victors.

To British genius alone we owe the foundation of our modern
civilization, including roads, laws, learning and a culture of
world-wide fame for more than two thousand years. From a more
accurate knowledge of British history we shall gain some notion
of that primeval liberty and self-government, common at first to
the early Britons and preserved today by the British people.

That the Britons adopted anything they thought good from the
romans is perfectly true; they did not, however, abandon any of
their old essential laws and customs and still less their
religion. (Actually, if the truth be known, Christianity entered
Britain during the 30s A.D. not long after Jesus had died and
rose again from the dead. This truth is attested to in the
recorded history of the Roman Catholic Church. Such proof will
need wait for another study on that matter specifically - hence
Britain would indeed NOT give up its religion even when Rome
occupied parts of the British soil in the first centuries of the
present Christian age - Keith Hunt).

But it is untrue to say that the Britons had no previous
civilization of their own as it is to pretend that Roman laws and
customs permanently established themselves in Britain and
remained AFTER the legions were withdrawn. there is sufficient
EVIDENCE to PROVE that the ancestors of the British, centuries
before the Romans gained a footing in these islands, were a
POLISHED and INTELLECTUAL people, skilled in ARMS as well as
LEARNING, with a system of JURISPRUDENCE of their own SUPERIOR
even to the laws of Rome.(22)

To these early Britons we owe what we prize most - FREEDOM,
KNOWLEDGE, and a HIGHER SENSE of RIGHT and WRONG. This goodly
heritage comes to us NEITHER FROM the Roman conquest NOR through
Roman influence.

MONTALEMBERT declares:

"It is in England that the nobility of man's nature has developed
all its splendour and attained its highest level. It is there
that the generous passion of INDEPENDENCE, united with the genius
of ASSOCIATION and the constant practice of SELF-GOVERNMENT, have
produced those MIRACLES of fierce energy, of dauntless COURAGE
and obstinate HEROISM which have TRIUMPHED over seas and climate,
time and distance, nature and tyranny, exciting the perpetual
envy of all nations, and among the English themselves a proud
enthusiasm. It is not however, for the British to pride
themselves as a SUPERIOR race, but rather that they are a
MINISTERING people, and that through them should FLOW THE
BLESSINGS OF PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD;
LOVING FREEDOM FOR ITSELF, and loving nothing without
FREEDOM.....Upon herself alone weighs the formidable
responsibility of her history."(23)

     "Love thou thy land with love far brought 
     From out the storied Past, and used 
     Within the Present, but transfused
     Thro' future time by power and thought
     True love turned round on fix'd poles 
     Love, that endures not sordid ends
     For English natures, freemen, friends, 
     Thy brothers, and immortal souls."   
                                         Tennyson

1. Act. V, Sc. i. 
2. Ibid.
3. Annals, XII, 38,39.
4. Beale Post, Britannic Researches, p.74.
5. Rev. R.W.Morgan, St.Paul in Britain, p.79. 
6. Tacitus, Annals, XIV, 31.
7. Dion Cassius (Xiphilinus Excepta).
8. Beale Poste, Britannic Researches, P.411. 
9. Dion Cassius (Xiphilinus Excepta).
10.Annals, XIV,37.
11.Triads of the Cymry.
12.Anglica Hibernia, ed. Camden, p.890.
13.Richard of Cirencester, Bk. I, Chap. III, note. 
14.Rev. R.W.Morgan, St.Paul in Britain, p.104.
15.Collier's Eccl. History, Bk. I.
16. Martial, IV, 13; XI, 54.1
17.Cymbeline, Act 5, Sc. I. 
18.Spartian's Vita Hadrian, Chap. I.
19. Zosimus VI, pp.376,381. Also du Bos, Gibbon, Procopius
Gildas and Bede.
20.Tacitus, Vita Agricola, XXX.
21.On the government of God, Salvian.
22.John Pym Teatman, Early English History, p. 9. 
23.Monks of the West, Vol.II, pp.366,367.

                            ..................

END NOTE

The British and USA peoples are from the SAME STOCK, they are
BROTHERS of the same FAMILY. They speak the same language, have
the same heritage. The USA started with mainly immigrants from
Britain. They started their new country with 13 states, called
"New England." The SAME inborn nature as related above to the
early Britons, are found still today in the English peoples of
the British Commonwealth and the United States of America. The
world has INDEED been BLESSED in MANY ways by the British and
American people. It is true that the British and American people
have not been perfect in their dealing with some people over the
centuries past, but they have nevertheless, BLESSED MANY nations
of the world in so many way, and are still blessing them. As a
people from the ancient days of Brutus and his people ARRIVING in
the island kingdom of Britain and them Molmutius, and those who
came in waves of people into the island kingdom, the brother
peoples of Britain and the USA have never been held CAPTIVE, but
have only experienced FREEDOM. This freedom we have tried to give
to many other nations, and we still try to this very day. The
peoples of the English speaking Western world have not been power
hungry to conquer the world or rule it with dictatorial power of
military force, but they have only raised arms against evil done
to them, or in some cases (sometimes with not the best judgment)
have tried to help other nations in a military way when they were
being over-run with an evil power hungry force out to kill and
dominate.

The truth of who the Western world of the English speaking people
are, and from where they came so long ago, has been written by
many, in numerous books, over the last 200 years. For the origin
of the nations of this earth I recommend the following Website:

www.originofnations.org

Entered on Keith Hunt's Website, August 2003

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