Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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Geographia, Lib. iv; Monumenta Historica Britannica, pp. vi sq. World History

12.

Strabo on the Customs of the Britons

The men are taller than the Gauls, with hair less yellow, and are slighter in their persons. As an instance of their height I myself saw at Rome some youths who were taller by as much as half a foot than the tallest there; but they were badly shaped in their lower limbs, and in other respects not symmetrical in their conformation. Their manners are in part like those of the Gauls, though in part more simple and barbarous; insomuch that some of them, though possessing plenty of milk, have not skill enough to make cheese, and are totally unacquainted with horticulture and other matters of husbandry. There are several states among them. In their wars they make use of chariots for the most part, as do some of the Gauls. Forests are their cities: for having inclosed an ample space with felled trees, here they make themselves huts and lodge their cattle, though not for any long continuance.

Cæsar’s ineffective campaign

Their atmosphere is more subject to rain than to snow; even in their clear days the mist continues a considerable time, insomuch that throughout the whole day the sun is only visible for three or four hours about noon time, and this must be the case also among the Morini and the Menapii, and among all the neighboring peoples. The deified Cæsar twice passed over to the island, but quickly returned, having effected nothing of importance, nor proceeded far into the country, as well on account of some commotions in Gaul, both among his own soldiers and among the barbarians, as because of the loss of many of his ships at the period of the full moon, when both the ebb and flow of the tides were greatly increased. Nevertheless he gained two or three victories over the Britons, although he had transported thither only two legions of his army, and brought away hostages, slaves, and much other booty.

At the present time, however, some of the princes, having by their embassies and court gained the friendship of Cæsar Augustus, have dedicated their offerings at the Capitol, and have brought the whole island into a state little short of intimate union with the Romans. They bear moderate taxes, hid both on the imports and the exports from Gaul; which are ivory bracelets and necklaces, amber, and vessels of glass, and such like mean merchandise. Wherefore the island would be hardly worth a garrison, for it would require at least one legion and some cavalry to enforce tribute from them; and the total expenditure for the army would be equal to the additional revenue, since if a tribute were levied, the imposts must of necessity be diminished, and at the same time some dangers must be incurred if force were to be employed.

Ireland

There are also other small islands around Britain, and one of great extent, Hibernia, lying parallel to it towards the north, long or rather wide, concerning which we have nothing positive to remark, further than that its inhabitants are more savage than the Britons. . . . The account of Thule is still more vague because of its secluded situation, for it is considered to be the farthest away of all lands of which the names are known.

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Chicago: "Strabo on the Customs of the Britons," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 16–18. Original Sources, accessed January 31, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=93Z7122TS881TYN.

MLA: . "Strabo on the Customs of the Britons." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 16–18. Original Sources. 31 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=93Z7122TS881TYN.

Harvard: , 'Strabo on the Customs of the Britons' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.16–18. Original Sources, retrieved 31 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=93Z7122TS881TYN.