Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sketches of Scottish History (1)

Great Boadicea
''Thy very fall perpetuates thy fame,
And Suetonius' laurels droop with shame,"

Description of Scotland. Arrival of the Romans under
Julius Csesar. His Victory on the Kentish Shore.
Descriptions from the Commentaries. Julius Agricola.
Boadicea. The Druids. Story of the Mistletoe;
(" Potter's American Monthly")

IT is now impossible even in this practical age of
the world's history to find out, when Scotland
was first inhabited, or when the ancient and primitive
tribes first landed on its northern shores and
spread themselves over its heather hills. There is
nothing in all history no written memorial or
record of any kind whatever, to give us the information
we are in search of or to tell us who were
or whither came the aboriginal inhabitants. Antiquity's
darkest pall covers the whole subject, and
it thus continues until the 55th year before the
Christian Era,In this ever memorable year memorable to
every British subject, in every part of our ever
Gracious Majesty the Queen's vast dominions, and
wherever the English language is spoken the
Romans, at this time the undisputable possessors
and conquerors of almost the whole known world,
made their first descent on the shores of Albion.
Let the reader carry back his imagination to this
important period. No modern writer can give so
faithful and exact an account of this great expedition
as he who was an eye-witness to and the
commander of the whole. In the 4th Book of
Caesar's Commentaries, we have a graphic description
of the landing of the Romans on the Kentish
shore. In the 25th Chapter of that book, Caesar
thus writes :

"Atque nostris militibus cunctantibus
 maxime propter altitudinem maris ; qui X legio-
 nis aquilam ferebat, contestatus deos, ut ea res
legioni feliciter eveniret : Desilite, inquit, com-
militones, nisi vultis aquilam hostibus prodere,
ergo, certe meum reipub. atque imperatori offici-
" um praestitero. Hoc quum magna voce dixisset,
" ex navi se projecit, atque in hostes aquilam ferre

" And whilst our men demurred (aboutventuring ashore)
chiefly on account of the deepness of the sea, the
 standard-bearer of the tenthlegion, imploring the gods
that the thing might turn out lucky for the legion,
Fellow-soldiers,said he, jump out, unless you have a
mind to give up your eagle to the enemy. I, at least,
 shall perform my duty to the commonwealth and
 my general. Having said this with a loud voice,
 he leaped overboard, and began to advance the
eagle towards the enemy."

This happened on a lovely afternoon of a beautiful
day in September, when the leaves of the old
oak trees in the English forests were beginning to
be tinged with the glorious tints of an approaching
autumnal season. Caesar's fleet amounted to eighty
ships of all sizes. The sturdy native Britons lined
the beach, their army consisting of foot, horse, and
chariots, and they opposed, with all their might,
the landing of the Roman legions on their shores.
Caesar opened on the Islanders a heavy discharge
not of cannon balls and rifle bullets, for artillery
was then unknown but of stones and darts, from
the Balista and Catapulta, warlike military engines
which he had on board the fleet. This made the
brave Britons retire a little, but after the 10th
legion, Caesar's favorite corps, with many others,
amounting to 12,000 soldiers, entered the water,
the Islanders were slowly driven back, and the
Imperial army of Rome remained masters of the field.
Thus for the first time, was the standard eagle of
the conquering Romans planted on Albion's Isle.

Let us look for a moment to the Commentaries of
the renowned Julius Caesar, and give two additional
extracts, relative to the occupation of Britain by the
Romans, he says :

" The enemy being vanquished in battle, so
 soon as they recovered themselves after their
flight, sent instantly to Caesar to treat about a
peace, and promised to give hostages, and submit
 to orders."

He then, in the 33rd Chapter describes graphically
the ancient mode of fighting, by the inhabitants
of Britain.

 " The manner of fighting from..........

More to follow....

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