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INTRODUCTION

History of British Empire Books PDF

BEFORE THE ENGLISH CAME

The history of England, English land, begins in a sense only when the Enghsh came. to the land to which they gave their name. For they not only gave the country their name, but made it vitally their own. The whole region which we call England to-day, in the most limited sense of the term, was occupied by the Enghsh people ; and its history is that of the development of the Enghsh people, the Enghsh character, and Enghsh institutions.

The modifications of people, character, and institutions derived from invasions by and contact with other peoples are essentially a part of the history of the English ; and this is not
true of the earlier history of the peoples found by them on this island.

Nevertheless, the contact with these earlier peoples did  have its modifying effect, slight enough perhaps so far as con- cerned the development of the English themselves, but important because the English endeavoured, with different degrees of success to dominate those peoples outside the limits of England.

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History of British Empire Books PDF

It will not, therefore, be without interest to open our history with some account of the predecessors of the English. Apart from possible allusions by the Greek historian Herodotus, the earliest information we have concerning these islands is derived from the Greek writer Pytheas of Massilia, Pytheas. about the last quarter of the fourth century B.C. (History of British Empire Books PDF)

Unfortunately we have not before us the work of Pytheas himself, but only excerpts contained in the works of unfriendly critics. The criticisms which were intended to discredit Pytheas chiefly go to show that the critics were wrong and that Pytheas was an intelligent and honest person who did actually visit these islands ; and Pytheas gave to their inhabitants the name of Pretanes, which we can hardly resist identifying with the name of Britanni afterwards given to them by the Romans.

History of British Empire Books PDF

The meaning  appears to be ‘ The Painted People, which is again highly suggestive of the name Picti gave to the northern tribes at a still later date, though the etymology of that name is uncertain. Definitely, however, the Pretanes were a Celtic people akin to the population of the region which the Romans called Gallia and we call France. But the Britons or Brythons were the second of two great Celtic waves which poured into the country.(History of British Empire Books PDF)

We may infer Brythons represented the same stream of Celtic and Goodies. migration which brought about the invasion of Northern Italy by the Gauls early in the fourth century B.C. They found already in occupation their Celtic predecessors of the first wave, called Goidels or Gaels. (History of British Empire Books PDF)

History of British Empire Books PDF

They took possession of the larger island from the Channel to the Forth, though how far a Goidelic admixture survived in the western mountainous regions is again a matter of doubt ; as a mere question of analogies in conquests, it might be supposed that the admixture would b considerable.(History of British Empire Books PDF)

The Britons made no appreciable impression upon Ireland or upon Scotland beyond the Forth. Again, by how many hundreds of years the Brythons were preceded by the Goidels is matter of conjecture. Long before the Celts came at all the islands were inhabited by neolithic races—races, that is, who had not learnt to make use of metal, whose tools and weapons were of stone and wood.

These races, commonly called Iberian, were not of the Aryan stock ; they were ‘ dolichocephalic,’ long-headed—that is, the skull was long from front to back in proportion to the width from side to side. Ancient TiAi, is proved by the ancient barrows or burial siniiis. mounds, which show that the long skulls and stone implements were contemporary. (History of British Empire Books PDF)

Then came a wave of immigrants, using bronze implements, ‘ brachycephalic,’ short-headed or round-skulled, with skulls broader in proportion to the length. The barrows of this folk were round, like their skulls, whereas those of the Iberians were long. That the short-heads did not exterminate the long-heads is fairly demonstrated by the fact that at a later stage short heads and long heads and medium heads, clearly the result of cross-breeding, are found together, and the long heads have not disappeared to this day.

The short head is typical of the Aryan ; and the presumption would appear to be that these bronze-using men were the first or Goidelic wave of the Celts, though this is by no means certain. The clear fact, however, which survives is that when the Goidelic Celts came they became the ruling race, but absorbed without destroying their predecessors.

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Again, it is matter of conjecture how far the religious and other customs of the population when it emerges into the light of recorded history were Celtic, and how far they were Iberian. Therefore, in applying to them the term Celtic, we must not be regarded as begging this question, but as using that term as the most convenient equivalent for pre- Roman—justified, because the entire disappearance of earlier languages before the Celtic dialects is a final demonstration at least of Celtic predominance.(History of British Empire Books PDF)

History of British Empire Books PDF

The Brythonic conquest, which we may assume provisionally to have taken place somewhere between 500 B.C. and 350 B.C., may have been due to the fact that the new-comers before had learnt to use iron instead of bronze, which gave Csesar. them a marked military superiority over their predecessors.

At any rate they were definitely established before Pytheas arrived on the scene. It was perhaps about a hundred years before the Christian era that there was a fresh influx of Brythonic Celts, who dominated a good deal of the south, and were the people with whom Julius Caesar actually came in contact.(History of British Empire Books PDF)

Of the actual intercourse between these remote barbarians and the civilised world, between the days of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, we know little, except that traders, principally Phoenicians, visited them, chiefly to obtain tin, and introduced among them the coins of Philip of Macedon, which they copied after a barbaric fashion of their own.

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