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Early Britain--Roman Britain
by Conybeare, Edward

A complete Bibliography of Roman Britain would be wholly beyond the scope of the present work. Much of the most valuable material, indeed, has never been published in book form, and must be sought out in the articles of the 'Antiquary,' 'Hermes,' etc., and the reports of the many local Archaeological Societies. All that is here attempted is to indicate some of the more valuable of the many scores of sources to which my pages are indebted.

To begin with the ancient authorities. These range through upwards of a thousand years; from Herodotus in the 5th century before Christ, to Gildas in the 6th century after. From about 100 A.D. onwards we find that almost every known classical authority makes more or less mention of Britain. A list of over a hundred such authors is given in the 'Monumenta Historica Britannica'; and upwards of fifty are quoted in this present work. Historians, poets, geographers, naturalists, statesmen, ecclesiastics, all give touches which help out our delineation of Roman Britain.

Amongst the historians the most important are—Caesar, who tells his own tale; Tacitus, to whom we owe our main knowledge of the Conquest, with the later stages of which he was contemporary; Dion Cassius, who wrote his history in the next century, the 2nd A.D.;3 the various Imperial biographers of the 3rd century; the Imperial panegyrists of the 4th, along with Ammianus Marcellinus, who towards the close of that century connects and supplements their stories; Claudian, the poet-historian of the 5th century, whose verses throw a lurid gleam on his own disastrous age, when Roman authority in Britain was at its last gasp; and finally the British writers, Nennius and Gildas, whose "monotonous plaint" shows that authority dead and gone, with the first stirring of our new national life already quickening amid the decay.

Of geographical and general information we gain most from Strabo, in the Augustan age, who tells what earlier and greater geographers than himself had already discovered about our island; Pliny the Elder, who, in the next century, found the ethnology and botany of Britain so valuable for his 'Natural History'; Ptolemy, a generation later yet, who includes an elaborate survey of our island in his stupendous Atlas (as it would now be called) of the world;4 and the unknown compilers of the 'Itinerary,' the 'Notitia,' and the 'Ravenna Geography.' To these must be added the epigrammatist Martial, who lived at the time of the Conquest, and whose references to British matters throw a precious light on the social connection between Britain and Rome which aids us to trace something of the earliest dawn of Christianity in our land.[5]
[3] His later books only survive in the epitome of Xiphilinus, a Byzantine writer of the 13th century.

[4] See p. 171.

[5] See p. 256.

Ancient Authorities Referred to in this Work

AelianIII. A. 6A.D. 220. Naturalist.
AppianIV. D. 1A.D. 140. Historian.
AristidesV.E. 4A.D. 160. Orator.
AristotleI.C. 1B.C. 333. Philosopher.
St. AthanasiusV.B. 1, etc.A.D. 333. Theologian.
AusoniusV.B. 7A.D. 380. Poet.
CaesarV. etc.B.C. 55.   Historian.
CapitolinusIV. E. 3A.D. 290. Imperial Biographer.
CatullusV.E. 4B.C. 33.   Poet.
St. ChrysostomV.E. 15, etc.A.D. 380. Theologian.
CiceroI.D. 3, etc.B.C. 55.   Orator, etc.
Claudianvi. etc.A.D. 400. Poet-Historian.
St. ClementV.E. 4A.D. 80.   Theologian.
ConstantiusV.F. 4A.D. 480. Ecclesiastical Biographer.
Diodorus SiculusI.E. 11, etc.B.C. 44.   Geographer.
Dion Cassiusv. etc.A.D. 150. Historian.
DioscoridesI.E. 4A.D. 80.   Physician.
EumeniusV.A. 1A.D. 310. Imperial Panegyrist.
EutropiusV.A. 1A.D. 300. Imperial Panegyrist.
FirmicusV.B. 2A.D. 350. Controversialist.
FrontinusIII. A. 1A.D. 80.   Wrote on Tactics.
FrontoIV. D. 2A.D. 100. Historian.
Gildasvi. etc.A.D. 500. Theologian.
HegesippusII. F. 3A.D. 150. Historian.
HerodianIV. E. 3A.D. 220. Historian.
HerodotusI.C. 3B.C. 444. Historian, etc.
St. HilaryV.B. 3A.D. 350. Theologian.
HoraceIII. A. 7B.C. 25.   Poet.
ItineraryIV. A. 7A.D. 200.
St. JeromeV.C. 12A.D. 400. Theologian.
JosephusIII. F. 1A.D. 70.   Historian.
JuvenalIII. F. 5A.D. 75.   Satirist.
LampridiusIV. E. 1A.D. 290. Imperial Biographer.
LucanII. E. 1A.D. 60.   Historical Poet.
MamertinusV.A. 5A.D. 280. Panegyrist.
Marcellinusvi. etc.A.D. 380. Historian.
Martialvi. etc.A.D. 70.   Epigrammatist.
MaximusII. C. 13A.D. 30.   Wrote Memorabilia.
MelaI.H. 7A.D. 50.   Geographer, etc.
Menologia GraecaV.E. 5A.D. 550.
Minucius FelixI.E. 2A.D. 210. Geographer.
NemesianusIV. C. 15A.D. 280. Wrote on Hunting.
Nenniusvi. etc.A.D. 500. Historian.
Notitiavi. etc.A.D. 406.
OlympiodorusV.C. 10A.D. 425. Historian.
OnomacritusI.C. 1B.C. 333. Poet.
OppianIV. C. 15A.D. 140. Wrote on Hunting
OrigenV.E. 13A.D. 220. Theologian.
Plinyvi. etc.A.D. 70.   Naturalist.
PlutarchI.C. 1A.D. 80.   Historian, etc.
PolyaenusII. E. 8A.D. 180. Wrote on Tactics.
ProcopiusV.D. 5A.D. 555. Wrote on Geography, etc.
PropertiusIII. 1. 7B.C. 10.   Poet.
ProsperV.F. 4A.D. 450. Ecclesiastical Historian.
PrudentiusIV. C. 15A.D. 370. Ecclesiastical Poet.
Ptolemyv. etc.A.D. 120. Geographer.
Ravenna Geographyvi. etc.A.D. 450.
SenecaIII. C. 7A.D. 60.   Philosopher.
Sidonius ApollinarisV.F. 3A.D. 475. Letters.
SolinusI.E. 4, etc.A.D. 80.   Geographer.
SpartianusIV. D. 2A.D. 303. Historian.
Strabovi. etc.B.C. 20. Geographer.
SuetoniusI.H. 10A.D. 110. Imperial Biographer.
SymmachusIV. C. 15A.D. 390. Statesman, etc.
Tacitusv. etc.A.D. 80.   Historian.
TertullianV.E. 11A.D. 180. Theologian.
TheodoretV.E. 4A.D. 420. Wrote Commentaries.
TibullusIII. A. 7B.C. 20.   Poet.
TimaeusI.D. 2B.C. 300. Geographer.
VegetiusV.B. 5A.D. 380. Historian.
VenantiusV.E. 4A.D. 580. Wrote Ecclesiastical Poems.
VictorV.A. 9A.D. 380. Historian.
VirgilIII. 1. 7B.C. 30.   Poet.
VitruviusI.G. 5A.D.        Wrote on Geography, etc.
VobiscusIV. C. 17A.D. 290. Historian.
Xiphilinusvi. etc.A.D. 1200. Abridged Dio Cassius.
ZosimusV.C. 11A.D. 400. Historian.

