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Suetonius Paulinus in the reign of the Emperor Nero, A.D. 61, and put an end to her life by poison.
From the time of Agricola, who penetrated even to the highlands of Scotland, (then called by the Romans Caledonia,) the country was governed by that people for about three hundred and sixty years, and the Britons acquired the arts and habits of civilized life. London (Londinium) is said to have been already a city of some beauty and extent. The province of Britain was visited by several Roman emperors, and more than one of its prefects assumed the titles of Cæsar and Augustus. Hadrian came hither to repel the Caledonians, who had made inroads into the more fertile country of the south; and under his order the line of garrisons which Agricola had established (A.D. 79) between the river Tyne (Tina Fl.) and the Solway Firth (Ituna Est.) was completed into a continuous wall, and called Vallum Hadriani. Agricola had constructed another line of garrisons, in A.D. 81, which was made into a continuous fortification in the reign of Antoninus Pius, A.D. 140, under the name of Vallum Antonini. It extended from the Firth of Forth (Boderia Est.) to the Firth of Clyde (Clota Est.). The Vallum Severīnum, which was only a few yards distant from that of Hadrian, was built, A.D. 210, by Septimius Sevērus. That emperor had come to Britain with his sons Caracalla and Geta to strengthen his frontier, and soon after the completion of his great work, died at Eborăcum (York). Constantius, the father of Constantine the Great, breathed his last in the same city. His illustrious son, the first Christian emperor, was born in this island. It is generally believed that Helena, the mother of Constantine, was a British lady. These and the following facts are sufficient to show the importance and civilization of Britain under its Roman rulers.
At the time their sway over the island terminated, Britannia (that is, England and part of Scotland,) comprised five Provincial Divisions, which had gradually assumed that form. These were:
1. Britannia Prima, or that part of England which is south of Gloucestershire and the river Thames (Tamĕsis Fl.).
2. Flavia Cæsariensis, which included the country between the German Ocean on the east, and the Severn (Sabrina Est.) and Dee (Deva Fl.) rivers on the west,
between the Thames and Avon rivers on the south, and Yorkshire and Lancashire on the north.
3. Britannia Secunda, which included Wales, and that part of England which is west of the rivers Severn and Dee.
4. Maxima Cæsariensis, which was bounded on the north by the Vallum Hadriani, and on the south by the southern limits of Yorkshire and Lancashire, and included the Isle of Man (Mona Cæsăris).
5. Valentia, or that part of England and Scotland which lay between the Vallum Hadriani and the Vallum Antonini.
The reader must be referred to the map of Ancient Britain for the names of the native tribes inhabiting these divisions respectively, and for the sites of the principal British and Roman settlements. Under the protection of the Romans, the country had been intersected with artificial roads (viæ stratæ)3, traversing it in every direction : s Various accounts of these roads have been given, but we may collect that the chief of them were :
1. Watling Street (Via Vitellina), which ran from Richborough (Rutupiæ), in Kent, through London to Wroxeter (Uroconium), and hence, probably, to Chester (Deva), where one branch is supposed to have turned off towards the Isle of Anglesea (Mona Taciti). From Chester it proceeded through York to Catterick Bridge (Cataractonium), and soon afterwards divided into two branches; one through Binchester (Vinovia) and Riechester (Bremenium), to the Firth of Forth, in the direction of Edinburgh; the other, through Carlisle (Luguvallium), to the Firth of Clyde, in the direction of Glasgow.
2. Ermin Street (Via Herminia), perhaps from Pevensey (Anderĭda), in Sussex, to London; but certainly from London, through Godmanchester (Durolipons) and Lincoln (Lindum), to a point on the river Humber (Abus Fl.).
3. The Foss Way (Via Fossarum), perhaps from Seaton (Muridunum) on the sea-coast of Devonshire, through Ilchester (Ischalis), to Bath (Aquæ Solis); but certainly from Bath, through Cirencester (Durocornovium), crossing Watling Street at High Cross (Venona), and so through Leicester (Rate), to Lincoln.
4. Ikeneld Street (Via Icenōrum), from Venta Icenorum, or Caister, near Norwich, along the base of the Chiltern Hills, probably crossing the Thames at Wallingford (which was a Roman Statio); from hence (as the name of Ickling Dyke still exists in Dorsetshire) it is supposed to have gone on, through Old Sarum (Sorbiodūnum), to Dorchester (Durnovaria).
5. Rycknield Way, from the neighbourhood of Cirencester, through Warwickshire and Derbyshire. Its name is lost at Little Chester (Derbentio), but it probably went on to York.
and ninety-two considerable towns had risen up; among these latter, thirty-three cities (civitates) were distinguished above the rest by their superior privileges and importance.
