Chapter I

gaulish, british, and pannonian coinages.

The readers of these observations may be apprized that they will find a mention of ancient Britain in the following pages, which may be perhaps new to many of them. It may be so; but it is only according to the true ancient history of the country, as I have elsewhere shown. The truth must be told. The real ancient history of early Britain is still, even now in the nineteenth century, very much behind hand. What is the fact ? Why that, since the time of Camden, there has scarcely been a real independent researcher into its arcana. All have had some other object which has occasioned their researches to come short of their full effect. I will just run through a list of the principal names.

To begin with Camden, who is so well known as the author of the Britannia. He was really an unbiassed investigator, and followed his subject fearlessly, whithersoever it led him. He was the first who examined the whole range of ancient literature to illustrate Britain, and he was perhaps the person who of all others examined it the most accurately. For instance, we find him applying to a Cambrian guide, namely to Dr. David Powel, for the explanation of the obscure inscription tascio of our ancient British coinage. In truth, Dr. Powel's communication might have led to extensive results, if it had been analysed with a due attention to etymology. He likewise, though late in life, made inquiries of Monsieur Peiresc, in France, respecting c* b

Celtic coins ; and might indeed have done more in that way with advantage. There was scarcely a Greek or Latin, author treating of, or mentioning ancient Britain, or an ancient British chronicle that he did not examine ; and lie was very scientific in the geography of the ancient British states. In short, he was a host in himself in his department, and there was no branch of it, notwitlistanding Ills early date, in which his knowledge \v;is not respectable.

To take a rapid glance at Camden's successors. Numerous authors of high talent and eminence have found occasion to touch on ancient British history, either as an introduction to Anglo-Saxon or other histories of the island. The chief endeavour of these has not been the altum sapere, i. e. to dig down deep into the subject, but on the contrary to disturb the surface as little as possible, and to avoid entangling themselves with controversies on the true character of various events. I may mention a few among them, such as Speed, Carte, Hume, Henry, Turner, Lingard, Lappenberg and Kemble. The labours of these, as a general characteristic, have been of little benefit; indeed, they have frequently been of great disservice and detriment in giving the weight of their names to crude, unfounded, and injudicious, though perhaps fashionable theories of the day. New information has chiefly been wanted, and misconceptions to be removed ; but the advance of these and other similar writers, notwithstanding their number, has not been considerable. We should, however, specially except two of them, Carte and Sharon Turner. The aim of another learned writer, Baxter, was to make use of the ancient British history and language to hang his etymologies upon ; however, his labours are such that we should speak of them with respect. Another estimable writer, Dr. Thackeray, made inquiries only so far as to construct his ancient British ecclesiastical history. But be it understood I mean to disparage none; I only mean to speak of the scope they have taken in their researches. Another class are numismatic inquirers ; and here again I must speak'with circumspection, as I do not wish to undervalue the advance which has been made in this direction. I only mean to say that they appear very frequently not to have understood and applied their own discoveries : they have not sufficiently attended to Celtic nationality and to the circumstance^, under which the ancient British coins were struck and issued. They often endeavour to unlock the difficulties of a Celtic coinage with a Roman key, and sometimes indeed with a Greek key. I am aware that from many types being borrowed by the ancient Britons from foreign nations this may be often done with success ; but still the practice is fraught with danger, as a native idea may be associated with the borrowed foreign type. Be it remembered I am now speaking of those causes which occasion inquiries and researches to come short of producing their due fruits. At the same time, my main topic is that researched into ancient British history have been too often made for a collateral purpose; and 011 this point I must be allowed somewhat to dilate.

Now is the statement true, or is it the reverse ? That it is true is sufficiently obvious. If we then examine what takes place in other branches of human science, we shall see that there is no hope of our arriving at a full and complete understanding of ancient British history by any of the foregoing channels. Should we ever have been so intimately acquainted with geology, for instance, as we certainly are at the present day, if' it had only been treated of by our agricultural writers as an expansion of their subject ? Should we have ever been so versed in astronomy if it only had been used for purposes of navigation ? Should we have ever been so versed in mathematics had they been solely written upon and discussed as useful in land measuring ? Should we have ever been so intimately acquainted with chemistry if it had been only studied for purposes of commerce 1 The answer to these questions is sufficiently plain. Each science must be made a sole study and research by itself. It must be elucidated and treated of in all its branches; otherwise we must be contented to remain but imperfectly acquainted with it. The rule holds good with the history, ancient or modern, of any particular country which demands to be made the object of special and not partial research. This being the case, it is no wonder that ancient British history is left much behind hand, and I allude to the above particulars to prepare the reader for the very varied glimpses of early British affairs which he will meet with in the ensuing pages ; very diverse possibly from what may be presented to his notice in other quarters.

Gaulish and ancient British Celtic inscriptions, as on their respective monetary circulation, are here placed together in one view. It was absolutely necessary to do so, not only on account of the very extensive illustration they afford one another, but because there would not be full confidence in many of the renderings of inscriptions on Gaulish coins, unless they were supported by the like on British coins, and vice versa. Nay it would doubtlessly further support both, could we add to any sufficient extent the inscriptions on the Pannonian coinage, which at present it Is not feasible to do, as hitherto the coinage appears to have been very imperfectly investigated. I therefore can only advert to it in two or three passing remarks.

The Pannonian population who struck these Celtic types were offshoots of the ancient Gaulish race, who on the whole imitated in their coinage much less than might have been expected those they were descended from. It may be as well to say of what classes of types their coinage was composed, which are here given according to the arrangement in the woi'k of M. Duchalais.

(1) Imitations of the staters of Macedonia. (2) Imitations of the tetradrachines of Lysimachus of Macedonia and Pseonia. (3) Imitations in general of the moneys of Pteonia, Larissa, and Dyrrachium. (4) Other imitations of the coins and tetradrachmes of various places ; and (5) a range of types not very numerous, but of a far more national character, inscribed with the names of places and persons connected with their own countiy, and these form, as far as this coinage is concerned, the principal numismatic materials for the student.

The said types, at present, as we have them collected by M. Duchalais, are only twenty or twenty-one in number. About half appear to be names of places, and about half personal names. The inscriptions arc even briefer than those on Gaulish coins ; but they remind one forcibly of the coinage of that people, for a great proportion of them are evidently titular; and one meets with the words kix and bvsv, the last of which is cognate with the bos in the Gaulish legend cisiambos cattos,—and here note that bvsv and bos are both different forms of one and the same Celtic word implying "judge"; and are used in this case, like the term vercobretus among the /Edui of ancient Gaul, to express in a titular form the head or governor of a district.

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