Later Authorities

The constant accession of new material, especially from the unceasing spade-work always going on in every quarter of the island, makes modern books on Roman Britain tend to become obsolete, sometimes with startling rapidity. But even when not quite up to date, a well-written book is almost always very far from worthless, and much may be learnt from any in the following list:—

BABCOCK    'The Two Last Centuries of Roman Britain' (1891).
BARNES    'Ancient Britain' (1858).
BROWNE, BISHOP    'The Church before Augustine' (1895).
BRUCE    'Handbook to the Roman Wall' (1895).
CAMDEN    'Britannia' (1587).
COOTE    'Romans in Britain' (1878).
DAWKINS    'Early Man in Britain' (1880).
    'The Place of the Welsh in English History' (1889).
DILL    'Roman Society' (1899).
ELTON    'Origins of English History' (1890).
EVANS, SIR J.    'British Coins' (1869).
    'Bronze Implements' (1881).
    'Stone Implements' (1897).
FREEMAN    'Historical Essays' (1879).
    'English Towns' (1883).
    'Tyrants of Britain' (1886).
FROUDE    'Julius Caesar' (1879).
GUEST    'Origines Celticae' (1883).
HADDAN AND STUBBS    'Concilia' (1869).
    'Remains' (1876).
HARDY    'Monumenta Historica Britannica' (1848).
HAVERFIELD    'Roman World' (1899), etc.
HODGKIN    'Italy and her Invaders' (1892), etc.
HOGARTH (ed.)    'Authority and Archaeology' (1899).
HORSLEY    'Britannia Romana' (1732).
HUEBNER    'Inscriptiones Britannicae Romanae' (1873).
    'Inscriptiones Britannicae'
    'Christianae' (1876), etc.
KEMBLE    'Saxons in England' (1876).
KENRICK    'Phoenicia' (1855).
    'Papers on History' (1864).
LEWIN    'Invasion of Britain' (1862).
LUBBOCK, SIR J.    'Origin of Civilization' (1889).
LYALL    'Natural Religion' (1891).
LYELL    'Antiquity of Man' (1873).
MAINE, SIR H.    'Early History of Institutions' (1876).
MAITLAND    'Domesday Studies' (1897).
MARQUARDT    'Römische Staatsverwaltung' (1873).
MOMMSEN    'Provinces of the Roman Empire' (1865).
NEILSON    'Per Lineam Valli' (1892).
PEARSON    'Historical Atlas of Britain' (1870).
RHYS    'Celtic Britain' (1882).
    'Celtic Heathendom' (1888).
    'Welsh People' (1900).
ROLLESTON    'British Barrows' (1877).
    'Prehistoric Fauna' (1880).
SCARTH    'Roman Britain' (1885).
SMITH, C.R.    'Collectanea' (1848), etc.
TOZER    'History of Ancient Geography' (1897).
TRAILL AND MANN    'Social England' (1901).
USHER, BP.    'British Ecclesiastical Antiquity' (1639).
VINE    'Caesar in Kent' (1899).
WRIGHT    'Celt, Roman and Saxon' (1875).


Terms Defined

Referenced Works