Each of these cities had its legal constitution, as in the other provinces of the empire. And it is interesting to discover that Christian bishops, who numbered between thirty and forty, and a due proportion of priests and deacons, had a recognized position in the country long before the political connexion was broken off between Rome and Britain. The Gospel was certainly preached here as early as the apostolic age; and possibly (as many have believed) by St. Paul himself. Among its converts, were Roman rulers, and native princes: and the martyrdom of St. Alban, who suffered at Verulamium (which has since been called, after him, St. Alban's), in the persecution under Diocletian (A.D. 303), shows that this country was honoured, even at that early period, by being called to suffer for the truth. British bishops were present at the council of Arles (Arelāte), in France (A.D. 314), and probably at the celebrated council of Nicæa (also in the days of Constantine), where the greater part of the Nicene Creed was fixed by the assembled Fathers (A.D. 325). We should bless God that Christianity was so soon introduced, and a branch of the Catholic Church so firmly planted in this island.
DEPARTURE OF THE ROMANS. ARRIVAL AND SETTLEMENT OF THE SAXONS.
From A.D. 409 to A.D. 827.
Ir was observed that the extent of the Roman empire was favourable to the first spreading of the Christian faith. The days, however, of that empire (which is generally thought the fourth empire spoken of by the prophet Daniel) were
4 Thirty of these civitates were situate in England and Wales, the remaining three in Scotland. Two of the whole number, Verulamium and Eboracum, were called municipia. Londinium, Rutupiæ, Lindum, and six others, colonia. Cataractonium, Luguvallium, and eight others, were Latii jure donate; and the remainder were called stipendiariæ.
numbered; and throughout the fourth and fifth centuries of the Christian era, it was gradually weakened and divided by the invasion of the heathen and barbarous nations of the north The depression of the Christian religion, which was the first consequence of this event, issued in the more signal triumph of the truth. Victorious as were the invading tribes over the degenerate Romans in battle, they were themselves successively conquered by the mild and holy faith which was held by their new subjects; and which thus showed itself able to master the passions of men under the various changes to which human society is liable.
The province of Britain soon felt the effects of the weakening of the Roman empire. The Romans were forced to withdraw their legions from these shores; and as it had been their policy to train the natives in peaceful arts and habits, they left them in a defenceless condition to contend with the Picts and Scots, who were continually harassing and plundering them. The Romans finally left the island in the year 409; and after suffering the evils as well of anarchy as of foreign invasion, the Britons seem to have chosen Vortigern as their king, in the hope of finding a remedy for their ills under a strong and able ruler. A people, however, that has long trusted to others for protection, cannot soon recover those manly habits which none should suffer themselves to lose. Appeal to the Romans for aid was found to be vain, and Vortigern at length invited the Anglo-Saxons from the coast of Jutland and Holstein, to assist him in repelling those enemies whom he was himself unable to drive out of his kingdom. These heathen foreigners came over in great numbers under the brothers Hengist and Horsa, with whom Vortigern tried to confirm his league by marrying their sister Rowena. They were first settled in the Isle of Thanet, and soon succeeded in driving back the Picts and Scots to their own fastnesses; but by degrees became more fatal enemies to the British than those whom they were summoned to repel. A pretext for quarrelling with Vortigern was soon found; or (as some say) a plot was contrived for massacring him and the principal British nobles. The result of his unwise invitation
5 The Picts seem to have been the Caledonians of the older period under a new name. The Scoti were a horde which had passed over from Hibernia (Ireland).
was, that the Britons were gradually driven into Wales, Cornwall, and Armorica in Gaul, called afterwards, from this circumstance, Bretagne or Brittany; and that the Saxons, in a period of about one hundred and fifty years, established seven kingdoms in this island, which began to be called England, after the Angles, who had then settled themselves in it. This condition of England is known as the Saxon Heptarchy, from two Greek words which signify seven governments; and the kingdoms thus established were: 1st, Kent, comprehending Kent and Middlesex; 2nd, the South Saxons, which included Sussex, Surrey, and the New Forest; 3rd, Wessex, comprising Hants, Dorset, Wilts, and the Isle of Wight; 4th, the East Angles, comprehending Cambridge, Norfolk, and Suffolk; 5th, Essex, which included parts of Herts; 6th, Mercia, embracing the midland counties; and 7th, Northumberland, the most extensive of all, in which all the northern counties were comprised.
The civil history of England at this time consists only of the wars of these petty kings, of whom some one had often a sort of supremacy over the others, till the year A.D. 827, when Egbert, king of Wessex, after subduing the others, made himself sole master of England.
We may easily believe that the expulsion of the British by a heathen and barbarous people, proved in the first instance a serious hindrance to the Christianity as well as the civilization of the island. The British Church had recently recovered from the effects of a heresy called Pelagianism, (from its author, Pelagius or Morgan, who was a native of Wales,) through the ministry of St. Germain and St. Lupus, who held a disputation at Verulamium, A.D. 429, by which it was successfully put down. Schools had been established at Bangor and elsewhere; and missions had been sent to spread the Gospel among neighbouring nations. The Saxon invasions put an end for a time to these holy undertakings. The British bishops with their flocks found refuge chiefly in Wales, where the bishoprics founded by St. Asaph and St. David at places still called after them, attest the piety which yet found a home among the ancient Britons, when England was again given up to the darkness of heathenism. A state of things thus unhappy, when the Church in England was so depressed that only a few of its bishops.