Early Britain—Roman Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about Early Britain—Roman Britain.
Arras, and had to fly for his life into his British dominions.  He only saved himself, indeed, by an ingenious stratagem.  When he reached the shore of Gaul he found his ship aground in the tide-way.  Nevertheless, by hoisting all sail, he deceived the pursuing Romans into thinking themselves too late till the rising tide permitted him really to put to sea.[110] The effect of the extinction of Atrebatian power in Gaul was doubtless to consolidate it in Britain, as when our English sovereigns lost their hold on Normandy and Anjou, for we find that Commius reigned at least over the eastern counties of Wessex, and transmitted his power to his sons, Verica, Eppillus, and Tincommius, who seem to have shared the kingdom between them.  Tincommius, however, may possibly be, as Professor Rhys suggests, merely a title, signifying the Tanist (or Heir) of Commius.  In this case it would be that of Verica, who was king after his father.[111]

A. 2.—­The evidence for this is that in the district mentioned British coins are found bearing these names.  For now appears the first inscribed British coinage; the inscriptions being all in Latin, a sign of the abiding influence of the work of Caesar.  And it is by that light mainly that we know the little we do know of British history for the next century.  The coins are very numerous, and preserve for us the names of no fewer than thirty several rulers (or states).  They are mostly of gold (though both silver and bronze also occur), and are found over the greater part of the island, the southern and the eastern counties being the richest.  The inscriptions indicate, as has already been mentioned,[112] a state of great political confusion throughout the country.  But they also bear testimony not only to the dynasty of Commius, but to the rise of a much stronger power north of the Thames.

A. 3.—­That power was the House of Cunobelin, or Cinobellinus[113] (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline), who figures in the pages of Suetonius as King of all Britain, insomuch that his fugitive son, Adminius, posed before Caligula as the rightful sovereign of the whole island.  His coins were undoubtedly current everywhere south of Trent and east of Severn, if not beyond those rivers.  They are found in large numbers, and of most varied devices, all showing the influence of classical art.  A head (probably his own portrait) is often on the obverse, and on the reverse Apollo playing the lyre, or a Centaur, or a Victory, or Medusa, or Pegasus, or Hercules.  Other types show a warrior on horse or foot, or a lion,[114] or a bull, or a wolf, or a wild boar; others again a vine-leaf, or an ear of bearded wheat.  On a very few is found the horse, surviving from the old Macedonian mintage.[115] And all bear his own name, sometimes in full, CVNOBELINVS REX, oftener abbreviated in various ways.

Project Gutenberg
Early Britain—Roman Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook